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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Clarke Reed, April 2, 1974. Interview A-0113. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Southern Republicans on voting rights, busing, and the ERA

Reed discusses his stance and that of southern Republicans on issues such as the voting rights, school busing, and the Equal Rights Amendment. His comments reveal the ways in which southern Republicans responded to particularly relevant national issues of the mid-1970s.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Clarke Reed, April 2, 1974. Interview A-0113. 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

Of course really I'm [unclear] about the voting rights act. If it weren't for the voting rights act it wouldn't be in the Department of Justice. And Mitchell had the idea the voting rights act should be nation-wide. But Congress said oh no, you know, there are no votes [stolen?] in Chicago. And if we have nationwide enforcement of this sort of thing then it will dilute the enforcement in the South. So it's still southern.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Do you want to see it extended?
CLARKE REED:
Tell you, it's been a pretty good thing down here. It sure solved a lot of arguments. I mean when the kooks start hollering they're stealing the election, well, it's nice to have those registrars say no it wasn't. We probably have the more honest elections in the country.
WALTER DEVRIES:
So you want to see it extended?
CLARKE REED:
I'd like to see it extended or taken out of the South. Philosophically I have a hard time saying extended, but I can't help think it would be a good thing.
WALTER DEVRIES:
If it were not extended, what do you think it would mean? It would mean that the black registration would decrease and black participation would decrease?
CLARKE REED:
I can't cite no statistics or anything, but I'm confident it would in no way.
WALTER DEVRIES:
You think those changes are permanent?
CLARKE REED:
Absolutely.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Along that line, what if the anti-busing passed the House and essentially just kind of freed up the school situation?
CLARKE REED:
Well, as I understand it, Walter, They've got a separate rule for the South. They say you bus to segregate and now you've got to bus to integrate. I think whatever goes in still won't take the rural South off the hook. Now it may affect Jackson, Mississippi. But that's the only place in the state it would affect.
WALTER DEVRIES:
So it wouldn't really change much?
CLARKE REED:
It would change some, but see, neighborhoods in the South are pretty much—I mean, like this town is kind of all over. There would be more near black and white schools, but it would be a long way from complete. It would be a long way from going back.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Are you for that provision that provision that passed the Congress?
CLARKE REED:
Frankly, I'm very [unclear] about it. I just don't like this constitutional amendment business every five minutes. I'm opposed to amending the constitution except on major things and I don't think busing is one that should be in the constitution.
WALTER DEVRIES:
What about the ERA?
CLARKE REED:
I'm opposed to it. Got no big hang up on it. Dont like the quota system. I think you're right. If women, where they're doing the same job and not getting the same pay, then I'd like to see some [unclear] But where do you stop with this sort of thing? Is she not a supervisor because she's a woman? Well, she may not be algood supervisor. I mean being a woman may be a problem. I think that's God deal But I think women have been getting a raw deal when I know we ourself have hired women, paid them less for the same job. My present secretary [is a blackmailer]. Pay her more than most men in town get. Blackmail. She threatened to quit. That's all it took.