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Title: Oral History Interview with Martha W. Evans, June 26, 1974. Interview A-0318. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Evans, Martha W., interviewee
Interview conducted by Moye, Bill
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 136 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-11-15, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Martha W. Evans, June 26, 1974. Interview A-0318. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series A. Southern Politics. Southern Oral History Program Collection (A-0318)
Author: Bill Moye
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Martha W. Evans, June 26, 1974. Interview A-0318. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series A. Southern Politics. Southern Oral History Program Collection (A-0318)
Author: Martha W. Evans
Description: 121 Mb
Description: 33 p.
Note: Interview conducted on June 26, 1974, by Bill Moye; recorded in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Sarah Geer and Joe Jaros.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series A. Southern Politics, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Martha W. Evans, June 26, 1974.
Interview A-0318. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Evans, Martha W., interviewee


Interview Participants

    MARTHA W. EVANS, interviewee
    BILL MOYE, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
BILL MOYE:
Okay. That's turning, so it must be operating.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Now, I'm going to put you over here, then.
BILL MOYE:
What?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Hmm? No? I just don't want you to have to break your neck.
BILL MOYE:
I just think you're going to so much trouble.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No trouble. Comfort. I believe in comfort.
BILL MOYE:
Okay, let me say this for the benefit of the microphone here. This is . . . I'm Bill Moye and I'm talking with Ms. Martha Evans . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Martha W. Evans.
BILL MOYE:
Martha W. Evans . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
When you say Martha Evans, there's a Republican by that name. But I'm a Democrat.
BILL MOYE:
Then it's very important that we make that distinction.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
You better believe it.
BILL MOYE:
Oh, my goodness. All right. Let me say this. I am attempting to write some kind of history of Charlotte from approximately '57, that annexation vote that enlarged the city so much, to about '71, '72. Sort of culminating with consolidation, the attempt and vote in '71. I'm concentrating to some extent on politics, because otherwise you get involved in going off in so many other things. That's

Page 2
not to say that I'm concentrating only on politics. I've been reading the Charlotte Observer on microfilm starting in about June or July of '57 right up to March of 1966. Anything more recent than about March of '66, the details as far as what I would get from the newspaper, are somewhat hazy. Now, that may . . . just hit a couple of things and just set a stage. You served two terms on the city council, I believe in '55 and '57.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
That's right.
BILL MOYE:
Then ran twice for mayor, in '59 and '61. Then was elected to the North Carolina house in '62, elected to the senate in '64, and to where I've gotten in the newspaper, you've just announced you're going up to reelection to the senate in '66.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, I did . . . in '68, so I finished my term in '70.
BILL MOYE:
That's what I wasn't quite aware of. Okay. Are you . . . what types of activities are you involved in now that you're not in the legislature? Continuing with education in the . . .?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
That's right. And causes like social services and world hunger, and also North Carolina hunger. After all, we have a lot of people right here in Mecklenburg County who are hungry.
BILL MOYE:
Okay.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
And we went from the food stamp . . . I mean, from the commodities to the food stamp program. But as of July 1, the last nineteen counties of the one hundred will come under food stamps, whether they like it or not.
BILL MOYE:
Okay, now . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Mental health, the whole bit.

Page 3
BILL MOYE:
If we may, let's sort of take the general view, you might say, of Charlotte, and try to identify sort of some of the competing groups or the competing blocs. Like, for instance, how powerful do you think the Chamber of Commerce is, this sort of thing?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, I'm the wrong person for you, at that part, because I was a member . . .
BILL MOYE:
Then, what is your view, then, of . . . ?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I was a member for a long . . . for a good many years. But I was a member because I thought they were a reputable organization, and I liked what they were trying to do. But never once did they recognize the fact that we had a lot of executive women here, and they weren't giving us a fair show, and so some of us just pulled out. And my company didn't pay my way, as most of the men function. You see, most of the companies pay a company membership and then send so many men. But some of us who were trying to work through them, paid our own way.
BILL MOYE:
And what is your business?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, right now I'm forced . . . to be at home because my husband's ill, I have to be home because of him . . . I won't be able to see him. I don't want him to hear my voice.
BILL MOYE:
Okay. Well, to the Chamber then. Does the Chamber . . . a lot of folks say, you know, the Chamber's the most powerful group in the town.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No, the Chamber is not the most powerful group, except that it gathers together the money group, and I think the money group has to learn that the people that make the money for them are important.

Page 4
BILL MOYE:
Do you . . . it was said at one time that in the late '50s or early '60s that for getting something done in Charlotte, it was more important to be president of the Chamber than to be mayor of the city.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
That's right.
BILL MOYE:
Do you agree with . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
That's right.
BILL MOYE:
Do you think it's still that important?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No, I think the Chamber has been reduced in stature considerably.
BILL MOYE:
Is this because of other groups sort of coming in?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
That's right.
BILL MOYE:
Would this include the blacks and . . . ?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No, I think Central Piedmont Industries has more clout than the Chamber now. Do you know that organization?
BILL MOYE:
That's sort of the industrial organization?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
That's right.
BILL MOYE:
Does that actively recruit candidates for the local elections?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No. But it does support.
BILL MOYE:
And those that it supports . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Usually make it.
BILL MOYE:
That's sort of interesting that you would mention Central Piedmont Industries, 'cause the next thing I was going to ask is how powerful are certain downtown interests. I mean, with the urban redevelopment, what not, it would seem that downtown interests would have a very important desire to get in there with the decision-making . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
As individuals.

Page 5
BILL MOYE:
But not as an organization . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Not as an organization.
BILL MOYE:
. . . that doesn't have any . . . let me ask you this. Is there what maybe sociologists or political scientists might call a power structure in Charlotte?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, I question the structure . . . the term "power structure," because a group of individuals will get together and be a self-appointed power structure. Actually, they have no power other than amongst themselves. Let's . . . [interruption] I thought I had here something that would point that out.
BILL MOYE:
So you think that it's more of a position where there are various competing groups, but there's not really one collection of people, or whatever, that . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
The Central . . . what do I call it? Let me see . . .
BILL MOYE:
Central Piedmont? Central Charlotte Association?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yes. They used to be called the Downtown Merchants Association. If I say it wrong, it's because I can't quite . . . of course, I can check it. I've got a silver bowl they presented me with in there. But then it changed names, and I think it's now called the Central Charlotte Association, if I'm right. I hope I am. They took upon themselves the task of elevating women to their proper state, in recognition purposes. And they united all of the downtown merchants, as you say, to do that, and have been most successful with it. But, see, I'm . . . what? I don't . . . if you were a candidate running for office, they'll tell you they don't participate in politics. The fact that they're in business, to me, makes them participate in politics.

Page 6
BILL MOYE:
By the nature of where certain things might be located, or certain streets might . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
That's right.
BILL MOYE:
Is there a chance that the power structure is not so visible, I mean, that maybe there is something there, but it's not visible because they don't run for public office? It's sort of a behind the scenes structure, or something?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
They would like to be the king-makers. They would really like to be the king-makers. But it ends up that whoever puts in the money gets to be what that so called "power structure" . . . one man just died about last year, he put in a good bit of money and he wanted to control candidates. Needless to say, he never controlled me and I didn't . . .
BILL MOYE:
Who was this?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Dwight Phillips.
BILL MOYE:
Dwight Phillips, the big real estate . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Real estate. He used to be a chauffer for the original U. S. senator. And you've got to go into the background of these people in order to really understand how they got where they are. It was the almighty dollar that got them there, it wasn't their academic training or their brains in most instances.
BILL MOYE:
Mentioning Dwight Phillips brings up sort of the question about real estate interests in Charlotte. You take him, Mr. Paul Younts was invovled in real estate . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Charlie Ervin.
BILL MOYE:
Charlie Ervin is.

Page 7
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Lex Marsh.
BILL MOYE:
Have they exerted a good deal of influence over . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Younts did. He was the king-maker of the Democratic Party for many, many years, from the time he was indicted by the federal court . . .
BILL MOYE:
For campaigning for Roosevelt and . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No, what he actually did was that he as postmaster made the employees ante up funds to the party. And he was indicted and got a suspended sentence because he joined the military.
BILL MOYE:
I've heard that he marched into court with his uniform on and the judge suspended the sentence. What about Charles Ervin, is he still . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
He seems to have sold his business to some outsiders and turned loose . . . if he is pulling the strings from behind the curtain, OK, but he's not being very evident, to public view.
BILL MOYE:
He seemed to have been important perhaps with Brookshire to some extent. There was a question when Gib Smith ran in '65, I think, as to which way Charles Ervin was going to go. He had promised his support to Brookshire, and, then, to Smith, had just gone into business with him, ah, Ervin had just left Belk's.
Now, let me ask you this. In 1961, the campaign for mayor, it was said that it looked like you would probably win and that the downtown didn't want you and they recruited somebody else.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
They recruited three others and then Brookshire. They didn't want me because at that time I was considered a wild-eyed radical and all I was doing was giving the Negros an equal opportunity and they didn't want it and now they have more than I ever anticipated.

Page 8
BILL MOYE:
And you think that was the sole reason really that . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
That I lost the campaign. Because the vote was so small, plus the fact that when I went to some polling places, as you do, visiting them on election day, some of the workers said, "Here she comes. Here's the nigger-lover." And so, I called the police and demanded a citizen's arrest and I called Mr. Brookshire and said, "If you don't get these people off the polls, I'm going to subpoena you."
BILL MOYE:
Did that work?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
It worked.
BILL MOYE:
But you think that was the major factor?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
That's the major factor. But today, we don't have the cohesive black group that we had then. They are dissipated as much as anybody else today and there is no real power structure, single power structure.
BILL MOYE:
In either community, or the community as a whole, did Brookshire, was this a stated issue in the election?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No, it was a whispering campaign.
BILL MOYE:
Was Brookshire himself associated with that? Because later on, he got something of a reputation for conciliation and . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, the black community did a job on him and they really put him through the ropes and educated him.
BILL MOYE:
The demonstrations and the picketing and . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Uh-huh. So, he was forced to form a Community Relations Committee. Of course, they wanted me to be secretary and I wouldn't do it.
BILL MOYE:
Because it was his creation?

Page 9
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I mean, he had a chance to do what was right and he didn't do it. How did I think that he would do it a second time? Why give him a second chance? You don't ride over me more than once.
BILL MOYE:
He has said that he thought that in the long run it had been good that he did not have black support in that first election, because then with the changes that he was able to make, the whites couldn't come back and say, "Well, he's just paying off . . . "
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, in those days, there wasn't political patronage in this community. Today, there is. There was no patronage then. There were no black firemen. We had two black policemen. Can you call that patronage? I don't. But under his adminstration, I was one person who held out for at least one year college credit for police, and then when I was in Raleigh, I collaborated with the police department officials here and set up a community college course to be paid for by the city, so that they would continue their education through the second year community college, and then if they were academically talented and wished to go on, they could transfer to some other institution. And that I accomplished. But this is why, you see. And there is some patronage today, but you do have to meet the credentials, which are, I think, necessary.
BILL MOYE:
Well, now you said that the blacks had dissipated as much as the whites as much as the power structure was concerned.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yes.
BILL MOYE:
Who controlled the blacks at that time, was it Kelly Alexander?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No, he never controlled them. Reginald Hawkins was, at that time, the leader of the group. Because he was firstly an ordained

Page 10
Presbyterian minister, secondly a reputable dentist, for which he has now lost his license, and lost face and stature in the community. Kelly Alexander has been the NAACP potent force and he has always been trying to move NAACP into blacks and I think probably, I haven't seen the membership lately, but I would guess that there aren't the good white people pushing NAACP as they were twenty years ago.
BILL MOYE:
Now, how does his brother, Fred Alexander, fit into this?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, I was just thinking about him the other day. He's rather pitiful. He's running for the senate, and he believes in single shot voting, and I don't. I think he has been a good representative of the black community on the city council, in order to prick the conscience of some people. But, he has never been successful in a single nomination to a board or a commission.
BILL MOYE:
And in '65 or '66, there was a lot of talk about he had tried to get So-and-So appointed to this board and So-and-So appointed to that board and he still has never been able.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No, to this day. [interruption]
BILL MOYE:
Mr. Alexander Fred Alexander does kind of depend on, the first election in '65, I guess, on single shot voting, yet he . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
He still does it.
BILL MOYE:
He maintains that he gets support from whites in southeast Charlotte . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, he gets Republican support and as he says, and I quote him directly, "I can count on the Republicans to vote for me, but I cannot count on the Democrats. Who knows what they're gonna do?" And that's what they are going to do.
BILL MOYE:
How do you account for the Republican support?

Page 11
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, when he first went on, there was a widespread feeling that we ought to have a black on the city council. They ought to have representatives. At least one. But people don't feel that way now. The people I'm with don't feel that way. I mean to qualify that, that I can't say it's prevalent all over the city like I once could, because my activities are so limited, due to my home condition.
BILL MOYE:
Let me ask you this. What position does the Greek community hold in Charlotte? Are they a cohesive force?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yes, they are a cohesive force. I think the Greeks are past the point where they owe allegiance to Charles Raper Jonas. Many of them had immigrants coming in and Mr. Jonas, being our representative in Congress, helped them. Now, how much more than the usual performance of the job he did, I'm not aware. Anybody can do it if you are in the spot, you see. But they felt a great loyalty to him and stayed with him as long as he was there. But right now, I don't think they have that loyalty.
BILL MOYE:
Well, how do they fit in the local, citywide . . . do they have any power on the city elections?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
They are so small.
BILL MOYE:
The reason why I was wondering about the Greeks, that comment by Mr. Brookshire about why the downtown people or whatever didn't want you in '61, his comment was that "you had such minority support and it included blacks and Greeks and Jews and . . . "
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, it was like the United Nations. [Laughter] It was a broad spectrum.
BILL MOYE:
What about the Jewish community in Charlotte? Is that too small a community to have a great deal of effect?

Page 12
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, the Jewish community is a voting constituency. Much more so than any other group I know of.
BILL MOYE:
They vote?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
And they get to the polls and vote. Maybe many of them make sacrifices but they get there and they vote. And because of this, they have . . . there aren't that many. I would say there are about nine hundred families, eight hundred or nine hundred families.
BILL MOYE:
Has the Jewish community met a lot of discrimination, or have they been able businesswise and socialwise to carry on pretty well?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, they have met discrimination. They have had, as the Negros had, the five o'clock curtain. They have only recently been admitted to the City Club and only one. They have never been admitted to the country club and so, they built their own. Which is a very lovely club. Unfortunately, they didn't have enough room to provide a golf course, so they have tennis courts and a swimming pool and dining services. But they have access to other clubs, and as I understand it, they are now getting ready to launch a program for a new club with a course. But this discrimination is . . .
BILL MOYE:
There is still prevalent discrimination?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Sure. They're not admitted to, they couldn't be admitted to the Charlotte Country Club. They couldn't be admitted to Quail Hollow. They couldn't be admitted to Myers Park. It's still there. And then, for a great number of years, they couldn't buy property in certain restricted areas. They couldn't do it at all.
BILL MOYE:
Let me ask you this, there's another voting, political constituency. The firemen in Charlotte seem to have had some power

Page 13
over the years as an organized force.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, they are a group that possess a peculiar cohesiveness, because of the job. It's an occupational cohesiveness. They live, eat, sleep, work together for so many hours and then they are off so many hours, that sort of thing. And that sort of thing brings on intimacy of political thinking, economic thinking, social thinking, and everything else.
BILL MOYE:
They have tried on occassion to unionize. I think they had a little local at one time in the late '50s.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
That's right.
BILL MOYE:
But the city authorities don't look on that with any favor?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No. They don't. But they don't fuss because the doctors in this town belong to the AMA and I don't know any bigger union or lobby organization than that.
BILL MOYE:
That's a very good point. What about the policemen? If the firemen organized . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, under Chief Littlejohn, the policemen were much more cohesive. They had the Policemen's Club out near the airport, I don't know whether that's in existence now or not, but they had lots of activities and that sort of thing. Now, they have a Fraternal Order of Policemen that has been soliciting unlicensed, and they had a lot of mix-up in there. There isn't the strong force within the police department. They have been provided increased rates, as you know. Increased wages, I should say. Which were long overdue in coming, and that helped.
BILL MOYE:
I don't want to . . . you say that you have somebody coming and . . .

Page 14
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I can give you until twenty minutes to six.
BILL MOYE:
OK. Now, let me ask you this and see how it sort of fits with some of the other. The Observer on several occassions, both as far as your candidacy for mayor and also in connection with races for the house and senate and with issues coming up in the state legislature, would comment, sometimes they would name you and sometimes not, just talk about the delegation as a whole, "fruitless friction, too much personal ambition, personality conflicts . . ." is this because they represent somebody else, a different interest and what sort of interest? Are they allied with the downtown people?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Sure, their living is dependent upon their advertisers. And that's the downtown stores.
BILL MOYE:
And you think that this attitude relates more to because you were in opposition to some extent to what the other groups wanted?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
That's right. I didn't owe anybody anything, so I didn't have anything to pay off, but to do what I thought was right and fair and square and conscientious to everybody. To the best interests of the majority of the people. I didn't have to cater to anybody.
BILL MOYE:
OK, your campaigns were mostly individual efforts, weren't they?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Person to person.
BILL MOYE:
And not an organization of any sort and not really in connection with . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
What do you mean by organization? I had organization. I organized it by myself. Do you mean an agency organization?
BILL MOYE:
Well, I'm just thinking . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I had no advertising agency, if that's what you mean.

Page 15
BILL MOYE:
No, I mean it was your personal, it wasn't that somebody else got you and you ran on a slate or something that somebody else . . . did this carry over into the state senate and house races, you did not necessarily campaign with the other incumbents or whatever.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I had to appear as a single slate after the primary.
BILL MOYE:
But going into the primary it was strictly . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
It's every man for himself. Going into the primary, it's every man for himself. But after the primary, you had to be on the slate. And I cooperated and we had, contrary to what the Observer or the Charlotte News says, we had good harmony and good work with cooperation. If you look back on it, women's liberation, I can't buy half of it, but that's all right. I'm not involved in that . . . I wasn't fighting as a liberated woman in those days, although I did break the barrier in becoming the first city councilwoman that the community ever had. And it was rough going.
BILL MOYE:
In '65, you were the only woman in the senate, I believe. But you have not followed up, with any connection with ERA or are not involved along that line. As you say, your thing wasn't . . . you weren't running as a woman, you were . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No, I was running as a qualified candidate. I had been educated for the job, and I was the only one that was.
BILL MOYE:
You went to Duke, is that right, and then to Columbia.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I went to Columbia and I went to Lafayette and I went to Johns Hopkins. They had a school for international relations in Washington. I was academically prepared to do the job. And in those days, it didn't pay to let your academic ratings be too well known,

Page 16
because they classed you as an egghead . . . "She's an egghead and a woman."
BILL MOYE:
So, there were two strikes against you.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I went into every race with two strikes against me.
BILL MOYE:
Did this cause friction between you and some of the other candidates in any way?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, you know, when you are making a pitch and you are doing it on academic research, having done academic research, then it sort of bothers them. They want you to be a hellfire-and-brimstone kind of a person and I'm not that way.
BILL MOYE:
On a logical argument, having researched . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yes.
BILL MOYE:
OK, let me ask you this, if I could just sort of name some names and . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
This isn't going to send me into a libel suit? [Laughter]
BILL MOYE:
I just sort of wanted to, you know, to know how they fit maybe into some of the groups and how they maybe stood on some of the issues, that sort of thing. Mr. Whittington, now he was elected first to the council, I guess in '59, and has led the ticket just about every time since then, I guess. I think that Mr. Alexander came in ahead of him one time.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yeah, one time.
BILL MOYE:
What sort of . . . it seems that maybe some of these downtown groups aren't so enamored with him on occassion.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, Whittington is a man of . . . I don't know what his education is. I'm trying to think what his educational background is. I think that he finished high school, but I'm not sure. You'd have

Page 17
to check that out.
BILL MOYE:
From what I understand, very little formal education.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I think so. He's had a lot of family ties, connections with groups that are city managed. Like the water department and the fire department . . .
BILL MOYE:
He was interested in the Little League at one time.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
And yes, he had Little League connections. But I don't think that he has any social status, and I don't mean that unkindly.
BILL MOYE:
I've been told that he's not a member of the City Club and won't be unless perhaps he's elected mayor, and he resents this to some degree, that he doesn't have the status. I have seen the comment also that, I believe that in '67 when Brookshire ran for the fourth term, there was a lot of speculation that the main reason he had announced to run was to make sure that Whittington did not announce.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, he has said that he thought he was entitled to it after so many years on the council. I don't have that attitude. I don't think that I should be promoted because I did a good job on the council. I think that if I'm not qualified for the promotion, then I shouldn't have it.
BILL MOYE:
What about somebody like Albert Pearson, is he . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
He's just a born rebel.
BILL MOYE:
He's sort of a gadfly that . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
He' s just a born rebel. He likes to be against things. He's an "aginner." He and . . . what's that other fellow's name? That was the rabid segregationist. Sykes. I forget his first name. They kind of paled around together.

Page 18
BILL MOYE:
OK, what about R. S. Dixon?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, he's long dead and buried. But he was the old southern school, that women should belong in the home and be quiet and do what the men said, but a financial wizard.
BILL MOYE:
Now, he was involved, at least in '59, with that Citizens for Better Government, Hitch and Myers and . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yeah, and look at Hitch.
BILL MOYE:
That sort of effort has not been sustained to any extent. In the very next year they lost, they ran two or three candidates for the county commission. How would you characterize his involvement in city politics?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Money. One word, money. [Laughter]
BILL MOYE:
Was it a downtown interest, did he want to see things done downtown?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
He wanted downtown people in it because many people wanted to have financial transactions with his company. If it was downtown, you know, he could stand a better chance.
BILL MOYE:
Now, how does somebody like John Belk, is he . . . I'm told that they think he's sincere, that he believes that he's doing civic duty for the city that's been so good for him and his family.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yeah, it's a dynasty. They talk about the Kennedy dynasty, ye gods, we live under a worse one. They've all got a job in government. Henderson was on the school board, and Tom was on the university trustees, and Ike was in the senate, and John was mayor, what do you want?
BILL MOYE:
Now, did their Daddy preach them and . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Oh, he was an old man when they were born.
BILL MOYE:
Well, I mean, how did . . . is it really just civic duty or . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
They have money.

Page 19
BILL MOYE:
And they have the time.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
And they have the time to put into it, and the thing they need is prestige and stature.
BILL MOYE:
I've read a few things back then about how Ike Belk may run for lieutenant governor, he had his eye on statewide or . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I think that was a figment of the Observer and the News's imagination. Or the Knight Publishing Company I should say, rather than, I don't know whether it was the News or the Observer, I don't remember.
BILL MOYE:
You don't think he stands any chance much in a statewide race? I've heard sort of different views about John, and I've heard it said in connection with the others that one side says he's not the smartest man in town and the other says he sort of puts that on as an act to some extent.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, John is basically warm and kind. I helped him.
BILL MOYE:
You have supported him in his . . . well, he's in his third term now I guess.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yes.
BILL MOYE:
Will he run for a fourth?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I would think that he will continue to run. He has no reason to move out.
BILL MOYE:
Well, there's this angle, when you sort of glance back over the groups and you think of Belk, the first thing that you think of is downtown and then you remember SouthPark out here. What does this do to his focus as far as the downtown redevelopment and that sort of thing?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, you see, you've got to remember that back in the '50s, Negroes couldn't be served in the Belk's Cafeteria.
BILL MOYE:
Right, that was one of the downtown demonstrations, the sit-ins.

Page 20
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yes, and then they put together this coalition out here patterned after Park Road, which was Paul Younts's first shopping center in the community, his one and only, I think. But he put that together out there and they had that as a pattern. Well, it's very easy to build on a pattern. It's much more difficult to be the first step without a pattern.
BILL MOYE:
Well, what I'm wondering is, if . . . I mean, a lot of people see something of a split in the desires of people who have interests in downtown and those who have interests in shopping centers, yet Belk's has . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yeah, if he is responsible for it, and I don't know that he is, I think that it was a coalition of minds that brought SouthPark into existence. I think that he's probably . . . I mean, Belk's downtown, they don't like to be called Belk's, Belk downtown meets a need for a certain community. This meets a need for another community. The town has grown, and there is room for all.
BILL MOYE:
Well, let me ask you, why doesn't Belk redo a lot of their downtown? You know, there has been somebody that has suggested they should tear down some of the warehouse area, behind the main store and put up a big parking, here's NCNB going to town, Wachovia is going to town, Southern National is building a big new thing and . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Because they are basically tight.
BILL MOYE:
Conservative in . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Tight, money tight. When I say "money tight," I don't mean that they don't have the money; they have the money, but they don't want to let it go. You've got to remember that these people have a heritage where money sticks to them closer than the paper to the wall. And they won't let it go. They'll do anything if they can get their name on something, but to just out and out make a contribution

Page 21
with no big Belk name in headlines, no.
BILL MOYE:
Yeah, I've heard it said that Belk's and Ivey's whatnot would put a lot of money into studies of downtown, you know, or something like that, but when it came time to actually put down millions of dollars to maybe build a new store, add some new stores, put parking facilities in, something along those lines, when it came down to putting down millions of dollars, then . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
They wouldn't do it.
BILL MOYE:
Why did Gib Smith run against Brookshire in '65?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, he had had, I think, a good time on the council. I don't mean "a good time" in the sense of entertaining, a good service career and he saw that it was time to take a more advanced step than we were taking, and he did.
BILL MOYE:
Well, now one thing that strikes me as possibly being under the head of a lot of people in Charlotte, this thing about Babbit, he made some comment, he said that he woke up one . . . he read an article in American Heritage on Sinclair Lewis writing Babbit and it struck him that he was right in the middle of them, or something along that line, like Charlotte was developing a lot of people in that mold. I remember that L. M. Wright wrote a column about what, explaining who Babbit was. That seemed to be a bit maybe over the head of a lot of . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
It was. He was a good candidate.
BILL MOYE:
Let me ask you then about Mr. Brookshire, you ran against him what, twice, I guess.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Once. I ran against Jim Smith.
BILL MOYE:
In '59, and Brookshire in . . .

Page 22
MARTHA W. EVANS:
You see, I couldn't make myself do what he would have done to me. In order to win. And that is, I should have said, and looking back on it, you know, hindsight is sometimes better, I should have done it, but I couldn't bring myself to say it on the television program, that after all, a mayor of a city should live in the city and do business in the city. He had already moved to Gastonia, was living there.
BILL MOYE:
This was Smith.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Smith. And doing business in Gastonia. I think that would have triggered the whole thing and made it a success for me. But with Brookshire, it was neck and neck on things that that man had no conception of. I'll say right now that he has developed and he has done his best to make amends to the community and to me.
BILL MOYE:
You think that his eight years were good years for the city of Charlotte?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Oh, I think they could have been better, but for him, it was good. Had it been a different kind of person, I think that it could have been much more advanced and we would have circumvented some of the problems that we now have. I think that we would have been consolidated a lot sooner, but he couldn't make himself come to that.
BILL MOYE:
You've mentioned Paul Younts in a couple of connections, he seems to have been a very important man, a very powerful individual.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, he got himself appointed postmaster and then he got indicted, as I told you and went into the service, and then he came back and headed up the Democratic Party.
BILL MOYE:
Did he do business with the downtown interests?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No.
BILL MOYE:
He had something of a different . . .

Page 23
MARTHA W. EVANS:
He had a different approach completely.
BILL MOYE:
Was his constituency more . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Precincts.
BILL MOYE:
Precinct type workers.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
And he used patronage. He had one ability for which I think he should be recommended and recognized for and that is that he could organize better than most people.
BILL MOYE:
Let's if we can, sort of shift from Charlotte to sort of Raleigh and Charlotte for some of the issues that have come up in the state legislature. There were a couple of things that came up, the Observer was somewhat critical of the fact that legislative delegation was acting more or less on its own or would ask the council again something up to . . . in other words, after the local people had maybe sent up a local bill or something asking you to work on it or something, then maybe y'all would have hearings or something, in other words, they took it as being, didn't approve of the delegation taking action on it.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, if you are in Raleigh, there is a deadline for local bills. If the local governing body, the county or the city, come up with a bill and it is past the deadline, it puts us in a position of jeopardy. Because, it may be something that we don't know anything about. Then, if you don't know anything about it, and they just send it up with the lawyer, he can't answer all the questions, we should have had a public hearing at home on the weekend before they ever sent it up.
BILL MOYE:
What about something like, as I recall, in '63 and the big hassle over the revaluations, the property revaluations. It seems like that was an attempt by the delegation to put a limit on how

Page 24
much that could increase on any one piece of property, something along those lines.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, because there is a movement underfoot now to have a one hundred percent taxation on valuation. Well, last night's paper certainly showed up the inadequacies of that. If you have . . . no property is one hundred percent worth its valuation. My house tonight isn't worth what it is valued at if I don't keep it painted and repaired and fixed up, you know. In order to have current . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
MARTHA W. EVANS:
. . . not wait to the end of the year. But the city fathers said, "Oh, we can't do that in Raleigh." Yet they went up to Raleigh and got one hundred percent valuation. That's wrong. Taxation on valuation.
BILL MOYE:
What about some of the charter revision in '65, the city charter revision, and there was some discussion about the civil service board and the police went to Raleigh to y'all, somewhat the same situation with the question about partisan elections.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yeah, the civil service board is a good board and it serves not only for a hiring agency, but a grievance agency and to do away with that, I think, would be a grave error.
BILL MOYE:
As I recall it, in '65, what . . . there would have been a proposal that would actually have extended the power of the . . . well, at that time, my understanding is that it sort of was mainly concerned with the police and to some extent with the firemen. Mainly with the police, and I believe that the proposal was to extend it to all the city employees. But the police did not want it extended that way. They wanted more or less . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I don't remember that. I could look it up. I don't remember that we wanted it extended, and yet I remember talking to the city

Page 25
manager to the effect that for employment purposes and for fringe benefits, we should adopt for city employees this kind of thing that the federal civil service has. I remember that. I'd have to go check my notes.
BILL MOYE:
I don't remember now, in other words, if you were mentioned as being involved with this, I just remember seeing that the police went down to talk to the delegation about it. Mr. Veeder would, I guess, was city manager just about all the way through the '60s, came in about '59 or '60.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
A good manager. Very progressive.
BILL MOYE:
Was he able to play pretty well among the various political groups?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I think that he kept his nose clean and his feet warm.
BILL MOYE:
Somebody said as to why he may have left, maybe he, one reason may have been that he got tired of fighting all, all the political infighting.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, he was well prepared academically and job-wise for the job, and I think that this would have been the first time that he really had to consider political infighting.
BILL MOYE:
Well, continuing on to some extent with this state thing, in '63 I guess, was this "Little Federal" proposal. They had a statewide referendum on, having to do with redistricting and then there was a special session in January of '66 on redistricting and then a court order and all that. Do you, has there been . . . being from Greenville, that area certainly has somewhat of . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
A bad reputation in my thinking.
BILL MOYE:
Right.
So I want to get to that also, because I want to get to some mention of the medical school situation. Seems like Charlotte has had . . . there are a lot of people, at least in that part of the state, who look upon Charlotte with something with something less than great favor . . .

Page 26
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Ha! They treat Mecklenburg County as the big, fat, rich cat of the state. And they resent it. And I understand it and have to play around it. When I want something passed by the people from that part of the state.
BILL MOYE:
OK, let me ask you this. The argument is sometimes made that maybe Charlotte really isn't handling its own, you know, really doing its own work at home.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No, but they take our money. They want all our money and nothing in return. They don't want to give us anything in return. We pay more taxes than any other county in the state.
BILL MOYE:
Which to some extent then, brings us through to the medical school question. For a second let's not get into the East Carolina question, but why . . . I realize that Memorial Hospital is very definitely affiliated with the University Hospital at Chapel Hill, there have been attempts, on occassion anyway, to get a med school or medical center here at Charlotte . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No, there has not. We have never asked for a medical school in connection with the University, because we have never been in a position where we thought we were strong enough and big enough to have it. I wish we had, I wish we had.
BILL MOYE:
Was there an attempt back in the '40s and '50s when there was discussion of extending the Chapel Hill from two to four to get the med school here in Charlotte?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I believe so.
BILL MOYE:
Is there some ill will to some extent over the fact that Charlotte didn't get it then?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, there's no ill will, it was the fact that we were not at

Page 27
a University level, our colleges are first-rate colleges, contrary to some people's thinking. Queen's is first-rate for women, Davidson's for men, but they are not state supported and we had no state supported institution untill we got UNC-C in '65.
BILL MOYE:
And then there was, a bill came up, I guess in '63, to establish a study commission to investigate the feasibility of another med school, concentrating on Charlotte, but to investigate other areas as well.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
The whole state.
BILL MOYE:
Was there input, was there a great desire and organization in Charlotte to seek this med school, to get out and fight for it and get it?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No.
BILL MOYE:
How do you account for that?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
We were busy building up Memorial Hospital as a training center. And it is.
BILL MOYE:
And it was not connected with . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Not connected with the University.
BILL MOYE:
Not connected with getting a med school itself?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
We have never gone out wholeheartedly to get a med school.
[This portion of the interview is closed until the year 2000 A.D. at the request of Martha Evans.]
BILL MOYE:
But they also got it because they organized and . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yeah, eastern Carolina people have one faculty that Mecklenburg and the west doesn't have. East Carolina, the whole region, sends the same person year after year to the legislature. They gain seniority and support important chairmanships and with that, then they try to control the vote, and they do. But we put up a delegation and the next year, you may have more than half of it out of the way.

Page 28
BILL MOYE:
If that is a political fact of life, why do Mecklenburg and the western counties continue to do this?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I wish that I knew the answer. The point here is that people that I have been and have tried to encourage to run, are reluctant because they are not willing to take the caustic criticism of the Knight Publishing Company and of the media. Why should they do this when they can stay at home and live at home and make a contribution to the community?
BILL MOYE:
Once they get down there and get involved and get their name in the newspapers and get calls all hours of the day and night . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yeah.
BILL MOYE:
One thing that I recall, we are almost to the time . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, I had set you up for tomorrow noon on my calendar.
BILL MOYE:
Well, this is fine. I've gotten just about everything. As I recall, Dr. Davis, from Kinston, during one of the discussions in, I think, '63 . . . because I think that a Dr. James from . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Hamlet.
BILL MOYE:
Was he the one that put in that bill to establish that commission, I believe in '63? And she said, "If we put a med school down in Charlotte, the people in South Carolina are going to be the ones . . . " Is that, I mean, geographical location, is that one thing that has hurt Charlotte in the state legislature?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No, I think that it is a tremendous jealousy. It is basically greed and jealousy on the part of East Carolina, its president, its staff, as opposed to Charlotte. He couldn't get far in Charlotte, and he knows it.
BILL MOYE:
Let me ask you another question along that same line . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
And what is he going to do with the med school? He hasn't got any patients. This is where the concentration of population is. He can't get

Page 29
patients or doctors for . . .
BILL MOYE:
This brings up the question, why hasn't, you know, if this is where the patients are, why . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Why not put it here?
BILL MOYE:
Right. So, why hasn't Charlotte fought to get it?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, we are trying to build up the University to the point where . . .
BILL MOYE:
And then . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
And then do it. Because we got the University on the basis of local support, local and financial support.
BILL MOYE:
OK, well, speaking of eastern Carolina as more or less a bloc, it seems that Charlotte is hurt, to some extent, because . . . I mean, there's Greensboro and Winston-Salem, and then there's Asheville, and it hasn't been able to develop a region . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Regional concept. We did have western Carolina breakfast meetings once a week for awhile in one session, but they are much more independent here than they are down there. Independent of each other. Because you see, when you go back through the history of this thing, they took, lopped off, and they gave the county here a big area, they cut themselves down, but they gave other people . . .
BILL MOYE:
They split into a smaller county to keep a senator down there while creating a senator up there.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yes.
BILL MOYE:
OK, one more thing on the statewide thing, I'll just sort of throw this out. What was your evaluation of the Sanford administration?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I thought that he accomplished a great deal. We got the Education Commission, we got the University . . . you mean from a Charlottean point of view? Or statewide?
BILL MOYE:
Well, statewide also.

Page 30
MARTHA W. EVANS:
We established a Department of Mental Health. I think that we accomplished a lot, and I expected more of that type of action than I have had since.
BILL MOYE:
The other governors, Moore and Scott, haven't . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No, Moore has been a greater education man than Sanford ever was. Dan Moore commissioned the study of the public school system and then when the recommendations came in, they were passed. And he stood behind them. Bob Scott has never done that. Bob Scott has never taken any one issue and gone all the way with it.
BILL MOYE:
And Moore did that with . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
He did that with education.
BILL MOYE:
Some people say that election then in '64, especially the primary, has been a big turning point and somewhat the relative decline of the Democratic Party, maybe by the state, and then on the local scene, split. It sort of . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
We campaigned hard here for him and he won.
BILL MOYE:
In '64, this would be Preyer and Moore and Lake.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Oh, yeah. Well, of course, I wasn't for Moore in the beginning, I was for Preyer. But then when he lost, I went to Moore.
BILL MOYE:
Some people say that the local party organization now is almost nonexistent.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yeah. You ought to stay here for Saturday afternoon, the county convention.
BILL MOYE:
Is Mr. Lowe going to be able to, is he a good . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
He's a good man, but he's been out of touch. But I haven't been in touch with Harvey Diamond, I couldn't vote for him if he was the only one running.
BILL MOYE:
That's really about . . . do you have any . . . that's more or less what I had suggested to ask. I don't know whether you . . . let me just go

Page 31
over something one more time. You left the senate then, in '70.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
That's right.
BILL MOYE:
And your concerns more recently have been in the area of hunger and poverty?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
And mental health.
BILL MOYE:
And mental health.
[This portion of the interview is closed until 2000 A.D. at the request of Martha Evans.]
Is this local activity, state activity, national activity?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
I can't be away from home very much, but what I do is sit here and use that telephone.
BILL MOYE:
Right. Well now, the people that you call, are they state people . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Yeah. Statewide. And regional, and when I say regional, I mean from here to Alabama and back up.
BILL MOYE:
And you have been active in that sphere but not in the women's lib?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Oh no, I don't have any part of that.
BILL MOYE:
You don't approve of people running, say, because she is a woman?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
No, I sure don't.
BILL MOYE:
And Martha McKay and those people?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Oh, I think they are off their rockers. All they are doing, in my opinion, is giving the Republican women a forum.
BILL MOYE:
Republican women?
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Uh-huh. You look at the list. Marilyn Bissell, Republican. Ruth Easterling is a registered Democrat but she is basically Republican

Page 32
mentally and philosophically. Look at all of them, all they are doing is giving these people a forum. The Democratic women now are just sadsacks.
BILL MOYE:
Well, I appreciate very much your talking to me.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, I'm sorry that we got so bogged up here, but this is it and . . .
BILL MOYE:
This is fine with me.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
And I had blocked out tomorrow afternoon for you, as I wrote you in my little note. I don't know whether you ever got it or not.
BILL MOYE:
I got the note where you said that you would be glad to talk.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
But see, I went out to the University of Iowa and then I got caught in a tornado and I never made it.
BILL MOYE:
Oh really, I had read of some storms out there, I didn't . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Oh, the whole state is a disaster area.
BILL MOYE:
That area has had a bad time this spring, floods and tornadoes . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
The second crop is ruined, the second crop of corn. So, according to the economics out there, I think that the price of beef will go sky-high this winter, because there is no corn to feed the cattle.
BILL MOYE:
We don't need that, it's bad enough as it is. As I said in my letter, I'll send you a copy of the transcript.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, you will be the first one that ever did. [Laughter]
BILL MOYE:
Well, they'll transcribe it for me and I'll send you a copy and if we have got some names mixed up or anything along that line, you can make changes. And there will be . . . sort of a system, they are helping me, providing me equipment and . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Who is doing this helping?
BILL MOYE:
An oral history project at Chapel Hill. And I am also working with Dr. Perzel in the history department out here and hope to have the tape

Page 33
or transcription at both places.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
This is one thing that I had hoped, when we got a University unit here, that unit would help educate the people and come in and disseminate information about issues and quizzes, and this sort of thing, but they sit out there like bumps on a log and expect you to bow and scrape in front of them and I am beginning to resent it.
BILL MOYE:
Now, I'm not real familiar with what . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
They ought to be in here doing something, you know?
BILL MOYE:
Well, that was sort of one of the major reasons for . . .
MARTHA W. EVANS:
For bringing it in here. And I'm one of the people that fought hard.
BILL MOYE:
To some extent, it seems like it is a shame that it is that far out in a way from the rest of the town.
MARTHA W. EVANS:
Well, of course, I didn't want it out that far, I wanted it closer in, but I was overruled because of the gift of land and this and that and the other. Another Belk gift, you know, the land.
END OF INTERVIEW