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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Bert Nettles, July 13, 1974. Interview A-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

African Americans in Alabama politics

Nettles describes his personal impressions of J. Gary Cooper. As a major general in the marines, Cooper had been the first African American to command a marine reserve unit. He later co-founded the first minority-owned national bank and became the United States' first African American ambassador to Jamaica.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Bert Nettles, July 13, 1974. Interview A-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACK BASS:
What's your relationship with the blacks from this area who are elected to the legislature, the new ones?
BERT NETTLES:
I know two . . . well, there are three who have been nominated. Only one of whom has Republican opposition, a black running against the Democrat nominee, in a black area.
JACK BASS:
A black Republican?
BERT NETTLES:
Yes, but he's got an uphill battle. Of the three, I know two quite well and certainly can work with them and have worked with them in the past. One of the . . . well, really, might say nominee-elect because he has no opposition. Jay Cooper's older brother, Gary, who is a very, very attractive fellow. Retired. You should talk with him. He's a retired marine . . . not retired, I think he's been head of the marine unit here in Mobile. Just been very influential with the black community, very well accepted by them.
JACK BASS:
Are he and Jay pretty much alike, politically and philosophically?
BERT NETTLES:
No, I think philosophically Gary, the older one, is more of a Republican and probably would have run on the Republican ticket if he felt like he could have gotten elected. Jay is younger and, I think, more of a Democrat. I'm talking about national philosophical basis now. Jay is . . . . I think Gary's got his feet more on the ground than Jay.