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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Foreman founds the Southern Policy Committee

As opposition to the New Deal organized and gained influence, Clark Foreman established the Southern Policy Committee to explain why New Deal policies were necessary if the South was to recover economically. Durr's husband wrote about credit and banking, and Durr remembers that her job was providing food when the men needed it.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-2. 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

Almost no blacks voted and no women voted then to a great degree. You see, I was working on that. We hadn't gotten to the point yet of working on the black vote but we were working on the women's vote. Anyway, Clark Foreman had come down and taken part in that, the fight against Senator George and the purge and of course, he had been very reviled in Atlanta as an agent of the New Deal and so forth. He had a pretty tough time, you know, because his family were fashionable and belonged to the Piedmont Driving Club and all and they took it hard for Clark to turn against his family and class, as they said. So, when Clark came back from that, he was really het up about the South and there was another fellow in there named Jerome Frank who was a brilliant man, he got to be a Yale professor, but he was then working in the Agriculture Department and he was the one, you know, that proposed or was there when they had the big row about killing the pigs and tearing up the cotton and the corn, you know. And I was telling Sue earlier, you didn't have to be so smart in those days, you know, you didn't have to be ideological to know that something was very wrong when you saw people dying of starvation and yet, cotton was being plowed up and pigs were being killed and corn was being plowed up and butter was being . . .I don't know, left to melt or something and they used corn to stoke the furnaces with. And you didn't have to be very bright, if you know what, I mean, you didn't have to have some great study to know that something was wrong about this, that people were dying of starvation not because there was too little, but because there was too much. You get the feeling that we had of living in a made world. Anyway, Clark came back and he and Jerome Frank decided that he would get out a pamphlet on the South and he got Cliff and Jack Fisher, who later became editor of the Atlantic, and Tex Goldschmidt, and Cliff has got a copy of that here, you must have that, Report on the South, and there is a letter that Cliff wrote to the President saying that the South was the paradox of the nation, rich in natural resouces and the poorest of all. It got to be known as "The South, economic problem number 1." That's what the president said about it. Well, anyway, that was written. . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
What part of that did Cliffwrite?
VIRGINIA FOSTER DURR:
He wrote the part on credit, I think, or banking. So, they had written this, a lot of it got written in my drawing room,and the fights that they used to have.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What were the controversies among these people?
VIRGINIA FOSTER DURR:
You will have to ask Cliff about all this. I wasn't in on it, no women were allowed. I just had to feed them, you know. (laughter)
JACQUELYN HALL:
O.K., I've got the picture. (laughter)
VIRGINIA FOSTER DURR:
You see, I was always bringing in coffee and food, but they were fighting each other. You will have to get it from Cliff, because I wasn't present, except rarely, and then I wasn't allowed to take part. I was still not taking part in things like that at all. Well, in any case, they wrote this pamphlet and then they got a lot of very distinguished people up from the South to certify it.