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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Nelle Morton, June 29, 1983. Interview F-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Efforts of the Fellowship to have integrated meetings and membership

Here, Morton explains that from its inception in 1934, at the Monteagle, Tennessee meeting, the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen strove to hold integrated meetings and to have an integrated membership. While she concedes that the executive committee was dominated by white southerners, with the exception of Neal Hughley, she maintains that they "had as many black people come in to that office as white."

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Nelle Morton, June 29, 1983. Interview F-0034. 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

You say it was integrated from the start . . . there was never any segregation . . . . . . 037
NELLE MORTON:
I'm sorry?
DALLAS A. BLANCHARD:
You say there was never any segregation in the Fellowship.
NELLE MORTON:
In any meeting we ever had.
DALLAS A. BLANCHARD:
Were the blacks in on the very organization of the Fellowship, or do you . . .
NELLE MORTON:
Now, that I do not know. But they were certainly in when I went in. You know I never thought about that question and that's a very important one. I'm pretty sure that Benny Mays was in that meeting at Monteagle that first meeting, of the organizing meeting when the . . . Reinhold Niebuhr came down and they sat up all night hammering out . . . yes, I'm sure, and Herb King I'm sure was in that. Herb was . . . oh he was working with the National YMCA, and he went later to teach at . . . oh what is that Presbyterian school up near Chicago [McCormick Seminary] . . . but he's not living now . . . but he was black.
DALLAS A. BLANCHARD:
Well the group seemed to be, when I look at the Executive Committee through the years, it seemed to be dominated by whites . . . would you say that's true or did blacks have a real strong active role?
NELLE MORTON:
Oh, I think there's no question about that. I don't think there's any question about that. Now Neal Hughley was on the Executive Committee all the time. I think the blacks were supportive of this because it was the one group they felt utterly confident in. And I don't think it was ever a . . . and we had when we set up in Chapel Hill when we had a public office building, we had a black secretary and a white secretary, and going to the same bathroom. I mean it was the first time they'd ever had that . . . We had as many black people come in to that office as white.