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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Don West, January 22, 1975. Interview E-0016. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Harmony between leftist politics and Christianity

West's leftist politics sprang from his Christianity, he explains; the two creeds are in harmony.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Don West, January 22, 1975. Interview E-0016. 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

As you moved to the left in this period, did you consider yourself a Christian?
Always have. Do you have my sermon called "Jesus, the Quiet Revolutionary"? I'll give you a copy. Don't have one with me. It was printed. Yes. I've always felt that Jesus was with the working class, always. I think he was with the poor people. I learned this, as I said, even before I went to college. My grandfather had influenced me a lot on this. I was speaking over at Marshall University a couple of years ago in West Virginia. And there's an old gal there that has a radio program. The day before I was to be there she was on a program. She was just giving me hell. She was saying that Don West is coming to speak at Marshall University. He's the most dangerous man in West Virginia. She went on to talk about… Herbert Aptheker had been down and spoken three or four weeks before. It was bad enough for Herbert Aptheker to speak, but he's going back to New York. Don West is here in West Virginia. Most dangerous man. I spoke in one auditorium and then that evening we had a poetry reading. One of my student friends came up and said that "Your friend, Mrs. Payne, is in the audience tonight. I thought you'd like to know." I said "Good." As I opened up the meeting I mentioned that I'd been called a lot of things, dangerous, and so forth and so on. I'd never seen fit to defend myself and I was not going to defend, but if I'm radical or if I'm dangerous or all these things, I came by it naturally. It's no fetched on thing. I first began to get it from my old mountain grandfather. This is not something that was brought in from the outside. And I got it from my study of the Christian gospel. So after the meeting the old gal came up and we had quite a talk.