The Manhattan Project

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & HistoryNational Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Segregation

Ronald E. Mickens' Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, in Washington, D.C. It is July 30, 2018. I have with me Ronald Mickens, and I’d like him to tell his full name and spell it.

Ronald Mickens: My full name is Ronald, spelled the usual way, R-o-n-a-l-d, Elbert, E-l-b-e-r-t, Mickens, M-i-c-k-e-n-s. I was born in Petersburg, Virginia, right down the road, February 7, 1943.

Carol Roberts's Interview

Cynthia Kelly: Start by telling us your name and spelling it.

Carol Roberts: Okay, my name is Carol B. Roberts. C-A-R-O-L, initial B, as in Bobby, R-O-B-E-R-T-S. I came here in June 1944 with my mother and my sisters because my dad had been sent by DuPont out here. That is how I came to be such a smart aleck.

Kelly: Where did you live before?

Martin Moeller's Interview

Cindy Kelly:   I’m Cindy Kelly. It is Tuesday, November 27, 2018, and I have with me Martin Moeller. I’d like him to first say his name and spell it.

Martin Moeller: I’m Martin Moeller. M-A-R-T-I-N M-O-E-L-L-E-R.

Kelly:  Great. So tell me: who are you? Why did we invite you here?

Martin Moeller

Martin Moeller is the Senior Curator at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., where the exhibition “Secret Cities: The Architecture and Planning of the Manhattan Project” opened in 2018. In this interview, Moeller describes the history behind the exhibition and its key themes. He focuses in particular on the role of the firm of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill in designing Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He also discusses how segregation was built into the Manhattan Project’s secret cities and the Manhattan Project’s legacies for American architecture.

Jackie Peterson's Interview

Cindy Kelly: It is Wednesday, September 12, 2018. I’m in Seattle, Washington, and I have Jackie Peterson with me. My first question to her is to tell me her full name and spell it.

Jackie Peterson: My name is Jackie Peterson. It’s J-a-c-k-i-e Peterson, P-e-t-e-r-s-o-n.

Kelly: I’d love to know more about yourself and how you got involved in this. Maybe you could start by just giving a brief bio, where you were born and when.

Jackie Peterson

Jackie Peterson is an independent curator and exhibit developer in Seattle, Washington. She curated an exhibition called “The Atomic Frontier: Black Life at Hanford” at the Northwest African American Museum from October 2015-March 2016. In this interview, Peterson describes the exhibition and what she learned about African American experiences at Hanford during the Manhattan Project. She explains how African Americans came to the Tri-Cities, the kinds of work they were able to obtain, and the (largely informal) segregation they faced.

CJ Mitchell's Interview

CJ Mitchell: It’s CJ Mitchell, Junior. That’s just CJ. No periods or anything. It doesn't stand for anything. And Mitchell – M-I-T-C-H-E-L-L.

Kelly: Great. I would have made that mistake. Just like Harry Truman. It’s Harry S Truman, no period.

Mitchell: Yeah, my dad was a CJ as well.

Kelly: Was he?

Mitchell: Yes.

Kelly: You’re a junior. We started chatting, but why don’t you tell us for the camera, where you're from and how you came to Richland.

CJ Mitchell

CJ Mitchell grew up in northeastern Texas. In this interview, he describes moving to Hanford after graduating from high school in 1947. Only sixteen years old, Mitchell took a job working on the trailer park in North Richland, and worked on other construction projects. At first, he lived in a tent with his relatives in East Pasco.

Ronald E. Mickens

Ronald Mickens is a physicist who currently teaches at Clark Atlanta University. He is a prominent voice amongst the African American scientific community, and has written several works documenting the feats of previous black physicists. He was friendly with several African-American scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project, including J. Ernest Wilkins, and describes their careers and the racism they faced.

Virginia Coleman's Interview

[Note: This interview contains graphic descriptions of a car accident and a discussion of sexual abuse.]

Nathaniel Weisenberg: My name is Nate Weisenberg. I am here with the Atomic Heritage Foundation. We’re in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It is Wednesday, April 25, 2018, and I am here with Virginia Coleman. My first question for you is if you could please say your name and spell it. 

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