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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Paul Hardin Jr., December 8, 1989. Interview C-0071. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Interracial cooperation over many generations prepared South Carolina for integration

Hardin attributes the success of church integration in Charleston to a long history of interracial cooperation within homes and in the church. He notes that South Carolina had a black Methodist Conference for the past three generations.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Paul Hardin Jr., December 8, 1989. Interview C-0071. 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

BISHOP PAUL HARDIN:
Well, let me say this, you've got, in South Carolina, a degree of culture. You've got black preachers in the conference down there who are third generation Methodist preachers in the conference.
DONALD MATHEWS:
That makes a difference.
BISHOP PAUL HARDIN:
It makes a difference. I had somebody from Mississippi ask me how in the world we did what we were doing in South Carolina. And I told them, "With no reflection at all, but we've got third generation preachers in the black conference." And we've lived together in peace and harmony. And we have. The easiest place to put a black district superintendent was Charleston. Now, does that surprise you?
DONALD MATHEWS:
The Methodist church in Charleston was originally black, and it was founded by Asbury.
BISHOP PAUL HARDIN:
Well, in Charleston you had a culture, both white and black, that was superior to the culture in some southern most states. They had lived together in love. At that time, they didn't want to actually be together, physically, legally, and all that, but they loved each other. Listen, we had two girls cook for us, my mother. I was preaching at a Mother's Day sermon here in Asheville not too long ago, and I said, "You know, the thing that we think about naturally when we think about mothers, we think about what good cooking we had, you know. What good food mother had." I said, "My mother was an atrocious cook." Well, they just broke down and really laughed-the idea of saying that my mother was an atrocious cook. Well, she was. She didn't cook. She grew up in a family that was a big family and had older sisters. When she graduated from college, she went to teaching and then she married my father. There were servants in the house. She never learned to cook. Well, this kind of thing is what happened in Charleston. They were part of the family. Annie and Jesse were members of our family. So Charleston people, for years, had lived with black people close to them, and there wasn't a whole lot of change in their relationship toward individual blacks.