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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Andrew Best, April 19, 1997. Interview R-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Poor background shapes activist identity

Best's background "as a poor country boy who had suffered" gave him zeal for civil rights, he explains.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Andrew Best, April 19, 1997. Interview R-0011. 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

KAREN KRUISE THOMAS:
You as a physician, I presume, had a role in the community that helped you become a leader, and where were some of the other leaders coming from? Education, or the churches?
ANDREW BEST:
The situation we were laboring under, the doctor in the community was looked up to for leadership. Sometimes, they rose to the occasion and participated, and were very effective, but I know some cases where a doctor was more interested in making that dollar, and following his social wishes, where they didn't fill the role as effectively as they could have. My background as a poor country boy who had suffered many a moon under some of those undesirable consequences put within me an extra interest, zest and persistence to do some things that should have been done. Sometimes I characterize myself as not only the doctor, but the minister, the priest, the counselor, the psychiatrist. There came some times when I had to fit into all of those roles, not that I counted myself an expert. But I had a philosophy that whatever I could do that would be helpful, I ought to do. And by the grace of God, I shall do.