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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Julian Bond, November 1 and 22, 1999. Interview R-0345. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Racism embedded in Georgia's politics

Bond uncovers the racist nature of the inner workings of southern politics. In 1968, the Georgia Democratic Party chairman supported the independent candidate, George Wallace, over his party's nominee in order to preserve segregation. Although blacks composed twenty-five percent of the vote, the Georgia chairman selected an all-white delegation to attend the Chicago convention. Bond formed a black counter-delegation and received the support of Democratic presidential candidate, Eugene McCarthy. Refusing to share the delegation with blacks, the majority of the all-white delegation left.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Julian Bond, November 1 and 22, 1999. Interview R-0345. 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

ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I'm going to jump ahead because I'm really curious about 1968 and the Chicago convention and you leading the Georgia challenge delegation. If you could talk about what that was.
JULIAN BOND:
Well, in 1968, in Georgia, there was no democratic selection of delegates to go to the convention. All the delegates were picked by the party chairmen. Nowadays they have primaries where delegates are elected. Next year, Democrats will elect some Gore delegates and some Bradley delegates and some uncommitted delegates, but they will be elected, most of them. Democrats will elect them, and they'll go to the convention. This didn't happen in Georgia. It didn't happen in most states. The party chairman picked them. So he'd say, "You, not you, yeah you," and so on. He picked a delegation that was almost all white in a state that was a quarter black, where all the black people were Democrats. He picked a delegation that was pledged to vote for Alabama governor George Wallace who was running for president as an independent candidate, not as a Democrat. So these weren't even Democrats. The McCarthy campaign, the campaign of Eugene McCarthy, thought it'd be a good idea to raise some trouble on the edges by putting together a challenge delegation. So they sent an organizer to Atlanta, and he talked to me and more people and more people and more people and more people. We constructed a delegation that was democratically chosen. We had caucuses in each of the congressional districts in Georgia. They elected delegates to the state convention held in Macon. I get elected co-chairman of the delegation with another fellow, and we send our delegation up to Chicago to the convention. There's a big argument between ourselves and the regular delegates. The party decides the dispute by splitting the votes—half for them, half for us. But most of them walked out. So we took their seats. I think all but three of them walked out. So we became the Georgia delegation. We got to cast all of Georgia's votes. I got nominated for vice president, but I had to refuse because I was too young.