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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginius Dabney, July 31, 1975. Interview A-0311-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Desegregation produced rapid racial change, but the hospitable attiudes of Virginians remained

Despite the objections to integration, Dabney contends that whites and blacks maintained an amicable relationship. He predicts little change to racial relationships.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginius Dabney, July 31, 1975. Interview A-0311-2. 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

Well, we would like to close by talking about present day Virginia and getting your assessment of the latest developments, say, and we might start with race relations. What is your assessment of the present state of Virginia race relations, and the future?
I have a largely optimistic feeling about the race situation. I think that some of the things in the development of integration are going too rapidly. There have been some excesses that I deplore. I do not feel happy about busing as it has evolved. I don't think it has achieved the results that were hoped for. But I think the relations between the races are reasonably good. We have never had any serious riots in Richmond or Virginia. We are moving ahead amicably, I believe, and I think Virginia is in about as good a shape as any state in the Union, insofar as its race relations are concerned.
Mr. Dabney, you said that there were several excesses, and you mentioned specifically busing. Is there any other area that you think race relations have been less than desirable from your viewpoint?
Well, I thought that the whole thing went too rapidly to get the best results. Maybe I am wrong about that. I know that if you say that, you are always subject to the argument, "Well, isn't that always said when some great reform is suggested and pushed through?" So, I just have to say that when it happened, I wasn't quite ready for it, but now I think that on the whole it has evolved fairly well.
Why do you think there have been no riots in Virginia and there have been in other states?
I think the fact that Virginia's people know how to get along with each other, no matter what their race, has been a factor. Also, I think Virginians are more friendly and understand one another better than some others do, and are less prone to violent methods when they disagree. Although, if you think back to the dueling era, that doesn't make much sense, does it? Since that time, I think we have become more gentlemanly in our disagreements, and are less apt to come to blows and have violent upheavals.