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Title: Oral History Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, April 5, 1991. Interview L-0064-7. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Pollitt, Daniel H., interviewee
Interview conducted by McColl, Ann
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2008
Size of electronic edition: 80 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2008.
© 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:
2008-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2008-02-19, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, April 5, 1991. Interview L-0064-7. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series L. University of North Carolina. Southern Oral History Program Collection (L-0064-7)
Author: Ann McColl
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, April 5, 1991. Interview L-0064-7. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series L. University of North Carolina. Southern Oral History Program Collection (L-0064-7)
Author: Daniel H. Pollitt
Description: 96.2 Mb
Description: 22 p.
Note: Interview conducted on April 5, 1991, by Ann McColl; recorded in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series L. University of North Carolina, 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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Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, April 5, 1991.
Interview L-0064-7. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Pollitt, Daniel H., interviewee


Interview Participants

    DANIEL H. POLLITT, interviewee
    ANN McCOLL, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
ANN McCOLL:
This is an interview with Dan Pollitt in the continuing series of interviews at the UNC law school. Today's date is April 5, 1991 and the interviewer is Ann McColl.
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
This was almost thirty years ago.
ANN McCOLL:
When the Speaker Ban Law controversy started?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes, that was twenty-seven or something. So my memory has to be refreshed. I have got a drawer full of all the clippings and all the correspondence and everything. I've looked through part of it. So why don't I start off and you interrupt me if I'm getting irrelevant. The Speaker Ban Law, I always thought, was a result of racism. It was 1963 in June and we had had the sit-ins going on in Chapel Hill. The faculty was divided, but there were a lot of faculty who supported the sit-ins and we were raising money for it. We were picketing the two theaters in town which would not admit blacks at all and that was going on every evening from 6:00 to 9:00 or something when people would go. The restaurants were being picketed and the streets were blocked after the Wake Forest game on Saturday afternoon and tied up traffic. There were marches and all sorts of things. This was unpopular in this state. The same was true in Durham and Raleigh and Greensboro and Charlotte. So there was the attack on traditions; segregation. I'm trying to think of the guy's name. He was one of our graduates who then went to Yale law school and then came back here to get a history degree. He was a good friend of…. He wanted to dump Johnson. He became very prominent. He became a Congressman from New York.

Page 2
But he was teaching at State in political science and the Shaw University had invited a Shaw graduate to come and give a major talk there and she was Liberian. She was a Liberian Ambassador to the UN, so Shaw was honoring her. This young instructor at State asked her to come speak to his class and she did. Then he took her to lunch at the Sir Walter. Now at that time Sir Walter was where all the debutante balls were held and a lot of the legislators lived there during the session and the others, they all ate there. That's where they caucused. It was the home for the legislators. Al Lowenstein was his name. Allard Lowenstein. So Al brought in this black woman to have lunch at the sacred place. I always thought Al Lowenstein taking the woman to lunch was what triggered the Speaker Ban Law. That was the final straw. In any event, Thad Eure, who was then the Secretary of State, wrote to Ohio where they were proposing a bill to ban speakers. Namely, Aptheker had been invited to speak out there.
ANN McCOLL:
And he was a Communist?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
He was a very well known Communist and he was on the Communist Central Committee. He was also a historian. He had a lot of authenticity as an historian in the Negro problems in America. That was his specialty. He's spoken here two or three times over the years to the history club.
ANN McCOLL:
At UNC?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
At UNC, and nobody had known it. I mean, you know, it was in the Tarheel, that somebody had spoken to the history club. So in any event, that's my theory. That Thad Eure got the copy of the Ohio bill and then it was introduced; they waited. It was

Page 3
the next to last day of the session and a lot of people had gone home. There was sort of an understanding that you don't do anything on the last two days except to say goodbye and you know, make the last day a camp or something. So they introduced the bill. A guy named Stone was the presiding officer in the Senate and there were a few little opponents who said, "Hey, what the hell are you doing? What is this?" And he wouldn't give them the floor and it was passed on a voice vote. Bobby Morgan, who later became our Attorney General and then our US Senator, was in there fighting for that bill.
ANN McCOLL:
Did it go through the committee process?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
It didn't go anywhere. It was introduced on the floor to not everybody's surprise because obviously the people who were in on it knew it was coming and planned it. But it passed. Bill Friday was then our President and Bill Aycock was our Chancellor and they didn't know about the bill.
ANN McCOLL:
Had you heard about it?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
I hadn't heard. Nobody had heard about it. It was a surprise, a stealth bill.
ANN McCOLL:
This is fairly irregular, isn't it?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes, it's extremely irregular. So that was in June of 1963 that they passed the bill and it became law.
ANN McCOLL:
Do you think that when it was passed that the people who voted for it understood what it was for?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
They knew it was anti-university and it said that nobody who was a known Communist or who has pleaded the fifth amendment before any kind of official body in regards to

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Communist or subversive activities and the third category is people who advocate the overthrow of the government by force and violence or unlawful means. The people who were in that category were barred from using campus facilities, university campus facilities for speaking purposes. So that was the law and it was anti-university and it was anti-Chapel Hill and it was anti-Al Lowenstein at State and all the black campuses. A&T is the original sit-in; came from the first four freshmen at A&T and N.C. Central and Elizabeth City and Winston Salem State; students were out there sitting in at the restaurants. So this was, "Get these damn college kids." It was anti-intellectualism which is always lurking below the surface. So the law was passed. Bill Friday and Bill Aycock heard it on the radio and they got in the car in Chapel Hill and drove to Raleigh to try to get it reconsidered; rehearing. Let's have a second vote or something. It was too late. Nobody would listen to them. Terry Sanford, I think, was the Governor and he had no veto. He had no veto, so there was nothing he could do except swear a little bit. So that then became the law. Then the question is what to do about it. Bill Aycock and Bill Friday said that what we should do is take it to the people and have the people bring it to the legislature and repeal it. Get it repealed.
ANN McCOLL:
Was this big in the paper?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Every paper in the state had editorials against the Speaker Ban Law. I just read the article I wrote which has a lengthy footnote where I say what the News and Observer said and the Durham Herald and the Greensboro News and all the rest of

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them. And every one of them opposed it. All the newspapers did. And Frank Graham was still alive and active and he went on a speaking tour across the state speaking against it. But his theory was that the people should repeal it. Now here on this campus there were a small group of us that met and thought we ought to bring a law suit. Jim Peniger who was on the law faculty and me; we met with the SDS, the Students for a Democratic Society, which was then active on the campus, and they were for a law suit. But see, what happened, summer vacation came and everybody came home and nothing much happened. What I did was I decided I would write a law review article. Or somebody asked me to or something happened. But in any event, I did write a law review article for the North Carolina Law Review which came out in the fall issue. The Tarheel says on the front page two columns above the crease, "Gag law labeled constitutionally suspect by Pollitt." And I noticed that somewhere in here Dean Brandis vouched for my authenticity. He says, "Pollitt is a noted member of the law school faculty who has had extensive experience in the United States Federal court system. He is well qualified to have an opinion on the subject," reported retiring law school dean Henry Brandis, Jr. Now, Henry Brandis and I did not see eye to eye on the sit-ins and the picketing and many of the social controversies and he was Mr. Respectability. He was one of the five most influential faculty members on the campus and so on. So he gave me his endorsement which was very helpful. But we came back in the fall and I remember that the AAUP, the American Association of University

Page 6
Professors, became very active and we created a committee to keep track of the consequences of the law because we wanted to have facts and so on. So Tom Wicker, one of our graduates, and then the head of the Washington Bureau of the Times had been invited to come and speak and he cancelled because of the Speaker Ban Law. I think the guy who ran the Wall Street Journal, one of our graduates, who later joined our journalism school [unknown], he resigned. I mean, he declined. The Association of Physics Teachers or whatever it's called, was scheduled to have their annual meeting here and they decided not to come because this did not have academic freedom.
ANN McCOLL:
How is this word getting out?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Well, it was nationwide. This was a big deal. A prominent University won't let their students listen to speakers. Also we were not alone. Our law came from the Ohio law which was not passed, but what they did in Ohio was to urge the Trustees to do something. The Senate adopted a resolution. They didn't pass a law, but they adopted a resolution urging the state supported institutions not to permit Communists or fifth amendment pleaders to come to their campus. Mississippi passed a Speaker Ban Law. Louisiana passed a Speaker Ban Law. California had a law prohibiting Communists from teaching. In New York City, Hunter College wouldn't let Buckley speak. Senator Goldwater, who ran on the Republican party ticket in '64, had been turned away at Northwestern because he was too controversial and what they said was that the…. They had a track meet that day and he was supposed to speak in their big indoor hall where they had the

Page 7
track meet and they couldn't possibly have both the track meet in the afternoon and Goldwater in the evening. So Martin King was not allowed to speak at various places. William and Mary wouldn't have him. You know, so this was an ongoing topic and the newspapers kept recounting each episode and then had a roundup of what else is going on. So we were very newsworthy. Then we had a lot of graduates who are in the media.
ANN McCOLL:
From graduating from our journalism school?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes, so they would keep it up. Brinkley.
So in any event, the decision really was to appeal to the people of the state to influence their legislators to repeal the law when they met again in 1965. What we did, and the AAUP, was to keep the pot boiling and we would find that whenever somebody would decline an invitation. There was a very famous British physicist who was invited to speak at State and earlier somebody had asked him if he was a Communist and he told them it was none of their business. So State cancelled. Then there was some Russian surgeon who was a kidney expert, or liver. I forget. He came over and they said it was okay for him to perform an operation and people can watch, but he's not to say anything. Not for speaking purposes. You know, is he speaking when he takes out a liver? So we kept track of all those things and our membership went from a hundred to six hundred; our paid dues, you know. It was exciting. Then other things sort of came along. Bill Friday and Bill Aycock was the Chancellor and Frank Graham and the AAUP and Paul Green, the playwright. He was invited to give the University Day address and he spoke about the Speaker Ban. Frank

Page 8
Porter Graham was invited to give the graduation address and he spoke about the Speaker Ban, so it was never far from the headlines. But the decision was to wait. So Ken Peniger and I were going to represent the students. They decided they'd go along with the wisdom of our betters. We dropped that for [unknown]. I didn't think we really made much headway. Jesse Helms was for the Speaker Ban and he was then at WRAL and he had a five minute news thing and he kept saying we got to keep the Communists out. The leaders of the legislature were for it and the respectable people laid low. They didn't say yes or no and I didn't think anything would happen until the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities said that we might lose our accreditation because we had lost control; the Universities had lost control. The legislature had taken over saying who can come to the campuses, so we would no longer be a reputable institution because we didn't have institutional control. At first people said, "So what? Who cares? We're not going to be intimidated by an outside agency." Then it turned out we'd lose our ROTC and NROTC and we might lose our football schedules. Ahha! So we got to do something. And that's what precipitated the action. It wasn't Frank Graham or Paul Green or Bill Friday. It was this, that we might lose our accreditation and we would not be able to compete in the athletic field and we would not get grants and all that. So the governor decided to…. I think we had a new governor by '64, who appointed the Britt Commission headed by Mr. Britt to have hearings across the state and to report back with recommendations. Well, there were statewide hearings and

Page 9
they were televised statewide. They had them in Wilmington and Raleigh and Greensboro and Asheville and round about. The American Legion guys spoke for it and Bobby Morgan spoke for it and Jesse Helms spoke for it. Thad Eure spoke for it. Against it was the AAUP and the Faculty Councils of each college. Bill Van Alstein at Duke gave a good statement. And then the recommendation of the Britt Commission was that they turn institutional control back to the colleges. So this was not going to be unaccreditated.
ANN McCOLL:
So it's the Trustees that make a decision?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes. But then they urged all the Trustees to adopt regulations restricting or limiting or governing the outside speakers. So that was passed by the legislation.
ANN McCOLL:
This was in 1965?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
This was 1965. We had the '63 session which passed it. Then we had the Britt Commission in '65. The legislature said, "We'll turn it all over to the Trustees of the Universities and they will adopt regulations." The law was that they will adopt regulations governing the speeches of known Communists, those who plead the Fifth Amendment, those who advocate the overthrow of the government by unlawful means. So they repeated [unknown] the language of the Speaker Ban Law and said there ought to be regulations and that it has to be on rare occasions and only when it's educationally necessary or something like that. So I turned back to the Trustees. Well, immediately the SDS, Students for Democratic Society, invited Apthecker to come to the campus. Aptheker had been invited to the University of New York in

Page 10
Buffalo and they turned him down; they filed a law suit and he won. He'd been invited to Wayne State in Michigan and while the invitation was issued the Michigan Senate adopted a resolution urging the President to cancel. Well, the President said, "No, we're not going to cancel. This is a free institution and we're searching the truth," and so on. So Aptheker was known and his daughter, Betina Apthecker, was a leader of the Free Speech movement at Berkeley. So she had been on the podium and in the news and she had been invited to Alabama and Troy State and they turned her away. They wouldn't let her speak, whereupon she became someone you'd invite, so Herbert, the father and Betina, the daughter were logical people. I talked to him on the phone. He called me and he says, "I've got this invitation to come speak there and if you just want a law suit, I'll come. But I'm not going to go to jail. I'm not coming down there to go to jail. I want that understood. So I'm not going to violate any trespass laws or do anything like that." And I said, "No, you don't have to." Hopefully, you'll get permission. Well, the SDS then went to Chancellor Sharpe. We had Paul Sharpe as our Chancellor then. He succeeded Bill Aycock. Paul Sharpe was a good guy and he said, "Sure, be glad to have him" He wrote a letter to Bill Friday saying, "You ought to know that I told the students they could have Apthecker. And what I'm going to do," he said, "We need a senior professor to sit on the platform and there has to be an opportunity for questions and there has to be a rebuttal sometime in the not too far future." So those were the three requirements. He was going to have Henry Brandis as senior

Page 11
professor to make sure that Apthecker doesn't incite people to burning the old well or something. So Bill Friday immediately told the governor.
ANN McCOLL:
That was Governor Moore?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes, Dan K. Moore. At that time we had one group of Trustees for the University of North Carolina which was State and Chapel Hill and Greensboro. The Governor was the chairman ex officio of the Board of Trustees for these three institutions. So Dan K. Moore, the Governor, as the Chairman of the Trustees said, "You can't have him." And he said that, "We haven't really got our regulations together yet," is what he said, "So we can't say yes or we can't say no, but we're saying no because we can't say yes." So Apthecker was turned down by Governor Moore. He met with the Executive Board and there were ten on the Executive Board and then there were a hundred members, one from each county. It was a very prestigious thing. They'd meet once a year and the Executive Board ran things. So the hundred met and they had agreed on the regulations which the Executive Board had said that there has to be a senior professor present and so on. So then Paul Sharpe moved on. He was here two years during the Speaker Ban Controversy and he had okayed Apthecker and he got the rejection. What happened sort of, is that the Duke students, naturally, invited Aptheker to come for that date and President Knight at Duke said, "We'd be happy to have him." So he spoke at Duke to a large turn out crowd. So then the Trustees adopted the regulations and this time the campus leaders decided they would invite him.
Paul Dixon was the President of the student body and

Page 12
they had…. I have the complaint here, but the President of whatever in student government who is the follow up, so Paul Dixon was the President and then the next person. Incidentally, if you go back, Bob Spearman was the President of the student body during the Britt Committee hearings and he testified against the bill; gave very eloquent testimony. And Tommy Bellow was the student body president in '63 or '64 and he came out. So we had four successive college body presidents, very articulate and very effective and persuasive against the bill. But Paul Dixon organized a committee for free speech or something and he held a meeting in the largest auditorium and they had two thousand students and they all agreed unaminously that he should invite Apthecker. So he and a guy named Van Loon who was the head of the Di Phi Society and whoever was the head of the Tarheel. And Hank Patterson who is now with Norman Smith's firm was a plaintiff. The campus leaders, the head of the YMCA, they joined the two SDS leaders in issuing the invitation to Aptheker and to Wilkinson. Wilkinson had pleaded the fifth before California State committee, so he was in that second category. Let me deviate one more little thing as well that comes to me. Burly Mitchell, now state Supreme Court judge, had been the president of the Young Democrats at State during this time and he invited the head of the Ku Klux Klan to come figuring he's a third category, that advocate the overthrow of the government by unlawful means. This was to be their test of the Speaker Ban Law. The Attorney General, Wade Bruton, ruled that the Ku Klux Klan was not within that category. So it was okay to have the Ku Klux Klan. Back to

Page 13
UNC. It went to Sitterson. Paul Sharpe had left the Chancellorship and Sitterson was the acting Chancellor. He had been the Dean of Liberal Arts and he had joined with Bill Friday and Bill Aycock and Paul Sharpe protesting the law and he gave a great speech to the Phi Beta Kappa group on academic freedom and the Speaker Ban Law which was published in the Tarheel and all that. But he was an interim Chancellor and it got up to him and he said, "No."
ANN McCOLL:
To Wilkerson?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
He said, "No." And what he said was, "I am bound by Governor Moore's earlier decision." That's phony.
ANN McCOLL:
But at this point the regulations had been passed.
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Moore said, "I'm going to deny it because we don't have the regulations in place yet."
ANN McCOLL:
But now you did.
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Then they put the regulations in place, the application was made and Sitterson says, "I'm bound by Governor Moore's ruling. I don't have any discretion." Okay so then they decide to sue. One little collateral matter which nobody knows about is that the students got Mac Smith and Mac Smith, Mcneil Smith of Greensboro, who agreed to represent them. He's a very prominent lawyer in what was then the largest law firm between Richmond and Atlanta; a big shot law firm. I was working with him and Bill Van Alstein at Duke. We worked together very closely. We met every weekend and went over everything. But what nobody knows is that McNeil Smith thought, "Okay, we've had Paul Greene and Frank Graham and every newspaper. It'd be better if we get seven or

Page 14
eight prominent attorneys to sign their name to the brief. So he wrote to fifty, all graduates of this institution and his letter was, "You know about the Speaker Ban Law," and so on, and that, "It's stifling academic freedom at Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill is the leader in academic freedom and we'd got to protect the old Well and our traditions and so on. I invite you to join in on the lawsuit." He said, "There is no money involved, but we've got Dan Pollitt and Bill Van Alstein, the law professors who are doing the spade work and there won't be much to it. He got fifty rejections.
ANN McCOLL:
Were you surprised?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes. Because I thought every newspaper was against the Speaker Ban Law. And you had, you know, the president and every campus had resolutions.
ANN McCOLL:
Why do you think people were so…
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
It's hard to get a lawyer to take an unpopular cause. But there were fifty graduates of the University of North Carolina who had prominence who were asked to participate in the law suit who said no. Nobody said yes. Nobody said yes. So we went to the courts with Mac Smith as the attorney for the students. I filed an amicus brief for the ACLU, the Civil Liberties Union, North Carolina Civil Liberties Union, and Bill Van Alstein filed an amicus brief for the American Association of University Professors. Then we agreed to divide the oral argument. As you were coming in, I found my letter to McNeil Smith saying that, "You ought to take the bulk of the time and just save us each five minutes to be divided." Bill Van Alstein

Page 15
didn't like that. He thought he should have seven minutes. But you can't divide up the time that way. But in any event, what I did was I got some lawyers from the North Carolina Civil Liberties Union to go on my brief.
ANN McCOLL:
Do you remember some of those?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes. I have the brief. Charlie Lambeth from Thomasville, Norman Smith who was then a young lawyer in Greensboro. We had one prominent person. We had May Allbright who is prominent and I don't know why Mac Smith didn't ask him to join his group, but maybe he wasn't prominent enough. Yes, May Allbright and Lisbon Berry who was then a fairly recent graduate of N.C. Central Law School who was practicing in Wilmington and Hugh Casey who was sort of big in Charlotte. He was the President of the American Legion or something. Wrenn [unknown] who was a very recent graduate of Wake Forest in Winston and Charles Lambeth from Thomasville and Jim Mattux who is a real estate lawyer from High Point and Bill Forte out of Rocky Mount who is now a real big shot negligence lawyer, but we're talking twenty-eight years ago.
ANN McCOLL:
So these were all young lawyers with the exception of May Allbright?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
These were very young lawyers all except for May Allbright and were in their beginning years. So that was a shock to me that McNeil Smith couldn't get anybody.
Well, we filed the lawsuit and then we took depositions and we took Sitterson's deposition. I went with Mac Smith to the Chancellor's office and they had the Attorney General and the state had hired Arch T.

Page 16
Allen who was a lawyer in Raleigh. [Phone ringing] We were taking the deposition. Arch T. Allen was retained by the University to represent Sitterson and so on. Wade Bruton the Attorney General was there and somebody else.
ANN McCOLL:
So they were taking this as a big deal?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Oh, yes indeed. We spent a whole morning interrogating Sitterson and it was very embarrassing for him because we had his Phi Beta Kappa speech where he had lambasted the Speaker Ban Law and he had been in the Tarheel two or three times as the dean, you know, and he kept saying, "Sure I'm in favor of free speech and if I had my druthers I would do it," and "No, I thought President Knight at Duke was absolutely correct when he let Aptheker in," and Singletary at UNCG, you know, gave a statement, "Yeah, I agree with his statement. I don't disagree with it." And his lawyers were telling him not to be so give away like, you know. But then he kept insisting that he had no discretion because Governor Moore had ruled on Aptheker. The poor guy was squirming there.
ANN McCOLL:
What about their decision about Frank Wilkinson? Did he also think that what Governor Moore said about Aptheker applied to him?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Applied to Wilkinson, too.
ANN McCOLL:
Because they were both Communist?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
No, Wilkinson had pleaded the fifth. So he might have been invited in the first round. Well, in any event, they wouldn't let them come. Before the law suit we had the speech. I had to create the controversy. So the students invited

Page 17
Aptheker and he came to the campus on Franklin Street. Paul Dixon was there and the vice president and whatever, and they escorted him to the Southern Soldier where he was to…. Sitterson had turned him down, so they brought him and they took him to the campus and they took him to the Southern Soldier monument and Paul Dixon said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we have Herbert Aptheker here to speak to us and Mr. Baumont who was the chief security man, had walked in and he said, "That's far enough kid," or something like that. He said, "Mr. Aptheker, you're not allowed to use this campus for speaking purposes. Now, you can stay here as long as you want as long as you don't speak." So Aptheker said, "Thank you very much," and they turned and then walked off and Aptheker got on the sidewalk right on the edge of campus. There's the stone wall. That was the Dan K. Moore wall, like the Berlin Wall. It had big signs, "Dan K. Moore Wall." And Aptheker spoke across the wall to people for ten minutes and they had, I don't know, two thousand or three thousand, the whole lawn was packed as far as you could see.
ANN McCOLL:
So the students were on the campus. He just spoke over the wall.
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes. And they were in trees. He was introduced as a Lieutenant in the Army and somebody shouted, "The Soviet Army?" He'd been a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army. It was very good natured and spirits were high. Then he went to the Hillel House, the Jewish religious house, to speak to those who wanted to hear him speak about race and Viet Nam. He'd been to Viet Nam on an illegal trip with Jane Fonda or somebody. So he talked

Page 18
about Viet Nam. Then a week later we had Frank Wilkinson and went through the whole charade again. This time he went to the Community Church to speak. He spoke about the House Committee on Unamerican Activities; gave a good speech. I don't want to drag this on too long. But the suit was filed and they moved to dismiss because it was moot and it wasn't in faith and it wasn't this and it wasn't that and there were a lot of counter motions. Then the day came for the oral argument and they met in Greensboro.
ANN McCOLL:
What court was this?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
It was a three judge Federal court. The allegation was that the state law is unconstitutional. You get a three judge court and direct appeal to the Supreme Court. My mind goes. McNeil Smith had spent the night before the argument with Frank Porter Graham and Frank Porter Graham told him a story that when Frank Porter Graham had been an undergraduate here which was, I don't know, 1912 or something like that, that the students had invited Senator Butler who was the United States Senator. Butler was a Republican and was a hang over from the Reconstruction period and that the president had vetoed it and said, "You can't have a Republican on this campus." So Frank Porter Graham and…. And he had a list. Frank John Parker, who later went on the Fourth Circuit and was nominated to the Supreme Court and whoever it was who at that moment was the chief judge of the North Carolina Supreme Court and four or five others who are all very prominent, led a parade of students to the President's house with torches, you know, a torch light parade, demanding that he permit

Page 19
the Republican Senator appear on the campus. So Mac Smith reserved that for his rebuttal, his closing argument, to say that, you know, only once out of every fifty years do we have this, but he was saying that the students has responded responsibly and if they had gone through the whole process, made their petitions, collected their information and then when all else failed, they come to the courts. They had not demonstrated and they had not sat in and this was not like Berkeley or Columbia or any of those places. This was a responsible group of young men. And at that time this was a men's school. And then he says, [unknown]. The thing is that the Senator's nephew was one of the three judges. Butler. Judge Butler. So we'd gone over the oral argument several times.
ANN McCOLL:
Did you at this time know that he was the nephew?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Oh, yes, we knew that and we knew what Mac was going to say. "Where do we work this in? Should we open with this argument?" And we said, "No, no. We got to save this." And we don't come back with any law. We come back with a story. I was watching the judge. We had Haynesworth, the chief judge in the Fourth Circuit was presiding, and Butler and some other Federal judge and I was watching Butler.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]


Page 20
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
The law was unconstitutionally vague. We won it on the [unknown] of vagueness which means you can go back and do it over again.
ANN McCOLL:
Were you all concerned that that might happen?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Well, I was. But it had been five years and people were ready to move on and so nothing happened. The state didn't even appeal to the Supreme Court. They just dropped it and that was the end of it. But then we thought, "By God, we've got to get them back. We won the right to have them." So, we decided to have an AAUP meeting, because the students were no longer interested, and invite them back. So, I called Aptheker and said, "Can you come back and give a speech?" He had been a plaintiff. He and Wilkinson were plaintiffs with the students, so their right to speak and our right to hear. I said, "We won the law suit. How about coming back and giving your talk?" And he says, "Is there any problem?" And I said, "No. No problem at all." He said, "Well, I don't have time to come down and give a talk to you people." So he wouldn't come. Then I called Frank Wilkinson and he said he could work it in. He was on a tour about the House Committee on Unamerican Activities. So he agreed to come and we had it at the Journalism Building at their great, big auditorium which seats a couple of hundred. Present were seventeen. There was me and my wife and Bill Van Alstein and his wife and MacNeil Smith and his wife and Ann Queen who was the head of the YMCA at the time and an ACLU guy, Joe Felmett from

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Winston Salem and a couple of SBI agents, two camera men from WRAL and somebody from the News and Observer.
ANN McCOLL:
So did they report on the story?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Oh, yes. They didn't play it up the way I remember it. I thought, "My God, we have two or three thousand students out there to hear him when they can't hear him and here's their chance to hear him and nobody cares. But that's a lesson. You can let anybody speak and it's not going to damage the University or if there is going to be damage it's not worth preserving. So that's the real lesson out of all this.
The other final thing is that the Law School in '64, maybe, invited Brock Craven to come and give the graduation address. We did it right out here on the lawn of the Institute of Government. He naturally spoke on the Speaker Ban Law. He has a great wit and he tells funny stories and he's also very profound and he gets profound. He did both at this speech and I have a copy out of the "Tarheel". What he said, sort of being funny, was he told the story about Dammit Jones. Dammit Jones was the ninth child in the family and Dammit was his real name and when he was in the third grade, he was there in class and they were having a spelling lesson. Unbeknownst to anybody, the principal had poked his head in the room to see what was going on and the teacher called on Dammit to spell "cat". Dammit said, "Cat. C-A-T. Cat." And the then the teacher said, "Okay, now we're going to get a hard one. Who knows how to spell ‘Constantinople’?" And Dammit raised his hand and the teacher says, "Dammit, you can't spell ‘Constantinople"’. And the principal then interjected and says, "Hell, teacher, give

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him a chance." [laughter] So, that was his wit. He said he would give anybody a chance to persuade anybody and that's what a university is all about. Then he made funny stories. He said that he was glad that Aptheker had had a chance to speak at Duke and then later, over the wall and that he hoped that some day that he could come and speak like he was speaking. Then he ended up by saying something to the effect that, "Those whom the Gods would curse they would first make think alike." The greatest damage is lock step thinking and conformity. His final words to the law graduates was that he hopes that they will swear with Thomas Jefferson on the alter of God to preserve intellectual integrity here. And he got a standing ovation for twenty minutes. It was terrific.
ANN McCOLL:
That was a great conclusion to the Speaker Ban.
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes. So that's the Speaker Ban.
ANN McCOLL:
Thanks.
END OF INTERVIEW