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This is the eighth interview in a nine-part series of interviews with civil liberties lawyer Daniel H. Pollitt. In this interview, Pollitt offers highlights from his career as a civil liberties lawyer, including cases he took on during the 1980s.
Daniel Duke was born in Palmetto, Georgia, in 1915 and became a lawyer during the 1930s. As the solicitor general of Fulton County in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Duke presided over a case against the Ku Klux Klan and their use of flogging as a terror tactic against both African Americans and whites.
Laurie Pritchett, who served as a police chief in Albany, Georgia, for seven years, describes his role in the civil rights movement in that city. He encouraged a moderate response to large demonstrations in the 1960s, a tactic that prevented the negative publicity brought about by brutal police reaction to marches in other towns in the Deep South.
In this May 1978 interview, Kojo Nantambu—one of the participants in the 1971 Wilmington, North Carolina, race conflicts—describes what he remembers of the 1971 strife, the inequities present in the trial of the Wilmington Ten, and the aftermath of the discord.
Journalist Walter Horace Carter received the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for his journalistic campaign against the Ku Klux Klan in his newspaper, the
Tabor City Tribune. The interview focuses almost exclusively on the actions of the Klan from 1950 to 1952, including threats made against Carter, connections between local law enforcement and the Klan, and Carter's journalistic campaign against their vigilante tactics.
This is the second interview in a nine-part series of interviews with civil liberties lawyer Daniel H. Pollitt. In this interview, Pollitt discusses his decision to join the faculty at the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1957 as well as the history and faculty of the law school.
This is the fifth interview in a nine-part series of interviews with civil liberties lawyer Daniel H. Pollitt. In this interview, Pollitt describes his work the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) during the 1960s and 1970s, paying particular attention to his involvement in the cases of Michael Paull, a graduate student and teaching assistant in the English Department, and Moye Freymann, the founding director of the Carolina Population Center.
This is the first interview in a two-part series with southern lawyer Ted Fillette of the Legal Aid Society of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Fillette describes his childhood in Mobile, Alabama; his involvement in civil rights activism as a student at Duke during the 1960s; his work with the VISTA program in Boston; and his early work as a legal advocate of people displaced by urban renewal in Charlotte, North Carolina, during the 1970s.
This is the first interview in a nine-part series of interviews with civil liberties lawyer Daniel H. Pollitt. In this interview, Pollitt discusses his family history, his early legal career, his work in defending liberals against the House Un-American Activities Committee during the early McCarthy years, and his brief tenure as a law professor at the University of Arkansas.
Pat Cusick recalls his participation in the civil rights movement in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Imprisoned for his role in these demonstrations, he describes the formative impact his incarceration had in stirring up his radicalism, emboldening his support of nonviolent strategies, and connecting with other like-minded activists. Cusick also discusses coming to terms with his homosexuality.
African American photojournalist Alexander M. Rivera describes the civil rights movement from his perspective as a reporter for the
Pittsburgh Courier. He focuses on the nature of race relations and racial violence and describes the impact of the Brown v. Board of Education decision on the changing social landscape.
Naomi Elizabeth Morris grew up in Wilson, North Carolina, during the 1920s and 1930s. After graduating from college in the early 1940s, she worked as a legal secretary before attending the School of Law at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. One of the only women to graduate with her class in 1955, Morris practiced law for twelve years before becoming one of the original judges to serve on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
This is the seventh interview in a nine-part series of interviews with civil liberties lawyer Daniel H. Pollitt. In this interview, Pollitt describes the Speaker Ban controversy at the University of North Carolina during the mid-1960s, paying special attention to student, faculty, and administrative reactions to the ban.
This is the second interview in a two-part series with southern lawyer Ted Fillette of the Legal Aid Society of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. In this interview, Fillette focuses on his work as a legal advocate of tenant and welfare rights from the 1970s into the early twenty-first century. Throughout, he discusses the legal and political measures taken to ameliorate housing conditions for low-income tenants and to ensure that low-income people have access to social welfare services.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and activist Paul Green—most famous for his symphonic drama
The Lost Colony—reflects on social justice and art as he describes his work as a playwright and his efforts as an activist.
Quinton E. Baker reflects on how his identity as a black gay man influenced his social activism, especially his role in the 1960s civil rights protests.
Daniel Pollitt describes the process of desegregation in the South. He discusses his involvement with civil rights activism and his relationship with progressive organizations and prominent North Carolinians, including UNC law school dean Henry Brandis and UNC basketball coach Dean Smith.
Diane English recalls her job experiences and quest for homeownership in Charlotte, North Carolina, beginning in the late 1960s. She also discusses her role as an activist for neighborhood safety and her fight to save her neighborhood from gentrification.
Sociologist Guy B. Johnson describes his path to sociology and recalls his participation in the Southern Regional Council in the 1940s.
Dentist George Simkins describes his efforts to desegregate hospitals and other facilities in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The Reverend Robert Lee Mangum channels his Christian faith into social action in Robeson County, North Carolina.
Journalist Hodding Carter describes the changes wrought in Mississippi by the civil rights movement.
Former Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of North Carolina, Raymond Dawson, discusses tensions surrounding federal desegregation orders in North Carolina during the 1970s. Because of North Carolina's comparatively large number of historically black colleges, the state became a testing ground for the federal government to explore ways to integrate public education while preserving historically black colleges.
Pauli Murray was a prominent legal activist within the civil rights and women's liberation movements. In this interview, she discusses her childhood and her education, the events leading up to her decision to pursue a career in law, the evolution of her career, her decision to enter the seminary, and her thoughts on civil rights and women's liberation.
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.
African American photojournalist Alexander M. Rivera describes the civil rights movement and its aftermath. In particular, he describes some of his photographs, as well as the impact of the
Brown decision (and the demise of legal segregation) on African American businesses and African American schools, including North Carolina Central College.
Former president of the University of North Carolina, William C. Friday, describes his working relationship with Anne Queen, who was director of the Campus Y from the late 1950s into the 1970s. Friday discusses Queen's relationship with students and her leadership qualities.
Howell Heflin, who sat on the Alabama State Supreme Court in the 1970s before a two-decade tenure in the United States Senate, discusses the post-segregation Alabama judiciary.
Thomas Jackson White Jr. describes his leadership on the State Art Museum Building Commission and his career as a lobbyist for the tobacco industry in North Carolina.
Igal Roodenko came of age during the 1930s and became increasingly involved in leftist politics during those years. During World War II he embraced philosophies of nonviolence and pacifism and worked in a camp for conscientious objectors during the conflict. He became a member of CORE during its formative years and participated in the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, an interracial endeavor to test segregation policies on buses in the South.
I. Beverly Lake Sr. reflects on his long career as a teacher, attorney, and judge. He counsels white political unity as a means to stem racial integration.
Henry Frye grew up in a segregated farming community in North Carolina during the 1930s and 1940s before becoming a lawyer. He went on to become the first African American elected to the North Carolina General Assembly and to serve on the state supreme court. In this interview, he describes race relations, his career as a lawyer, and his experiences in politics.
Harvey E. Beech describes his journey to becoming a lawyer fighting for legal justice. In 1951, he was one of five students who made up the first group of African Americans to attend the University of North Carolina School of Law. Beech assesses the racial changes since the mid-twentieth century and discusses racism in contemporary America.
John Harris, longtime cab driver and businessman in Greensboro, North Carolina, describes his community in the context of race and redevelopment.
Conrad Odell Pearson grew up in Durham, North Carolina. After obtaining his law degree at Howard School of Law in the early 1930s, Pearson returned to Durham, where he became actively involved in legal struggles against segregation in higher education. In this interview, he describes his participation in various civil rights activities, his perception of African American leaders James Shepard and C. C. Spaulding, and race relations in Durham.
Southern lawyer and activist Clifford Durr describes his work with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) during the 1940s. In particular, he focuses on federal efforts to regulate broadcast radio. He also discusses the impact of the burgeoning Red Scare on his work and his life. The House Committee on Un-American Activities subpoenaed him and his wife, Virginia Foster Durr, during the early 1950s.
Thelma Stevens was the director of the Bethlehem Center in Augusta, Georgia, and the Superintendent of Christian Social Relations of the Women's Missionary Council for the Methodist Episcopal Church. In this interview, she describes her childhood in rural Mississippi, her education, and her work with the Methodist Church, all in relationship to her lifelong devotion to improving race relations in the South.
George LeMaistre remembers Alabama politics from the 1920s to the 1970s, a story troubled by violent racism and the struggle over integration.
Lyman Johnson traces his lifelong pursuit of racial equality through his father's rejection of racial hierarchies, his experiences as an educated black Navy solder, his observations of racial violence, and his efforts to get equal pay and union representation for Louisville teachers.
Joseph Califano served as the Secretary of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) from 1977 to 1979. He recalls the reasons for the University of North Carolina's opposition to HEW's desegregation criteria.
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.
Lawyer William Patrick Murphy describes his 1950s battle against segregation and his struggle to keep his job after his beliefs became public in Oxford, Mississippi. Murphy, who taught constitutional law at the University of Mississippi, used journal articles and his classroom to speak out in favor of the
Birmingham lawyer and politician U. W. Clemon describes his place in Birmingham politics and the city's continuing problems with race.
Robert Giles recalls state politicians' efforts to hinder total school integration in North Carolina through the use of moderate token desegregation and effective state policy.
Southern sociologist Guion Griffis Johnson describes her work with the Georgia Conference on Social Welfare during the 1940s and her involvement with the women's movement and civil rights activism during the 1960s and 1970s in North Carolina. She discusses strategies for effecting change, the achievements of the Georgia Conference in promoting awareness of social welfare and race-related issues, and the progress of women and African Americans in their struggle for equality.
Isabella Cannon was the first woman mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina. Elected in 1977, at the age of 73, the "old lady who wore tennis shoes" was a staunch advocate for community growth and revitalization. During her tenure, she worked to push through the Long Range Comprehensive Plan, to reconcile tensions between the city and the police and fire departments, strengthen the relationship between the city and the state, and to revitalize the downtown area.
Marion Wright was one of a group of white southerners who sought to tackle the entrenched racism of the twentieth-century South. As a member of the Southern Regional Council (SRC), he sought to do so without direct action. This interview is a portrait of a civil rights leader in the era before the movement was defined by public protest.
Septima Clark describes the work of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in the late 1950s to mid 1960s, especially the community education programs that she directed for the SCLC and the Highlander Folk School. She rejoices in the new voters and civil rights legislation that resulted from their work but noticed drawbacks arising from prejudice against female leaders, disdain for the poor, and clashes in leadership styles.
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.
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.
Born into a long line of Texas politicians, Maury Maverick Jr. served in the Texas House of Representatives for six years during the 1950s, and as a lawyer from the 1960s into the 1970s. Maverick speaks at length about his radical political leanings and the evolution of liberalism in Texas.
Senator Herman Talmadge of Georgia offers concluding remarks in this final interview of a three-part series, reflecting on contemporary political issues of the mid-1970s. Additionally, he reflects on his own political legacy in the state of Georgia.
From 1981 to 1996, Anne Barnes sat in the North Carolina House of Representatives for Orange County. While there, she focused on issues of social justice, especially poverty, education, prison reform, civil rights and women's rights. In this 1989 interview, she explains her motivations to become involved in the political arena and discusses some of the political campaigns she has been associated with, including her own.
John Raymond Shute looks back on a century of growth in Union County, North Carolina. Drawing on his many years active in politics there, Shute shares his considerable knowledge about the agricultural and industrial development in the area.
Sociologist Hylan Lewis describes his experiences with race in the American South in the post-World War II period.
Activist, leftist, poet, and ordained minister Don West remembers a lifetime of union and civil rights activism.
Willie Snow Ethridge discusses her career as a writer in the South and her efforts to combine work with family and marriage. In addition, she describes growing up in Georgia, gender expectations in the South, and her work in the anti-lynching movement.
Civil rights activist Floyd McKissick evaluates the legacies of the civil rights movement and looks toward its next phase in the 1970s.
Orval Faubus defends his legacy.
Aaron Henry describes the role of race and racism in Mississippi politics.
Clay East was a founding member of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. In this interview, he describes life in Tyronza, Arkansas, during the 1920s and 1930s; his conversion to socialism; his observation of the problems of tenant farmers and sharecroppers; and his role in the formation of the union during the early 1930s.
Strom Thurmond discusses his childhood and the people who inspired his long political career. As an attorney, judge, and governor, Thurmond advocated for states' rights and witnessed the desegregation of South Carolina. He recounts how he lived out his values in regard to the United States Constitution and race relations.
Investigative reporter John Seigenthaler discusses his early career as a journalist at
The Tennessean of Nashville during the 1950s, his work with Robert F. Kennedy during the 1960s, and his role as the editor of The Tennessean into the mid-1960s. Seigenthaler focuses on the unique nature of southern journalism and the homogenization of southern culture during the 1960s and 1970s.
Longstanding Alabama governor and former presidential candidate George Wallace discusses Alabama politics and racial issues in the United States.
In this second part of an extensive two-part interview series, Viola Turner discusses race relations in Durham and her experiences working for North Carolina Mutual. Turner offers vivid and detailed anecdotes that reveal the intricate social and professional network of Durham, primarily in the 1920s and 1930s.
A Birmingham lawyer shares his reflections on segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, and racism in the United States.
Margaret Carter, the "grand dame of liberal Texas politics," reflects on how she and her husband became interested in politics, what she learned through her political experiences, the ways the state's political structure changed from the New Deal era through the late 1950s, and the character of various state politicians.
George and Tessie Dyer discuss their jobs in Charlotte cotton mills and their lives outside of work. They describe their childhood and the work their parents and grandparents did. They recall the parties and social events that their friends participated in after work. The interview ends with their observations about local union activity.
Bert Nettles discusses the state of politics and the Republican Party in Alabama in the 1970s. He discusses, among other things, desegregation, the need for honesty and ethics reform in the political system, and the effect of Watergate on the Republican Party.
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.
Mareda Sigmon Cobb and her sister Carrie Sigmon Yelton both worked long careers in North Carolina textile mills, completing the family journey from farm to factory in the early decades of the twentieth century. Here they describe their family lives both as children and parents, the many implications of the Depression, working conditions in the mills, religion, and other themes central to social and labor history. The economic and material realities of textile employment are explored in detail; each suffered a major injury on the job, neither favored unionization (though their husbands did), and neither received a pension.
Beginning with her family background and early childhood, Adamson traces the dynamics that led her to adopt her radical stance later in life. She also responds to the accusations that she had been a Communist spy and explains how the Red Scare affected her life.