Oral Histories

Interview of Sylvia Drew Ivie

Advocate for Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center. Executive director of T.H.E. (To Help Everyone) Clinic. Executive director of the National Health Law Program, staff attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and director of the U.S. Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Twenty-Five Years of Community Organizing and Institution Building in the Aftermath of Watts: 1965-1990
African American History
Social Movements
Community Activism
Stevenson, Alva Moore
Ivie, Sylvia Drew
Persons Present:
Ivie and Stevenson.
Place Conducted:
Offices of the UCLA Center for Oral History Research in Los Angeles, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Alva Moore Stevenson, Series Coordinator, UCLA Center for Oral History Research; B.A., English, UCLA; M.A., African American Studies (Latin American Concentration). Stevenson prepared for the interview by perusing various primary and secondary sources related to the Watts Rebellion of 1965 and urban unrest in the U.S.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. Ivie did not review the transcript, and therefore some proper names may remain unverified.
4.25 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series documents community organizations and institutions that arose in the aftermath of the Watts Rebellion to address issues such as education, employment, healthcare, housing, transportation, and police harassment. The first phase of the series involved interviews with key organizers of the Black Congress, an umbrella organization of Black activist groups whose purpose was to reconstruct the community.
Family origins in Washington, D.C.—Maternal grandmother Minnie Robbins—Growing up on campus of Howard University—Early education—Awareness of race as a child—Attending Quaker boarding school—Paternal grandparents—Role of religion in upbringing—Father’s views on churchgoing—Learning about varied religions—Mother’s education and occupation as a teacher—Centrality of education in the Drew home—Ivie’s experiences with class and colorism—Life of Charles Drew—Legacy of leadership in Drew family—Father’s decision to pursue medicine—Interest in researching blood—World War II and setting up first blood bank—Legacy of surgical students—Effect of father’s larger than life persona—Mother’s political involvement and passion for Palestinian cause—Father’s traditional views on women—Environment at Oakwood—Translation of Quaker spiritual beliefs into life work—Community service in East Harlem—Quaker views on race—Involvement in civil rights movement—First experience of discrimination at Vassar College—Decision to be a civil rights lawyer—Ivie’s political involvement—Friendships with Jewish students