Interview, James McCuller
James McCuller (b. 1940) was born in El Dorado, Arkansas. He attended New York University and earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from SUNY Brockport in 1981. McCuller worked for various community organizations in Rochester, including the Baden Street Settlement, NYS Employment Services, and Neighborhood Youth Core. In 1967, he became the Executive Director of Action for a Better Community (ABC) and was working in this position at the time of his interview.
In this interview, McCuller reflects on the ongoing struggles with fair housing and discrimination faced by Rochester’s black community. He explains that conditions for blacks have improved since he first came to the city, but that black professionals and managers still lack the power to effect substantive changes in the economic, political, social, and cultural lives of their community. He also notes a lack of civil rights advocacy for blacks and poor whites in the area. McCuller talks about his work with ABC, describing the organization as a $5 million business, with over 200 full-time employees and 23 programs in housing, healthcare, welfare rights, employment training, daycare, nutrition, and other direct services. He expresses pride in ABC’s accomplishments and its promotion of leadership in the community.