chapter  1
Understanding WSO
WithWilliam W. Ellis
Pages 21

In this chapter, the author's initial interests in west side organization (WSO) were very simple. At a suburban meeting of some middle class friends of the organization, he learnes a number of things in a conversation with Eugene Harris, an official of the organization, that compelled his attention. First, it was clear that the WSO was controlled by black people in a black community in which the material conditions of life are as bad as in any urban slum in America. Second, it seemed that the men from the WSO present at the meeting were intelligent, articulate, and aggressive, though only one had been educated past high school. Third, Eugene Harris told me a bit about the spirit of the organization: he said many of its staff members had given up their jobs to work for a meager salary in the organization. In the summer of 1966 the author interviews many members of the WSO.