Title: Oral History Interview with Robert Giles, September 10, 1987. Interview C-0063.
Interviewer: Jenkins, Jay
Interviewee: Giles, Robert
Abstract: Robert Giles discusses the public and political reaction to the Supreme Court's Brown ruling, explaining the heavy pressure the Brown order placed on North Carolina politicians, who hoped to prevent alienating the white population. Giles asserts that state politicians adopted a moderate stance and moderate policies which yielded minimal racial desegregation. The Pupil Assignment Act of 1955 and the Pearsall Plan, he says, assuaged whites fears by keeping the public schools open and projecting the perception that the public controlled school assignments. He lauds the effectiveness of the gubernatorial leadership of William Umstead and Luther Hodges in the early to mid-1950s. Giles also touches on segregationist I. Beverly Lake, who attempted to stoke racial tensions and drum up support for his personal political ambitions.