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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 >>

Rather than align along racial lines, black legislators should focus on political issues

Formal black political alliances in the state legislature may prove to be impractical. Black legislators must remain flexible in establishing coalitions over issues rather than race.

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.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACK BASS:
Do you see any development of, not a black program in the legislature but. . . . Let me ask you this. What sort of coalitions are there in the legislature? Between the black legislators and the progressive white legislators. In terms of programs aimed at people of lower economic levels. Is there an active "populist" type coalition?
H. M. MICHAUX:
No, there isn't. And that's simply because everybody including the black legislators want to keep their options open. And it's very necessary that you keep your option open in that type of legislature. The reason you want to keep your options open is because you either want to vote for or against a bill. As the issues come up, we like to form the necessary coalitions. For instance, tax reform. I think all of us are agreed. . . most of us are agreed that tax reform is necessary. Now the type of coalition you form there is sort of hard to figure out. But landlord-tenant legislation. We would have to actively recruit a coalition there. Our recruitment of a coalition there would depend on the people we recruit, what they want. In other words it's a give and go trade off situation.