Documenting the American South Logo
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Bert Nettles, July 13, 1974. Interview A-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Nettles summarizes his career

Nettles summarizes his past, the reasons he began his political career, and the political positions he had held up to that point.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Bert Nettles, July 13, 1974. Interview A-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

What is your own background? Are you a native of Mobile?
No, I was born in Monroeville. Did you ever read To Kill a Mockingbird? That was my home town. It's about 90 miles north of Mobile between here and Montgomery. It's a small county seat town. I lived there. Born and raised there. Then I went to Alabama for undergraduate and law school. University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Then I went with the attorney general's office for a year. With Macdonald [unclear] who was then attorney general for the state. That was in '60. Came down here in '61 with a law firm. Then was elected to the . . . . Was not active in politics at all until '66 when I ran against Pierre Pelham as the Republican nominee. Pierre was . . . one of these wild sort of things. Republicans thought after '64 we could pretty well elect people without any difficulty, that this had become a Republican area. Of course, we immediately became aware of the fact that '64 was a one time shot and no Republicans were elected in '66 other than Jack Edwards as Congressman, who had entrenched himself in two years time and was re-elected. But Pierre and I had a good race. I raised one or two issues that got my name known. The [unclear] control board here is a problem. State milk pricing. Big racket in Alabama. And our race was closer than any of the other 12 legislative races. Then I became active in the Republican party after that time. Was elected to the county committee. In 1968 I served as chairman of the state Republican convention. Then in '69 there was a special election which was ideally suited for a Republican winning county wide office. We had two vacancies. One member of the house was named to county commission and another to the judgeship. And I ran for one of the two vacant spots and was elected, overwhelmingly. I was fortunate in [unclear] running against me. One had been a Wallaceite and a black. And I got about 53% of the vote. We had a very large turn out for a special election. Was re-elected in '70 for a full term. One other Republican was elected in '70. At the time of the special election I was the only Republican in the state legislature.