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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 >>

Why Adamson ran for the North Carolina governorship in 1948

When no other Progressive stepped forward to campaign for North Carolina's governor's office in 1948, Louis Burham and others related to the Wallace organization convinced Adamson to stand for the position.

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:
Who were some of the people who were most active? Do you remember any of their names?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I remember very well about Marge Franz, for instance. Her father was Joe Gelders and she was a full-time volunteer. She and her husband, who was a GI, a lawyer . . .I've forgotten exactly how it was, but anyhow, they were full-time volunteers in the office. Preston Lewis, that was her name at the time, her husband taught in the language . . .he taught French at Chapel Hill, in other words. She came and worked full-time in the office and Louie Burnham, I've told you about him, he was a southern writer and was very much in touch with leaders. And Palmer Weber, who was sort of an organizer. They came to Durham to see me and I particularly remember sitting on the porch of that apartment where I was living . . .I lived on one side of the hall and the office of the Progressive party was on the other side of the hall. I remember sitting on the porch and Louie telling me that he thought I should do this job of running for governor. I said, "But Louie, I don't want to do that. I'm not aspiring to be governor and it would be a very tough thing." He went on to point out to me that having run that much of the course, the only thing to do was to try to go on through and if there was no one else who was willing to undertake the job, I should do it. So, I had such great respect for Louie and for Palmer and the other people and I decided, "O.K., I'll do the best I can." So, there it was. This was the beginning, really, of the civil rights movement in the South, civil rights as we knew it. This Wallace campaign of the Progressive party in the South was really the first serious one. The Southern Conference had done a grand job and the Atlanta organization whose name we were trying to think of that I know so well, Ralph McGill and so forth, had done excellent work on this, but there had not been a serious proposal of having integrated organizations, of not having meetings if they could not be interracial and make that a prime objective. So, I really have considerable pride in having contributed "my little light" . . .is that Paul Robeson's song, or was it Pete Seeger, "My little light, let it shine . . ." Whatever. Anyhow, I was pleased, even though my light was small, to try to let it shine.