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President of the University of North Carolina System William Friday discusses his interaction with American presidents from Herbert Hoover to George H. W. Bush. The bulk of the interview revolves around descriptions of Friday's work with Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter on issues of higher education.
Former executive director of the Southern Regional Council (SRC) Leslie Dunbar discusses his involvement in the civil rights movement, focusing on changes that occurred in the early 1960s. Dunbar describes the SRC as an organization dedicated to changing people's attitudes about race. He emphasizes the SRC's attempts to work with the federal government—particularly the Kennedy administration—and other civil rights organizations, especially in the Voter Education Program.
Terry Sanford recalls his political career as a Democratic governor of North Carolina. He discusses the impact of race on southern politics and the realignment of political parties in the late twentieth century. Sanford attempts to reject the image of southern exceptionalism.
Albert Gore Sr. reviews the history leading up to his senatorial career, concentrating on his rural upbringing and his early political experiences. He also reflects on his impressions of other important politicians he knew, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sam Rayburn, Estes Kefauver, Harry S. Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Julius Chambers served on the UNC Board of Governors from 1972 to 1977. He recalls the tensions between the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare's federal objectives and the University of North Carolina Board officials' control over the desegregation process at post-secondary educational institutions.
Senator Herman Talmadge of Georgia recalls national political happenings during his tenure in the Senate from the mid-1950s through the mid-1970s.
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Ellen Gerber received her doctorate in physical education and taught in northern colleges before attending the School of Law at the University of North Carolina during the mid-1970s. After her graduation, she accepted a job with Legal Aid. She describes her careers in physical education and law and discusses in detail her advocacy of women's issues.
Roger Gant explains the professional and personal activities of his father-in-law, Everett Jordan, Democratic United States Senator from North Carolina. Gant discusses how he became involved with Jordan's textile mill and how Jordan structured his business. Jordan's skill at relating to people helped him in business and in politics. Gant focuses on a few of Jordan's political successes, including the way he helped Lyndon Johnson before his presidential bid.
This is the final interview in a series of three with Virginia Foster Durr. Since the previous session, Clifford Durr had died, making the interview feel very different from the two in which he had taken part. The interview begins with Durr's growing awareness of racial matters and her activism during their life among the New Dealers in Washington, D.C. Among the topics she touches on are the anti-communism of the 1950s, sexual discrimination on Capitol Hill, and the southern reaction to Roosevelt's New Deal policies.
Harold Fleming recounts how he became involved with the Southern Regional Council (SRC) and the criticism he faced for opposing racism in the 1940s and 1950s. He describes the effect of the Red Scare on limiting the involvement of racial progressives in the organizations like the SRC. Additionally, Fleming compares the leadership styles of those he encountered within the organization.
Ralph Waldo Strickland grew up on an Alabama farm before joining the navy and later making a career with the Seaboard Railroad. He offers a range of recollections concerning his childhood in the rural South, his encounters with the Roosevelts following their relocation in 1921 to Hot Springs, Georgia, and life as a railroad worker and union member.
In the third of three interviews, four-term Democratic North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt assesses his leadership and the changes that occurred in the Democratic Party during his tenure.
Terry Sanford was a North Carolina governor and Democratic United States senator. This interview describes his political career since 1960, including his unsuccessful presidential runs and his term as president of Duke University.
This interview with Dr. Guy B. Johnson, sociology professor and author, focuses on his work as the first executive director of the Southern Regional Council (SRC) and as a member of the North Carolina Committee for Interracial Cooperation. Johnson discusses the role that women and church groups played in the Interracial Commission, describes the debate over issues such as segregation among SRC members, and outlines the conflict between SRC leaders and the Southern Conference for Human Welfare.
Terry Sanford—former state senator, governor, president of Duke University, and member of the United States Senate—describes Democratic politics in North Carolina.
Bill Clinton discusses his victory in an Arkansas Democratic congressional primary and his upcoming race against the incumbent Republican congressman.
Julian Bond recounts a life of civil rights activism in the American South. He discusses his work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and his connection with other activists, including Ella Baker, Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hamer, Bob Moses, and Stokely Carmichael.
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 senatorial career. He discusses his opposition to the Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as his activities on a variety of Senate committees.
Mill workers Carl and Mary Thompson describe their experiences as skilled employees and active members of their local communities.
Zeno Ponder is one of the most respected and influential leaders of Madison County, North Carolina. This interview begins with his descriptions of his family's activities in the area and local political traditions. Ponder briefly describes his experiences at local schools, including Mars Hill College. Ponder became involved in local politics through a training program and his brother's campaign for sheriff.
In this fast-paced 1975 interview, Virginia Foster Durr remembers her growing awareness of social problems in the South, and continues sharing her life stories through 1948. Along with her husband Clifford Durr, Virginia recounts their move to Washington, D.C., particularly her disaffection with social society and her transition to political action.