Title: Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, March 13, 1976. Interview A-0321-1.
Interviewer: Gardner, James B.
Interviewee: Gore, Albert
Subjects: Tennessee--Politics and government
Abstract: In this 1976 interview, Albert Gore Sr.—a politician from Tennessee noted for being one of two southern senators to refuse to sign the Southern Manifesto, a 1956 document decrying the desegregation of public spaces in America—summarizes his life leading up to his senatorial career. Beginning with his childhood in rural Tennessee, he emphasizes how the love and support from his family combined with their poverty spurred his ambition and determination. When the time came for him to leave home, however, the Great Depression prevented his parents from being able to financially support him during either college or law school, and he describes how he balanced his desire for higher education with his need for a job. He maintains that his rural upbringing and years of hard work gave him a high degree of independence that he believes served him well in politics. Shortly after completing his law degree, he attempted his first run for public office, launching a campaign for the local school board. Though he lost that attempt, the experience taught him two important lessons: chase down any votes that may be available, and never run a dirty campaign. A few years later, he used his ability to identify with the agricultural communities of middle Tennessee to successfully campaign for the United States House of Representatives. Once in Congress, he formed relationships with Speaker Sam Rayburn and other members of the Democratic leadership. Some of his most interesting stories relating to his time in office are his encounters with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In addition, he describes his friendship with Estes Kefauver and Harry S. Truman, and contrasts his career with that of Lyndon B. Johnson.