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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Grace Towns Hamilton, July 19, 1974. Interview G-0026. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Decision to run for Georgia state legislature

Hamilton describes her decision to run for the Georgia state legislature in 1965. In so doing, Hamilton outlines the re-apportioning of congressional districts and how that process affected her successful election.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Grace Towns Hamilton, July 19, 1974. Interview G-0026. 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

JACQUELYN HALL:
I understand. So you ran for the Georgia legislature in 1966?
GRACE TOWNS HAMILTON:
'65.
JACQUELYN HALL:
'65. After the county-unit system was done away with and reapportionment?
GRACE TOWNS HAMILTON:
Well, there were several stages in that. First was getting rid of the county unit system, then there was the re-apportionment of the senate, then there was re-apportionment of the congressional districts, then there was re-apportionment of the house. In the state, re-apportionment of the senate came first, and then re-apportionment of the house. And when that got passed and the house was re-apportioned, I ran in one of the newly created districts.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you decide to launch into electoral politics?
GRACE TOWNS HAMILTON:
Just because I … see, the whole effort was to try to find good people to run for these new districts. See, Fulton County had been represented by three people, and when it was re-apportioned, we had twenty-four house districts. And twenty-six of that, the first re-apportionment, with five at-large and … how many single member districts there were… twenty, twenty-one single member districts. And so all of us who'd been interested in improving the participation of Negros in the political process were interested in trying to locate people, and I went to talk to another person who also ran for the first time who had run for something else, and I said, "Who are we going to get for this district, 112th?" And he said, he said, "Well, why don't you run?" And I really had never … I really hadn't thought about it. And so I said, "Well, I'll go think about it." And I did. And after all, I know as much about the district as anybody.