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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mack Pearsall, May 25, 1988. Interview C-0057. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Political differences between Thomas Pearsall and I. Beverly Lake

Although both were Democrats, Pearsall compares and contrasts his father's sociological and political ideology with that of I. Beverly Lake.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mack Pearsall, May 25, 1988. Interview C-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

WALTER E. CAMPBELL:
Well, was there any type of rivalry between your father and I. Beverly Lake, in the legal sense, within the North Carolina community because they do seem to be at such opposite poles of this situation, and at the time it looked like they may be the two candidates running at some point—I guess that was the early '60s maybe. Was there any old sort of festering rivalry there at all that you know of?
MACK PEARSALL:
Well, I don't know, I mean I think you've got to recognize that at that point in time which proceeded the current two party system that exists in fact in North Carolina, that there were two factions in the Democratic Party. There was a more liberal faction. There was a more conservative faction. They checked and balanced each other and kept them honest. And there was infighting between those two as to whether you were in the Charlie Johnson camp or whether you were in the Kerr Scott camp. So there could have been some of those trappings that overhung the whole thing. My observation of hearing him comment on Dr. Lake's position and seeing Dr. Lake's position articulated by himself was that the issue was not one of ego. The issue was a basis one of sociological philosophy, and that my father's commitment to the process was not to better I. Beverly Lake or one-up-manship I. Beverly Lake, but to execute an underlying philosophy that he had about what is sociologically right. And I think that he and Beverly Lake were at absolute opposite ends of the pole on that basis. I can remember how all the things they had to do in the legislature to get the Pearsall Plan through, and things they had to sneak around. And every time they were trying to do something, Tom Ellis and I. Beverly lake were over there trying to sabotage it. Of course, Ed Rankin can give you a lot more of those details, but I heard all that type of business and Tom Ellis and I. Beverly Lake never had any love of my father. The fact is that when my father gave his oral history, I think, or gave some things to the university, gave his papers, he wanted to make sure that they were not released at a point in time when I. Beverly Lake was still on the North Carolina Supreme Court for fear that if we had a case that went to the North Carolina Supreme Court, that it would be that those comments and observations would be used against us. So I mean I think that his view of Beverly Lake was that the two just had incompatible philosophies on how this thing should be dealt with. And he felt that that group over there were fully capable, as I think the Congressional Club clearly demonstrates today with Tom Ellis and others, fully capable of mean politics. And he wasn't afraid of mean politics but he just, you know, nobody would invite that type of business.