Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Herman Talmadge, December 18, 1975. Interview A-0331-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Addressing the place of race in national politics in the mid-1970s

Talmadge addresses the the place of race as a political issue by the mid-1970s. According to Talmadge, the race issue in terms of pitting whites against blacks had become less abrasive. Nevertheless, he acknowledges that efforts to find a national racial balance persisted and alludes to the role of school busing as an especially contentious issue at the time.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Herman Talmadge, December 18, 1975. Interview A-0331-3. 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

JACK NELSON:
Senator, we talked quite a bit over these previous interviews about your past stand on racial issues and so forth. Is race dead as a political issue in this country?
HERMAN TALMADGE:
Well, it depends on how you mean "race as a political issue." If you resort to compulsion to move people around to try to get some sort of mythical racial balance, it is the most volatile issue there is in America today. Race as such, arraying blacks against whites or whites against blacks is, I think, relatively dead, unless you resort to this business of compulsion which all people resent, black and white.
JACK NELSON:
But that's not an issue today in Georgia, your own state?
HERMAN TALMADGE:
No, it's not an issue in Georgia except that the overwhelming majority of people in Georgia and everywhere else in the nation, both black and white, are violently opposed to this forced busing. They think that it is a denial of their basic freedoms and I certainly think so.