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Title: Oral History Interview with Frances Pauley, July 18, 1974. Interview G-0046. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Pauley, Frances, interviewee
Interview conducted by Hall, Jacquelyn
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 184 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-12-13, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Frances Pauley, July 18, 1974. Interview G-0046. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series G. Southern Women. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0046)
Author: Jacquelyn Hall
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Frances Pauley, July 18, 1974. Interview G-0046. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series G. Southern Women. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0046)
Author: Frances Pauley
Description: 213 Mb
Description: 53 p.
Note: Interview conducted on July 18, 1974, by Jacquelyn Hall; recorded in Atlanta, Georgia.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series G. Southern Women, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Frances Pauley, July 18, 1974.
Interview G-0046. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Pauley, Frances, interviewee


Interview Participants

    FRANCES PAULEY, interviewee
    JACQUELYN HALL, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Tell me about your background. Where were you born and raised?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I was born in Ohio, but moved here when I was a baby. So I don't remember living anywhere but here.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When were you born?
FRANCES PAULEY:
In 1905. We moved to Decatur and lived in the same house in Decatur until we moved to this house about twenty years ago. So, I've really just been in one spot.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did your father do?
FRANCES PAULEY:
He worked with Hastings Seed Company until he died last year. Mr. H. G. Hastings, the founder, was my father's brother-in-law. My brother is working with Hastings now.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you go to college?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I went to Agnes Scott and majored in mathematics.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So when were you in college at Agnes Scott?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I graduated in '27.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you know the Ames family . . . Jessie Daniel Ames?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, I never did. I knew of them, and I'm sure I met her, but I never did really know them. The only person in that early group that I knew was Mrs. M. E. Tilly. When she was a young woman, she was the head of the Junior Missionary Society in the Methodist church when I was a little child.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In your church?

Page 2
FRANCES PAULEY:
I was a Methodist; I'm not now, but I was at that time. And I remember her selecting me at different times to go to different meetings, as a child . . . talking about the Junior Missionary Society. Mrs. Tilly and I have laughed about it many times since then, but I never worked with her as an adult.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So she didn't have anything to do with getting you involved in race relations . . .
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, no. Mrs. Tilly and many of those people worked under the existing circumstances of the day. They were really working for separate but equal. I think I was fortunate really in not working in that way because . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you didn't have that to . . .
FRANCES PAULEY:
Because when I came into working in race relations, it wasn't any such thing in my mind as separate. And it never had been. I remember helping establish the Dekalb Clinic during the Depression . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Establish what?
FRANCES PAULEY:
The Dekalb Clinic. We didn't have any place in Dekalb County where someone could get free medical attention. And that was before the days of Hospital Authority or any hospital or medical services in Dekalb County. So we established a free clinic.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who was we?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, just a group of people . . . it wasn't any organization.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was it people that you had met in college, or younger people?

Page 3
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, ah . . . well, just different people that I had known around Decatur that were interested, particularly in poor people. And, at that time, see, it was Depression . . . people were hungry and penniless. When we opened the clinic, we never thought about having two separate waiting rooms. We had one waiting room for black and white. All we were trying to get was enough doctors and enough help, and so forth.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where did you get the money to open the clinic?
FRANCES PAULEY:
We raised it . . . begged it. I did a lot of fund-raising for it. And then the county began to help us, and the county began to give us more and more. And then we got other tie-ups with Atlanta hospitals which would give us an intern or two, and so gradually it grew.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When was that?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Oh, me . . . I don't remember when the Hospital Authority started, but it must have been the forties, or late forties. I really don't remember exactly. We didn't even think about segregation, except on the days that the Public Health came over. They had certain days for veneral disease clinics. They had certain days for black and certain days for white. We didn't have anthing to do with that. On the other days, the regular medical clinics, we just had one waiting room. And then one day the grand jury came over and made us put up a partition.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Really! Who called it to the attention of the grand jury?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I don't know. Well, I think it was just one of their routine checks. They checked on all the different medical facilities

Page 4
in the county, but they came over and they made us put up a partition in the waiting room, which was really just a great big old hallway. But we still didn't have any separate treatment facilities. We used the same examining rooms.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you happen to be concerned about health care for poor people?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I don't know. I guess just any human being would be.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You'd think so.
FRANCES PAULEY:
I had children, and it would have been terrible if I couldn't have taken them to a doctor when they were sick.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you were married and had children by then.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, I married in 1930.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You didn't work?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, I didn't work professionally until 1960.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you hurt by the Depression yourself?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Oh yes. My husband was a landscape architect and nobody was using his services. Nobody was building.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Well, how did you manage?
FRANCES PAULEY:
My father's business, the seed business, was hanging on by a thread, and there'd be many times when they wouldn't receive their salaries. What little we had was in the bank which failed. Of course, all of the banks closed. I think one reason it didn't really worry you was because you weren't alone in it. All the neighbors got together and tried to figure out the cheapest way to buy the best food to feed our families.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of awareness did you have of critical things

Page 5
that were going on during the Depression—the labor movement, Southern Tenant Farmers Union, growth of the Communist party . . .
FRANCES PAULEY:
I was slightly aware, but not really, because actually looking after the family and looking after the things that were sort of at hand occupied my time. We had a Junior Service League in Decatur and I was a member of that, and we had a puppet show—marionettes. I had always been interested, in college, and after college, in dramatics. We had a drama workshop where we wrote, directed, and acted our own plays. That had to stop too because of the Depression. There was a county fair that year, about 1936. They asked the Junior Service League to come and have a puppet show in a tent at the county fair. So we went, and I became very upset about the number of children that couldn't come to the puppet show because they didn't have a nickel or dime . . . and they also were hungry . . . they would just stand and look at the hot dog stand . . . and so many, so many of them too. They were white because Dekalb County was majority white. And it worried me. I said, "If these children could just have something to eat," and I thought, "Well, if they could have a hot lunch at school, maybe that would make a big difference." I knew the principal of a black school out at Scottdale which was just a terrible little shack of a school. I admired her very much, and I had been out there and tried to help her. I had tried to help her get water into the school because the well was contaminated, having come in contact with her through my work in the clinic. She told me that she gave her children free lunches, and that it was a new federal program—a free lunch program. And I asked her if I called the other principals in

Page 6
the county together, would she tell them how she did it. And she said she would. In my youth and ignorance—innocence—I just simply got a list of all the principals in the county and called them to a meeting at the city hall. I didn't check with the superintendent; I didn't check with anybody . . . you know, why check with people? So they all came and the room was crowded.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they know who you were?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, I just told them if they were interested in how to get a free lunch program to come. Mrs. Hamilton, who was the principal out there at the black school, wasn't asked to sit with the other people in the city hall. She sat in the hall.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that any relation to Grace Hamilton?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, I don't think so. But, I've been meaning to ask Grace that because she might have been, but I don't think so. I don't know whether we ever talked about her or not. But anyway, Mrs. Hamilton told them how she managed it and what to do in order to have free lunches. And so we decided that we would ask the federal lady to come back the next week to meet with the principals. They all came back. And she told them what they had to do to have free lunches. The schools had to furnish the kitchen. None of them already had a kitchen. The president of the clinic was a man that worked for Coca Cola Company. He stood up and he said, "Don't anybody hold back because you don't have a kitchen. You just go down to Beck and Gregg Hardware and buy what you need for the kitchen, charge it to the clinic, and I will see that it's paid for." Well, I just thought he had a gravy train because of Coca Cola money, and I didn't worry.

Page 7
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was his name?
FRANCES PAULEY:
His name was Kell.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did he do? Was he in management with the Coca Cola Company?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I don't know what his job was with Coca Cola Company, but I've forgotten now—he's dead now, I guess. Anyway, all of the principals bought the kitchen stuff; they all got it quickly and they all started having hot lunches. In six weeks time, children in Dekalb County were getting not only hot lunches but in many schools they were getting breakfast as well. The school attendance just rose enormously. Kids were fed, and everybody was happy.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Whites—was it in white schools?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Oh yes. It was almost all white, because actually Mrs. Hamilton had the biggest black school in the county. Mr. Kell came in one day and said, "What are we going to do about paying these bills? We've got $25,000 it seems to me," he said, "bills from Beck and Gregg. How are we going to pay them?" he said to me. Well, I tell you, I spent some sleepless nights. I said, "Well, if we could get 5,000 people to give $5, why we would have enough money." So we got a little empty store up on the square and put up a card table.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Up on what square?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Up in Decatur . . . and got some volunteers in, and we began to try to raise the money. Well, I learned one thing. If you've got to raise $25,000, don't try to get $5 from 5,000 people. So I invited all of the preachers in the county to come to a meeting to talk about the poor hungry people, invited every preacher in

Page 8
Dekalb County to come, and two came.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Now, you were just a lone housewife doing all these things?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes. I just didn't have any better sense. So, three came; three preachers came. Dr. McGeachy and two others . . . one of them didn't say anything . . . one of them said he didn't believe in the project. He thought that was spoiling people, making them too dependent, and you shouldn't give them free lunches, and the third one seemed to be sort of in sympathy. But they wouldn't go back and do anything in their churches about it, not any of them. We had a big fund-raising dinner at the Hotel Canada, and we asked the one preacher who had been in sympathy to come to say the blessing, and he didn't show up. So I would say the help we got from the church on feeding the poor in Dekalb County was absolutely nil.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you active in the church at that time?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Very active, and my family was very active in the church. So, I made a speech at our church about it and got severe criticism, and was called a Communist, and so forth.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you in the Women's Missionary Council?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you know women like Louise Young?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I knew Louise Young slightly.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Thelma Stevens?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I never was really active in the Women's Missionary Society. My mother was and she was president. After her death, I used to go to it religiously because I thought I should because she

Page 9
was interested.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But just on a local level.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Just on a local level; I never really did get at all involved. They had given me a silver bowl when I got married. I used to hate to go so bad because I thought it was such a waste of time. So finally one day I said, "I just have to go to the circle meeting." My neighborhood friends that were all out nursing the babies in the front yard said, "Well look, Frances, don't you really think that you've paid for that silver bowl?"
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you quit going?
FRANCES PAULEY:
And that just brought me to my senses, and I quit going.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But this work you were doing, you expected the church to respond?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Oh, I did, I really did. Nobody knows how I felt when only three preachers came to that hot lunch meeting. I really did think they'd respond. But anyway, the superintendent of schools I knew real well because he had been principal of the high school when I was in high school. And so he took over. We raised about half of the $25,000 and the school system took over the other half and were very delighted to do it. The superintendent offered me a job with the school system. I just laughed about it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Didn't you need a job?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, I didn't think I did. I had enough job. I was keeping house for my brother who wasn't married, and my father, and my husband, and my children, and I figured I had more than I could do already.

Page 10
JACQUELYN HALL:
Your father, your brother both were living with you?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes. So with my father and my brother and my husband and two children . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you did all the housework?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes. Things began to get better when W.P.A. and P.W.A. came in that gave landscape architects work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Your husband worked on the W.P.A.?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes. Well, one thing, he laid out the first slum clearance in the country. It was in Atlanta. He did the site planning for that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that those homes over near Tech, the Techwood homes?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Not Techwood home, the University Housing. There were a lot of different things. He, my husband, laid out airports in lots of different little towns around the South. They laid out schools, a few parks, didn't you?
FRANCES PAULEY:
We laid out fourteen airports in the state.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Fourteen airports.
FRANCES PAULEY:
A lot of times we forget that those were good things that meant a lot to the state, a lot of that work that was done in the Depression days.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you were New Deal Democrats and very sympathetic toward Roosevelt?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Oh, my sakes, oh yes indeed. Yes indeed. My father was an old-time Republican, but he really did vote for Roosevelt. And he kept saying until he died at age 96, he kept saying he was a Republican but he never voted for a Republican president. Never.

Page 11
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was he a Republican?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, he had been a Republican in Ohio, so that's why. Of course, there wasn't a Republican party here, but he still called himself a Republican. He didn't live to see the Republican party disgraced, and I think he would have been very ashamed of it had he.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You think so?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Why, sure.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You mean today.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Today, yes, just because of Nixon.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was he sympathetic toward the clinic and the lunch programs?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Oh yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The things you were doing.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Oh yes. But I remember one time we were riding out in the country one Sunday afternoon. I said, "Look, none of these houses have screens." And of course we had a lot more flies then, before DDT. And he said, "Oh my God, she's now deciding that everybody in Dekalb County's got to have screens."
JACQUELYN HALL:
And did you?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So, you were offered a job with the school board, but you didn't take it.
FRANCES PAULEY:
That's right. Day care centers were put up under a federal program at that time. See, they took pre-school age children. I helped get some established. And I remember Mrs. Roosevelt was coming through to visit our center, so we decided we really would turn it on big for Mrs. Roosevelt. And so we got up enough clothes, old

Page 12
clothes of course, for all the children to have on something clean. And we decided we wouldn't take them over until that morning because if we gave them to them the day before and they took them home, they probably would not appear in them the next day. So that morning, I ran over quickly to the nursery school and took the clothes so all the children could be clean.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Under what auspices were the day care centers set up?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I don't remember.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was it a federal program of some kind?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Federal program. It was a federal program, and Mrs. Roosevelt was going to visit this one. She was coming to Atlanta.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And did she come?
FRANCES PAULEY:
She came, but they thought I was Mrs. Roosevelt when I came in with the clothes. So they were real disappointed. But she came. I didn't see her at the day care center, but I did see her when she was in town that time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So that was—this is all before World War II—day care centers, health clinic . . .
FRANCES PAULEY:
That was all out of the Depression. That was Roosevelt's program. All part of Roosevelt's Depression program. But that was, again, all before World War II. But, it was real interesting.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So what did you do after that?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, we didn't have a League of Women Voters in Dekalb County. They had one in Atlanta, and it kept bothering me that Atlanta had all these things and Dekalb County didn't have services.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was it that there weren't any organizations or

Page 13
services in Dekalb County?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, just everybody that lived in Dekalb worked in Atlanta, and Dekalb really wasn't very thickly populated at that time either. And so I began to go onto boards and things like the community fund things, things like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Community Chest?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, those different kinds of things like that, simply because I wanted to say, "Now remember, we've got a county out there called Dekalb, and we need things too." We didn't have a League of Women Voters. Then two or three of the women who worked in Atlanta LWV lived in Dekalb County and decided to organize out here. And they did. And I joined and became the president right after the war, about '45. I became the local president. We grew real fast and we had a real good league.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of things did the League do?
FRANCES PAULEY:
We worked very hard to get rid of the white primary.
JACQUELYN HALL:
To get rid of the white primary. This was during Talmadge's career.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Right, right. And did he evermore hate us. Then I went on the state board, and then I became state president. I became the state president at a very fascinating time. I was always kind of lucky at being in certain places at the right time. That was about 1950, I guess it was, I became president, state president. And the League was against the county unit system. And in '52 we won, defeated a constitutional amendment to put the county unit system into the constitution. See, it was just law before then. And this, of course,

Page 14
would have made it much harder to get rid of. And we organized against the county unit—Citizens Against the County Unit Amendment. And we won.1
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who else was allied with you?
FRANCES PAULEY:
We had just a terrific organization. We had no money. I held the money, so I knew how much money we had. The total amount of money that we had was $15,000. And this was a statewide fight that we won. Morris Abram headed it up. He was the chairman.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Now what was Morris Abram?
FRANCES PAULEY:
He was a young lawyer here in town at that time. And it was the first time that we had as diverse a group working. Grace Hamilton was on the committee.
JACQUELYN HALL:
As head of Atlanta Urban League?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I guess so. But we were there as people on the steering committee, not organizations. We had various Jewish organizations represented. Art Levin was very prominent on the committee.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who was Art Levin?
FRANCES PAULEY:
He was head of the Anti-Defamation League at that time. He is now in Washington with the Potomac Institute. And we had labor. There was the greatest guy that was head of the AFL-CIO in Atlanta at that time. You remember that tall fellow—can't think of his name right now. He was just marvelous and he was in it. We also had churchwomen.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who . . . what was the AFL-CIO?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Political Action, he was.
JACQUELYN HALL:
CIO?
FRANCES PAULEY:
It was the CIO at that time.

Page 15
JACQUELYN HALL:
CIO-PAC, CIO organizing committee.
FRANCES PAULEY:
That's right, that's right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was it Frank somebody?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No. And then he went out to India. And now he's in Washington. He was very handsome.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were there any other labor people involved?
FRANCES PAULEY:
He was the only one on the steering committee. But we were under great pressure because we were just being called everything, so every week we met in a different place.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In people's homes? Who else was on the steering committee?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Churchwomen, and I believe Mrs. Patterson was the one that was there from the Churchwomen, but I'm not really sure.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Churchwomen United?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes. Harold Fleming was at that time Director of the Southern Regional Council, and he played an exceedingly active part. We used our offices, League of Women Voters offices, as the headquarters until we grew big enough to outgrow it, and then we got some free space. But we used our office and all of our stuff.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have any problems with the membership not wanting you to get involved in something quite so controversial?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, no. We didn't have any problems with the membership at all. The membership just grew. The number of leagues and the number of people, it just grew phenomenally. I still think if somebody has guts enough to do something, just do something interesting, well, you're going to get members. People don't like just, not many (some, but not many) people like to just sit around.

Page 16
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who were you under pressure from?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Talmadge.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The newspapers?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Now, the city helped us. Mayor Hartsfield helped us behind the scenes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did he help?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I don't know, but he gave us encouragement, and I think that he helped us raise some of the $15,000, but I couldn't say that for sure. I got most of that $15,000 in cash from people, see?
JACQUELYN HALL:
People didn't want to write a check?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, and I remember one night they told me if I'd come down at half past something or other on the corner of Courtland and something else, why, they'd have something for me. And I went down there and got back and opened up the envelope and there was $2,000 in it. I nearly dropped dead. I couldn't wait to get it in the bank.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who gave that to you?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I don't know, somebody. But I didn't want to know because it was much better that I not know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What about the newspapers?
FRANCES PAULEY:
We had complete backing of the newspapers, but at that time, Atlanta had great newspapers.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Ralph McGill was active.
FRANCES PAULEY:
We had Ralph McGill and old Baldy's cartoons—he had good cartoons in that day. And so we had the backing of the newspapers. And it was wonderful, but we had some good brains. You know, with Morris

Page 17
Abram and Harold Fleming and Art Levin. Those are three guys that really were young and full of new fresh ideas.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were there other women that gave leadership?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I don't remember that. It seems to me that Harold and Art and Grace, particularly Grace, that Harold and Art and Grace and Morris and I, those are the ones that I remember that worked the hardest.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What about black organizations and black leaders?
FRANCES PAULEY:
The only black that was on it was Grace Hamilton. And then we had some other people in the state. Now Judge Andrews, he was a federal judge. It was up in the northern part of the state. And it would be interesting if you could get some of those names. And then maybe if we have time I'll go up and see if I can find some of the files. I'm afraid most of it was left in the League office, I don't know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you still have your papers from all of these things?
FRANCES PAULEY:
. . . Whether I do have any or not, but I should have something on strike one.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Strike one?
FRANCES PAULEY:
It was amendment number one, and so that was our slogan—strike one.
FRANCES PAULEY:
She organized sixteen Leagues of Women Voters in the state.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, we had at least sixteen. We had a lot when I went out of office. Well, then you see after we worked on that, in 1953, in November, Talmadge saw the handwriting on the wall. And he got

Page 18
the legislature to pass the resolution for a constitutional amendment to do away with public schools and have the state give money for private schools. And the League took a stand on this. In April the League had its convention and after a very heated debate, we took a stand for public schools which really meant integrated schools. The League was pretty much consolidated on it. I don't think many people really felt like desegregation of schools was ever going to come. But a lot of us knew it would, eventually. Then in May, oh, in the meantime, we'd been working. We got white out of the bylaws of the League of Women Voters—we had "it was open to white women"—we got white out of the bylaws. And so we had been doing some other racial things.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Like what?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I mean just trying to open the League. And then we voted to take a stand against private schools. I thought that we could organize in a somewhat similar way, as we had for the county unit, to fight that. May the 17th came the Brown decision from the Supreme Court, you see. And see, we hadn't voted yet on the private school amendment. We had to vote the following November. So then we tried to get the organizations together. None of the people that had worked so hard for the county unit could come back. I learned a good lesson in politics then. Just because you work with people on one political issue doesn't mean that you're going to work with them on another.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was it that the people you had worked with on the county unit fight would not work with you on the school desegregation fight?

Page 19
FRANCES PAULEY:
They didn't.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you contact them and try to bring them in?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Oh yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did they say?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I thought we could do it the same way. I did the same thing I had done in the county unit fight, you know, call the old group together. Of course, Morris Abrams took the ball on that other.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why didn't Morris Abrams work on this?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I don't know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did they say?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I don't remember. I think some of the Jewish agencies were afraid, and I don't wonder. But people were afraid, and people's deep prejudices, I guess, were beginning to come out.
And then within the League we also had a problem because within the League there were people who didn't want us to work on it, too, by that time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you remember any of the people in the League that were really opponents?
FRANCES PAULEY:
A few. After the Brown decision, I visited every league in the state. And the leagues were with us. They weren't with us like they had been on the county unit; they weren't with us to that extent. But we lost. Of course, the thing was thrown out by the courts anyway. But we lost that November. But we didn't lose but by just a very few votes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The League refused to vote to support the . . .
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, they voted to continue to support public education. Yes, we kept on. We fought. And the League stayed together and fought hard.

Page 20
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, you lost in the legislature?
FRANCES PAULEY:
We lost in November in the general election. But we lost by a very small, very small number. We had lots of pressure. For instance, one time all the leaders that were working in the fight against this amendment got telegrams from Governor Talmadge and asked us to meet in the Capitol, and to give our plans for how we could keep segregated schools. That's what the telegram said, so we got together2 heads of statewide organizations, and decided to write one statement, and we all signed it. Each president was present to take any questions. And so we sweated and sweated, and we wrote our statement that we were against the amendment and that we were in favor of public education.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were these all women and women's organizations?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Most of them were women. We decided that Margaret MacDougall would give the statement. She worked with Churchwomen United. I guess she and Ida Patterson were both on that committee. Margaret MacDougall was very interested in the schools. We chose her—she's so sweet and such a lady—head of the Churchwomen. She gave the statement, and they called each one of us presidents to answer questions. They did everything they could to frighten us and intimidate us.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did they do?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Just asked us nasty questions and were insulting.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was Talmadge there? And who else?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Talmadge and Talmadge's lawyers. Well, I don't remember—different state officials. I was the last one to be questioned. I was really hot, and I remember I had dressed so carefully—I had on white

Page 21
gloves—and I remember when I stood up I was so hot that I could just feel the perspiration, you know, the perspiriation just running down. And I just thought if I looked down, I'd probably see a puddle down on the floor, I was so hot because the day was so hot and then the questions were so hot. But I was determined; they weren't going to shake me like they had almost everybody that had gotten up. They had shaken them until they just couldn't answer a question. But Art Levin had drilled me real well; he had said, "Now, they're going to ask these different kinds of questions." And he would ask me the questions and say, "How're you going to answer?" And he was a dear. And so I was better prepared than some of them were. They asked everything. You know, "What color is your husband?" and "Do you want your daughter to marry a nigger?" You know, they used the "n-i-g-g-e-r" over and over again, and oh, just everything. And Talmadge was worse; Talmadge had all the rest of them question me first, and then he got up and he took me over. He already knew me and hated me for the county unit fight because he had said that he'd have won the county unit if it hadn't been for that God-damned Frances Pauley.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He said that? Was that in the newspapers?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, it wasn't in the newspapers but he said it and that gave me great pleasure. Greatest compliment of my life.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I bet.
FRANCES PAULEY:
So, he took me on last. The PTA was so frightened at that meeting that they dropped out. So we lost PTA support, and we really had counted on having PTA to support public schools.

Page 22
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's right. So who did you have then?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I don't remember. I really don't remember who all we had left because I worked, as I remember, the League worked alone rather than as a wide coalition. We worked mainly in trying to get as good publicity as we could get through the papers, which we didn't get as good as we had before, but we got some. And in trying to keep the League working hard on it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What happened to Harold Fleming and the Southern Regional Council? Were they working with you?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, they worked with us.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They didn't want to be as obvious as they had been before?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, that's right. But they helped us on things like publicity a lot, I remember.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But they weren't out in the open?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No. Well you know, they always work behind the scenes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Let other people take the rap?
FRANCES PAULEY:
It was really tough; it was really tough. I mean, you know, that was the first time that I began to get used to getting bad phone calls and things like that. But it was really interesting that the League did okay, and it came through it fine. We didn't lose anything and we didn't lose anybody. We continued to grow. Now, I went out of the presidency the next year,3 and after that, they lost members. And they always said it was because of our stand on segregation; I don't think it was. I think it was just because nobody worked hard on anything else. Lots of people had come in and they'd gotten a taste of

Page 23
how much fun it was to really work courageously and hard. Then they didn't want to settle down to reading two or three books on foreign aid or something, you know. They were really interested in an active program. And I think if somebody had come along with a really active program, they would have kept those people. I thought that the only issue of importance in the state for the near future was desegregation. I realized how little I knew and decided I would not belong to any white organizations.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You had not worked with black organizations prior to this very much?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Except for the Urban League. I had been on Grace Hamilton's board. I had been on different committees with blacks in different health organizations. But I hadn't really known black people. I really didn't know the problems. I decided that I had to learn, so every time I'd see in the paper that there was something over at A. U., I'd go to it. Then I went to the Council on Human Relations. There was an Atlanta Council at that time. It was called the Georgia Council, but it wasn't really anything but Atlanta—a few scattered people out in the state. The first time I went to a meeting, they made me secretary of the group. I became real active in that organization. And then a guy came down here from New York and wanted a coordinator to organize discussion groups on world politics. Paul Rieling was working at the YMCA (later, the Southern Regional Council) at that time. He and I decided that we would do this organizing if we could do it on an integrated basis, that we would have teams of integrated discussion

Page 24
leaders, you know, like a black and a white person, and that we would meet only in places that never had had an integrated meeting before.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When was this?
FRANCES PAULEY:
This was in the late fifties4 and, boy I'm telling you, I really walked my feet off in this city trying to find places. But we tried to see what churches we could get into. Some churches wouldn't let us; most of them wouldn't. This guy from New York, Harry Boardman, would come down to train our leaders. We continued these programs for about four or five years. We would have two series of discussions a year. It was a little bit like Great Books in that you bought your books that the discussions were based on. There would be weekly meetings for ten or twelve weeks. They were real interesting.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You're doing this through the Atlanta Council on Human Relations?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, no. This was done completely separately. It was done under the World Politics Organization and under the direction of Mr. Boardman from New York. I would get out the mailings and promote the groups, and so forth. Paul worked with me on it for a couple of years, and then I did it by myself for a couple of years. Paul started working with the Southern Regional Council. He talked me into taking the directorship of the Georgia Council.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When was that?
FRANCES PAULEY:
In '60, 1960.
JACQUELYN HALL:
1960. Who had been the director before you?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Guy Wells had been the director for a while, and he had dropped out. And then there was a minister that had had it for a short

Page 25
time named Reverend Cowart, and he worked just part-time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So, what did the Georgia Council do during the civil rights movement?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I took it over in '60. And we didn't have anything; we didn't even have a separate bank account. You know, when I see today's organizations and they feel like they're in such bad financial shape now, I remember that we didn't even have a bank account. What little bit of money we had, Southern Regional Council gave us. They said they'd pay a director for one year. And so they hired me, and there was a part-time secretary, and that was it. No money for programs. So we first just started organizing Councils around the state. I forgot about HOPE (Help Our Public Education) that was before the Council.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was that?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Help Our Public Education. That was the fight to get the legislature to give into desegregating public schools rather than abandoning them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So that came in between the League of Women Voters' fight over the constitutional amendment and the beginnings of the civil rights movement? Who was organizing HOPE? Who initiated that?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, if you talked to about a dozen people, they'd all say it was their original idea.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Really? Was it your idea?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, it was not my original idea, because it was all white and I had said that I wasn't going to belong to anything that was all white.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They excluded black members?

Page 26
FRANCES PAULEY:
They decided that they could be more politically effective if they were all white, and so I said I wasn't going to have anything to do with them. Well, it wasn't any other way to work for public schools, so I decided . . . well, you know, no use being a purist. I'd go on and join with them.* But by this time they had begun to get organized—Murial Lokey, Fran Breeden, and other respectable middle-class people. I want to tell you an interesting story about HOPE.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do.
FRANCES PAULEY:
You know, this is really a fascinating story about HOPE. There were four really bright young men that worked for IT&T, and they worked harder in HOPE than anybody else. They also brought with them their secretary, and she kept the books. And this was a great help. Murial Lokey did a lot toward raising money locally, and Southern Regional Council helped terrifically. Paul Rilling and I together, we would always be at every steering committee meeting; either he or I would go, and the meetings lasted half the night. Sometimes you just got tired of sitting there with all that talk. We wanted to get on with the business. What I did at HOPE, I did the legislative part, organized the people to work in the legislature—the people to observe and lobby in the legislature—and then I worked on statewide organization. I used the League contacts in order to organize HOPE all over the state. So we got our HOPE chapters going and then we organized really a beautiful program within the legislature.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Lobbying efforts?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Lobbying, lobbying with HOPE badges on, and we did a great

Page 27
job with lobbying, we really did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Now, when did HOPE start?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, let's see. It was the last of the fifties (and did it go 'til '60)? I guess it was about '58 or '59.5 In the summer of '72, while working with HEW, I ran into a HOPE worker at dinner. He said, "Now I want to tell you a story about IT&T." He said, "Why did you think that so many IT&T staff members worked for HOPE?" And I said, "Well, I did wonder . . . " I said, "I didn't wonder about you 'cause I thought you were committed to the idea, but I sure did wonder about one guy because he wasn't committed." And he said that IT&T gave several employees the order to work with HOPE and to spend any amount of money necessary, that they were to keep all kinds of records on it, and that they would use this as an experiment on how to go into an underdeveloped country and organize a community.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was IT&T interested also in keeping the public schools open for their own purposes?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, they thought that it was good to keep the public schools open. You know, most anybody would think that was a good idea.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Right.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Particularly, you know, if you didn't have . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
A multi-national corporation.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, if you didn't have any deep-seated old southern prejudices. They just had their Yankee prejudices, and this was in the South, so that was . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Right; exactly. Well, what did this guy think about that?
FRANCES PAULEY:
And so that's how they came into it. But you see they

Page 28
were fabulous. He said, "Did you ever think about how we got by with that huge mass meeting at the Tower Theater?" We had a meeting there, and we advertised "Fill the Tower with HOPE." And he said, "Didn't you ever wonder how we were able to have that, without it being just torn up?" And he told me how many plain-clothesmen his group had hired.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Hired by IT&T?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes. And you see, they had volunteered in the steering meeting that they would look after the safety and that they would contact the police and see that everything was guarded. We were happy for them to take over.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But it wasn't the police that sent the plain-clothesmen then.
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, it was IT&T.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Employees of IT&T—amazing.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Isn't that? And he said, "What do you think . . . ," said, "You remember that time when we locked Mr. Friendly (Talmadge's reporter) in the room." Well, this was at a meeting we had at the Ansley Hotel. Mr. Friendly took ugly pictures of people and spliced them together, black and white people together. Well, he was taping the meeting and we weren't allowing anybody to tape the meeting. We found him back in a little room where the speaker system was in the hotel, and he was taping. Some of the IT&T boys had locked him up in the room. And I went back there and talked him into giving us the tape rather than be arrested. My friend said, "Now at that meeting, you remember all the trouble we had that the audience didn't know anything about." I remembered we had a lot of trouble. He reminded me, "We could have had a

Page 29
lot more." He said, "Why do you think we didn't have more?"
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Because my friends had their plain-clothes guards there to protect us.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they do things like that in other places?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I don't know. It really frightens you, doesn't it?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Certainly does.
FRANCES PAULEY:
And I don't know whether those girls in HOPE believed me when I told them the story, but it just adds up when I look back on it. It just really does add up.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What other things did they do?
FRANCES PAULEY:
They were very creative. Well, they would do all kinds of little things, like they'd say, "Every time we get on an elevator, we'll go two people on an elevator, and the elevator's crowded, and we'll say something like, ‘Well, the schools are going to be open, and isn't that going to be great’."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did your friend quit working for IT&T?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I suppose he got a better job with another company, and I've forgotten the name of the company that he went with. But he was a very, very brilliant young man. And I just loved him. He was just so much fun. He and I just worked together so well. But that really makes you wonder.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That'd be really interesting to find out. I'm sure if they were involved in HOPE, they were involved in things in other places.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, they probably were. But of course I think it's great for their boss to give 'em . . . tell 'em to help with us if they're

Page 30
on our side, but suppose the boss had told them to work with the Ku Klux Klan.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Exactly.
FRANCES PAULEY:
. . . Or work with the White Citizens' Council.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Well, what did they learn about community organization out of that experience?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, I guess they should have because we really had a pretty community organization, now, we really did. And it worked.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was it strong outside of Atlanta?
FRANCES PAULEY:
It was real strong in Athens. The woman that works a lot now with mental health here in Atlanta at that time lived in Athens, and she was head of the Athens chapter. And they had some of the university people that were real interested in it. That was a real strong HOPE chapter. We had a real good chapter in Savannah. But we had little chapters in Brunswick and Valdosta and Columbus, and members in many other towns. If you just had enough people in different towns who could work on their legislators, it would help—and it did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So how did you move from there to the Georgia Council?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, Paul Rilling talked me into taking the Directorship of the Georgia Council. He was working with the Southern Regional Council as their field director. So first thing I started doing was organizing, trying to organize the Council statewide because by this time, you see, with the League and with HOPE, I really had a network of contacts in this state. But, as I soon learned, my contacts were white. So I had to make black contacts, but that wasn't a problem to

Page 31
do, I found.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was the Georgia Council mostly white when you came into it?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, it was pretty much middle-class black and white, and it never did have many poor people. And there were a lot of people that never did want very many poor people in it. In fact, that was one of the reasons I was glad to leave. I started organizing and of course you had added reason to organize because the movement was starting. We worked hard in the movement to give support to the black leadership. One of the first places I organized was Savannah. The man that took the chairmanship of the Council later came to work with us. That was Oliver Wendell Holmes, and he was a black Congregational minister in Savannah. But Atlanta was his home, and he was glad to come back here and work in the Council with me. I would go as the director of the Council to the leaders of the movement and I'd say, "I'm the director of the Georgia Council. What can I do to help?" Never in any way with any advice or suggestions. Often there were things that we could do, that white people could do—contacts we could make, always trying to be a bridge, and seeing if we could get businessmen, blacks and whites together, if we could get any blacks and whites together to help work out whatever problem was in that particular community. I worked a lot in Savannah. When the movement started in southwest Georgia, I practically lived down there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Albany?
FRANCES PAULEY:
In Albany.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you know Charles Sherrod?

Page 32
FRANCES PAULEY:
Oh yes. He was with SNCC. I went into their headquarters, "Here I am. I'm Frances Pauley. Is there something that I can do to help? You're doing a great job."
JACQUELYN HALL:
There was no conflict between SNCC and the Georgia Council?
FRANCES PAULEY:
There might have been some conflict between SNCC and some members of the Georgia Council. I don't mean conflict, but there were many members of the Georgia Council, including a lot of them that live right in this neighborhood, that didn't like SNCC. But there wasn't any organizational conflict.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You weren't under pressure from your own members not to work so closely with SNCC?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, oh no. They were pleased. Of course, a lot of things I didn't tell certain ones of the members.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Could you give me an example of the kind of support you provided for SNCC?
FRANCES PAULEY:
They asked me to come into Baker County as an observer when they went in to try to get a local organization started.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who were some of the SNCC people there?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Charles Sherrod was the leader and he picked some of his most experienced SNCC people to go with him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They were going into Baker County?
FRANCES PAULEY:
They were going into Baker County, and they let me know. So one night I was over in Brunswick and they called me and asked me to come. And they said, "We've had bad trouble today. We went down

Page 33
to the courthouse to try to register, and they beat up Charles Sherrod and several other people. And it was just terrible. And do you think you could come?" I said, "Yes, I'll be there soon as I can get there." So I got in the car. They gave me the directions to this little church out in the country. And I rented a car. I remember the only one I could get was a convertible, red, and I didn't want a red convertible. You know, I wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible.
Well anyway, I got there and they had everything blacked out at the church so nobody could see in, and it was hot as Hades in that church. And it was packed solid, packed, and oh, they were so glad when I came in. But I just went in and sat down. I didn't say anything. And Charles Sherrod had a towel around his neck that was bloody, and he kept dabbing places that were still bleeding, where he'd been beat up. And he made a speech on why you were a bigger man if you didn't fight back. It was the most wonderful speech on nonviolence I ever heard in all my life. I'd just give anything in the whole wide world if I had a recording of it. A couple of men in the audience argued with him about it—quite an argument on nonviolence.
In the meantime, one kid keeled over and fainted. Well, I just thought it was from the heat. Well, they took him out, and I didn't even go out because, you know, a lot of people took him out, and I thought as soon as he got outdoors in the air he'd come to. Well, the meeting was shortly over, and they said, "So-and-so is still unconscious. Would you take him to the hospital?" I said, "Sure, put him in the car. So they put him in the car. It was late at night. And

Page 34
I started, and I was scared to go fast because I was scared a cop might come out of the bushes somewhere. And yet I was scared not to go fast, and I was wondering if he was dying or what. And once he sorta came to and said that he was cold. But there wasn't anything I could do. It was hot as hell. But probably he was soaking wet. There wasn't anything I could do about him being cold. I had that damned convertible. And so then I realized I didn't know the kid's name. So I thought, "Well, I'll go by the SNCC office and I'll get somebody to come out and look at him 'cause if I take him to the hospital, the first thing they'll do is to ask him his name." So I went by the SNCC office when I got to Albany. A couple of kids came down and looked at him and said, "Oh, that's so-and-so." And they got in the car and went with us to the hospital. But the hospital wouldn't take him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did they say?
FRANCES PAULEY:
They said there wasn't any doctor on duty. And I said, "Oh, but you're going to take him, and we'll get a doctor." Well, they had one black doctor on the staff. They said, "Well, you can call him if you want to." And I said, "What doctor are you supposed to call for emergency tonight?" "Well, Doctor So-and-so, but he won't come." I called the black doctor, and he said he'd come. We waited and he didn't come. They had brought the boy into the emergency room, and he was still unconscious. So then I called again.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you remember who that doctor was?
FRANCES PAULEY:
. . . And begged him to come. He didn't want to come, but he finally came.

Page 35
JACQUELYN HALL:
They told him it was a SNCC worker?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Finally he came, and he gave him a shot that brought him around to consciousness. And after he'd been conscious for a few minutes, he said, "You can take him home." I said, "Take him home? In the first place, I don't even know where he lives. In the second place, he needs medical attention." I said, "You just put him in this hospital." Well, he said, "Who's going to pay for it?" I said, "I'm going to pay for it." And of course the Council couldn't pay for it. We didn't have money to pay for anything like that. But I paid for it out of my pocket—$150 before they would take him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You had that in cash?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, I gave them a check before they would put him in a bed in the hospital. I'll tell you, that does something to you. You begin to see what it means when you can't get medical treatment when the medical treatment is right there. Then I saw a black orderly that looked friendly, and tipped him heavily, and told him to see that nothing happened to that kid. He had internal bleeding from being beaten. They kept him for a few days, and we arranged medical treatment in Atlanta. That was an awful night.
I went on back down to Baker County the next day because they were going to march again. I was scared to death. What was going to happen to them? I didn't march with them because I didn't know whether it was a good idea or bad, or whether it was just that I was a coward. But I didn't. I figured that that wasn't my role, that my role was something different. And if I was on the sidelines, there were certain things I could do, and certain ways that

Page 36
I could be a witness.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that why they called you down there, to be a witness, to intercede with the officials?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, or just to help them in any way I knew. A bunch of blacks were watching the few who marched, and they asked me to come with them. I didn't want them to be hurt because of me. I got down there early before they came into town, and brought my car full of marchers.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were there any other whites?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Not any?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, none. When I arrived, I went to a little cafe to get some coffee and chatted with the people; we got along fine. They didn't know me, you know. Being fat and old, you can get by with a lot. Then I went to the stores; there was just one little row of stores. And I went into each store.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What town was this now?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Newton.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Newton.
FRANCES PAULEY:
I would chat with the people, all of them just as friendly as they could be. And then I went over to where the marchers were going to meet. And I brought a load of them in my car over to picket. I let them out of my car on the courthouse lawn, and of course some of the white people in the stores saw me. I didn't try to hide. The white people were down here on one corner of the square, and the black people

Page 37
were up on the next corner, and the picket line was on the sidewalk next to the court house. There were no more than twenty pickets, mostly women. Oh, in the meantime I had called the state capitol and asked for protection.
JACQUELYN HALL:
From the highway police?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, but they wouldn't come. I called the FBI. At that time, there was a man that was head of the Atlanta office who later was demoted, a marvelous man, just a marvelous man. He was head of the FBI in Atlanta. And I called him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was his name?
FRANCES PAULEY:
His name was Harding, I believe. And I never did meet him face to fact, but I mean, we had dozens of conversations and he told me that I never did tell him anything that was a bad lead. So he was always cooperative.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He really was committed to protecting the people in the movement?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Oh yes. He really was, but the people working for him were different.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's not true of the FBI in general.
FRANCES PAULEY:
No. But the people that he would send would be horrible. But then at times he would pull out the local FBI and send some others who did not work regularly with the local police. Well, he sent some local FBI into Newton. That's one thing that I usually did, would be to get in touch with officials. The state patrol refused to come.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they say they wouldn't come, or did they just not show up?

Page 38
FRANCES PAULEY:
They said they wouldn't come. I was still in hopes that they might. As the march started, the whites began to say ugly things to me. A lady came up to me and cussed me out. I'm telling you, I never hope to get such a cussing out as that lady gave me. She used the foulest language I ever heard in all my life from anybody. Then the whites got in a huddle over on the corner and they said, "What are we going to do? Let's tar and feather her." Well, that didn't bother me because I didn't see any tar or feathers. Anyway, they kept on saying what they were going to do to me and to the "niggers."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you by yourself, or were you standing with the black demonstrators?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I was by myself. I was in between the group of whites on one corner and the blacks on the next corner. The owners of the store told me not to stand there. They didn't want me in front of their store. So I'd move over away, and the next man said, "Go away. We don't want you in front of our store." And then I'd move over again.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you scared?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, I would say I was nervous. I think it would be kind of dumb not to have been, don't you?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Yes.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Then I went across the street to the courthouse. A white man came up to me, I think his name was Hall, but I'm not sure. He came up to me and he had a gun, and he said, "I'm going to kill you. You leave or I will kill you." He had a gun. I went to the local police and then to the FBI. And I said, "You see that man right over there?

Page 39
He's got a gun, and he just said he was going to kill me." They said, "That's too bad. What did he tell you to do?" I said, "He told me to leave." The FBI said, "Well, why don't you leave?" So I went to the local police and I said, "See that man over there? He's got a gun, and he said he was going to kill me." And they said, "Well, why don't you get out of town?" Well, I tell you the truth, I didn't know what else to do except to leave, but I didn't want to leave. I just felt like it's cowardly to go, but what were you going to do? Nobody'd let me stand on their sidewalk. The little, tiny, pitiful picket line moved along the block sidewalk. So I got in my car and I rode up the road to the first filling station, got out and went in. And I called the state Capitol and I said, "I want to speak to Governor Sanders." I had talked and worked with Mr. Sanders in Augusta when there was trouble there and a white boy was killed.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is this Carl Sanders?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes. He had promised me that he would give me support in my work. He told me that although he wouldn't help me in this state, he would always give me protection. On the phone I reminded him that he had promised protection. I told him a white man was threatening to kill me. I told him I was afraid they were going to kill those SNCC kids down there. I said, "If one of those kids gets killed, I'm telling you, it's going to be your fault. I've warned you. I asked for help in this place." I said it just as strong as I could. Well, I went on up to Albany. They did send the state patrol, and nobody was hurt that day. But it took a lot of nerve for me to go back, but I went back many times

Page 40
and the Council did a real good job.
The first time I went back, we had an integrated meeting in the courthouse.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Meeting of whom?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Council people. We took the whites from out of town. Just a few; all that would go. And the blacks that lived there (blacks from the outside were afraid). We decided we'd have the meeting on a non-controversial subject. I believe it was something like "How to Establish a Credit Union" or something like that. It was some economic something. The room that we met in was upstairs in the courthouse. The only way up was a little single stairway, and everybody in there was scared to death. They really were scared. I thought they'd probably slash all our tires, and we wouldn't be able to get away. That was the only thing I was really afraid of. Father Austin Ford was presiding.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Austin Ford.
FRANCES PAULEY:
And he said, "Well, what shall we sing?" (We always ended meetings with "We Shall Overcome.") And the audience said, "‘We Shall Overcome’." And they sang one "We Shall Overcome," starting with the verse "We are not afraid." And there we were all just scared to death. "We are not afraid." The man that had threatened me came in with other local whites and sat up in the front in the jury section. Mr. Hubert Thomas, who was working on my staff—the great, huge black man—was the one that made the talk about credit unions. The white people got so interested in what he had to say that they asked him questions.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who were the local blacks that came in?

Page 41
FRANCES PAULEY:
Local people that Charles Sherrod had organized.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They weren't local Georgia Council?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, many were members of the Southwest Georgia Council that we had organized and which had about three whites and about three hundred blacks. Each time we met, we'd meet in a different county. So this was a Georgia Council meeting, really.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You had three local whites?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No local whites from Newton. The local whites that came were the rednecks from Baker County.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there a difference in the people that joined the Southwest Council and the people who were working with SNCC? Did they tend to be older people or more middle-class people?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, we had the same people in the Southwest Georgia organization, but we would not organize unless it was interracial. The "three" was exaggerated; we probably had twenty-five.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The same people overlapping in both organizations. Why did you want the other organization then?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Because we were trying to get the whites we thought, and I still think, that we must progress together. We started out with a bunch of whites. We started out with about seven preachers that really were great but all of them either got run out or they left town. There was a Presbyterian minister and he left town; an Episcopal minister—two Episcopal ministers—and both of them left; a Baptist minister, and he left; and the Methodist minister; he left. There were five ministers that left.

Page 42
JACQUELYN HALL:
You had them in the Southwest Georgia Council?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, but they didn't leave because they were in the Council; they left because they had taken a stand in the community.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why were they calling on you to come down, rather than calling on someone from the Southern Regional Council, for example?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, they knew me, I guess. They didn't know any of those people. They all stayed inside. You know, I'd just go whenever and wherever they asked me. One night we were over in Brunswick and we got a call. And this was really at the beginning of the Albany movement, or near, the beginning of the Albany movement (before the Baker County problem). So we raced over there, getting there about 2 o'clock in the morning. We got to the hotel and called Claude Sitton of The New York Times and asked where the SNCC meeting was. And he gave me a telephone number. They told us to come down a certain road and watch for somebody who would pilot us. So we rode down the road and stopped the car. It was dark as pitch; and the SNCC kid got in the car. And we rode on to where the meeting was at somebody's house. All the local leaders were in jail. This just left a sort of fragmented group meeting. They just didn't know what to do. I just sat there. So they began to talk about whether or not they should ask King to come and help them. You know, there's been a lot of controversy about whether King just went or whether SNCC asked him to come to Albany. Well, I'll have you to know SNCC asked him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that right?
FRANCES PAULEY:
They decided to ask him to come.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But the leaders were not involved in making the decision . . .

Page 43
FRANCES PAULEY:
The leaders . . . I can't remember. I don't think Charles Sherrod was there. You see, there were two Charles that were working in Albany. There was Charles Sherrod and Charles Jones that were working together in SNCC down there, and it seems to me that one of them was there and the other one was in jail. They used to try to work it that way, so one would be out. The group decided that they would ask King to come. There wasn't much controversy at all about not asking him. And they got on the phone and called him. He said he'd consider and let them know, and he called back and said he'd come. Now we were there, so I know that was the truth. There were not any difficulties that I saw in the beginning there between SNCC and SCLC. And Andy came.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Andy Young came?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, and Wyatt T. Walker, and seems to me Wyatt T. was more a leader than anyone else. We were trying to work out some negotiations with the officials.
JACQUELYN HALL:
With the sheriff and the . . . who were you trying to negotiate with?
FRANCES PAULEY:
With the police chief, the mayor, and city fathers. The demands that the local group had made were on the city, demands concerning city services particularly. And so what I was trying to do was, again, trying to be a bridge and trying to get a group together. We finally were successful in getting a group of the black leaders and the white leaders together. The Committee drew up an agreement, and the blacks in the movement went along with it. The Committee took it to the white city council, and the council wouldn't agree and sent back the most insulting telegram I have ever heard in all my life. When the news came, we were

Page 44
in the little back room in the church where the meetings went on practically all the time. King, I remember King was there, and I remember Wyatt T. Walker was there, and I remember Dr. Anderson was there. He was head of the movement at that time. I can't remember whether C. B. or Slater were there or not at that moment; they might have been and they might not have been. But I do remember those people.
And I cried. I don't often cry, but I was so disappointed. I hadn't had any sleep and I was just fatigued. The weather was terrible. It was cold and raining. And also I had gotten arrested that day . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
JACQUELYN HALL:
While I was trying to get the negotiating group together, I came out of the black church where we were meeting. Of course, a white woman wasn't supposed to be down there. I got in my car, and a black woman got in with me. And we started toward the city hall, and a cop stopped us. I told the black lady to get out because I knew the cops only wanted me. And they took me into jail. They couldn't decide what to book me on because I hadn't broken any law. They were in the corner trying to decide what to book me on. I was waiting, wondering if they would allow me a phone call. The little woman I had let out of the car (you know the courage it must have taken) went to the mayor and told him that I had been arrested, that I hadn't done a thing, and that for him not to let them put me in jail. He sent word down for the police to let me go. And they did. He said, "Charge her with a traffic violation."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you know the woman?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes.

Page 45
JACQUELYN HALL:
You knew her name?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, I don't remember her name. She had a baby, and I remember taking care of the baby while she'd go in meetings sometimes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were there any other southern white women in those situations?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Some screwballs that used to come down to see what was going on. I used to get so angry with them. Dr. Anderson, who was the head of the movement, had a house that was a very nice, new house, you know, probably two bedrooms, maybe three bedrooms. It was the head-quarters of the movement in Albany, and everybody from out of town came there. They expected to be bedded down and to be fed. And those people would come from all over the United States and eat the food, and do you think they would do anything about bringing in any food or anything? I just thought it was terrible.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Reporters came and stayed there?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, the reporters stayed at the motel. They might drop by but they were where the action was—at the church or the jail or on the street. They were just hangers-on, just wide-eyed liberals that liked to talk about having been to Albany.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Right.
FRANCES PAULEY:
And I remember one time one of them asked Mrs. Anderson where they could spend the night. She said, "There's not a place except our bed." And he said, "Well, we hate to take your bed, but if you don't have any other . . . " And he took it! I mean, he took Dr. Anderson's bed. One time I went down there and ate, but I took a stack of pies

Page 46
from the motel, nice warm apple pies. They told me it was the first time anybody from out of town had ever come in here and brought anything to eat. And all the Negroes in the community would cook up stuff and bring it over.
One thing the Council did was to send out a letter, "Occupant Mail," to the white people in Albany, asking them to be reasonable and negotiate. I thought I'd get some nice answers. I got 278 nasty letters. One of them was on a card, and it said, "We know God made snakes and rats and roaches, but why he made you, we'll never know."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you get any positive responses?
FRANCES PAULEY:
No, I think I got one from somebody that didn't live there. I was surprised. I thought there'd be some decent people. We kept trying to make a bridge some way. We organized a prayer group, some black women and white women in town, and that didn't work. That petered out. We got some black and white businessmen together who were worried about business. They met secretly at night. We had to make sure that there wouldn't be a majority of blacks. They met out at the Episcopal church at the edge of town. That did last longer than some of the others. We tried to organize the Council. It failed. There was one lady, one white lady in Albany that invited me to come to supper at her house when her husband was out of town. He worked at the air base; they weren't really natives. That was the only time any white person ever asked me to have a cup of coffee with them in that city, much less come to their house.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How long did you keep going back and forth to Albany?
FRANCES PAULEY:
We kept going, even after the movement stopped. I wouldn't have given up for anything because people felt so hopeless. We organized

Page 47
some work on employment. This brought some of the older NAACP blacks together with the movement people. Some of the middle-class blacks didn't like SNCC but there was a certain kind of backing that they would give them. There was a dentist there, his name was Dr. Hamilton, and he was in contact with a lot of people. He worked a lot on helping to get people out of jail. He was a leader in our employment efforts. Then we got in some of the federal people to help open up jobs out at the bases (Army, Air, Marine). We kept on working in Albany until I quit my job. Mr. Thomas worked practically full time in Baker for a long time. He got a lot of really good government programs going in Baker. The Council never took the grants, and operated the programs. We always had the local group organized to take leadership and handle the programs. Some of them were large amounts of money, but it went through the local group, not the Council.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You got money from H.E.W.; you helped local groups raise money from H.E.W.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, and from any government programs. We tried to develop the local black leadership. One educational program was good; half a day the adults did basic education, and the other half of the day they did job training that would prepare them to take some kind of job in the community. It was useful and successful. There was a sewing factory in Baker County, and we'd train blacks for that. The program in Baker was integrated. The whites and blacks came and worked together; whites and blacks ran it. And it was beautiful. And we had the most beautiful graduation exercises in the same horrible courthouse where we had such

Page 48
a frightening time. And blacks and white graduating together, black and white staff sitting together up there in the jury seats. And that was a beautiful program, but it was an expensive one: the people got paid for a long time. And Mr. Thomas of our staff worked just about full time in Baker County for many months.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who were the other people on your staff?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Mr. Holmes worked five years until he died. And he was just absolutely marvelous. He worked a lot with Operation Breadbasket in Atlanta. He worked in a quiet way, but a very, very substantial way. Mr. Thomas was also interested in housing. He was from south Georgia and worked in the southern part of the state while Mr. Holmes worked out of Atlanta. Mr. Holmes was better than Mr. Thomas in helping organize groups and working with the Council groups. Those two black men worked the longest of any people that I had. Al Henry, that's still around here, worked for me for a while until I quit. Who else did I have?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did you quit?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, I thought it was time we had black leadership, one. Two, the Southern Regional Council wasn't helpful.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why weren't they helpful?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, I don't know. They just never seemd to be sympathetic with many of the things that we did. We got interested in welfare rights, and we organized welfare rights groups. A lot of places where you couldn't get any whites for a council you could get blacks in welfare rights. We had about forty different groups around the state; some places had councils and welfare rights groups. I wanted to continue to work in

Page 49
welfare rights after I left the Council.
JACQUELYN HALL:
People on the Georgia Council didn't like your work with welfare rights?
FRANCES PAULEY:
The Councils generally weren't interested in the very poor. The Council work got harder and harder and harder. We expanded our program until it was just about killing us, and yet we didn't have enough money to hire any more people. And Southern Regional Council hindered us in raising money instead of helping us.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did that happen?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, they didn't want to take grants and have it go through them to us. They seemed to be jealous of us getting the money, rather than them, you know, like they were competitive. I feel like they made a big mistake in not backing up the local councils. I think the Southern Regional Council could have been much stronger today and be more effective in the South if they had helped the local councils.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Because they have no local base . . .
FRANCES PAULEY:
They don't have, and they should have. And they're not a membership organization, and they're just a little group of people that's gotten so ingrown. And it seems to me that if they had encouraged and helped the local councils instead of trying to kill them off, they would have been better off. And I'm sure the Council would too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you get money from the Southern Regional Council at all?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And did you try to deal . . .
FRANCES PAULEY:
Money would be given . . . see, a lot of foundations, rather than give money to the Georgia Council, the Mississippi Council,

Page 50
the Tennessee Council, and so forth, they'd give a bunch to Southern Regional Council earmarked for us. And then Southern Regional Council would dish it out.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But did you do your own fund-raising?
FRANCES PAULEY:
I'd go to New York twice a year. See, I learned my lesson on that $5 business.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who did you raise money from?
FRANCES PAULEY:
The foundations.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who was your main source of support—what foundations?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, we pretty much tried to have several, and we had several different people in New York that we would just get like two or three thousand dollars a year from, or something like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Individuals?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, or small family foundations. And then we got money from the Field Foundation; they gave us probably the most. Max Hahn, when he was director, was always very interested in us. And he was more generous with us than Les Dunbar. And then Vernon Eagle, who recently died, he was with the New World Foundation; he gave us money. And then we got money from the Taconic Foundation. I guess those were the biggest. And then each time I'd try to hit on some new small ones, I was starting to begin to get money from some of the business firms who had branches all over the South, like paper companies.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The Southern Regional Council has tremendous influence and connections with northern foundations, and if they weren't helping you, then they were hindering you.

Page 51
FRANCES PAULEY:
That's true, and I knew of a couple of instances when I asked for money for Welfare Rights that they didn't back me up.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The foundations called up the head of the Southern Regional Council . . .
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, sure.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And asked if they should give money to somebody.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Right, right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was Les Dunbar head of S.R.C. then?
FRANCES PAULEY:
He was there for part of the time I was. And then he left and went to Field, but he was no help at Field because he could do the same thing up there. Other foundations would ask his opinion.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Well, how do you account for the influence that those people have over the way money flows into the South?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Of course, I think the whole matter of foundations is wrong. In the first place, it's nothing but money that should have gone into the government in taxes. Instead, these foundations have some little man up there as the head of it who plays God and decides who's going to eat and who's going to starve.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's right, and feels real moral and wonderful while he's doing it.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Yes, and I think it's wrong; I think it's just basically wrong. I think business should have to pay their tax money.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you feel that way while you were trying to raise money?
FRANCES PAULEY:
Sure, I felt that way while I was trying to raise money, but if the money was there, you had to get the money. It was easier to

Page 52
get $1,000 than getting it $5 at the time. And organizing costs money, and lots of members is going to mean a lot more money. And if you get a strong local council, the local council wants to do things locally, and they need money locally. The kind of people we had in the council didn't have any money. And we certainly weren't popular in the South to get any money from southerners. I think that the only way that something like the Georgia Council can exist at the present would be just really to go back the way we did in the beginning, just really make use of volunteers to the greatest extent possible. There are a lot of people that will do for free something that you couldn't pay them to do.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's absolutely right, and you can't buy the best . . .
FRANCES PAULEY:
You can't buy commitment.
JACQUELYN HALL:
. . . Kind of help. That's right.
FRANCES PAULEY:
You can't buy commitment; you can buy a liar, but you can't buy real commitment.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's right.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, after I left the Council, I went with H.E.W. in the Civil Rights Division, and that was a whole new life.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Well, Frances, I have to go, but I sure would love to talk to you some more.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Well, I don't know. You know, everybody just has their own little lopsided view.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But you have to put them all together.
FRANCES PAULEY:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Find out what happened.

Page 53
FRANCES PAULEY:
But I just think that it's a shame that we don't have some better interracial groups working today, with more commitment instead of sitting around moralizing or talking. We need some more Austin Fords to get out and do something.
END OF INTERVIEW
1. 1952.
2. Summer 1954.
3. April 1955.
4. 1958-59.
5. It was chartered in December 1958.