DW: Today is 1995, and this is Doris Wesley of the Western Historical Manuscripts Collection at the University of Missouri St. Louis. I have with me today. Miss Vivian Dreer who has agreed to make a tape recording with me for our St. Louis African-American Heritage Oral History Project. Good afternoon, Miss Dreer.
DW: Let's start with your childhood first. Where did you grow up?
VD: Well, I was born... I'm a native St. Louisan. So I grew up in the Ville, what they call Eleardsville, in St. Louis and I was born there. I was born on Cote Brilliant. That was the street that a lot of blacks lived who were interested in improving their lifestyles and moving upward, becoming upwardly mobile, I suppose and active in the community. And... so I had ... we had a rather cohesive group of people who lived in the 4200 west block, particularly of Cote Brilliant where I lived in about 4 or 5 different houses. I went to Cottage Avenue Elementary School, which was located at that time in the portables next to Sumner High School. And they had built these portables, they were suppose to be temporarily, put up for the elementary school, until they could afford to build a new school, which never got built. But in ... and then in junior high instead, I would have gone to Marshall School, but there again I was night class. I was put in Sumner High. They had the junior high and senior high in the same building, but we had only certain areas of it that we used for the junior high. And then I graduated from Sumner High School.
DW: Do you remember what year? Do you recall?
VD: I do, very well.
DW: Well, tell us about it.
VD: Oh, 1932 was my...We celebrated our sixtieth class reunion, ah in 92 and
people came from California and Wisconsin and all around to mark the anniversary
of our graduation from high
DW: Sounds like quite a reunion.
VD: It was.
DW: Yes. Tell me about your parents.
VD: Well, my parents...My father brought his family here...My sister was born in Chatham, Virginia and they came here in 19....I don't know if she would want me to say this or not, 1914. Oh, but anyway, he came here to teach at Sumner High and at that time he taught several subjects. He taught not only ... he was supposed to be teaching English and some of the social sciences, but he taught languages and he was the kind of person who never seemed to forget anything he learned. And so they could place him…he was a really, a real scholar and they could place him in any subject area and he could handle it quite well in teaching. So he taught at Sumner for awhile and then he became the assistant principal. And then when he ... after thirteen years as assistant principal he left to go to teach at Stowe Teacher's College because he felt that was a long enough and he really wanted be a principal. But he was a very highly respected person, honest and he kept us really attuned to the achievements of blacks and the history of blacks and we grew up with a thorough knowledge, fairly thorough for young people of black achievement, so that we could have pride in our heritage. And my mother was a housekeeper, but she taught for a brief period in the evening school of St. Louis.
DW: Do you remember what evening school that was?
VD: Sumner High.
DW: Sumner High, ok.
VD: They had an adult education program and she finished Virginia Theological Seminary, where they met. And he was a professor there and she was... This was his first teaching assignment after finishing Bowdoin College, in Maine. And she... they met and married and then she was from...really Chatham Virginia, but...so she was a daughter of farmers. And they, she and her sister, her older sister, were students at Virginia Seminary, Theological Seminary. Her sister became a missionary to Africa and she married the Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board of the Baptist Church. And they moved to South African and had eight children born there, at that time. I don't know whether it was eight or six, but anyway several of their...probably it was six, multifaceted person. He just became...he was a business person, sold real estate and he did insurance and he raised...even took a little project on of raising chickens in his garage, so he could sell them to the market. He would experiment, you know, people would interest him in something and he'd go on and try it. He believed in investing in black businesses and he would invest in New Age Savings and Loan. And he... the People's Finance Building, he lost some money in that. He also opened up what they call a Pushkin Publishing Company. And that was ...some people invested in it with him, but that went under and he lost money in that. But he was very innovative and as I say when I came along I was encouraged to be creative and I liked to write plays. And too he wrote plays and gave ... he also...he would write Biblical plays and he would write plays on different subjects that he felt he was interested in and present them through his dramatic club at the high school and at the college. And I started out giving…writing plays when I was in first grade in the school room when the teacher would get tired of teaching she would turn the class over to me and I would present group. I would have written this play and present it all in the same day.
VD: And it would have my best friend, always, Hattie Sawyer was a...lived across the street from me and she was the daughter of the Latin teacher at the school and Hattie was...always had a part in that . . . in my plays. And also I would give them in our back yard that we had, you know, some of the neighborhood kids I think she had eight all together...So we grew up with a feeling about interests in other countries and what was going on in Africa and identified with peoples of color all over the world through our discussions with my father who became interested in Carter G. Woodson and helped in his...disseminating his books when he wrote the first history of blacks in our country which my father worked with him and with Lorenzo Green who was his assistant. And Lorenzo Green later settled in Jefferson City. And I have to be careful, because I might talk more about my father than...
DW: It’s interesting.
VD: This is one of my projects is to hopefully...I have done some research and I had hoped to write the story of his life, but I seem to be, as I get older, I don't have time to really sit down and concentrate on it, so I'm leaving that for Doris Wesley…(laughter)...I would like to see the bibliography of Herman Dreer.
DW: Thank you. What your father has written two novels, could you tell me what they are?
VD: The Ties That Bind, a ... his first one was The Immediate Jewel of His Soul. which was written in 1919. And The Tie that Binds, was written later, more as a church project, he was hoping to raise money for his church which was Kingsway Baptist and he was pastor of that church in addition to being an educator. He always wanted to be a minister and so he was an ordained minister through the University of Chicago. And he is [a very men] of. . . well multifaceted person. He just became…he was a business person, sold real estate and he did insurance and he raised…even took a little project on of raising chickens in his garage, so he could sell to the market. He would experiment, you know, people believed in investing him in something and he’d go on and try it. He believed in investing in black businesses and he would invest in New Age Savings and Loan. And he…the People’s Finance Building, he lost some money in that. He also opened up what they call a Pushkin Publishing Company. And that was…some people invested in it with him, but that went under and he lost money in that. But he was very innovate and as I say when I came along I was encouraged to be creative and I like to write plays and gave…he also…he would write Biblical plays and he would write plays on different subjects that he felt he was interested in and present them through his dramatic club at the high school and at the college. And I started out giving…writing plays when I was in forst grade in the school room when the teacher would get tired of teaching she would turn the class over to me and I would present group. I would have written this play and present it all in the same day.
VD: And it would have my best friend, always, Hattie Sawyer was a…lived across the street from me and she was the daughter of the Latin teacher at the school and Hattie was…always had a part in that…in my plays. And also I would give then in our back yard that we had, you know, some of the neighborhood kids would participate in the plays. So...
DW: Have you published any books, Vivian, I meant to ask you that? I have wanted to ask you that. Have you published anything?
VD: Nothing that...no, I have written things, but I am interested in writing poetry and I have written...when I took a two year leave of absence and went to Cleveland. I worked as a...in the Urban League as Public Relations Secretary for two years and I at that time wrote radio programs, we had a radio program called the Urban League Hour. And Langston Hughes was one of the people on our program. And we would have a chorus, of different, from... groups in the cities and important people to speak and so on. So I've always been kind of interested in production kind of thing and when I returned to St. Louis I married and was married for eight years before it broke up. In the meantime, I was in ... diocese of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in the Gamma Omega Chapter and I was on the board of the Urban League... local Urban League here when Leo Bohannan was director. And I was on the Board of the NAACP when Ernest Calloway was the director.
VD: And I was in early CORE, but I've skipped my educational background.
DW: Lets' go back then.
VD: After starting college at Stowe, I definitely wanted to go to Fisk University
and they permitted me to go to Fisk and I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts
in 1937. And in '39 I got my masters from Fisk, in English. In ... then later
I studied at the University of Michigan in the summers. They used to pay blacks
to go to study anywhere but in St. Louis, because St. Louis University and Washington
U. were not open to blacks. So most of us who wanted to do...to find something
to do of interest would go away in the summers. And I would go to the University
of Michigan and had started work on a doctorate in theater and dramatic arts,
but decided not to complete it there. And...I'm not really the scholarly type
actually for research, the type, I'm more of a...you know...interested in the
creative arts and history, and interested in the history of blacks and achievements
and this has been my passion in most of the things that I've done. After my
marriage dissolved, I moved to New York in 1958, and I began my travels, going
to Mexico and to ... and then to ... I got the job in New York because I wanted
to conquer New York, I felt that maybe I could write a play there, in New York.
But first you have to live. And I found that I was able to get a job in Yonkers,
teaching in the junior high. And…Yonkers, New York, which is
a bedroom community outside of New York City...And then after eight years of that I said, well enough of the young kids in junior high, they didn't place me in high school, because my experience in teaching was all at Vashon. And that was...Vashon...I started teaching there in 39 and it was a beautiful experience for...until 58, I was…you know...except for the two years I took a leave and went to Cleveland. The experience . . . the thing that has impressed me is the impact that the faculty must have had on the young people that came through our school because they are all community minded, service minded, want to give something back to the community for what they have received, and many of them hold important positions, or certainly service positions in the community. And I am very proud of them as one of the former teachers who touched their lives and always happy to go back to their reunions when they invite me and to see them, and to greet them, and find out what's been going on. So...I'm wandering about because...you're going to have to unscramble it, so whatever you want. I'm leaving out big blocks of what happened and when and so you can stop me whenever you want.
DW: Ok. Did any teachers have a big effect on your life? Can you name some names for me, when you attended Sumner and Fisk University?
VD: Ok. Wally Thompson was one of my English teachers that I was very fond of and had made a great impression on me in encouraging my writing skills and creativity. Of course growing up in a school where your father is the assistant principal was not the easiest kind of thing to do because quite often people hold some things...they...feelings they have towards the parent are passed on to the child and sometime you have ... it helps and sometimes it doesn't. You know as far as your being able to make it through, but I finished from ... on the honor society. I was on the honor society and dramatic club, I've always been interested in being involved in groups, and wrote in the school journal, newspaper that they had and student council, things like that in high school. And so one of the reasons I wanted to go to Fisk was that I had heard of W.E.B. DuBois and I was very impressed with James Weldon Johnson. At Fisk he use to come to our campus and lecture in the...we would have to go to chapel. At that time they required you to go to chapel. Reverend Faulkner was our college chaplain and he. . . Reverend Faulkner has written some books on folk tales of black...you probably are aware of it, I can't remember the exact name right now.
DW: That's ok.
VD: But anyway, he'd have people like James Weldon Johnson and Aaron Douglass,
the artist, would come and they would sometimes have us to...sort of like a
fireside chat, have you sit around and talk to some of the students who are
interested in...I was. . . became editor of The Fisk Herald, at Fisk for a brief
period, which is the Fisk newspaper. And I was vice president of the dramatic
club, so I always wanted to be involved, and I think this is important for any
students and especially our black students who go to the Ivy League Schools.
Sometimes while they have the advantage of finishing from an Ivy League School,
they miss the involvement that you get when you have an historically black college
experience. And I'm glad to see more of our students taking advantage ... or
at least insisting on going to get that experience, especially since integration.
Because now that our communities are so dispersed, people live out in the counties
and live all around in the city, but at the time that I came along most of us
lived in the Ville or either on Enright and on West Bell, we a ... Cook Avenue.
Some of those streets opened, as they would open we would move out into those
different neighborhoods and…
But we were all within a certain perimeter and we had our many businesses thrived, had our own appliance stores, grocery stores, dry goods stores, instead of going to Famous and all the time we had businesses right there in ... on Easton Avenue and places like that so ... I have seen a succeed in entrepreneurship, you know, and people who wanted to be their own boss instead of just working for someone else. So I know when I talk to young people and try to encourage them to at least try, but certainly study first how to run a business.
DW: That's true.
VD: I think it's very important for our young people to have the feeling of being able to ... looking at those who are succeeding and now many of us are, black are in positions that were not open to me at the time that I came along. I probably could have been a librarian, a nurse, or a social worker and a teacher. So I thought I would teach for five years and instead that^s where I found that I really got great pleasure and I worked at that and I could use my talents and not only just teaching English and grammar and literature, but in the dramatic arts. So at Vashon I had a dramatic club, and I presented plays, and they had that experience. I liked to direct plays and all. But when I moved to New York, I decided no more plays, not more dramatic club, but I just survived.
VD: After getting tired of teaching, eight years in Yonkers, with junior high primarily, I did teach some senior high students.
DW: Um-uhm. Did you ever teach on the university level Miss Dreer?
VD: No, no I didn't, but I did go back and get another masters degree and I planned to get a doctorate, but I decided that I didn't chose to go through that arduous study and everything that goes with it. And to have to deal with all of the racism that you have to deal with to get . . . you know to move up, to become upwardly mobile. So I just got the second masters in counseling and ... guidance in higher education.
DW: Did you do anything with that? Did you work at ...
VD: Yes I did. That’s where, sixteen years experience ... I was able
to get a job at a part of the City College of New York, it was called New York
City Technical College, now, it was at that time ... it was called New York
City Community College and it was in Brooklyn, New York, downtown Brooklyn.
So I worked in the College Discovery Program and the College Discovery Program
was in ... really the reward for all of the experiences I have had: Urban League,
NAACP, CORE . ... early CORE ... and I didn't get to mention my work with that,
but all of those experiences came ... helped me a lot in working with young
people in the open admissions ... who were students ... who were students who
You see City University was practically free for you ... if you passed the certain test at a certain level, the SAT's and the kind of the admissions tests. These students were let in who had not made that level of ... you know ... weren7! able to pass and that. And then they were able to go on to a four year college, if they did well in the two year college. And our College Discovery counselors would give them supports and influence them, encourage them in whatever: personal counseling, educational counseling, and whatever was necessary to help them to achieve. This was really a great period of my life, sixteen years there. The whole time that I spent in New York was twenty-four years.
VD: So ... but this sixteen years at the college level ... So when you said did you teach, you sort of ... I was a counselor. I became a ... I did not want an administrative position, but I was an assistant to the dean in the counseling area, but without ... head of my division of counselors. See they would have financial counselors, educational counselors and so on, and I became the assistant to the dean of students in that area. And that's the way I ended it ... my career there. I finished in '81, I retired and then I moved to St. Louis to be ... and when my father died in '81, the same year, I retired and I came back to be with my mother. I still hung on to my apartment in New York because I didn't want to give it up. If you can get a rent controlled apartment in New York, you don't give it up easily. So I tried to hang on to it to be sure that this St. Louis was going to work out and finally gave it up in '82 and got a condo here and moved in.
DW: Well Miss Dreer, let me ask you this question. In the early part of the interview, before we really got started, remember when I let you talk and answer all of the questions without me. You stated earlier that you did not get the opportunity to talk about CORE in the in the early period.
DW: Let's talk about that for a few minutes and that will cover the Civil Rights ... that I was just about to ask.
VD: Well, one of the reasons that I took the leave of absence from St. Louis schools, I was very disenchanted with the segregation in St. Louis. And I didn't want to have to endure that, or to falsely teach students that life would be equal and you'd would get social justice when it wasn't available. So I thought of Cleveland as the place to go ... to where the Underground Railroad and so on and different ... it was suppose to be the Mecca of democracy. And I ... when I worked ... I was ... I said I would be a maid in the kitchen just to get away and to try ... to feel like a human being again. Not again ... I don't think that any one here has democracy ... to experience it. But anyway, this was the reason that I left and that was when CORE was just beginning. That was in... 1948 ... early CORE... Marion Oldham was one of the young women who used to volunteer her time to type papers for my father. She actually helped him with some of his paperwork, so I knew her through that. And she encouraged me to work with them. When I came back from Cleveland, I really helped, they were getting ... they were going into full swing in about 1950. And that's when I really became very active, in they ... going, trying to open up the public facilities, restaurants, and making contacts to make St. Louis the kind of city I wanted to live in. And so I would picket or do whatever they assigned me to do.
DW: Were you ever arrested Miss Dreer?
VD: No, but we had an experience that I like to talk about.
DW: Tell us about it.
VD: Howard Johnson's, they had us to get up very early one morning to go there and the white members of Core and the black ... the black ones held the newspapers up over their heads ... faces too. So they couldn't see until we got up on the stools and then we sat there until ... they wouldn't serve us and they wouldn't serve us. The whites would get ... whatever ... something and then pass it on to us. And they had the police to come and made us leave, but I wasn't arrested. We would always leave peacefully and that was one of the things that I liked about it, it was nonviolent and I remember standing in line to be served at Pope's Restaurant, right here at ... Washington and Grand, and then they had Woolworth's.
DW: Did you ...? Yes, I was going to ask ...
VD: Woolworth's and at Stix and Famous . . . Baer & Fuller and Famous Barr. And then at Famous I was able to actually say, "Why don't we talk to the top person?" And I remember talking to Morton May .. .
DW: Oh he was in charge ... he owned the Famous Barr.
VD: He was ... he owned the whole ... and trying persuade him to ... and I tackled him by myself, I was able to get the appointment, but ...
DW: That's great, a big hand! What did you tell him ... what was you approach ... and what did he say?
VD: I didn't try to say... that we were the Congress of Racial Equality and he knew that we've been picketing trying to get ... because they use to have a little counter for blacks to go to to eat.
VD: They wouldn't let you eat in the restaurants.
DW: And shop downstairs.
VD: Right. And one of the things he said, I will never forget. He thanked me for coming and all, and he said why don't you blacks start your own businesses and things. And this is quite typical of what people used to say then, that excused them ... we ... just as well to say that we Jewish people have done our thing. But he ... it wasn't that he was, I don't think, anti-black or anything. He has a marvelous collection in the Art Museum, you know, of black artifacts and things from Africa and different parts of the Third World. And that's the Morton D. May Collection ... is well known.
DW: That was one of his interests.
VD: Yes, but they would do that yet not let you have your dignity of eating in a restaurant at that time. And shortly after that though, they did open the restaurants to us and I take some of the credit for that.
DW: Yes. Absolutely, absolutely. That's wonderful. And I didn't know that!
VD: Yeah. Great. This is one of the reasons why the story of early CORE needs to be told and they are trying to do something about that now. Some of the members who are living are trying to write the story of early CORE and the struggle and what it meant, you know the context that they had, what it meant to ... So you'll perhaps be hearing ... if they are as... and I'm sure they will. Margaret Dagen, who is the wife of Irvin Dagen is spearheading the project along with Billy . . .
VD: Dagen . . . DAGEN. And her husband was an attorney Irvin Dagen, who was
. . . they were both very into early CORE along with Charles and Marion Oldham
and Billy and Joe Ames. But Billy is married to someone else now. I can't think
of her married name. But they are... they strategize and had meetings and planned
and made whatever . . . all kinds of contacts to make St. Louis what it is today,
including the theaters, and of course you know of Henry
VD: You've heard of his ... work to open the American Theater and other . . . ticketed . . .
DW: He also started the American Federation of ... American Something ...
VD: Postal Employees
DW: Postal Employees, yeah. I was just looking at him today at the office.
DW: I was . . . Wash U. . . . Washington University students were there and I was telling you they were looking at the Herman Dreer papers. And they just wanted to look up other black politicians
and things like that for research.
DW: It's exciting. While I have you here ...
VD: And I remember one incident that ... I was so intent on trying to do something, and I don't remember ... I don't know if this should be mentioned but Maxine Bruce Starks and I called some of the leaders in the community, like Mr. Cook of the YMCA, James Cook, Sidney Redmond, and a number of ... Attorney Espy, Attorney Witherspoon ... something we were very interested . . . and I cannot remember what it really was that had, you know, we were going to discuss it... But we would call meetings together and I think we were astounded that they came. Because he was white ... we just were two. . . Most of us were educators, you know teachers, but other that that we were not the big shots.
DW: Right. The representatives of something.
VD: We went to this meeting and we discuss this issue very ... But this was the kind of courage we had then ... And I don't know many people now who feel that they need to take an initiative to do that . . . things like that.
DW: I think most people don't have time right now ... they're just ...
VD: They won't take the time.
DW: Or they are just complacent, they might have a good job, and they're living well and doing things, and I just think that ... self-centered ... is what I think.
VD: Yeah. But we have started a group called Black Women Stirring the Waters and we have ...
DW: Where? This year?
VD: This year and we've been meeting bimonthly. And at a ...
DW: It sounds like a great big title.
VD: We are really kind of a sister organization of a group in San Francisco, Oakland area, called Black Women Stirring the Waters. Started by a group of black women and ... who feel that the experience of the black woman is so unique that it must have its own . . . that our experiences should be ... we should have a chance to exchange ... to dialogue.
VD: And this is what we are primarily doing now, we're sort of feeling our way to see what is it that we feel is not being done, that needs to be done. What can we contribute ... as women ... and most of these women are busy women who are holding jobs and working, some of us are retired, but we read a lot and we read widely on ... from people like Cornell West and Bell Hooks and John Hope Franklin and people who are concerned about where our country's going, where this diversity of ... how we can become more diverse in our interests and in our ... finding commonality with other groups and making this truly a democracy. I mean in the true sense of the word, which has never been, really ...
VD: Since its inception of the Constitution. So we were not really included. So this is . . . we're not trying to ... we're trying to see where we are needed. We are not trying to be a . . . like an activist group to ... but yet to connect with groups, not only in the United States, but in Africa and other Third World countries.
DW: That'd be a good place to start, since Nelson Mandela's become …
VD: Right, and then I have friends . . .
DW: Yes, you do ... That's true, that's true.
VD: So from my travels and so on.
DW: Have this organization had any conferences ... or ... [?]
VD: No, we just very ... we've been meeting bimonthly and we ... the interest is growing and usually groups wake up and don't have a meeting in the summer, but we plan to meet in June ... at the end of June and also at the end of August. So ... we're going on through the year and just ...
DW: Do you ...
VD: Now we'll be meeting at the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA ... we had started meeting at the Salad Bowl and then we went to the Missouri Historical Society. And our last meeting was there on that very rainy Sunday that so much was going on, April 23rd.
DW: Yeah, a lot was happening ... It rained all day.
VD: Yeah. And then ... Now we're going to ... we've got permission to meet at this new Phyllis Wheatley (YWCA), which is on West Pine you know. And so that ... we'll see what ... how it goes next year.
DW: It sounds great.
VD: But so far there have been kind of about twenty . twenty-five or more women who are coming fairly regularly. And even on that rainy day we had fourteen.
DW: That was good.
VD: We don't any officers ... it's unstructured ... structured unstructured.
DW: Have you notified ... I'm gathering that you've notified Oakland, California ... in Oakland, California ... the other organization.
VD: Yes, they gave us some suggestions.
DW: Ok, have they had any conferences?
VD: Now they've been going for ten years and they're suppose to have a kind of tenth celebration ... of their tenth year of existence.
DW: That's when you all should go ...
DW: ... and meet.
VD: Well, at first it was going to be a big thing, but they decided that they would keep it kind of small. But I suggested that they try to internet ... find out if you could do it through... without having to travel . . . maybe be a contact way. Some different ...
DW: ... could write or something?
VD: Um-uhm. In other words, for example, a Bell Hooks ... or what's our great writer?
DW: Our great writer?
VD: Yeah, Nobel Prize winner.
DW: I'm drawing a ...
VD: Toni Morrison.
DW: I see. Right.
VD: Maya Angelou ... They've got ...
VD: They may not be able to come to L.A. or something, but they could ... you could internet with them or with some of the young people who have been making inroads and through ... And if that is within their, you know, somebody may ... maybe even get a grant or something. They could finance it.
DW: Yeah, I know that Danforth is really a good organization to tap into.
VD: That's right! I'll just come back with all this enthusiasm.
DW: Right, and a that would be a good place to start first.
VD: That would be a good place. Um-uhm. See, we need people like you with ideas.
DW: Thank you very much.
VD: So when you finish down there with the academic mountains that you have to climb, and . . . this might be the kind of group you might want to ...
VD: It won't cost you anything.
VD: Just your time.
DW: Before we close, this has been a fantastic, wonderful interview, I want to tell you. But I have one more question and that is messages for young people. What words of advice would you like to share with young people about your profession, about life, or about St. Louis?
VD: Well, my concern is primarily, that we're a little too inbred in St. Louis, we're not global minded enough. And we need to travel, we need to be aware of not only what's happening in our own little community, but what is connecting with people of ... a ... in other parts of the world. The ... those who are ... on the lower end of the economic ladder who might have great ideas for making our world a better place. And I would like for them the set their sights more on ... less on the materialistic things ... not that money isn't everything and it means a lot to live well. I want them to be able to be educated and to live a ... comfortably and well, but don't put all of you energies and priorities into the materialistic side of life. And ... pass on to others ... go back to help somebody get a start. And even if you . . . just a little here and there. If you can feel a personal responsibility for mentoring and helping some who have ... who haven't had the advantages you've had. And consider yourself lucky if you have a chance to really develop on your own and to give ... to give your inner . . . Develop your spiritual life so that you will connect with ... go back to your African roots and to your ... whatever your roots are, if you identify more with ... the Irish or the ... so be it. But whatever it is, connect with your ancestors and those who have gone on before you and these marvelous civilizations ... and have left what we have now, what we are enjoying. And to the world of the computer, the information age, to me is ... can be disastrous if you aren't careful.
DW: That's true.
VD: So, use it wisely. While it is ... these little children are learning very early how to use the computer. I hope they realize that life isn't just in that little box. What would I say to them? I would say that... open up and learn to love ...
DW: Yes, that's important.
VD: ... and to care. And I think our disasters ... and when you have things that happen like the terrorism in Oklahoma, you realize ... Let groups ... don't listen to these little cult groups and beware of ... there ain't no Santa Claus and there ... you know ... it's a way to do things that ... to work within the system to change it ... is what I would like to see, rather than to be explosive and violent. And ... get ... open up our prisons and let . . . let the nonviolent criminals have a chance to really rehabilitate and be a part of the ... of our society. Now that was one thing that Angela Davis brought out in her lecture and it is not my original idea by any means. What about all of these men and women who are in prison for maybe drug use or something.
DW: Yes, yes or small white collar crime, you know like writing a check or something like that.
VD: Right. And they could become useful citizens.
DW: Yes. You know there are a lot of educated people in prisons that have two and three and four degrees.
VD: With crime ...
VD: They get [?] and they use it to...
VD: But, in other words, use your common sense.
DW: [That's right.]
VD: Develop your common sense. And don't be attracted to all of these influences,
because to be young today is ... a real challenge to grow up and to live and
to see adulthood on this level
of life. We ought to make the most of it.
DW: Well, Mrs. Dreer that was really neat. And I have really thoroughly enjoyed this interview with you. And thank you very much.
VD: Um-uhm, okay.
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