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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Floyd B. McKissick Sr., May 31, 1989. Interview L-0040. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

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.