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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 >>

More political shenanigans in Texas

Carter describes more of the shenanigans that took place behind the scenes in the Texan political sphere.

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

CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
You mentioned just a moment ago when we were talking, about Truman's turncoat role in 1952. Could you elaborate on that? …I'm sorry, not Truman, but Shivers. His role in the 1952 election.
MARGARET CARTER:
Well, by 1952, Shivers was in a position … you see, the liberals had come into some influence in the state party in presidential elections because that's when the ordinary people are interested enough to turn out we go out of influencial positions in the convention two years after that when nobody but the regulars are interested in the convention. So, this liberal state committee in '48 had gone out and had been succeeded by a very establishment oriented state committee in '50. Well, it was no trouble at all for Shivers to persuade the '52 convention that had been arranged by that committee elected in '50 to take the entire machinery of the official Democratic party in Texas into the Eisenhower campaign, which he did do. Well, that left Mr. Rayburn without the semblance of a party structure through which to operate the '52 campaign. He came to Dallas and set up a party headquarters in the Adolphus Hotel and personally managed it, the '52 Stevenson campaign. Well, he had the grace to be somewhat embarrassed about having to come to Jack Carter in Tarrant County, and by that time, we had elected a railway clerk who was a dependable Democrat So, Mr. Ward was technically in charge of that campaign, but Mr. Ward was inaccessible during working hours, and while he was as helpful as he could be, it was Mr. Carter who was really in charge of the campaign, Mr. Rayburn was very embarrassed at one point when he promised us a good deal of literature, we hadn't raised enough money to make any difference and he said that if Mr. Ward would come over to the Adolphus Hotel, he had a good deal of literature that he would give us. And Mr. Ward couldn't go, so Mr. Carter went and Mr. Rayburn was frustrated at having to deal with Mr. Carter. But we got the literature.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
What did Mr. Rayburn say?
MARGARET CARTER:
Oh, I don't know that he said anything. [Laughter] But it was obvious that he hadn't expected to see Mr. Carter. Of course, that was also funny because back in '48, when my husband was elected to the state committee, it was after a credentials contest and the Dixiecrats, who were thrown out of the '48 convention, state convention, by a vote of the convention, took us to court and said that their civil rights had been violated and quoted the Federal Civil Rights Statute under which no suit had ever been fieldin Texas at the time. But they filed their suit in the state court, to remove my husband and his committee woman from their seats on the state executive committee. But during the campaign, Truman came to Texas in September of '48 — during the campaign, my husband was a committeeman. So, when Truman came to Ft. Worth, my husband had to be invited to be in the receiving line. Of course, Mr. Amon Carter and Mr. Raymond Buck were in charge of the arrangements for the president's visit. Which was quite all right with us, we didn't have any facilities for planning presidential visits. But Mr. Amon Carter had to treat Mr. Jack Carter as if he were a personal friend and it was not easy for him. Soon thereafter, my husband was forbidden by injunction issued in the district court, to perform any of the duties of the state committee.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
On what grounds?
MARGARET CARTER:
That there was question about whether he was the proper person to be the state committeeman.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
As a result of this suit … ?
MARGARET CARTER:
No, as a result of the credentials contest in the convention.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
Oh, I see. O.K.
MARGARET CARTER:
And as long as that litigation was pending, said the district judge, there would be no state committeeman. That was all right, we didn't care what the title was. Mr. Blalock had already been to Ft. Worth and appointed my husband president of something he called a club and so my husband went differentially to the district judge and said, "I understand that I cannot perform the duties of a state committeeman. Would it be a violation of your order if I served as the chairman of the Truman-Barkley Club, which the national committeeman has asked me to do?" Well, the district judge said, "Jack, you know better than to ask me a question like that. You do what you think that you ought to do and then I'll tell you whether it was the right thing." [Laughter] So, he went right ahead and served and Judge Morris never had anything to say about it.