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Calyen / Religion and New York

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Calyen: At that time, I was very interested in the black Muslims. Probably, I would have become one, but I didn’t like to sell newspapers and I didn’t like the fish selling part of it. Going to some of the services, everybody was segregated. Women would go over here, and men would be— Interviewer: Where did you attend services? Calyen: In New York. Interviewer: Was this after the military? Calyen: After the military, yeah. Interviewer: So what year was this? Calyen: This was 1970, 1971. Interviewer: When did you get out of the military? Calyen: Nineteen seventy. Interviewer: So, you left the military. Did you go back to Conroe? Calyen: No. I stayed in New York for twenty-six years. Interviewer: So, you didn’t go back to Conroe? Calyen: No. Interviewer: Why was that the case? Calyen: I met my wife there and we decided to live in New York. Interviewer: I know you mentioned other organizations like SNCC. Was there other organizations like that in Montgomery County? Calyen: No. Interviewer: Why do you think that was the case? Calyen: I guess it was due to the geographics of where it was located and probably, maybe a lot of people hadn’t ever heard of it. Interviewer: So, you went to New York in 1970. How was your experience like in New York and how did it differ from Conroe, TX? Calyen: Brand new world. Brand new on the block and nobody from—most people from Texas would migrate to the West Coast and I never found that many people from Texas in New York, but New York’s a big place so you meet someone from Texas periodically and it was altogether different. We’d talk about Juneteenth. Are you going to Texas from Juneteenth? Some people were embarrassed about it, say “Don’t nobody celebrate no Juneteenth up here” but they do now.

Interview Interview with Henry Calyen
Subjects Oral Tradition
Religion › Religious Denominations
Tags Brooks, Marion
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Interview date 2016-07-06
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Calyen, Henry
Locations New York, USA
Duration 00:02:48
Citation "Religion and New York," from Henry Calyen oral history interview with ,  July 06, 2016, Conroe, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed November 13, 2019