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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with H. M. Michaux, November 20, 1974. Interview A-0135. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Michaux assesses Jim Holshouser's adminstration

The Republican Party attempted to attract the black voting bloc to alter the party's image of conservatism. Michaux evaluates James Holshouser, North Carolina's first Republican governor in the twentieth century.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with H. M. Michaux, November 20, 1974. Interview A-0135. 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.

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How do you assess the Holshouser administration? In general and also specifically in terms of response to needs in the black community.
First of all you've got to recognize that I'm a Democrat. Divorcing myself strictly from the party, I would have to say that the Republican party, prior to this last election which was the November 5 general election, had made some inroads in the black community by key appointments. Which they played on. They made about five key appointments which gave them a great deal of publicity and say "look at what we are doing." On the other hand-
Who were these key appointments?
You had Rene Wescott here in Durham, who's the head of the department of social services. Morris Key, who's assistant director of corrections. Grady Davis, who was put on the parole board, paroles commission. You got a couple of top rank commissions with blacks have been put on who heretofore have never been on those commissions. Ron Barbee, I forget the commission he's on. Then Walter Johnson, who's a Democrat, is chairman of the new commission. They have not appointed any judges, for instance, except one, Statler Bullock in Raleigh fulfilled a district court judgeship. But nothing above a district court judgeship level. It was Democrats that appointed Sam Chess, who's a special superior court judge. They have traded on that, but by the Republicans coming into office after having been out for seventy some odd years, they're at a disadvantage. Because they don't have the people to draw from. The people that they are getting are so-called newfound Republicans. So they are at a disadvantage, particularly in the black community where you have just a depletion of Republicans. So they're trying to win some folks over. However, I think as a result of this last election, they're just going to give up on the whole thing as far as black politics is concerned. They are not attuned to black politics as Democrats may be. Certainly most of your black voters are Democrats, registered Democrats. But the Republican party just has not developed a black program in order to attract black politicians. I guess because of the national image of conservatism that you have in the Republican party.