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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, [date unknown]. Interview A-0140. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Forceful demonstrations pushed North Carolinians to an extremist stance

Sanford exposes his political style of dealing with racialized campaigns—to sidestep the issue through moderate tactics. He questions the legitimacy of the civil rights demonstrations in Chapel Hill. Instead of improving conditions, the demonstrations only served to polarize people opposed to such rapid social change.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, [date unknown]. Interview A-0140. 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

WALTER DE VRIES:
But did race ever enter into a statewide contest since then, up until 1972?
TERRY SANFORD:
Yes. Obviously it did with Lake running inuntil '62.
WALTER DE VRIES:
'72.
TERRY SANFORD:
Yeah. Well, in '64 it was an issue for two reasons. Garvey was supporting Moore and violently, publicly opposing the Open Accommodations Act. I was trying to get around that issue by saying that other states may need it, but North Carolina didn't. We were getting on with our business, which was substantially true. The Chapel Hill thing, which John Ehle wrote his book The Free Men about, was erupting, and while they thought they were helping the cause, they of course were destroying the cause. Because they elected Dan Moore and defeated . . . or they contributed to the defeat . . . of Richardson Preyer. So it had all the carry-over. The resentment against me for the things we had done to implement the racial policies. The fact that the demonstrations were still going on in a number of cities, that they erupted right in the middle of the campaign. I never really understood this. These people obviously were misguided. I never was able to pin down the fact that somebody was prompting them to it, somebody from the Lake-Moore side. I don't really think so. I think it was just a terribly unfortunate break.
JACK BASS:
What was that, now? I'm just not familiar with that.
TERRY SANFORD:
Oh, street demonstrations. They had . . .
JACK BASS:
Where was this?
TERRY SANFORD:
Chapel Hill, of all places. They had three places. Brady's and some other drug store downtown that hadn't integrated. Just three. And they put on the wildest, meanest, most damaging demonstration we had during my administration. Because everywhere else, it was possible to contain it. And there I . . . well, I virtually did, but in the meantime they got . . . they arrested all of them. I finally had to pardon a professor over here who'd been sentenced to jail from the Divinity School for demonstrating, and a bunch of students who have got to be so involved. But it was right in the middle of the last two months of the campaign. Couldn't . . . you know, if they had set out to figure something out as Nixon did, say, in Charlotte, they couldn't have gotten anything more damaging than that. Ehle wrote a book about it, and how we attempted to ride out the storm.