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Thomas Boyd 

(Interviewed by Myrna Gillespie on 3/5/1984. Transcription: 15 pages)

Thomas Boyd moved to Teaneck in September, 1962. His civic and community affiliations include being chairman of the Teaneck Fair Housing Committee (p.3), the Northeast Community Organization (NECO) (p.7) and a member of the Board of Adjustment. In the summer of 1962, Mr. Boyd attended the National Convention of the NAACP in Chicago, and the following year participated with the Bergen County March on Washington Committee (p.2).

The Fair Housing Committee actively attempted to stabilize the Northeast area of Teaneck by publishing and distributing documents and running televised interviews, all with the theme "Don't look just in the Northeast area. Look in others as well" (p.3). Although other areas opened to minorities, Mr. Boyd states the committee was unsuccessful in attracting enough white buyers into the Northeast area; and as a result of it, "the northeast area of Teaneck did proceed to become a predominantly black area" (p. 3-4).

The narrator discusses the problems voluntary integration caused (p. 4-5), and the need it presented for a successful mandatory program. He shares his belief "that through the day to day exposures of an integrated school system, ALL are going to benefit" (p. 6). His work with NECO concerned publicizing the concerns, aspirations and desires of blacks in the northeast community. In 1963-1965 integration of the school system, the attitude of the governing body, specifically the council, and the Board of Adjustment were major concerns of that organization (p. 7).

Mr. Boyd is a long member of the Board of Adjustment--a body authorized by the state to grant variances to our zoning laws--and he offers several illustrations of the type of positive influence one can have by serving on the various governing bodies (p. 8-9).

He is critical of the black community for its lack of vigilance and believes they could have accomplished more. He concludes that nothing happens without involvement. The difference, according to Mr. Boyd, is with involvement, with input, you can find more support in Teaneck than in many other communities; "therefore, something does happen" (p. 10).

Mr. Boyd is greatly disturbed by the lack of achievement of black males in Teaneck and offers his observations and opinions as to why. At the time of the interview, Mr. Boyd felt the many county and local black organizations had failed black youths and were more socially oriented than concerned with the welfare of people, improving their plight and serving as positive role models. Mr. Boyd believes while it is good to enjoy athletics, the "primary focus ought to be on where am I going with my life; what do I want to be; how do I get there (p. 11-15)."

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