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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, March 13, 1976. Interview A-0321-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Gore's identity as a southerner

During his Senate career, Gore became most noted for being one of two southern senators who refused to sign the Southern Manifesto, a 1956 document opposing desegregation. Gore reflects on his identity as a southerner and how he had to grow into his convictions.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, March 13, 1976. Interview A-0321-1. 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

I wonder if you have thought or did think early in your life much about being a Tennessean, or being a Southerner, or being an American.
Well, yes, I thought of all those things. Both my grandfathers were identified with the Confederacy, and though neither had any particularly long or distinguished career the sentiment of the family of both my grandparents-the grandparents on both my . . . my maternal and paternal grandparents-was pro-Southern. I inherited that sentiment. What I mean inherited, I got it honestly from my forebears passed along from my grandparents to my father and mother and thus to me. An American, yes, of course. I loved to read everything of an historical character, and though in the early days the books were quite limited, nevertheless whatever I could lay my hands on I read, especially before children were consumed with television. So I was intensely chauvinistic and patriotic in my feelings. I don't remember that Tennessee had such a position in my emotions as the South and America. It was just not quite as pointed in my family. There were never any doubts about Tennessee and our love of the state, but it just somehow didn't quite stand out as did the feeling of the family towards the South and towards the whole country.
You had, I take it, little difficulty in reconciling your regional and national loyalties.
Uh . . . Well, yes, I think I did. I think I may have, at that time, I may have been Southern first. [slight laughter] I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I did draw a difference, somehow. Later on, I tended to blur those differences and merge those into one, but then I think I did have some different feelings.