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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with S. Davis (Dave) Phillips, January 27, 1999. Interview I-0084. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Belief that North Carolina's workforce integrated successfully

Here, Phillips argues that the influx of racial minorities and women into the workforce went successfully. He shares his belief in the importance of cultural diversity and thinks North Carolina as a state is "very mature, very sophisticated" in its approach to race and nationality.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with S. Davis (Dave) Phillips, January 27, 1999. Interview I-0084. 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

JM: Last question because I know we're bumping up against the edge of our time here. Think back across these thirty or forty years on the question of say race and gender. How minorities, racial minorities and women have entered the work place in the North Carolina economy. Reflect for a minute on the course of that transition and its relative success or lack thereof. What's your, take the measure of the integration of racial minorities and women in North Carolina workplace across that span. DP: I think it has been very successful. Just think about where we were. I can remember where I was in the '50s and early '60s. Yet, you're talking about just one generation. To have that change in mindset in one generation, it usually would take in my opinion longer to deal with this evolution. But I think we've come a long way. It's hard to believe what was there before. But I think it's necessary, and it's marveling absolutely necessary. It's somewhat embarrassing that we as a state or a nation didn't deal with it before. But then you travel the world and find out that we're ahead of most of the world. We're true leaders. I remember when I hired a female to be a plant manager for me in the textile business in the '70s. People thought it was incredible. They looked at me and I said, 'Well, I think she's the best.' She was fabulous and did a fabulous job. But some of my peers in the textile industry had just never conceived of such a thing. So I felt good about it. When I went to Raleigh, I was exposed more to minorities and not just from North Carolina but around the world, and it gave me a great feeling that dealing with all these people that I learned about them. I'm not talking about just North Carolinians or blacks and whites but the trips we took to South Africa with a delegation of blacks from North Carolina. A delegation of Jews and we went to Israel. It was fabulous. Palestine and all through there. The trips to Korea and Japan and China and on and on gives you an appreciation of the diversity of North Carolina, the beauty of North Carolina of all these people working together and accomplishing something, especially in state government. I had an enormous amount of minorities working for me, and I was so proud of my team that it didn't make any difference of who they are or where they're from or what have you. We always worked as a team. I thought it was fascinating, especially in Commerce where we had an international division with offices all over the world. We recruited all over the world therefore we had lots of nationalities. So it's I think from an attitude standpoint, North Carolina is very mature, very sophisticated. I think being a southern state has never ever held us back at all on any kind of approach to the world's problem. Alabama I think kept hearing words about Alabama. So they had to overcome that reputation hoping that the Mercedes deal would help them out. We never had that problem.