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oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Marion Wright, March 8, 1978. Interview B-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Reasons for staying out of politics

The SRC stayed out of the political arena not just to maintain credibility, but also to keep public grant money flowing in. He sees a real difference between the SRC's work and the political activism of the period.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Marion Wright, March 8, 1978. Interview B-0034. 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

JACQUELYN HALL:
It wasn't that you yourself were worried about Communist influence in these organizations, but that you didn't want to be too closely associated with them when they were being attacked on that ground.
MARION WRIGHT:
That's right. No, I never thought any of them were Communists at all. But there were practical reasons, in addition. If you're getting grants from foundations on the theory that we were not participating in politics . . . As we put it, we were an educational group. Our applications all stressed the fact that our main forte was to educate people. We might well have put ourselves in jeopardy with foundations if we abandoned that role and took on the additional role of political activitsts. When you get out on the street and parade with a banner saying "Vote for John Smith," you're in politics. So that was really a very practical reason with us; we could no longer have the support of foundations You might say, "Well, you should have stood by your principles," but if you don't have support, it's not much good to stand there.