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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Charles M. Jones, November 8, 1976. Interview B-0041. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Impact of Christian socialist beliefs, internationalism, and states' rights ideology on Frank Porter Graham

Jones explains how international Christian socialist ideology revolutionized Frank Porter Graham's social views. Although Graham supported Franklin Roosevelt's far-reaching New Deal measures, he maintained his beliefs of local control. Jones argues that his adherence to states' rights reflected his moderate social beliefs.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Charles M. Jones, November 8, 1976. Interview B-0041. 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

CHARLES M. JONES:
He was a great friend of Weatherford. He and Weatherford and two or three of those old folks; you've probably run across them. Of course, Weatherford's dead now. He has a son, the President of Berea.
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
Yes. And then I think the last, probably formative experience for him comes rather late, in the twenties when he went to London for a year and met these Christian socialists.
CHARLES M. JONES:
Did he come through the London School of Economics?
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
Met [R. H.] Tawney and …
CHARLES M. JONES:
That got him unionized, I guess.
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
I think so, yes. His copy of R. H. Tawney's book, almost every word in it is underlined. And all kinds of words scribbled in the margins. And Chancellor House told me that when Frank Graham came back from London, he wanted everybody to read the book.
CHARLES M. JONES:
He thought a lot of Toynbee, too.
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
Yes.
CHARLES M. JONES:
I think possibly you might pursue this. How close did he come toward some mild form of socialism when it came to economics?
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
I think he went further than the New Deal. In fact, in the mid-thirties, after the Supreme Court began to overturn New Deal legislation, he gave a speech many times which proposed a kind of New Deal amendment to the Constitution which would, in effect, bypass the Supreme Court. Nobody seems to have picked it up very much.
CHARLES M. JONES:
You'd have to square that now with his states' rights on race …
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
Yes. Well, I don't really believe that states' rights thing, but he did use it sometimes.
CHARLES M. JONES:
He surely did.
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
For example, he fought in the late thirties for federal aid to education on all levels; that's not…. He had some states' rights sort of reservation that the decisions would be made on a state and local level. He did sign the FEPC report; he signed a dissenting opinion that the states should pass these FEPC laws.
CHARLES M. JONES:
I guess we'll never know whether that was…. I don't think he ever did anything purely for strategy. I think he probably thought you'd get it passed quicker if you passed it in the states. One would lead the other on, then the next, and you know…. You sense that same gradualism idea, that if you get started in one state, it will move. And you fail on a national level because a local senator, a North Carolina senator, won't vote for it. You can educate the state, but you couldn't educate the senator.