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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mary Price Adamson, April 19, 1976. Interview G-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

More information on who allied themselves with the SCHW in North Carolina

Adamson expands in greater detail on her earlier statements regarding the support the Southern Conference on Human Welfare received from prominent liberals in North Carolina.

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Oral History Interview with Mary Price Adamson, April 19, 1976. Interview G-0001. 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.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you get more support or more enthusiastic response from the black communities than you did from white groups within North Carolina?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. On a numerical basis, no, but on a sociological basis, in other words, a black community saw the need more clearly for an interracial organization that was concerned about the economic status of the state. So, naturally, that was more appealing. Young people were very keen about these things, the students at Chapel Hill, for instance, and the students at other colleges in the state. We had good response from them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did any of the southern liberal groups in the state ever disappoint you by not supporting your work?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, naturally, the more support we had the better it would have been, but there was never any serious clash with people. On the whole, . . .you are acquainted with the writer, James Street, he wrote a great many books and lived in Chapel Hill at the time and he was a better known writer in the country. He was simply wonderful about it. I would go to see him and ask him and he would say that he couldn't do anything and that all he could do was to give contributions, which he would do. I would be apologetic about it because by that time I was trying to raise money that I was spending. I got paid from the Southern Conference but the expenses were more than that. He gave me a very severe lecture about being apologetic asking him for money. He said, "Look, I'm not doing the things that are you are doing and I'm the one that should be grateful to you." It was a gracious speech and that was somewhat typical, I would say. The Green family, for instance, the wonderful Green brother-in-law who was . . .whatever, there again, it is hard for me to remember, but it was just invaluable. We wanted to run someone for Congress in that Congressional district and . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
In Chapel Hill?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. And he gave wonderful leads about recommending someone that would be good and might do it, and then talking to him about it. So the man did run . . .this was later on, because obviously the Southern Conference didn't have any political things except, of course, that it felt that would be part of the more general upgrading if we had more liberal . . .and there was Douglas Maggs at the Duke Law School, who was an invaluable help. I'm just saying that these are the kinds of people. Then in Charlotte, there was a woman who was a YWCA secretary and knew her way around . . .oh, and that great fellow who edited the Jewish magazine in Charlotte . . .he's nationally well known, you would know his name very well . . .and Burt Davis, who was a reporter on the Charlotte Observer. He was on our executive committee. Just terrific people who were helpful in this thing.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You mentioned a couple of times the support that Frank Graham gave you and how important that was for you. How would you compare him to other southern liberals, in North Carolina and the South?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
One says "liberal," and one has the question about whether a liberal is one who is just the least little bit optimistic but wishy-washy when the pinch comes. Frank Graham never was wishy-washy. He had a body of principles which he lived by. He was really a wonderful fellow.