African American Studies
Interviewee: Welvin Goodwin
Interviewer: Brian Prunell
Interview took place on February 10, 2005
Summarized by Alice Stryker
Welvin Goodwin was born January 7, 1908 in Tipson, Texas. Both of his parents were Farmers. His father was born in England. When he was younger then 10, he too started working on the farm. He came from a very large family, of which he and his sister were the only family members remaining when the interview was conducted. His mother used to babysit white children and Weldin would play with them and claims to have known nothing of discrimination.
Welvin enjoyed playing baseball when he was young and was in Negro Leagues. His father started him with baseball and Welvin realized he was good at it just by playing in school. He began playing baseball when he was 14. He was always a pitcher. He played against Satchel Paige a Kilgore, Texas. When he started playing in the Negro Leagues, he first played with the Black Yankees. He reminisces about the various great ball players he played against. He got to travel around the country with the team and he and his teammates developed a following.
He moved to New York in 1945. The reason he moved to New York was to escape discrimination. Throughout the interview he gives many examples of the types of discrimination he experienced. He initially moved to Harlem near the Apollo. He moved to the Bronx in 1947 onto 4th street and Boston road. The neighborhood was mostly whites. He attended a Baptist church on Hoover Avenue and 172nd street.
Weldin marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. many times, including the famous March on Washington. He went with other churchgoers in the Bronx on the march. There was also a lot of protesting for Equal Rights happening in the Bronx. There was still some discrimination in the Bronx when he was living there, mostly when African-Americans began moving out of the Bronx. He was also involved in a court case regarding his wages.
He believes that the Bronx has changed a lot since he first moved there. Additionally, he believes that Dr. King had a better message than Malcolm X. One reason he sites for this has to do with his ability to rally whites and blacks together on racial issues.
Goodwin, Welvin. Bronx African American History Project. By Brian Purnell. Fordham University Project, January, 2005.
Click below to download supplemental content.Goodwin, Welvin Transcript.pdf (71 kB)