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Oral History Interview with Charles M. Jones, July 21, 1990. Interview A-0335. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Charles Jones led the First Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill during the late 1940s. In this interview, he briefly describes his education and how he entered the ministry. He spends most of the time discussing the controversies that occurred during his tenure at the church. The regional presbytery disapproved of his decision to allow African American Presbyterians to attend the church and to provide shelter to Freedom Riders after they left Durham, North Carolina. Jones also went against church rules by not having his members read the Article of Faith during service. He describes how the presbytery tried to force him to move to another church, pledge support for the Article of Faith, and segregate the church. Some local whites, including students and faculty at the University of North Carolina, supported Jones throughout this process. Nevertheless, he was eventually expelled from the Presbyterian Church for his views on race and faith. The interview closes with his opinions on the inevitable failure of the "separate but equal" doctrine and whether John Egerton, the interviewer, was correct in seeing the period between 1945 and 1950 as a missed opportunity for improvement in race relations.
  • The North Carolina Orange Presbytery forces Jones out of First Presbyterian in Chapel Hill
  • Frank Porter Graham's support for Jones makes him a loyal friend
  • Charles and Dorcas Jones protect the Freedom Riders in Chapel Hill
  • Mixed reactions to the Freedom Riders in Chapel Hill
  • Jones considered too liberal to pastor First Presbyterian
  • King and Mays serve as impetus for change in the system of segregation
  • Post-WWII years not a golden opportunity for change after all
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • North Carolina--Politics and government
  • Chapel Hill (N.C.)--Race relations
  • Presbyterian Church--North Carolina
  • Graham, Frank Porter, 1886-
  • 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.