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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, October 16, 1975. Interview G-0023-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Those who remained committed to the anti-poll tax committee despite red-baiting

Eventually the poll tax was abolished, and here Durr reviews who stood steadfastly against it despite the rise of red-baiting and the disbandment of the committee.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, October 16, 1975. Interview G-0023-3. 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

And you know years later, it did take a long time, but it did finally get abolished. You know it got abolished by a constitutional amendment. It got abolished by constitutional amendment for federal elections only. And then Lyndon Johnson abolished it in the voting rights act. So Lyndon did do what he said he was going to do. You see Lyndon Johnson's voting rights act got rid of all the impediments on the vote, if you remember. You see it had been abolished in federal elections, and a lost of the States then had begun to abolish it because it was very hard to hold a federal election where you didn't have to pay a poll tax and a State election where you did. And so a lot of the States had gotten rid of it. But the heroes of that whole struggle . . . You see the Supreme Court had turned us down two or three times and said it was a State issue. You know you look back on that period and there were so many people that its' just hard to, you know, I'd have to give you a long list. In the Congress itself there was George Norris and Claude Pepper, they were our main supporters in the . . . And in the House it was Marcantonio, Vito Marcantonio, and it was Maury Maverick, and this Lee Geyer, who fought to the very end with the cancer of the throat-he still made speeches trying to get rid of the poll tax. So I would say they were the heroes of the struggle in the Congress. And the main support we got was from the unions, and that was mainly through Mr. Lewis and from Lee Pressman and from Jean Cotton and the lobbyist for the various unions, and Bob Lamb, all those boys who were working for the unions. They were a fine group of people. And in the Southern Conference the people that worked hardest on it were Clark Foreman, whose name I have mentioned-see all through these years Clark just devoted hours and hours and made speeches, you know-and Palmer Webber-you say he's a cynic now, but he wasn't a cynic then and he certainly did work hard and he certainly did a great job-and David. Now among the women, there was Frances Wheeler who was marvelous, and Sarah D'Avila who was marvelous, and two or three more whose names