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
- 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.