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Oral History Interview with Bert Nettles, July 13, 1974. Interview A-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Bert Nettles discusses the state of politics and the Republican Party in Alabama in the 1970s. Nettles summarizes his past, the reasons he began his political career, and the political positions he had held up to that point. He spends a good deal of time on his 1972 run for the U.S. Senate, when industrialist Red Blount outspent him. During the statewide campaign, Blount, who had traditionally been a moderate or even a progressive, realigned himself so as to become one of George Wallace's allies. Nettles explains how he thinks this loss affected the Republican Party in Alabama. He emphasizes the need for honesty and ethics reform in the political system. Though the Republican Party in the South became more conservative during the 1970s, Nettles repeatedly insists that the stance fails to honor the heritage of the party and is not the key to the party's future. He believes the most important tactics are winning the urban areas and winning the black vote.

    Nettles also discusses the many school desegregation conflicts that plagued Alabamians into the 1970s. Though he believes that George Wallace's legacy would continue to send moderates into the Republican Party, Nettles also hopes that as Wallace becomes more active on the national political scene, incoming politicians will begin to reform Alabama's state programs. He ends by explaining how Watergate had affected the Republican Party in Alabama and the ways they were attempting to mitigate the resultant backlash. He maintains that voters respect and support someone who openly supports specific issues, asserting that honesty is more important than just about anything else.

  • Political and legislative situations in Alabama in the 1970s
  • Analysis of Pierre Pelham
  • Nettles summarizes his career
  • Wallace's grip on Alabama politics
  • Doug Hale supports governmental reform
  • Republicans and race relations
  • Wallace and school desegregation in the 1970s
  • The reasons why Nettles is a Republican
  • Moderate Republicans in Alabama in the 1970s
  • Wallace's grip on Alabama politics
  • Possibilities of reform in Alabama's political system
  • African Americans in Alabama politics
  • Media coverage of Alabama's politics
  • Wallace's grip on Alabama politics and its influence on the Republican Party
  • Watergate and its influence on Alabama's political campaign
  • Honesty essential for a successful political career
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Resources for Educators
  • Changes in Southern Politics Learning Object
  • Subjects
  • Alabama--Politics and government
  • Wallace, George C. (George Corley), 1919-
  • Republican Party (Ala.)
  • Race in politics--Alabama
  • Watergate Affair, 1972-1974
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.