Title: Oral History Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, April 17, 1991. Interview L-0064-9.
Interviewer: McColl, Ann
Interviewee: Pollitt, Daniel H.
Abstract: This is the final interview in a nine-part series with civil liberties lawyer Daniel H. Pollitt. In this interview, Pollitt focuses on his work with various organizations over the course of his career. He begins by describing his work with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), both of which he discusses throughout the entire interview series. For Pollitt, the AAUP and the ACLU were particularly important organizations, and they were both significant in his career from the 1950s to the time of the interview in 1991. Pollitt also describes his work with the National Sharecroppers' Fund—which was later known as the Rural Advancement Fund—and Southerners for Economic Justice. Pollitt notes their interest in helping organize southern workers and in providing them with legal assistance. A particularly vivid portion of the interview outlines Pollitt's work on the Citizens' Inquiry into the 1973 strike of Duke Power workers at the Brookside Mine in Harlan County, Kentucky. As a member of the inquiry committee, Pollitt witnessed firsthand the violent consequences of the strike, the deplorable conditions Brookside Mine workers and their families lived in, and the eventual outcome of the strike. While Pollitt notes that Duke Power eventually submitted to most of the requests of the inquiry committee, he maintains that they should have done more to alleviate the situation for Brookside workers. Pollitt also discusses his experiences as a member of President Lyndon Johnson's "Think Tank" Committee during the mid-1960s, emphasizing the committee's work toward eradicating poverty. The interview concludes with Pollitt's plans to establish a public interest law school.