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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Margaret Carter, October 25, 1975. Interview A-0309-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

1944 elections in Texas

In 1944, the liberal Democrats in Fort Worth were better organized, mainly thanks to the insight and experience they gained from a former agrarian populist.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Margaret Carter, October 25, 1975. Interview A-0309-1. 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

By '44, we were able to develop a precinct organization and we carried ninety-nine of the 116 precincts that were in the county and tied one.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
"We" being the liberals?
MARGARET CARTER:
Yes. The establishment candidates … well, my husband was running his own campaign. There was not really much of a well-organized liberal group yet.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
In other words, the vehicle for the liberal coalition in the election was your husband's running for Democratic county chairman?
MARGARET CARTER:
Yes. This Mrs. James Farmer became a member of the executive committee after that, the one who was the secretary of the suffrage group with the office in the First Baptist Church. (Mrs. Carter is here referring to a scrapbook that she had shown to Dr. Davidson prior to the interview containing an account of the women's suffrage movement in Ft. Worth in 1917 through 1920.) She had helped us. She had some experience in precinct work and there was a rather unattractive man who was part of the old Populist party.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
Who was that?
MARGARET CARTER:
His name was Claude Spratling.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
And you mean the Populist party around the turn of the century?
MARGARET CARTER:
Yes. He had a great deal of experience in doing precinct work. He had lists of the people who had worked with their neighbors in the precinct. But he was not a very personable man and he couldn't get people whom he didn't already know to work with him in public. So he advised us behind the scenes. He was a great help because we were very ignorant about the precinct structure of the county. And he was outright radical in a good many of his views but some of the other people from other states who came in later and tried to work with him found that he was extremely reactionary in race relations.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
What were some of the issues that you can remember his being radical about?
MARGARET CARTER:
He was an agrarian populist. He was radical on freight rate discrimination and the undue influence of banks on public policy.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
So, really, these were the old Populist issues.
MARGARET CARTER:
Yes.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
But very conservative on race?
MARGARET CARTER:
Yes.