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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Vivion Lenon Brewer, October 15, 1976. Interview G-0012. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Public memory depends upon age and the current sociopolitical climate

The recreation of public memories is complicated by age and the changing sociopolitical climate. Brewer questions the veracity of later positive recollections by pro-segregationists.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Vivion Lenon Brewer, October 15, 1976. Interview G-0012. 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

ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
It sounds like a marvelous system. And I think Pat House said in her interview that Jane Mendel's husband was not sympathetic, and she had a telephone installed in her closet in her upstairs bedroom. (Laughs)
VIVION LENON BREWER:
Well, she can say this about him, but you know, I remember being at a dinner party with them after that and his being so proud of what she'd done.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
Oh, really? Well, I'm glad to hear that.
VIVION LENON BREWER:
So either he wasn't antagonistic, or he saw the light (laughs) later; I don't know which it was, but he really was. He spoke so proudly of what she'd done.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
I think there are a lot of people who have seen the light later, and who (laughs) . . .
VIVION LENON BREWER:
(Laughs)
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
. . . want to remember their part in a little bit different terms.
VIVION LENON BREWER:
Yes, I've even been told--and I would certainly love to hear it--that the interview, the tape that Faubus made, is so full of fantasies, the one that's at the University. Have you . . .
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
Yes, I read that.
VIVION LENON BREWER:
Is this true?
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
Well, I am trying to reserve judgment.
VIVION LENON BREWER:
(Laughs)
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
You know, I'm trying to keep myself completely open to all different points of view. There certainly is very much in that interview that surprised me. (Laughs)
VIVION LENON BREWER:
(Laughs) Well, this is what I've been told. In fact, it came secondhand, but I understand that Harry's the one who heard it or read it and said, well, he had certainly had a lot of dreams since those days. (Laughs)
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
Yes. I'm sure Harry Ashmore would say that, would feel that way. It's really fascinating to read all those interviews with people from very, very different points of view, because you do get very different interpretation.
VIVION LENON BREWER:
Oh, I'm sure. And you know, as with all of us, memories fade.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
That's right.
VIVION LENON BREWER:
And unless something is very vivid to you, you're apt to have a little different slant over the years.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
That's right. And, too, as your understanding of the issues changes with time, that affects your memory.
VIVION LENON BREWER:
Yes.