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James Rouse interview


James Rouse (1914-1996) was a pioneering real estate developer, urban planner, and social activist. He co-founded and owned The Rouse Company and focused his career on creating planned communities and helping underdeveloped communities. In this oral history interview, Rouse discusses his early experience with racial prejudice and how it led him to his work on improving underdeveloped slums in Baltimore with Yates Cook (1909-1996), director of the housing bureau of the Baltimore health department. Rouse relates how he and Cook attempted to get the city to comply with their own housing regulations and create legislation that would require them to follow housing codes. He then discusses his relationships with Governor Theodore R. McKeldin and Lillie May Jackson and how he saw their impact on the civil rights movement. He speaks of his respect for Vernon Dobson and how his influence has impacted the movement, as well as his thoughts on different aspects of the civil rights movement.





Contributor(s) Notes

Narrator: James Rouse
Interviewer: Barry Allen Lanman

Production Note

The McKeldin-Jackson Project was an effort to examine the Maryland civil rights movement of the mid-20th century through the medium of oral history by focusing on the roles played by pioneering freedom fighter Lillie May Carroll Jackson and Theodore R. McKeldin, who was Mayor of Baltimore (1943-1947, 1963-1967), Governor of Maryland (1951-1959), and an advocate for civil rights. The project was sponsored by the Maryland Historical Society and was supported in part by a grant from the Maryland Committee for the Humanities and Public Policy.


Object ID

OH 8175


Audio: 51 minutes
Transcript: 12 pages

Catalog Number

OH 8175

Resource ID


Digital Publisher

Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


This digital material is made available here for private study, scholarship, and research. Commercial and other uses are prohibited without the permission of the Maryland Center for History and Culture. For more information, visit the MCHC’s Reproductions and Permissions web page.