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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 >>

The SCHW tries to keep friends despite the growing Red Scare

The Southern Conference on Human Welfare tried to remain outside the growing anti-Communist rhetoric, refusing to ally with any specific political party or ideology.

Citing this Excerpt

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.

Full Text of the Excerpt

MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wanted to ask you a little bit about the controversies that went on within the Southern Conference, about whether Communist party members should be involved in the whole thing or not?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
There is always in my lifetime and action, there is ever this question about Communism. And there again, I tried to avoid getting into conflicts about it. I am not in favor of discrimination as far as race, sex, national origin or politics are concerned.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever get involved in any of the discussions about whether Communist party members should be allowed to come into the Conference? Wasn't that an issue at one time, whether they should be barred? Did you actively oppose that or speak out against it?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I did not actively oppose it and we never had any serious action on anything of that kind in North Carolina. I may have heard something about it at board meetings, but that's something that sort of fades off into the distance. But as far as North Carolina is concerned, it was not a leading issue. There were Communists in the organization, I'm sure, and such that were known as such, but it was not an issue in the committee for North Carolina.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
As you tried to get support among all different kinds of groups in North Carolina, were you ever actively involved in trying to get the support of the democratic groups or . . .was there an active Socialist party in North Carolina at that time? Did the CP ever have an organizational base in the state?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, and this is just from viewing back, but I know that Junior Scales from Greensboro, whom I had known as a child in the First Presbyterian Church there, was an active Communist at that time, but that is about the extent of what I know about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So, there was not a group that you could go to that you could try to solicit support like the way that you did with other groups within the state?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about the Socialist party? Was there a base of support?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Again, I don't know if there was or not, and there was no affiliation of my work with political organizations, that's what it amounts to. What individual members might have done, that's something else again.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did the same hold true with the Democratic party? Did you have any kind of concrete endorsement from the party groups?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. No, we tried to be friendly with all kinds of groups who wanted to be friendly with us.