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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Ruth Vick, 1973. Interview B-0057. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

State divisions of the SRC face difficulties

Vick describes some of the difficulties the state divisions of the Southern Regional Council faced. In certain states, like Louisiana, entrenched racism slowed progress. Elsewhere, divisions were understaffed. Eventually, the state divisions lost their grant support from the Ford Foundation.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Ruth Vick, 1973. Interview B-0057. 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:
But most of them weren't able to sustain themselves?
RUTH VICK:
No, not really. There were some of them that were just existing then. But the Louisiana Council just never did do anything. And then finally, I guess while Ed was there, not long ago, there was a span of about eight years when there was nobody doing anything in Louisiana. And this black woman who's a contractor there in Baton Rouge decided she wanted to try it. But she hasn't done anything; she hasn't been able to do anything with it.
BOB HALL:
It's a tough state.
RUTH VICK:
It really is. You know, I didn't know that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You don't think of it as being as bad as Mississippi or something.
RUTH VICK:
No, you don't, but it is, and it has been. A lot of people don't know that, though. They just hear so much about Mississippi, though; they think that's the worst place.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But they know there's been a lot going on in Mississippi.
RUTH VICK:
Right. Well, Alabama. I know I'd rather live in some parts of Mississippi than to live in Alabama. But a lot of people don't feel that way about it, not because of George Wallace but because of so many other things and so many other people.
JACQUELYN HALL:
There was some conflict along at different times between the council and the state councils, was there? The state councils thinking that they weren't getting enough support or that there should be more money or …
RUTH VICK:
Yes. Many heated meetings.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I kept coming across a lot of stuff here and there.
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
But I don't know exactly… What were the…
RUTH VICK:
You see, you got a lot of young people in as directors or working with a state council. They had different ideas, different views about what the state council should be doing. Like resolutions against the war in Vietnam, and so many things; we spent nights… I remember when we were in Gatlinburg, that was one of the issues.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What meeting was that?
RUTH VICK:
That was in September of '67. We met a whole week up there, the state councils and the Southern Regional Council.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The staff of the regional council?
RUTH VICK:
Not the full staff. There must have been about eight of us up there. Some of the senior staff people were there that knew what the state councils were …
JACQUELYN HALL:
And the state councils themselves were passing resolutions against the War or they wanted SRC to?
RUTH VICK:
They wanted the Council to come out and make a statement. And of course they knew how the Council felt about the War in Vietnam, but this was no time to deal with something like that, they thought, when they were trying to find out where the state councils were going and what they were going to be able to do after. Because we didn't know then that they were going to get more money in '68 for the state councils at that time, because Ford had said they wouldn't give any more money to the state councils.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did the Ford Foundation think that the state councils had not been worthwhile or successful?
RUTH VICK:
Evidently, yes. In a way, they really hadn't done some of the things that they wanted to do and could have done. And it was because, I think, they were understaffed, and there are so many people who will not volunteer to give you their free time, even though they like what you're doing. But occasionally some people came across people who were willing to do things like that without any money. But a lot of them just weren't able to do all the things that they wanted to do programwise, because their boards weren't strong, their committees… They had lousy committees, people who just didn't do anything but come and meet once a year. Like the Southern Regional Council's [laughter] board met. Some of them don't read their mail.