UNC's reluctance to desegregate
McKissick recalls the challenges to interracial friendships among students. He also describes UNC as a political arm of the state. As such, UNC could not advocate immediate change in race relations because it had to stay in step with the state. This connection between the state and institution recurs when McKissick discusses the impracticality and failures of North Carolina progressivism later in the interview.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Floyd B. McKissick Sr., May 31, 1989. Interview L-0040. 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
- BRUCE KALK:
The University of North Carolina has had a reputation as being the
center of southern liberalism and yet the story that you've
described very much contradicts some of that reputation. To what extent
do you think the University lived up to that appellation as the bastion
of southern liberalism?
- FLOYD B. MCKISSICK, SR.:
Well, I think you had a man like Frank Porter Graham who expressed
himself nationally and there were members on the faculty who had
expressed themselves that we knew about. There were always people at the
University of North Carolina who disagreed with the policies of
segregation even when I went there, before we had arrived. There were
people who talked with us, who gave us advice on what to do and how to
do it and who was friendly. But the basic, it's a political
school and it was a political process that tied up so many of the minds
of those who were there. I would like to think that it was primarily
political rather than that went to the academic community, I think the
academic community, well, I'd say at least fifty percent of
the academic community didn't care one way or the other. But
I would think that it was basically a political and because
it's involved in the politics of North Carolina, it was not
going to prove any faster than any other process in the state.