Scope and Contents
In this interview Marian Kramer talks about developing an understanding of injustice and racism as a young girl growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Dallas, Texas. Kramer remembers some of her early experiences organizing and participating in successful economic boycotts. Her drive for activism led her to drop out of school and become a full time organizer with the Congress of Racial Equality, as well as talking in detail about her first arrest. Kramer talks about the development of social, class, and racial consciousness in young organizers, and provides invaluable insight into the successful strategies and lived experiences of a lifelong organizer. Kramer details her transition to advocating for Welfare Rights, and her introduction to water access work.
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This interview is open for research use without restriction.
Conditions Governing Web Access
At the direction of the interviewer, the recording of this interview may only be placed on the web if access is restricted to the Smith College community. Please consult with special collections staff at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about the existence of or access to digital copies.
The interviewer and narrator for this interview have agreed that the transcript may be placed on the web.
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The interviewer and narrator have transferred copyright of this interview to Smith College.
Biographical / Historical
Marian Kramer (b. 1944) has been involved in welfare rights and civil rights activism since the 1960s. Kramer’s activism centers the experiences of poor women and families. Recently, she has led the charge against the privatization of water in Detroit, Michigan. Kramer, along with other organizers, was arrested for disorderly conduct, trying to physically keep city trucks from shutting down citizens’ access to water. Much of her work has gone towards defending victims of unjust claims of “welfare fraud.” Kramer is the co-chair of the National Welfare Rights Union, and, over the years, has held key positions in a number of other activist and non-profit organizations.
1 oral histories (video interview and transcript)