Interview, Loftus Carson
Loftus Carson came to Rochester, New York, in 1956 to work as the program director of the Baden Street Settlement. He attended Livingstone College, Boston University, and the University of Tennessee, studying race relations and earning his bachelor’s degree. He later earned a master’s degree from Fisk University. Before coming to Rochester, Carson taught sociology and psychology at Lincoln University and Brown University. In Rochester, he served as executive director of the Human Relations Commission of Monroe County, where he worked to improve the relationship between the police and the community. Carson became active in a number of community groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the United Negro College Fund, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Rochester, the Community Chest, and the AME Zion Church.
In this interview, Carson recalls that when he came to Rochester in 1956, there were less than 50 black professionals in the city. He notes that Rochester’s black population grew dramatically in the 1970s, and identifies a corresponding increase in expressions of racism in the city, including harassment, discrimination, and even cross burning.