Documenting the American South Logo
Title: Oral History Interview with William Dallas Herring, February 14, 1987. Interview C-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Herring, William Dallas, interviewee
Interview conducted by Jenkins, Jay
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 220 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-02-12, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with William Dallas Herring, February 14, 1987. Interview C-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0034)
Author: Jay Jenkins
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with William Dallas Herring, February 14, 1987. Interview C-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0034)
Author: William Dallas Herring
Description: 321 Mb
Description: 78 p.
Note: Interview conducted on February 14, 1987, by Jay Jenkins; recorded in Rose Hill, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Patricia Watkins.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series C. Notable North Carolinians, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Editorial practices
An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as "
All em dashes are encoded as —

Interview with William Dallas Herring, February 14, 1987.
Interview C-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Herring, William Dallas, interviewee

Interview Participants

    JAY JENKINS, interviewer


Page 1
This is an interview Jay Jenkins is conducting with Dallas Herring in his home in Rose Hill, North Carolina on February 14 for the Oral History Program.
1987, you might add.
1987, thank you. Well, Dallas, if you would, let's begin with a brief biographical sketch.
Well, this is an appropriate place to begin, Jay. I was born in this room, seventy-one years ago, March 5, 1916. And the first light I saw at 2:00 that Sunday morning was in that coal grate fireplace. I thought of it as the center of the universe. I realize it is to me, and maybe my twin sister, but nobody else. I, first of all, am greatly pleased to see you again after so many years. I remember the trip that you and Pete McKnight1 and Epps Ready2 made to Hartford, Connecticut. Pete had the idea that they could tell us something about improving the schools. I enjoyed the trip.
As I recall, you told them more than they told you.
It was mutually helpful, I think. But I never have forgotten that trip. The great regret I have in my isolation here is that I have so little contact anymore with people like you with whom I was very active for so long a time. They're real memories for me, and I'm grateful for them.
I graduated at Davidson in 1938, and in 1939 I was elected mayor of

Page 2
this village and spent twelve years in that role. We got the streets paved, the water and sewer system installed, and a new town hall, and fire department building. I thought my public career was over.
I had the personal disappointment of being rejected a number of times by the young lady on whom I had fixed my affections. [laughter] I sort of had the idea that I would withdraw into my Trappist monastery and have very little to do with the world, but the good Lord or somebody had a different view of it.
In 1951 Robert Carr was elected to the legislature which created a vacancy on the Duplin County Board of Education. January 1st, I reluctantly agreed to serve out the rest of his term. I was approached three times. The first two times I gave them a negative answer. I didn't have any children, and I thought it was a job that parents should do. But on the third occasion I remembered the good Lord called Samuel, and he finally listened. Maybe he was trying to tell me something.
I went over there [to Kenansville] to the meeting. The superintendent had everything lined up. All we had to do was open the meeting. As Hiden Ramsey3 said many times about the trustees of the Negro colleges, they didn't have any authority. This was before '54. They opened the meeting with prayer and closed it with profanity and went home [laughter] after their annual meeting. They couldn't hire the teachers. They couldn't hire the president. All they did was take responsibility for

Page 3
whatever went wrong. With all due respect to my colleagues and the superintendent, that's the way the Duplin Board of Education was going about its business. And I remember having a discussion with O. P. Johnson, the superintentent. I said, "If I'm going to spend my time at this job as your draftee, you're going to hear from me. I want to see some results."
I'm a graduate of Rose Hill High School, and I went to Davidson College to compete with boys from Woodberry Forest, McCalleys, and Darlington, and Central High School in Charlotte, I might add. They had already gone through most of the first year curriculum, and it was foreign to me. I felt at a great disadvantage.
I resolved sometime to do something about it. And here I am in the place of responsibility, and we're going to do something about the quality of education. The superintendent welcomed that. Coincidentally, he told us that Guy Phillips had a grant from the Kellogg Foundation. He was dean of the University School of Education, Chapel Hill. I said, "Well, this is great. The experts will come down and tell us what's wrong and that will straighten it out, and I can go on back to my monastery." Well, Allan Hurlburt was new to the faculty there, and Guy put him in charge of it. He had been at East Carolina and later went to Duke after a brief stay in the State Department of Public Instruction.
Summarizing very quickly what happened there: they didn't give us any expert advice. I thought we threw our twelve hundred dollars away. I think that's what we contributed. There were

Page 4
seven counties, Harnett—I forget now, Concord, Cabbarus, Stanley, I believe. The process that they used was rather socratic. It tried to elicit from us an understanding of what constituted a good public school education, and, second, how you're going to get such a program. We decided—we only had fifteen high schools. We visited all fifteen of them. Had a committee of citizens from each of the districts, black and white. This was in 1951 before the court decreed that we should integrate. Blacks and whites in Duplin County were sitting down eating together and talking about mutual problems. I could see a rather quick transition in the thinking of the citizens, sixty odd people, from intensive interest in their own district school to an interest in the whole county. We were all surprised to see that others had better or worse schools than we had—no real equality. The more we met the more citizens wanted to meet with us. I recall the county commissioners were concerned about citizens meeting in different places, all about the county. They were not involved and asked to be permitted to attend the meetings, and the legislator also. Pretty soon we had a countywide citizens movement going without realizing what we were doing.
Well, I'll declare.
We began seriously to debate the issue: What kind of schools do we have actually? Are they big enough? Are they too big? Are they too little? What constitutes a good size?
And you determine the dimensions of the curriculum to some extent by the size of the school. For example, if you have a three-

Page 5
teacher high school at Magnolia and a three-teacher high school at Rose Hill, you've got to teach the basic required subjects in each of those locations. But if you put them together you've got six teachers, and you might squeeze in another subject or two. We really had not faced that before. It's something that we didn't want to think about.
In 1953 the state board of education decreed that the Magnolia School would be closed. Hiden Ramsey led the State Board of Education at the time. Old man Hunter was sent down here, not to ask us whether we would agree to that, but to tell us that we were going to close that school. They sent it to Rose Hill, of all places. It stirred up the people of Magnolia. They resented it. I remember going before the Board of Education in Raleigh and asking them to give us some time to work it out our way, but they were very unyielding. Umstead was governor then. There were fifteen schools across the state that they had decreed were too small and not cost effective and should be closed. It undoubtedly was true. The problem was the way they went about solving the problem.
By decree.
It created quite a stir in the '53 session of the legislature. If you read the journal, you'll see that Umstead went before the legislature and asked that they remove the authority of the State Board of Education to consolidate schools and put it back in the hands of the local boards of education. Then he said, and this was very perceptive on his part, "I warn you that you'll have more consolidation of schools under that

Page 6
arrangement than you have now." It turned out to be very prophetic. I agreed with him thoroughly that you need to put the responsibility—no, the authority where the responsibility is locally.
Was that adopted?
It was adopted. It was a heated issue. If you will read the newspaper file from 1953, Magnolia School was reopend as a result of public pressure. But then our Kellogg project reached a climax about the same time. The citizens themselves began to debate the issue. Wallace needed a new high school. Rose Hill needed a new high school. They began talking among themselves—it's seven miles apart. The village of Teachey is between them. To make a long story short, the citizens decided they wanted to consolidate the schools. Calypso and Faison were the first. For years they couldn't make up their minds which side of Goshen Swamp they wanted to put their schools on. They were not opposed to consolidating. They came before the board and said, "Build us a new school, and we'll let you put it wherever you want to." The mayor of the town, each mayor, the board of commissioners—a unanimous decision.
The only trouble was we didn't have the money to do anything with. But there were the county commisioners involved, you see. We turned to them at the same meeting and said we have got to have the money to do this and right now. I don't think it took but about $200,000. This was 1953, I think it was. We built them a new school, North Duplin High School, and from that beginning we had the consolidation of all the schools.

Page 7
Then, of course, at the time of the Supreme Court decision in 1954 we were in the process of building a new Union School for blacks. We were just ready to let the contract. It's now the E. E. Smith School at Kenansville, named for the Duplin native, E. E. Smith, who was president of Fayetteville State. We had a meeting—called a special meeting of the black leaders of the Kellogg project. "What do you want us to do? We've got new instructions from higher up about this. We're fixing to build the blacks a school." They understood. They really didn't seem to me to be thinking about integration and were not concerned about it. But one of them in the back got up and said, "Go ahead and build it. We'll use it together." [laughter] And that's what we did.
Well, I'll declare, integrated from the beginning.
Well, it took some time, you know, for that idea to be absorded but we went ahead and built the school realizing that it probably would be an integrated school eventually. It was located very well—in the center of the county. It's now a junior high school. And Warsaw, Kenansville, and Magnolia came together [to form a new high school, James Kenan].
Well, I dragged that out a little further than I should have, but it taught me a lesson that I had previously learned here in Rose Hill when we paved the streets, even before Kerr Scott's program and the Powell Bill Fund Program started for building streets. We paid for it ourselves without any help from anybody. But it was because the people got together and said the streets were so bad that they were just ready to do it. If you

Page 8
put the problem in the laps of the people and put them in a situation where they have got to make a decision themselves, they are apt to make the right decision if you give them time to study it and if they know all the facts.
Well, I got involved in that process with the State School Board Association, which was Guy Phillips' private organization. He gave his life to it. He had me making speeches in Smyrna down here at the jumping off place in Carteret County, and Cullowhee, Boone, and Wadesboro. I don't know where all I did go.
To encourage consolidation.
Telling them the Duplin story. What we were doing and how we asked these three questions and gave the citizens a chance to answer them themselves and did not hand them out the answers. We didn't go there saying we ought to consolidate this school. We asked them what they wanted to do about it, and the thing spread over to Sampson County. Chevis Kerr was chairman of the board of the city unit, Clinton. We became great friends and our two families, the Herrings and the Kerrs, were neighbors down on Black River for generations. I saw Chevis' niece last summer, I mean his daughter rather. That's just a little about them, he was a great man. But he helped in the same way to bring this about in Sampson County, consolidation of the schools. We went up into Wayne, over into Lenoir. Harnett County wouldn't go along. They were in the group of the Kellogg study, but they still had problems. Well, after this, this movement began

Page 9
gaining momentum, not only in Duplin but in a number of counties about the state.
The fifties were a time of ferment anyway. The National Citizens Council for Better Schools, Dr. Conant's4 group, was plugging "better schools make better communities." I became a member of that, the board of trustees of the national group. In fact, I was in San Francisco, May 17, 1954, at a meeting of that group when the court ruled on the segregation cases. I was the only person from the south. They had me out there to lead a panel discussion.
What outfit was that?
Dr. James B. Conant's organization was called the National Citizens Commission for the Public Schools and was changed to Council for Better Schools. Roy Larson was the chairman of it, the president of Time, Inc. We had such people as John Hersey, the author of The Wall and other novels, Harry Sherman, president of the Book-of-the-Month-Club, even Beardsley Ruml, the author of the withholding tax thing. People of that caliber, in my class, you might say [laughter] . I don't know what the devil they had me out there for, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm not just name dropping. It really happened. I had looked forward to hearing Walter Lippman's speech. You know television hadn't come in, and I just had read a great deal of his columns. They used to appear in the Charlotte Observer when

Page 10
I was a student at Davidson. I admired his mental capacities and insight.
Larson was a very interesting person to me too. He had been interested in Walter Hines Page, as I had myself. I remember when [1933] my parents took me to Davidson, we stopped at Red Springs and put off three sisters at Flora McDonald and went on by Alberdeen and stopped at old Bethesda church and looked at Walter Hines Page's grave and then went on to Davidson. I, all my life, had been interested in his attitude, his philosophy, and so on. Larson, by coincidence, was bitten by the same bug. He asked me to sit beside him at breakfast at the hotel the next morning.
A group of people, who were leading the panels and taking part on the program, including Lipman, were there. And somebody came in with the San Francisco Examiner, and the headline read "School Desegregation Decreed." Larson turned to me and said, "What do you think the South will do." I said, "Well, I can't speak for the South. I don't know what the South will do. I think North Carolina will do the responsible thing. It will take some time." Then I said, "What do you think New York is going to do?" [laughter] He didn't seem to think New York had any problem. And they don't to this day, apparently. You know, South Boston, Rochester, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, why have they lost interest in civil rights in those places, I wonder? They're not segregated as a result of law, but de facto segregation is rampant in our national capital. And they're not doing anything about it. Contrast that with what we had up here

Page 11
at Magnolia the other day when Bone Crusher Smith5 came. There were the blacks and the whites eating together and celebrated a local boy who has become a national hero.
The World Boxing Association Heavyweight Champion.
Yeah. I don't follow this thing. I didn't know who Bone Crusher Smith was 'til The Wallace Enterprise had his picture and told us about it.
Well, after that Larson and I kept in touch, and he sent me a number of little books (or a number of copies of a little book that he had printed) of some of the speeches of Page. I had read the biography of Page but I had not seen all these speeches before. They were a very handy thing. I corresponded with Page's son. Hiden Ramsey put me in touch with him before his death. I really thought, I still think, that Page had a message for our generation. And our generation is not paying attention, because North Carolina does not read history. It does not pay any attention at all, except for a handful of people, to what has gone on before. And you people in the newspaper business are the worst offenders of that. I don't mean you personally. I know where you came from, Richmond County, Scotland County. And I know about your past, John Charles McNeal, your relative. I have a volume that the University Press printed of his poems. I get it down every now and then so I won't forget that old dialect—beautiful. But you take the News and Observer that goes to New York and to Atlanta to get Claude Sitton in there. And he goes to New Orleans to pick up, what's the boy's name?

Page 12
Ferrell Guillory?
Guillory. He's very capable. I knew him before I left Raleigh. Well, I just wish in the process they would get at least one that—somebody like Tom Ingram that they ran off, who had his feet on the ground and embedded in the history of this state—could understand that, but it seems to be unimportant to them. It's none of my business, but I hate to see a newspaper that was so much a part of the history of the state that is not informed about it anymore. I read in this new biography of Page a letter that Aycock wrote to Page while he was practicing law in Goldsboro, before he ever ran for governor, to commend him. He proposed that Page come and join Josephus Daniels and make the News and Observer a going enterprise, and it'd be a tremendous thing. That was after Page had written his "Mummy" speech. That "mummies" were running North Carolina, you remember that. Well, I'm rambling too much. Well, I wanted to give you the background.
Umstead called me and asked me to serve on the Pearsall Commission to advise the state about this desegregation plan. I remember Judge Varser from Lumberton or Laurinburg (I forget which city), James Manning, Dr. Carroll, Gordon Gray. Gordon said something in those meetings that astounded me. He said the state had to face the inevitable fact that we could not afford to educate everybody, and we needed to introduce the European system and give a screening test at the beginning of high school. We couldn't afford to give the kind of education that was needed to everybody in high school. We were dropping out 75 out of a 100

Page 13
at that time. I was so astounded. I felt that I had misunderstood him. I asked Carroll and Ready if I had understood him correctly. They said that's what he said. He was president of the University. A good man but he didn't know his history either. What a contrast with what Page had hoped for the state: to educate everybody. I don't mean to be personal in criticism but it's part of my history.
It's part of the history.
He didn't know me, though I'd had many letters from him when I was chairman of the Young Democrats of Duplin County. He was active, you know. I had met him before but he met so many people, I didn't expect him to remember. Well, I served on that commission. I took that assignment very seriously. I learned how they used to do things. They would appoint the big committee. Then an executive committee would get behind the scenes and decide what was going to happen. And Dr. Beverly Lake was not on the committee, but Tom Pearsall and Colonel Joyner6 and the others were on it—running the thing, were deciding what to do. They came out with a report I wouldn't support.
I refused to sign it, because it provided for the closing of schools. This has been documented in a dissertation by a student at UNC-Greensboro and is available as John Bachelor's thesis for his Master's. I thought he did an excellent job with it. By that time Hodges had become governor, and he was very much put out with me for refusing to sign this report. I said, "Governor,

Page 14
what difference does it make whether I sign it or not? You can come on out. I'm not going to make a minority report. I just don't agree that you should allow for closing any school anyway." He said, "I don't agree with it either." I said, "Well, what have you got to have it in there for?" Well, he thought it was a safety valve, and eventually he persuaded me to agree to it on a promise, a commitment, that he would never allow one to be closed. Came close to it one time after—that's another story—when he sent me to the Halawar Indian uprising.
Halifax County.
Yeah. Bob Giles was sent down there. Bob had made them all mad. They were not going to do anything for anybody.
Giles was Hodges' counsel.
Legal counsel. Bob's a Georgia boy like Ed Rankin and Claude Silton [laughter] . They thought they were supposed to tell us what to do and Claude Silton said, "I've got a thing with these Georgia people coming up here running things." Anyhow, I wonder sometimes why we can't give them a course in North Carolina history [laughter] . And let them at least be aware of such people as Edward Kidder Graham and the other Graham, the celebrated senator, and Page especially. They don't know who he is. Well, I did agree conditionally. Not two weeks after that, a vacancy occurred on the State Board of Education in our district. Archie Graham from Clinton—attorney there, a kinsmen of Frank Graham, by the way—died. Luther Hodges called me and asked me to serve on the board.

Page 15
That was 1955.
Yeah. I didn't think he would ever appoint me to anything. I was a astounded. I didn't ask him about it. He gave me a day or two to think about it, and I talked to my brother. So I accepted it. I went to Raleigh, and the board was composed of old men—old Dr. Dougherty, very good men. Sanford Martin was the Winston-Salem editor, and then Sol Brower (from Duke), J.A. Pritchett. All fine people. But I felt as though I'd been to a meeting of the real estate board—talking about the swamp land down here, you know, marshlands and what to do about that. Mr. C.D. Douglas was the controllor. They'd argue about little details of how a note was to be worded, and you know, just a lawyers' recess. I was wasting my time. I was just in the wrong place.
I went over to see Hodges. I said, "Governor, I left Duplin County at your behest to come up here." I told him what we'd been doing. I reviewed the Kellogg project. I said, "I want to go back, to get back involved as a citizen—I won't have to have an office—bringing some more progress in the schools back home. I can't do anything up here. They won't listen to me." So Hodges said, "I know exactly what you mean. I served as chairman while I was Lieutenant Governor, and I don't think they have a grasp of what the job is either." He said, "Go on back over there." Well, at first he said—we got to talking about new industry. This is important from the point of view of the community colleges. I told him that it seemed to me that he was asking the impossible to bring in all these new industries to the

Page 16
state and expect the people to walk off the tobacco farms and go to work in electronics plants without any instruction in what its all about. I said, "They'll get their tobacco planted. They automatically go to the river and go fishing for the next three or four weeks. They won't punch a clock." [laughter] Without preparation at all for this, the old generation would never change. I know because I grew up among them.
He was not very complimentary in his comments about us eastern North Carolina people. I used to think sometimes—(I had great respect for Governor Hodges) but I thought he thought highway 301 was the boundary between the real North Carolina and Bermuda. What was in between was swamp land [laughter] . He wouldn't build any highways down here. He was impatient with our slow ways, though he and I got along fine—witness his willingness to appoint me to that board after I disagreed with him. Well, he got interested then. In fact he got a little bit miffed about the status of vocational education in the public schools, very critical of it.
He said, "Go on back over there, and I'll get you some help on the board and come up with a proposal for the education of adults for the new industries we're getting." I thought that was a pretty important assignment. I took it in earnest, and he put Charlie McCrary from Asheboro, head of McCrary Hosiery Mills, on the board; and Barton Hayes, textile manufacturer from Hudson and Lenoir; Charlie Rose, an attorney from Fayetteville, father of Charlie Rose, the Congressman; and Charlie Jordan [Duke vicepresident]. They had to have somebody from Duke. All these good

Page 17
Methodists wanted to look after that. Didn't want Chapel Hill to get ahead of them. And I got him to put Guy Phillips on there. He was a little reluctant about that. He didn't think professional educators should be on there. I said, "Yes, but this one is the exception. If you're going to have Jordan from Duke, who's chairman of the Durham County Board of Education, you ought to have Guy." And so it just happened that there were some vacancies. Dr. Doughtery was senile by that time and retired, and Sanford Martin, a very fine person—I was glad to get to know him. He was just worn out. He didn't live long.
And you became chairman in '57.
Yeah, a couple of years later, right. Is it time to change that?
No, we can stop for a minute. [Interruption]
You know in the process of that public school thing though—Hal Tribble, you remember Hal Tribble—was at the Charlotte Observer, later the Citizen. He invited me up to Charlotte for a series of meetings to tell that story to people of Mecklenburg.
The Duplin story?
Yeah. Hal wrote a piece about it. I've still got the clipping somewhere. It's what attracted Pete McKnight's interest. He and I were classmates at Davidson, but when he read the article about what we were doing there, he became interested, and later on the curriculum study committee and so on and the Carlyle Commission.

Page 18
Don't let me interrupt you, but didn't you in effect consolidate a lot of public schools?
Early on.
We got fifteen consolidated in Duplin before I left.
I mean on the state level, when you got on the state board.
Fifty-five in one year, and that was the peak year. I don't know how many in all. I lost track. I may have the record.
Put it on the local people.
That's right.
Let them originate it and so forth.
Put the monkey on their back. I told Hiden Ramsey, and he chewed me out for fair you well. I've got some real doozy of a letters from him. He would write me a five or six page letter telling me what a scoundrel I was for doing so and so. The next mail I'd get one apologizing. [laughter] He was a great guy. I thoroughly enjoyed him.
I interrupted you when you were saying what Hodges said about the vocational education for adults.
You ready to start again?
We've already, we've been on.
I didn't know that. Well, with all this new help on the board of education, these people were big industrialists, compared to me. I only had a small plant, a family business. I

Page 19
never knew anybody with sixteen hundred employees before. Charlie McCrary had, and he took me through his plants up there—beautiful arrangement. He's a very fine person. It was a coincidence that both he and Barton Hayes were Davidson graduates, Democrats. I don't know why everybody that's from Davidson is a Republican now, Holhouser and Martin. [laughter] But we had come up during the Depression years. I still keep in touch with Barton, but Charlie died about a year ago. He was a good fellow.
We just put his business man's principles to work there. We came up with a proposal for area vocational technical schools. To give credit where credit is due, George Geohagen of Raleigh, head of the study committee of State College—I think College Foundation—proposed a big boost in the production of engineers at N.C. State and the creation of three technical institutes and a system of area vocational schools. This happened at the same time that Hodges and I were talking about the same problem and opportunity to fit in with this industrial development program. So Ramsey suggested to me that I take this area vocational school proposal to the State Board of Education. I said, "I'll certainly do it, but I've already in effect done it." We were planning to have something in our budget.
He would not let me attend the meeting of the Board of Higher Education (I was a member of that too) when they were doing the budgets. He would schedule a meeting when the state board met so that I wouldn't get in on the budget proposals for the Board of Higher Education. [laughter] I don't know why,

Page 20
unless he thought I was competitive with it. I remember going down there7 at noon one day when we took a break upstairs. They were in secret session planning the budget. I just walked on in there. I was a member of the board, and they stopped talking. Well, the way it is today, you can't do that in private anymore.
Well, Dr. Carroll thought that the proposal of $500,000 was not enough. We wanted a million I believe it was. He said it should be three million. None of us had any idea. I'm sure if Hodges had known that it would be a multi-million program by now, he probably wouldn't have agreed to it. But we put it in the pot, and it went on over to the budget commission and legislature.
This was technical institutes?
Well, we didn't call them that. We called them industrial education centers.
Industrial Education Centers.
It's predecessor, "technical institute", frightened them and sounded too prestigious, and we really didn't have any money. They were less institutionalized than we have it today—something more fluid. We called them "extension" courses instead of "curriculum" courses.
What year did the legislature approve those?
1957. I got a call from Hodges toward the end of that session that said the appropriations subcommittee had voted down the proposal, and "it will not come out unless you can get up here and help change it." He wanted me to come up and see

Page 21
Watts Hill, Jr. and Dick Long from Person County—who were on the committee and had voted for it. I didn't know the two. I knew about them. The C&D department was on the second floor of the education building at that time, and I found them there. We went on down to the Sir Walter and had dinner together, and I left there at ten o'clock after reaching an agreement that we would negiotate for a $500,000 conditional appropriation to the budget commission which they would turn over to us if and when we presented a proposal they would approve. That was instead of 3 million, and that was put in the budget for the '57 session. We studied it all that fall. Had a committee from industry. Wade Martin was the staff member and took the lead in it. We went before the advisory budget commission in April, 1958 with a proposal for spending $500,000 for equipment for the area schools and industrial education centers and…
Let me switch this thing, Dallas



Page 22
From that day in April—I've forgotten what day of the month it was—1958, in less than a year, the Burlington city board of education had a new building for the Burlington IEC, it was called, Industrial Education Center. Faculty was forty part-time people and over a thousand students—fully operational. We approved seven of them in the state on that occasion. The one in Wake County took two or three years for them to get what is now Wake Tech but…
These were jointly financed; counties participated?
Yes, the counties. It was part of the public school system. They put up the buildings, and we furnished them. We got the teachers' salaries out of the George-Barden and Smith-Hughes Act funds, and the real carrot was the equipment. I remember Charlie McCrary, Wade Martin, and I went to Washington to the Pentagon to request them to grant some of the equipment that they had stockpiled in the salt mines against atomic attack. This was all new equipment. It was simply scattered about the country in case of attack—machine tools most of them. We made the point to them that we needed to stockpile some machinists to run the equipment. If people got killed who knew how to run them, what good would the machines be? And we were not getting to first base until we got hold of Hodges. He called the powers that be—I don't know who they were, but influence in the Pentagon higher up—and we got over a million dollars worth of equipment that went to Winston-Salem-Forsyth IEC. It's still up

Page 23
there by the way. From that day on the idea just took root and spread like wildfire.
It was a popular thing because it spoke to a need that the state had never met before. Hundreds of thousands of people across the state were shut out of the process of higher education. Shut out at the high school level because the high schools are too small to give them a diversified program that they really needed to keep their interest and teach them the skills that they needed in order to make a living. At the same session, the 1957 session, the Board of Higher Education was under the leadership of Harris Purks, who was the director, a physics professor and former provost at the University at Chapel Hill; Bill Womble, a young lawyer from Winston-Salem, who was a representative from Forsyth; Bob Lassiter from Charlotte, also a member of the Board of Higher Education and of the legislature; and Charlie Reynolds, from, I believe, Spindale. Oh, we had some fine people.
They proposed a different kind of community college system. Two of them had been out to California with Harris Purks to look at this, and they concluded that it was all wrong and didn't want to get involved with that. What they were interested in was the liberal arts and sciences programs only, no vocational at all.
Bonnie Cone had a comprehensive institution going in Charlotte at local expense, called Central Community College. It was operated by the Charlotte city schools, and public school vocational funds that came through the Department of Public Instruction were used. But when the new Community College Act

Page 24
of '57 was adopted, it severed the ties with the public schools. You couldn't spend the money on that. The state adopted a policy of reimbursing the local institutions. I think the figure was $3.50 per credit hour of instruction actually delivered. You would pay this over at the end of the quarter. You had to operate on local funds. You got a reimbursement at the end of the quarter if you did actually produce so many credit hours. Well, that spelled the end of vocational education for Charlotte Central Community College. Wilmington also had one. The university started extension programs down there in cooperation with the public schools. Asheville had a slightly different experience with what was later known as Asheville-Biltmore Junior College. We could not continue it. So we put the IEC's in there to take up the vocational programs. Asheville-Buncombe Tech it is now, Cape Fear Tech, and Central Piedmont Community College was at first Central Piedmont IEC, in the same place in the old central high school building.
Bonnie was very much grieved at that—this arbitrary separation, and I shared it with her. I voted against it on the Board of Higher Education, a minority of one again, and I don't want there to be any misunderstanding about it. I voted against it because it was a departure from the comprehensive community college idea, and it was totally inadequate in its funding. They only appropriated $25,000 for each of three schools. And they sold their soul for a mess of pottage. Hiden Ramsey blessed me out about that. Bill Womble got offended over it.

Page 25
I just quietly went about my business of building the IEC's. I knew Hodges would not agree for any liberal arts instruction to go into them, no libraries. He wanted us to train these millhands and do it right now and not have any pussyfooting about it. We were doing it. But I told him, "These people can't read. A lot of them can't read, and those that can, can only read at an elementary school level. How do you expect them to perform in a complex industry in tomorrow's technical fields?" Starting the Research Triangle out here and expecting workers like this to perform in it. I remember later on when he got to be Secretary of Commerce (Watts Hill had been on the Board of Higher Education in the Moore administration).
Watts, Jr., I believe.
Yeah. Watts got the idea that we were competing and about to turn the IEC's into community colleges. Hodges didn't like it. So I scheduled a session with him in Ready's8 office. I'm getting a little ahead of the story but I'll tell you now while I'm thinking of it. Ed Rankin was with him. They were dressed in their boots and were going hunting. There was snow on the ground. They went bird hunting. I defended what we did, but I don't think I ever convinced either one of them, Ed or Hodges, that the comprahensive idea was what was right for the state. We'll get back to that in a minute. We didn't fall out about it but we just didn't agree. Another thing that Hodges did, and I think it's often lost in the telling. He began the

Page 26
State Citizens Committee for Better Schools. Holt McPherson9 of High Point was chairman of it. [Interruption]
I was telling about the result of the 1957 Community College Act which really was not a community college act. It was an act to inhibit the development of community colleges and to redirect the local movement to liberal arts and sciences alone rather than a comprehensive curriculum involving the technical and vocational as well as the avocational and the liberal arts and sciences. My colleagues on the Board of Higher Education simply were not convinced that the state needed any such thing as that.
They had not read Walter Hines Page, by the way. If they did, they didn't agree with it. So we began in earnest to promote the development of the industrial education centers.
When Hodges' administration ended, there was a vacuum there where we could run things, and we filled them full of literary instruction. We bought books in anticipation of Terry Sanford's administration. There is a whole lot I could tell you about those days that I would like to record some time. I remember the curriculum study that I mentioned that began in 1957-58 with money from the Richardson foundation that Hodges got for us—took the cue that we had in Duplin. What kind of schools do we have? What kind do we need? How do we get the kind we agree we need? Let's put it in plain, Duplin County, North Carolina English rather than having a status report, an exploration of the possibilites, then the proposals 1 through 5B that have to be debated—plain English.

Page 27
The truth of the matter was, Jay, the people understood what they were involved in. We had 38,000 people involved in local citizens' committees, lay and professional people, working as local teams debating these very issues. They are the ones that decided we have too many high schools, and most of them are in the wrong place. So we began. We had this 1953 bond money that had not been spent, all of it. $50 million dollars, I think it was. We began in earnest building the schools for the new curriculum, the larger schools.
Terry Sanford began to think about running for governor. He was aware of all this activity. You know he was in the 1953 session of the legislature but he was not especially active about education. I guess his career was unfolding at the time, and he was looking around to see where his philosophy would—really I don't mean he was opportunistic about it—but I think he was maturing in his judgments about it. I don't know that I ever met him during that session though I appeared before the legislature and presented their budget request in '53. Of course, we've been talking about '57 since then. I'm sorry not to be chronological.
That's all right.
I remember, we asked for $70 million dollars increase in the public school budget in '53. There was a Senator Owens from Beaufort County, Little Washington, who got up and said he was not sure he understood me perfectly. "Did I say $70 million or $7 million?" I said, "Seventy—seven, zero million [laughter] ." And he made some remark about how ridiculous it was to think about that. Yet, at the end of this first effort with

Page 28
the curriculum committee study and this grassroots involvement in consolidating schools and studying the needs of the schools—nobody at the top saying we need to do this; we need to have that; we need to quit doing the other; they were deciding it themselves—we proposed a $106 million dollar increase in the '61 session.
I remember after the primary—second primary in which Sanford defeated Dr. Lake—Guy Phillips and I went to Fayetteville to see him at his home there to get his approval of this. We didn't want to spring it on him in the newspapers, you know. Back then we could meet in secret and decide what we were going to ask for and not surprise people ahead of time. It took the edge off of it. When we could go before the budget commission, they'd already read about it in the newspapers. We got used to that later. You know, Sanford was very tired. That was a hard campaign that he fought. How many was it, six or seven candidates in the first primary. John Larkins, I don't remember who all…
Malcolm Seawell.
Yeah, Malcolm Seawell. Wasn't Main Allbright in that one too?
No, he was not in that one. I think that was Scott in '48. Before you get any further that $106 thousand…
$106 million.
$106 million was to establish the community colleges.

Page 29
No, no. It was the public school budget and included some for the IEC's. See, this was in '60, 1960 for the 1961 session.
I understand now.
We had a little budget brief and handed it to Terry. He just went through it and said, "I'm too tired to consider this now. Let me tell you I'm going to support whatever you all come up with." I said, "Well, this is what we've come up with. It's a $106 million dollars." He said, "Let's go for it." I just could hardly believe my ears. I'd been used to getting negative reports. First thing that came to my mind was old man Owens belittling me for asking for $70 million a few years before. We went back there, and the NCEA, at that time, had asked for, I forget the figure—was substantially less than what we'd asked for. That really put Dawson and that crowd on the spot. [laughter] I think we timed it that way to happen. It contained a 30% increase for superintendents and principals. And they've cussed since then for not getting them enough, but they never gave me any credit for help getting that. [laughter]
What was the increase for teachers?
I've forgotten. You know, when Hodges put me on the board, I think the beginning salary was $1,450, something like that. The average salary when Sanford came in was $3,600.
Over 20%, I believe.
It's hard to remember what the figures were when we haven't got them down.
That's all right. It's part of the record anyway.

Page 30
Yeah. Well, to make a long story short, we had a rally in Chapel Hill. Dr. Conant was there. We'd had one in '58 or '9 when Adlai Stevenson came down. Wilbur Edwards, a Charlotte boy who was president of the student body at Davidson when I was there, was employed by the Encyclopedia Brittanica films and he called me one day and said, "I can get Adlai Stevenson to come for one of these school rallies you're having in Chapel Hill." Dr. Conant's National Citizens Council had put me in charge of the whole southeast to create citizen interest in the schools. So I said, "Well, get him. We've got Hodges' support." It was at the time of the Little Rock riots. Eisenhower was in there. Faubus was governor of Arkansas. Wilbur had told Governor Stevenson about me. He invited me to write him a letter about the situation here so he wouldn't walk right into an explosive situation. We had three thousand people coming. I wrote him about a six page letter. It wound up that he quoted my letter a lot in his speech, which flattered me very much. [laughter] He was a great man. I thoroughly enjoyed that brief acquaintance with him. He had a tremendous ability with the language which always impressed people like Edwin Gill10 and me, and you too, I'm sure. He was a wordsmith. Well, that's a flashback. I should have remembered to tell you that before. One of these same kinds of meetings—one of this type of meeting, we held in November after the Sanford election in the fall.
November '60, November 1960?
Yeah. Who was it, Gavin ran against Sanford?

Page 31
It was a serious contest in itself for the first time in this century. I know Gavin had some family connections down here. He was from Sanford, but they came out of Duplin County and Sampson. Well, it was a happy occasion for us. We had been through two primaries, and the fall campaign, and Sanford's victory was really a new day. I invited him to come to that school rally. We had people from eight southern states. The auditorium in Chapel Hill was full of people. He asked me to introduce him. [laughter] I said, "Who is the happy warrior, who is he that every man in arms should wish to be?" And I told what kind of guy this fellow is, you know. That went across tremendously. Hathaway Cross was in the back, and in the campaign he was on the other side. He threw up his hand. He said, "I'm for the program, I'm for the program." [laughter] But Sanford announced then (I'd never discussed with him whether my term was out or what he would do about reappointing me, it was up to him) he announced in response to my introduction that the state couldn't afford to do without me, and he was going to reappoint me. Of course, it got a big hand. But he had a written speech that showed he had done a lot of thinking—a deep, really profound interest in the neglected people, young and old, who were either kept out or pushed out of the system because the system was too inflexible to meet the needs of people.
We tend to believe that a curriculum of quality is a rigid, fixed, and final kind of thing that everybody must meet. It fails to realize when people have very different kinds of ability

Page 32
as well as degrees [of ability]. You see it in the everyday world all the time. An illiterate mechanic who is just a wizard with the things that he knows about and can communicate very well in his own language about these things. What he needs is to be able to communicate with others about other things. You come from a different base. Page said it beautifully in his little speeches that he made. He told about the school at Northfield, I believe it's called. That little book up here beside me is really an inspiration. Sanford was aware of this. I think I had given him one of Roy Larson's books of Page's speeches. Later in his inauguration speech he challenged the people of North Carolina to join him in "the audacious adventure of making the state all it can and ought to be"—a very good way to put it, and it was an audacious adventure that we embarked on.
Early in the '61 session the newspapers headlined from Wilmington, a story that they were going to seek independent senior college status at Wilmington College. The Board of Higher Educaton was in session that same day. Major McLendon11 had succeeded as chairman. Major was very perturbed about that. He didn't know what to do about it. I remember he kept us in session through lunch hour. You know how lawyers are. Time means absolutely nothing to them. It's one of their major tools they use. And I'm just a country boy, I like to eat at dinner time. [laughter] I got really peeved about it about three o'clock. He didn't want anybody to leave. I said, "Major, I know how to solve this problem if you'll let us do it, and we'll

Page 33
go get some lunch." He was ready by that time to listen to somebody that he was not accustomed to listening to. I said, "All you have to do is go with me over there to see Governor Sanford and propose to him that he make a public announcement that he plans to appoint a commission to study the whole area of education beyond the high school." Eisenhower had one for the nation. "It's time North Carolina took a look at education beyond the high school and addressed the issue of whether we should have a branch of the university at Charlotte and one at Asheville, and what to do about the two systems of post high school education, the IEC's and the so-called community colleges." Much to my surprise, the Major said, "That is the thing to do," and put it off until after the session. So we went over there, he and I, alone, and sat down with Sanford. I had no idea whether Sanford had thought about it himself or not. But he readily agreed to it and that deferred any activity in the General Assembly. They just put it on hold until they adjourned.
Remember at the end of the '61 session, they adopted our 106 million dollar budget. There was money in that for the IEC's. I don't remember how much. But right at the end of the session, Sanford went to Hawaii to the national governor's conference. I thought it was the worst thing in the world for him to do, because it could all go haywire. You know how it is. But it didn't. He told Bill Friday and me—Bill and I went to see him shortly after McLendon and I went. I kept Bill posted about it. I said now is the chance for the university to do what Edward Kidder Graham said it should do, make the boundary of the state

Page 34
determine the boundary of the campus. That's not his words but that's what he meant.
Co-terminus with the boundary of the state. Bill and I have had perfect relationships, as far as I'm concerned. I know I have his respect, and he became president about the same time I became chairman of the board of education. And Guy Phillips brought us together—having done our best to help each other all we could. By golly, he got pushed out about the same way I did too, I think. If the truth is known, he's too much of a gentleman to tell about it but I know enough about it to know that there was some political action there that is much to the discredit of that board for doing it. Bill Friday has been a statesman all the way through and deserves nothing but the eternal gratitude of the people of this state. He does not deserve to be mistreated in any degree. But it was a sad thing, I know, he's told me enough about it to know that. But that's a parenthetical statement I probably shouldn't have made; but its history also. Bill and I were asked by Sanford to name the commission. He had two or three names that he wanted on there, and he put them on. We conferred about who should head the commission. We agreed to Irwin Carlyle, this great liberal leader of the state, whose influence was highly respected, but somewhat distrusted because of his liberalism on the race question. His speech before the Democratic Convention probably cost him an appointment to the Senate—Umstead, or was it Jordan, I guess.

Page 35
No, Ervin.
Yeah, Sam Ervin.
So he picked Carlyle as…
He was chairman of this commission—perfect chairman, intelligent, attentive, interested, but had the great good sense to let us run the commission. [laughter] I think he had confidence in Friday and me. He didn't know me before that but he seemed to learn what I was after, which was extending the opportunity of education to all the people, and so was Friday. I have always felt that Carlyle was a populist in that sense. I mean he was a thorough going Democrat but in the Populist movement, as was Adlai Stevenson.
Now this commission was appointed, I believe, in 1961 to report back to the 1963 legislature. Is that correct?
We spent the fall of '61 and all of '62 studying the future of higher education in the state. It was not easy. By that time, the press had access to everything. The interest in Charlotte, Wilmington, Asheville, was tremendous. I know Pete used to attend those—well, let's see, yeah, he was not on that commission—he was on the curriculum study, but he used to attend the meetings.
Pete McKnight, editor of the Charlotte Observer.
Yeah, right. You know I go to Charlotte. I have a sister living up there. I went to school up in Mecklenburg County and some of my classmates from Davidson—influential citizens and leaders of the city of Charlotte today, I could name some names. The only time I ever hear from them is when they

Page 36
want me to give some money to Davidson College. I went through all that experience, appeared in Charlotte numerous times, spoke to the Rotary Club, the school board association. I had to go to Charlotte to meet with the city board of education five times before I talked them into accepting an industrial education center.
That's the industrial center of the state.
Well, Bonnie Cone knows the extent that I went to to see to it that Charlotte got a branch of the university. They could not do it alone. Greensboro and Raleigh were not going to let them have it. It took a coalition which Bill Friday and I put together, actually Wilmington and Charlotte, to get institutions in those three places. The political truth was—this is the package, you take it, or you won't get any of it. Sometimes you have to be that rough about it to get the desirable end. Charlotte was quite willing to accept it without Wilmington and Asheville, but they did not have the political strength. Charlotte has never been skillful politically. Mecklenburg, well, they send Republicans down here to influence state government and think they've won the ballgame. I don't pay any attention to them.
Now this commission, that's when the blueprint for the community college system was…
Well, it was like a pyramid. The base was the public schools. Sanford and the curriculum study commission and the other activities, the Citizen's Committee for Better Schools, had seen to it that our new budget—that we had a firm base.

Page 37
The next stratum in the pyramid was the community college system. We confronted the issue of the 1957 Junior College Act and the IEC movement. By that time I think we had twenty-odd IEC's and five community colleges and technical institutes. The commission confronted that issue, and we created a sub-committee. Leo Jenkins was made chairman of it. Put him on the spot. He was opposed to the idea to start with, I think, or somewhat opposed. He convinced himself in the process that it was the right thing to do. He realized that it was the way for East Carolina to become what it is now today. It tried to be a community college and teachers' training school and could not be a university. So it came together.
The only thing the commission disagreed about was the governance of higher education. I remember Emily Preyor, Rich Preyor's wife, sided with us on the issue. Major McLendon from Greensboro was opposed to us. Sanford supported the majority of it. He decided not to touch the question of governance and have a debate about it and risk the whole package. It remained for Bob Scott's administration to bring about the Board of Governance and the complete consolidation of the university system that we now have. Probably the time was well spent in maturing the ideas. You have to wait for public opinion to catch up with you sometime. And I think that Bob Scott is due a lot of credit. So is Bill Friday, for sticking with it.
Of course, we got the proposal for a comprehensive community college system under the State Board of Education in the report of the Carlyle Commission. The commission adjourned in the

Page 38
summer of '52 about September. Sanford asked me to head a committee to write the Community College Act, which I did. Had Alan Markham from the Institute of Government to get the staff committee together. You'll be interested in this because you'll remember Roger Kaiser from Scotland County. In 1953 Alan Hurlburt had written a proposal for Dr. Erwin, the state superintendent, for a comprehensive community college act. It was introduced by Roy Taylor who was later congressman from the western district. Roger defeated that thing in the house on the second reading. He was an old time school master, you know. Very able person but he was from another century, living in the nineteenth century. He just thought that it would ruin existing institutions. He was the defender of the existing structure of higher education. Ten years later in 1963, he was still there, and he voted against it, but it was just a handful of people that voted against it. The history that occurred in that decade had a great deal to do with it—the activities of that I've summarized.
The real victory was won by the personality of Terry Sanford and without his superb leadership it couldn't have happened. Robert Lee Humber, Ralph Scott, all the leaders in the assembly were— Cliff Blue, for example, speaker at that time—they all began thinking, well, wouldn't it be nice to have one of these community colleges back home. Cliff especially thought about that. Robert Lee Humber fell in love with the idea. It was a great project for him and the crowning event of his long and illustrious career. He made a tremendous contribution locally and statewide in that respect. So it was easy sailing. The

Page 39
payoff for me came when eventually Roger got appointed trustee of—let's see, it must have been Robeson Tech or one of the institutions, I think it was Robeson—and he came over to Jane Sprunt to see the school. We had dinner together. He eased up to me, and he said, "You know I was wrong about that. This is one of the best things that ever happened to the state." I thought it took a real man to say that.
I don't think Roger did that very often.
No, he didn't. He chewed me out one time. You know when the Capitol—this was back when Governor Hodges and Dr. Carroll had a little run in about the staff people over there not doing what they were told to do. Carroll was protective of them, and a bill was put in to give the board the right to approve his appointments. The newspapers played it up as a fuss between Carroll and me. We never had any fuss about it. I was standing at the foot of the stairs on the west side, and the house adjourned, and Roger cornered me there and wouldn't let me go. As long as nobody was coming down the stairs he was very friendly, talking to me, but when some member of the House got close by, he just chewed me out [laughter] . I thought about that. Here he was over here at the Country Squire (restaurant in Duplin). I started to ask him if he remembered that. He was a great old guy. I thought a lot of him. He did a lot of good for the cause of education.
As you say he belonged to another age.
Yeah, he just…
Couldn't quite adapt.

Page 40
He thought that education was something that you had to go after and learn and get for yourself. Nobody could give it to you. He didn't remember that first somebody has got to open the door for you, or you can't get it.



Page 41
Well, Dallas, of course you were one of the fathers of the community college system. Now that it's been in existence for nearly twenty-five years, how do you evaluate the system that we have today?
Well, first let me disclaim the paternity. I was the midwife, not the poppa. I always feel it was not my idea alone.
No single individual did more to bring it into existence. I can testify from first hand experience.
Well, I appreciate that but I want to share the honor with, or the blame as the case may be, with a lot of other people. There were a lot of people that did make it possible, Hodges and Sanford, all my colleagues on the board and in the system, Bill Friday, John Sanders, Irving Carlyle, Gerald James, many of them. The system enjoyed a protracted honeymoon in the '60's. The first negative response came as a cautionary note in the first budget message that Governor Moore gave to the '65 session of the legislature. It disturbed me a great deal. He said that the system was growing too fast and needad an independent study to see what could be done, implying that it needed to be curtailed. I didn't vote for Governor Moore. I voted for Richardson Pryor who was his opponent. Governor Moore knew that. I had respect for him and tried to be responsible in my relationship to him, and I'm sure he did too. He never seemed to blame me for that political sin but he, therefore, never seemed to have any particular compulsion to do what I asked him

Page 42
to do [laughter] . I did feel that during his administration we grew closer together. I found cut that Edwin Gill wrote the paragraph about the community colleges.
In the Governor's message?
Yeah, he admitted to me that he did. I went to see him about it because I knew he had influence with Moore. The explanation that Gill gave me was—I think he was really responding to Sanford—he was weary of being put on the shelf and this was an occasion when he could assert his independence.12 Gill and I had a perfect relationship. He seemed to respect me, and I know I respected him. But he was far more conservative than I was about some things. He reminded me of Hodges who was in favor of progress in education as long as it didn't cost anything [laughter] . You know how that was. That's too rough a criticism, but he didn't want it to cost much. Gill was willing to give some, but not nearly as much as Sanford forced him to. I said we had to get some experience with it. It's true that it's grown like a patch of weeds in the barnyard. It's just growing because it's meeting a need that has never been met before, and the people are lopping it up. They want it.
Pent up demand.
That's exactly right. I told him an example of a black man down in Pamlico County, at Oriental, that I'd had a letter from. He had eight children. He didn't have enough money to buy him a boat to go out and fish with, but he had a flat

Page 43
bottom rivar boat and could go around the edge and catch crabs and take them to the fish market and try to support the family. But he was doing that in all kinds of weather, and year round it's sort of an uphill proposition. Somebody said to him, "Why don't you go over here to Pamlico Tech [or IEC or whatever it was at that time] and take a course in welding, and you can go across the river hare to Cherry Point and get you a job at the air base and make big money." I have to stop to keep from being sentimental about this. He said, "You mean they'll let me in there?" The fellow assured him that he could get in there. To make a long story short he went, he learned. It's forty miles from Oriental around by New Bern back (so Ned Delamore tells me, it seems strange but it must be) to Cherry Point. It's only three or four miles across the sound over there, if you've got anybody with a boat that can get across. That was before the ferry was put in. Anyway, he got over there. Got him a job. I think his check was $250.00. The most money he had never had in his life. This is in the '60's. It sounds small now. He was one of those rare individuals who remembered to thank people. He went to see Paul Johnson, president of the institution, and thanked him profusely for making this economic opportunity possible in his life. And Paul said, "Well, don't thank me"—that he didn't start it and he just hired the teachers, etc. Well, whom should he thank, and he told him to write me a letter. It's a very valued treasure in my files. I don't know where I'd find it, but it's somewhere in those boxes.

Page 44
It just impressed me, as a tremendous example, of what the educational planners would have left out. It never would have occurred to the Board of Higher Education that here was a need that was worthy of their consideration, with all due respect to them. They thought in terms of institutions, power, prestige, quality, accreditations—all of these worthy things—but forgot the human being who was so far cut of it that he wasn't even aware that he deserved a chance. And of course what he studied was not a worthy thing either—welding. We're talking about the toe dancing school [laughter] —I worked with John Ehle on that thing, and I'm totally in favor of it. I think it's wonderful, and I think we chose the right place to put it, where the powers that be in the noble city of Winston-Salem will fund it when we run out of state money [laughter] .
Well, let me ask you this question. If it's right to recognize the creative urge in the human spirit that finds expression in ballet and music and drama and the arts that are recognized with some standing, is it wrong to recognize the art of how to decorate a cake in some black woman's life in the remote province of Pamlico, or Cherokee for that matter? My plea is, has been, these are not—it's hard enough to get them to recognize the economic need and the economic potential of the forgotten people that Page talked about. It is even more difficult for them to understand that these are human beings with immanse capacity for creative contribution to the progress of civilization.
Great statement.

Page 45
And I can't help being frustrated and sentimental. I want to break down and cry when I think about it. When I see what so many professional educators turn these institations into—self-serving mills conforming to traditional requirements. We like to lock it up at 3:30 and go play golf instead of staying there until the last student leaves late at 11:00 at night because he was interested in what he was doing and had to work during the day at his job so he could go to school at night to get out of this ghetto that we have and we don't recognize. It wouldn't do for me to get on the warpath about that now. They'd put me in my place in a hurry, but every opportunity I get I bring it out.
I went before the board—they gave me a little medal up there—board of community colleges. They didn't say that they were going to ask me to speak. They seldom do that anymore, but there were a number of others that were honored at the same time. After they got through, they asked me to speak. That's when they gave us these pictures that they made of us to hang in the board room—very prestigous kind of thing—felt like it was in a courtroom. But I got up there, and I told them the story I just told you about Pamlico. I said, "I read in the paper the other day that somebody had told you to close Pamlico Tech down. It wasn't big anough. I think it was the gentleman from Mecklenburg, but I'm not sure. I wouldn't blame him for it. I think that's who it was, or aither somebody had told the governor to do it, or the governor said that they ought to do it. It's a long way from Mecklenburg to Pamlico. And I want you to know

Page 46
that it's a long way from that skyscraper the bank owns up there to the house in Oriental. Think about that for a minute. Charlotte can lead us in the way to desegregation and pat itself repeatedly on the back, ad infinitum. When is Charlotte going to get up with its great humanitarian heart and say: ‘These are our people too, and we want their needs to be met whether or not you do justice by Mecklenburg’?" When are we going to get a society in North Carolina that's willing to do that?
Think about this, Jay. We get the political situation where we can appropriate three million dollars for a horse barn for the society horse set. (I used to keep saddle horses—until the town got so civilized that they wouldn't let me keep them on the lot anymore, and I tore the barn down—in my younger days, and I thoroughly enjoyed riding. I used to dress up in my jodhpurs and go out with my gentlemen friends and ride horseback.) But if the state has the kind of money to build a riding stable for this highly selected set of society in Raleigh and then, to keep the pot from boiling over, to duplicate that in Asheville, it has the money to educate the people at Triangle. You know where Triangle is, in Cherokee County? There are a few people from Georgia that slip over the line to go to school at Tri-County Community College. I told them, "Let them in. They're human beings." More likely they're going to marry somebody in Murphy and settle down up there anyway.
I should tell you this about that. We started bootlegging the liberal arts and sciences into these IEC's and Technical Institutes during the Moore administration. It just happened, coincidentally, that Holland

Page 47
McSwain, who was president of Tri-County Tech in Murphy, used to be superintendent of schools in Caswell County, and Ed Wilson13 knew him very well, and I had known him over the years. He went up there as the superintendent of schools in Murphy, and then he became president of this institute. He said these mountain people are so far away from Western Carolina [University], it's almost like going to the beach. I forget how many miles. It's almost a hundred miles across some of the most rugged territory in the state. They won't go to Western Carolina. Well, the thing for us to do is to take Western Carolina to them. All that's lacking is a little bit of money. It didn't take much money to pay the mileage of the professors over there to come over here to Tri-County Tech and teach them whatever it is they need to know, if it's college level stuff. They're graduates of the high school, and they want to study some college math, by golly, get somebody to come over here. We'll pay for it.
Somebody went and told Governor Moore what I had gone and authorized. And somebody in his administration didn't like that idea at all. I don't remember who it was, the budget people. Dan Stewart14 was awfully busy—he was the C&D man—heading off things we were doing in community colleges. He was afraid we were going to convert them to community colleges and leave out the vocational, technical training. I went to see the Governor and told him what we wanted to do. I said, "These people are

Page 48
good people. You ought to know. You came out of the same stock. I know your family from colonial days when Roger Moore settled in Brunswick County and his people trickled all the way up there and hid in the mountains. And now you've come back to be our governor." Kidding him about it. And he agreed that that's the route he thought they took. I said, "Well, what is wrong, tell me what is wrong with teaching a woman that's married—her husband works all day—a little math and getting somebody from Western Carolina to come over. We can get fifteen or twenty of them together and teach them this thing." He said, "Not a thing wrong with it. So ahead."
That's where we started it. It enabled us to extend, through the extension idea, the senior institutions working with these junior institutions to get college parallel, liberal arts and sciences. Hodges wouldn't agree to it. Sanford opened the door if we could change the institution to a community college. We got some liberal arts as long as we called it technical English or technical math or technical physics. It was sort of a second rate kind of thing. It was legal to do that. We just had to wait for political and public opinion to catch up with it. But it was really Moore who said go ahead with it.15
That's the technical institutes.
Yeah. So we did it, and they couldn't stop it once the people got a hold of it. They wanted it. It made too much sense. Well, Bob Scott came in. Bob supported me. He

Page 49
never failed to do whatever I asked him to do in my support of the community colleges. He was a member of the board when he was lieutenant governor. He was criticized for not attending all the meetings. That was a relatively minor thing if he knew what we were doing and opened the doors for us, especially in the legislature. Then Jim Holhouser came in. Jim was, of course, a good man, but he was a Republican. They wouldn't let him do anything. Jim had been in the legislature and knew the ropes and was realistic about it, but he was supportive. And he used his influence to get the people on board to support positions that I was taking about that and public school education.
Now I've forgotten whether you wanted me to go on with community colleges or go to public schools. Which is it? There are many things that I could have told you but I…
Well, before we leave the community colleges, just one brief question—what do you think the community colleges need to do in this stage in their development to improve their services and so forth? [Interruption]
The retirement of Dr. Ready half-way through the Scott administration made it necessary to bring a new director in. The president he's called. Ben Fountain was the choice. We had a period there for two or three years when we got all the money we could use, and probably a little more than we could use judicially for the expansion and growth of the system. So that it reached some fifty-seven, and now fifty-eight institutions. The staff began to multiply. It's almost impossible to keep it from growing to a size that we really did not need because as

Page 50
institutions became living, active, growing institutions, they developed a leadership ability, and they didn't need the kind of depth of support from the various sections of the department in Raleigh. You might say that as institutions grew we needed only minimal staff in Raleigh, but as all bureaucracies do this one continued to multiply. In the other federal programs, federal money, you had to have somebody to supervise each one of them. I have never yet seen an administrator who had enough help. That's true of all the institutions I know anything about. That still doesn't say its right.
There were political developments—the conflict that arose between the minority of the state board of education and Dr. Craig Phillips after his first four year term. He came in with Bob Scott—it was during the Holshouser administration, right at the last of the Scott administration— when that broke down. It broke down about the teachers' examination. Craig came to see me, and after many discussions on the board, he had made a political commitment to the teaching profession that he would abolish the teachers' examination requirements. Well, you will recall, back in the days of Grace Rodenbaugh and Sam Worthington and others in the legislature who were about to force the issue back in '57. (I'm sure it was that far back). I told them that if they would not mandate it but allow us to get some experience to see what the scores were and what the cutoff should be, that I would assure them that the board would establish a minimum that we could defend if we were ever contested about it. That minimum would be where we would maintain a black teaching group in

Page 51
proportion to their percentage of the population. If a population is 25% of the total, then we would at least get that many blacks. I thought that was a fair base. Well, we did that. We established the rule while Dr. Carroll was there—unanimously done. Dr. Trigg was there. We were following that practice. And we began to see—we had an improvement on the average, 16 percentage points on the scores. It was worth doing for that reason only if that was the only reason. Craig was the—he made his political commitment without consulting any of us. I didn't feel that I was a part of his political commitment. He recognized that we disagreed about it. He came down to see me, and we sat in the library in there. He told me that—this was preceding the primary in 1972—that he would not pursue the matter any further.
There was a gubernatorial race going on. Pat Taylor and Skipper Bowles were vying for the Democratic nomination. I supported Skipper Bowles. He was a colleauge from the Sanford administration, more liberal than Pat. Pat had served as lieutenant governor and as a member of the board of education. He gave me the impression that he couldn't remember what his position was the day before. He had his mind on too many other things [laughter] . He's a nice boy and a good friend, but I just felt that Skipper could do a better job. Not that I was very active in it at all.
Skipper came out, if you recall, with a fifty million dollar proposal for improvement in vocational education and the public schools. This was one of his primary platforms. I went up to

Page 52
see him about it and asked him what he wanted done. His answer was similar to what Sanford had told me about the 1961 budget, "Whatever it is that you've got in your budget." We didn't have 50 million dollars in our budget for vocational education. Craig had brought it to us, and it didn't have anything for substantial improvement in vocational education. Craig's interest is in early childhood education. He very rarely ever thinks about or talks about high schools. And I called it to his attention. I stopped by Raleigh and asked to meet with him and A. C. Davis16 and told him what Skipper had said. We can't afford not to ask for what the candidate for governor, that everybody assumed would be elected, has proposed. Are we going to oppose that, be lukewarm about it? It will be up to us to administer. Craig wouldn't agree to it. I rather got the impression that he was going to tell Skipper what it should be rather than have Skipper tell him.
We went down to the superintendents' meeting in Wilmington, and the time had come for a showdown. We had to go before the budget commission with our proposals, and it was not in the budget. So I called—I couldn't get Craig's attention except in the social setting, people drinking cocktails and carrying on—I called Davis aside and told him to tell Phillips that Barton Hayes was with me, the chairman of the committee, and that we were going to propose a 50 million dollar increase in the budget. If the staff did not put it in there, then we would come up with our own proposals to put in. It's the board's budget not the

Page 53
staff budget. Well, I didn't realize that that would shock anybody. I didn't see why it would. But it angered Craig, it turned out.
Davis called me from Wilmington and wanted me to meet with him. I said that I had just been down to meet with him, "What is the trouble?" He said, "He's not buying your proposal." I said, "It's not my proposal. It's Skipper Bowles's proposal." He was angry about it. Craig called me—he wanted me to call Craig. I said, "I'm not going to call him. I've already said what I thought about it. It's up to him if he doesn't approve. I don't have to have his permission as a member of the board to propose anything."
Craig called a day or two later and said that he wanted to cancel the meeting in Raleigh and move it to Greensboro a couple or so weeks later. I readily agreed to it. I didn't know what his purpose was. I expected it was to keep Edwin Gill from going to it so he could pull something off. Gill wouldn't go to an out of town meeting. And that was right. We went up there—I think it was in August of '72 and without any forewarning—I kept telling myself here in my own library that he would not bring up the teachers' exam again. The primary had passed by that time. And he said—well, he distributed two papers. They're in my files. One was a proposal to abolish the requirement for a minimum score on the teachers' examination for a graduate certificate for those who have their Master's degree. The other was the appointment of a task force to study the question of what to do about the minimum requirement for the A certificate,

Page 54
beginning teaching. Well, we had the meeting, and I was presiding, of course. Dr. Charlie Jordan, Barton Hayes, and I voted against the proposal. Under the rules of the board, the chairman has a right to vote if he desires to do so and expresses it. The others had been buttonholed privately ahead of time and had been lined up in support of the proposal. I came on back by Chapel Hill. I had a state seal plaque that I had carved to give to Bill Friday, and I gave it to him and came on home. From that August meeting until December—see the general election was to come in the interim…
The thing was adopted, I gather.
Yes, it was adopted. We were overruled. The papers paid no attention to it, just a brief paragraph in the Greensboro Daily News about it. The Raleigh paper, I think, did not even become aware that this rather drastic action had been taken. There wasn't much I could do about it. I wasn't going to vote against my conviction on it. I tried to be as pleasant as possible with everybody.
There was some changes in the constituency on the board. Guy Phillips had died before Craig Phillips (his son) took office, and Neal Rosser was his replacement. Neal died, and the governor had not appointed—Governor Scott was slow to make an appointment. He put Carl Goerch's daughter, Ms. Doris Horton, on there. She was not a resident of the district that she was appointed to represent. When I found out about it, I called it to Bob's attention. It sort of irked him for me to be bothering in his business, and I shut-up about it. Later the Attorney

Page 55
General ruled against him, and she had to resign and get out of the way. The Republicans put one in her place.
Well, there was another drastic action taken vis-a-vis the quality of education in that period when I did not have control of the board over which I presided. I don't know why they didn't fire me at that time. They certainly had enough votes to do it. The whole plan of accreditation of public schools by the state department and the state board was junked, and a new system was put in place. There's a thick document, at least an inch thick. We had a total of fifteen minutes to read it and approve it. It virtually abolished accreditation. It took the American Management Association's philosophy which was that you set your own goals of what you think quality should consist of, then you do your own measuring of your progress toward that goal, and you use the evaluations of teachers for others in the process. It stirred up the profession no end and did away with the qualitative controls we always had except the Southern Association …
Where did that proposal come from?
Well, it's a national attitude generated by some of the extreme groups in the teacher education field.
Who sponsored it before your board?
Craig Phillips did it. He had a study group going on. I didn't know about it. They recommended it. The board was doing what I would have tried to have gone on and done. Well, Pearl Harbor Day came, interestingly enough, December 7, 1973 the board met. And this task force on the teachers' exam came in to

Page 56
report. Well, I knew what the report would be. They would substitute a makeshift evaluation and keep the teachers' exam but not make it binding. It's sort of a blurred kind of thing. You could get around the score by these other evaluations which would be weighted. You know the technique.
Well, I didn't open my mouth about it. Everybody on the board knew exactly where I stood on it. They knew I was opposed to it, knew I would vote against it. The press had not made any noise about it at Greensbore. I just didn't say anymore about it. After the meeting I knew they would come see me and want to know why I voted against it. This was Raleigh not Greensbore—the radio and the television, Bob Farrington, I remember, was there, the Channel 11 man, Carpenter, (was that his name?) I forget his name. I remember his shining that camera right in my bad eye. I had written a little paragraph the night before to make sure I didn't offend anybody, explaining why I voted against this proposal. I guess it was pretty socratic. It said the blind cannot lead the blind. Schools without scholars are not schools at all but merely waiting rooms, and such words as that. [laughter] After the meeting, we went downstairs. Ben Fountain had a little anteroom that he let me use as a sort of office while I was there. Craig and Horton—I can't say her first name for some strange reason…
No, it's not Sybil.

Page 57
Harry Horton's wife. Not Harry, Carl Goerch's daughter.
That was Harry Horton.
But her name is not Sybil. It's—I know it very well.17 Anyway, she and Mrs. Strickland18 came down to talk to me about her appointment. Horton was appointed to represent the district in which Mrs. Strickland lived. That's not constitutional. I knew it wasn't, but Bob wouldn't take my word about it. I knew we were headed for trouble on it, but what could I do about it? She wanted Strickland to resign and take an at- large appointment and let her represent the district. Let Strickland represent the district in which she lived and let Horton have the at-large appointment. That meant it would cut two years off her appointment. She wouldn't agree to it. I said I don't know anything that you can do, but the Republicans are coming in here, and they're going to tell you what you can do about it in April, I suspect.
How did you survive under a Republican administration?
Well, Jim and I had been friends in the legislature. I wrote him a note when he won the election, and congratulated him, and offered to be of whatever service I could to him as I would with any other governor. Without my request at all, he made a public announcement that he would like me to remain as chairman, which I agreed to do. He allowed me to

Page 58
confer with him about the appointments to the board. Not to choose them, but to have a previous look at what he was doing which I thought was very courteous, very thoughtful of him—Oxendine and Robinson from St. Augustines and Dick Many from Roanoke Rapids, three of them, and Evelyn Tyler of Greensboro. After that meeting—I dwell on this somewhat more intensely than usual because it led to a breakdown between Craig and me and a number of the members of the board—he went to New Orleans to a meeting of the Southern Association. The News and Observer for reasons beyond my knowing decided to make a major issue of this thing, this vote. Why they ignored it in August—I guess they just didn't know about it.
That's probably true.
I know Tom Inman was still there, and Tom was very much interested in the quality of education. He's a Phi Beta Kappa type. He and I had had a number of meetings over the years, and we understood each other, and I think he supported me. Sitton was an unknown quantity to me. The new reporter that day was Angela Davis, Burke Davis' daughter. I didn't know who she was until she came up and told me. I gave her a copy of my paragraph. They just decided to make a damn big issue of it, and they did. Tom Davis and Roger—I cannot keep peoples' names in mind—Phillips top assistant, Melton was his name, not Roger.
Jerome Melton.
Jerome. I had a classmae named Roger Melton. That shows that senility is creeping in, doesn't it? I can remember a fifty year old name. They were very much disturbed

Page 59
about the press. It's quite interesting. You see those ring binders up there on those two shelves. There are sixty odd ring binders. I began keeping a diary of the events from that day forward, in fact from the Greensboro meeting, records of every phone call, every newspaper clipping, every letter, every conversation, in self defense. This man was wild. He was after me, and I wanted to be sure I was consistent.
Talking about Phillips.
Yeah. Craig was as angry as he could be with me because he was being defeated. The legislature didn't seem to me to care anymore. People who wanted this test adminstered had left the legislature, most of them. Hugh Johnson was still there. Harold Hardison is my senator. I'd never met Harold at that time. I knew who he was, what his background was. I figured that if he wanted to make my acquaintance, he could run by when he was politicking, but he never did until this issue broke in the press. The people got sincerely aroused by that, thanks to the News and Observer more than any other agency. It wasn't what I did but what the press told them was happening. They made this analogy. If medical doctors and lawyers have to have an examination before they can be licensed by the state to practice—the beauticions, and electricians, and barbers, and all of the rest—why shouldn't teachers continue to be examined to be sure our children are getting teachers of at least minimum competence? A very good question to ask. They concluded without a great deal of debate that they needed to keep the test, and they informed the legislature about it. I didn't go about the

Page 60
legislature. I came home, but I got called right and left, night and day. I got deluged with inquiries and demands that I go up there and help them straighten this thing out. Well, I went. I simply told them what I told you including the fact that Craig had said he would not make this change in view of my view of it—a commitment I had made to the previous legislature.
Well, the News and Observer wouldn't leave it alone. Pretty soon, it was time for the January meeting, and by that time we had a new governor, one who challenged the membership of Ms. Horton. The board was split. We had a new Lieutenant Governor, Jim Hunt, who had been forced [by political circumstances] to make a public announcement that he agreed with the chairman on this issue of the teachers' exam. I got myself caught in a whirlwind of political controversy that I had no intention of getting into. I simply voted my conviction on it. Edwin Gill decided that this was an issue of paramount importance, and it deserved full-fledged public discussion. He called for a public hearing on it which I [laughter] I dreaded. That experience was brutal. We went over to the highway building and interestingly enough we had a fifty-fifty division on the part of the people who testified, lay and public.



Page 61
That hearing was, I think, a constructive thing. After all it was rough for Craig to go through and rough for me to go through but it gave the people a chance to express themselves. Many legislators came to it. Some of them went up on the stage with us. The whole board insisted on being at the hearing, not just a committee. Barton Haynes presided. I thought it best to let him do it so I wouldn't be accused of being unfair to anybody who wanted to testify. Most of the people who testified were respectable and held their emotions in check. Howard Manning, the attorney there in Raleigh, surprised me. I did not—I had met him occasionally—he was chairman of the social services board there for a while. He tore into Phillips and his whole philosophy of education, and he got so rough that Barton had to stand up and call him down.
Did you all take any action?
Well, we decided to defer it. We didn't have the votes to rescind the action. We couldn't get them with all of this public pressure. It was part of Gill's strategy to get the public to force the board to do it, but soon that pressure diverted itself to the legislature. They were weary of hearing about it. The newspapers were worrying them to death about it all the time. They voted to rescind the action of the board and establish as a matter of law that the cutoff score should not be less than what it was in November of 1972.
This was the board?

Page 62
That was the legislature rescinding the action of the board of education in December and putting in effect the policy that was there before. Then according to Bob Strather, who was Craig Phillips' assistant superintendent, and who testified to me… Of course, his job was to be liaison between Raleigh and Washington. He was frequently in the offices of the federal government, legislative and the executive, about matters affecting state educational policy. He told me that he had seen a memorandum in the office of the attorney general in Washington, the Justice Department. The state superintendent had called the Justice Department when the legislature rescinded the board's action, and invited them to sue the state on the grounds that this discriminated against the minority race. I'm giving you my authority for the statement. If you ask him, I don't know what he'll tell you, but that's what he told me. I have that documented in my files.
Well, district—it was a three judge court which had it for a while. They first ruled tentatively against saying it couldn't be used unless the test, the score had been validated. Somebody had told them that. They didn't know what validation was anymore than I did, but the procedure to go through. To make a long story short, the test was validated by the educational testing service and a large group of educators in the state. The schools of education and the profession at large agreed that the test score, 950, was lower than it should be but that it was a valid measurement of minimum competency for teachers. Subsequently, it

Page 63
went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the court upheld the statute and the practice.
Of using the test?
Is it still in effect?
It's still in effect. There was a period there in the interim judgments when the department disregarded the judgment and went on and issued certificates wily-nily to anybody who wanted one. But it is still in effect. As a matter of fact, the minimum score has been raised since then by the board. When the court's decree was handed down, the News and Observer published an article in which Craig took credit for winning the case. [laughter] I thought that a singular statement about the one who did it and put it in my archives just for my own satisfaction. Having told you all of this, I would not want it to appear that I am angry with Craig. I never have been angry with him. It was a matter of public policy. He was the one that got angry because he couldn't have his way.
Well, let's move on down. You went on the board in 1955, and I believe…
Sanford reappointed me in 1961.
And the next governor after…
Well, you see the term was for eight years, and Bob Scott reappointed me in '69 and my term was out in '77. Governor Hunt came into office, and I had a letter from him in January commending me for my services. He simply said that he was looking forward to my serving as a part of his

Page 64
administration. He didn't say exactly which part or how long [laughter] .
That's when you left the board, during Hunt's administration.
April of '77.
Well now, you served under…
Seven governors.
And maybe if you could just sort of capsule your impressions of each of them.
They were a very unique group of people, and I respected every one of them. Bill Umstead, of course, was sick and my opportunity to be with him was limited. He appointed me to the Pearsall Commission and met in his office with the group a time or two. I was impressed by the seriousness of his concern for the future of the state educational programs. I thought he was very astute in his prediction of what the people would do about consolidation if you removed the state board authority and put it back with the people. He proved to be very prophetic there. I thought it was a very grave loss to the state that he couldn't continue. Governor Hodges was non-political in a sense, not very partisan. He was not a part of the political establishment. He was a businessman who had made his fortune and desired to serve the public and ran for office.
He was an impatient man.
Yeah. He used to give me the impression that he'd punch a button and expect you to pop up in front of his desk no matter whether I was in Rose Hill or Raleigh or in the middle of

Page 65
a meeting or whatever. We got along fine together though. Sometimes he was harshly critical, but usually very supportive of me. I was surprised that he would take advice from a youngster from the country like this, but he did. He did a surprising number of things that I asked him to do. I admired his superb business executive ability.
I've been around people, professional people, lawyers and educators, who didn't seem to realize that you needed to decide anything until the next meeting. Hodges didn't want to have a meeting about it. He wanted a decision over the telephone. And he made monumental decisions if you look at it in the context of history. For example, he didn't hesitate to say go get me a plan for adult education in the state. He didn't have to have a commission to tell him that he needed a plan for it. And he wasn't talking about a book full of fancy words. He wanted one, two, three things you could write on the back of an envelope. He used to tell me, criticize me, for writing three page letters to him. He said he never read beyond the first page. If you can't put it on one page, don't send the letter. [laughter]
Well, there are some things you can't get on one page. You have to be concerned about bringing somebody along in the decision process. You have to be a little skillful with that.
The impact that Hodges had on the state was tremendous. I think he was the right man for the time. You never quite knew whether he was for integration or segregation or indifferent to the whole idea. He kept even those closest to him fooled for the whole period of the time he was in office. He had to contend

Page 66
with Dr. Lake, who was the deputy attorney general, and you know his ardent belief in segregation, and Tom Pearsall and that group of the old guard, and then the younger crowd, the professional educators who wanted above all else to see that the schools were preserved. After all, in Farmville, Virginia, they were closing them down. The governor of Virginia, the governor of Alabama, the governor of Arkansas, a number of southern governors were talking the same line—massive resistance to it. It severely frightened us.
I came up as you did, Jay, believing that segregation was a way of life. We had that as a law, and it never occurred to me that we would ever change it. It was a shock when it came, and I had been taught to uphold the law. I wrote a little paper for the Pearsall Commission. You heard me mention Judge Varser who had been on the Supreme Court. Well, I'm not a lawyer, but I tried to be logical in my statement. Judge Varser read it and complimented me for an analytical statement about the problem and the possible solutions to it. This man Chafe19 at Duke got hold of a copy of it and published in his book that I was a redneck, because [laughter] I opposed integration. I didn't oppose it. I was just trying to find a way through the maze that we were confronted with, and the lawyers were indifferent to.
I want to show you something. I'm dwelling too long on Hodges, but I should bring it out, if you've got time,

Page 67
one incident that I had during the Sanford administration about integration. I did not approve of this local option idea that Sanford—in special session of '56 I believe it was—proposed.
You mean Hodges.
I meant Hodges. I'm sorry I used the wrong name. The so called Halawar Indians—it's a made-up name taken from Halifax and Warren counties' names. As apt as any, I suppose. They were probably remnants of the Tuscarora, and white and black populations that had segregated themselves. They didn't want to go to school with the blacks. The whites wouldn't let them go to school with them, so they built themselves a school. Under this special legislation that they adopted, they had a tuition grant arrangement so parents could apply to the state for a tuition grant, and they were going to operate that school on that basis.
Well, Hodges in his characteristic manner picked up the phone and commanded me to go up there and tell them they couldn't have it. It had been before the state board of education a couple of times. We had the money to fund a school over there. It wasn't that expensive. The problem was that they knew that the courts would not support such a policy to evade integration. For the state to grant it, to support a segregated Indian school, would be all the evidence that the opposition would need to knock the thing in the head. It was intended as a pacifier, a safety valve, to keep the people quiet while the public opinion matured—useful in that respect, though somewhat dishonest, I thought.

Page 68
Anyway, he told me to meet his legal assistant, Bob Giles, New Year's Day. I forget what year, '58 or '9. It was sleeting. I drove all the way to Warrenton and met with their board of education. Bob Giles came in, and in his usual dignified legalistic approach to things, he told them what they had to do. It reminded me of the time when old man Hunter came down here and told us we had to shut down Magnolia School. I didn't like it, the way it happened. They didn't like it either in Warren County. They were not about to do it. We had a little recess. I said, "Bob, you go on outside and smoke a cigarette and let me handle this."
We went in behind closed doors, and they had an Indian with them. I think there was an Indian on the board if I remember. I said, "I understand your problem. I'm from Duplin County. I was raised in the old-time tradition. I didn't change the law. My problem is to maintain the educational opportunities in the state." Somebody said, "Well, I've been deer hunting down your way." He asked about so and so and how things were, and we got a little social conversation going. They began to relax a little bit. I said, "I'm not up here to cause you all any problems or tell you what to do. It's against my whole philosophy. I'm here because the governor asked me to come. I want to explain to you what the problem is from the state's point of view regardless of what you do here. You need to understand that. It'll be only a matter of a month or so, in the judgment of the attorney general's office, before the courts will throw this whole idea out if you make a grant to these people. Then where would we be?

Page 69
You won't have that as a safety valve that could be used possibly under more favorable circumstances somewhere to prevent a real tragedy." I said, "You haven't got a tragedy here. You've got people who want to do the right thing." I said, "Your schools are segregated, and you can go on and fund them under the state plan without any direct tuition grants. I don't see what objection you have to that." And they began to see the logic of that. If you go the route they wanted to go, it wouldn't last, oh, sixty, ninety days. If they went the way of taking them into the public school system, even though they were segregated, it would last until a federal court integrated the whole thing. So that's what they did.
And Roger Peeler was over there as superintendent. You remember Roger was a Republican superintendent, and a very fine person, but he is an arch conservative. Well, we became good friends, still are. I've talked about everything except what you wanted.
You want to hear about Sanford and the succeeding governors, I believe.
Yes. Just sort of a brief…
Well, you know from your own experience how grateful I am to Sanford for what he achieved. He opened the door for the rank and file people for education beyond the high school. He opened the door for the expansion of higher education into the remote areas of the state, and I'm using Charlotte as a remote area because it was in the structure of higher education. Wilmington they considered to be a part of South Carolina. McLendon and Ramsey used to tell me that they couldn't have an

Page 70
institution down there. It's nothing but ocean on the other side [laughter] .
And then Asheville of course…
Asheville was in Tennessee [laughter] . Well, Sanford's such a tremendous person in the way he handles—well, I've been to the mansion so many times. We've had it full of youngsters from all over the state, black and white—creative discussions, musicians, artists, educators, philosophers, even got the taxi cab drivers from New York to come down there one time. You remember that.
Then Bob Scott.
I used to speculate about the differences between Bob and his father. I didn't know his father as well. As a matter of fact, I was Charlie Johnson's manager in the campaign.
1948, before Scott ever announced. I remember thinking I wish I hadn't made a commitment [laughter] . I like this guy better. I told Bob all about it. But Bob pleased me very much in what he did and how he organized the state to finish the job of the Carlyle commission and bring the Board of Governors into existence and the complete consolidation of the higher education system. That was his major achievement. He always supported the community college system even though Cameron West was always on his back to shift the support toward private higher education.
You're already touched on Dan Moore, very deliberate but a very solid…

Page 71
There's one thing I must tell you about him. We got the final word from the U.S. Justice Department that the schools of North Carolina had to be integrated. It was some kind of form, resoluation number 442—something like that, I've forgotten exactly. The staff people from U.S. Justice were continually coming down there, even from the days of Wade Moody, to tell us that we had to—that we couldn't do this, we couldn't do that. We would ask them what is legal, and they wouldn't tell you.
We got this resolution, and I felt it was an historic moment in the history of the state. The State Board of Education had to decree that the schools could not be segregated anymore, anywhere, at anytime, under any circumstances. We were really without authority to make that kind of high policy for the state, and it was out of context. I said, "We must go over and report this to Governor Moore so it will not be said after we sign it that we did this on our own." You know, he was a Superior Court judge, and that was his whole posture as governor. He didn't decide until after everybody else had filed their briefs, and then he said you write the judgment, and I'll sign it. Well we went in there. Pritchett was the senior member of the board and an attorney and understood it. Dr. Carroll was present. I asked both of them to speak to the governor in the presence of the board and tell him the nature of our visit and what we had. Dr. Carroll took the lead, and Pritchett supported him. He didn't say anything. Dr. Carroll repeated some of the same things that he said because the silence became awkward. I felt like saying,

Page 72
"If it please the court, what the hell is your judgment?" [laughter] He leaned back in his chair, smoking a cigar—if I recall correctly. Dr. Carroll said, "Well, Governor, that's the situation. What is your counsel?" He said, "Gentlemen, it's your problem." That's all he said. It astounded me. I just was not expecting that kind of an answer from him. I don't say that critically, I'm just putting the facts of record straight. We thanked him and got up and left and went back and signed the paper and nobody paid any attention to it, but the Justice Department. [laughter]
After that Holshouser came in, after Bob Scott, of course. One thing that interests me in that is that we have alternated between liberal and conservative governors all the way through my experience. You see Kerr Scott was a liberal, and Umstead was conservative. Hodges was progressive, if not liberal, but the Umstead and Hodges years were sort of melted together. Then, Terry Sanford, liberal, after Hodges, and after Sanford, Moore was a conservative, and after Moore, Scott was a liberal. Then a conservative in Holshouser, and after him, Jim Hunt was a liberal. It just swings and forth.
Cyclic. I wanted to ask you, briefly, about higher education in the state. You, of course, have been almost as involved in that as you have been in the community colleges and public schools. We have fifteen public senior institutions, fifty-eight community colleges, thirty odd private instituitons. Some people think that that's too many institutions for a state of our size. But, of course, both of us know it's almost

Page 73
impossible to close or merge an institution for political reasons. In general what do you think about the state of higher education in that context?
Well, I've always tried to approach it in this way. I had a major in English and a major in economics at Davidson. The only thing I learned in economics that stayed with me was that you begin with the demand. That's what makes the economy tick. You don't just manufacture something and go out and try to sell it. You determine whether there's a demand for a product and then you sell it to them if you find that there is. It seems to be a logical beginning place in assessing what our needs are in higher education. What is the demand for education beyond the high school in the state? I've touched on it in what I've said to you today—especially in reference to the community college level. I also have mentioned it in terms of the demand of the people in the Charlotte area and the Asheville and Wilmington areas which were neglected before. The people, who are rooted there in business and institutions, professionals that need quality professional training and cannot quit and go to Chapel Hill and Greensboro to get it. So that's point number one. The demand that we have today is substanially the same type of demand, maybe varying in proprotion here and there, that existed from the beginning.
The state's response to it is different. The state said, for example, prior to '54, that the black children can't get in these schools. No matter what your talents are, what your needs are, what your desire for the future may be, you cannot get in the

Page 74
School of Medicine, the School of Dentistry, the School of Pharmacy, the Humanities Program, or whatever. We'll build a separate school for you and because you're not up to our standards, we'll make concessions about these special schools. The standards don't have to be as high for admission. You remember, no doubt, when the president of Fayetteville State told the legislature, "We admit illiterates, and we graduate illiterates." You remember that statement way back then. He was telling the truth. He had the candor to get up there and tell it the way it was. Well, my point is this. As I understand the demand, we have the same spread that we always had—the spread in variety of educational demand and the degree of ability to achieve. But we have introduced the community college system as an alternative way, a less expensive way, to get the remedial education, preparatory education. If it takes you ten years to get two years of college education, you can get it at the community colleges, and no strings, no prohibitions. The point is that you get it, prepare yourself for further progress.
In too many of the Negro institutions what we do today is we pretend that you have gotten it in the confines of the traditional two years of academic work. We give you a diploma that is a deception in the vast majority of cases, I think. At least the examination scores tend to show that that is true in the profession of education and probably true in every other. Well, my point is if we begin with the educational demand that we have and the changed response to it, we have given an alternative way. There's no longer any need for Fayetteville State to be a

Page 75
community college. It should get out of the community college business. If it wants to be a university, let us make it a university, in truth as well as in name. And that is true for East Carolina which has already answered the question in my opinion. They have moved in that direction. Leo Jenkins had a superb ability to influence state policy about it. His persistence ruffled a lot of feathers but he got it done and moved it out of a little teachers' training college to what is on the way to becoming a genuine university. Now we have Wilmington and Asheville with a long way to go to achieve that status but they're on the way. Charlotte, I'm sure—I haven't been there in years—but I know it must be far ahead of them.
I think some of these people worry about the duplication when you have A&T and the University at Greensboro, and you have that same situation in some other places. The thing that complicates it somewhat is private institutions. The state…
Well, my contention is that there's no longer such a thing as private institutions. The state's picking up the tab for a lot of it. I think it's unfair and illogical for the taxpayers to give money to students or to institutions in the private system without holding the institution accountable for what it does. We call attention to the problem at Cape Fear Tech, the padding of the—false reports about classes that were not held. How does one know that this is not done in the private colleges? There's no supervision. There's no audit. What is done with the money that is spent there? The state requires no

Page 76
accounting for it at all. How do we know that it is not used to finance a trip around the world for the president?
That seems to be one of those insolvable problems because it's too political…
Well, the state won't face it. They won't face it. It's a political issue, and they're afraid of it. We're talking about what is right for the blacks and the whites. It does the black race no great good to squander scare tax dollars, if it's being squandered. And I suspect a lot of it is being if by no other means than by proliferation of instituions that we do not need any longer. We did need them. We longer need them. The door is open. I would say to Barber-Scotia College, for example, which scores traditionally on the bottom of the list on the teachers' examination requirements (which is the only indication I have of its quality, except for reports of committees that went there to examine it): they have shown very little disposition to improve what they have. I think that the state has to say we will not approve your program unless it's up to standard. We will not fund at this level those who go there unless we can be sure that they are achieving some degree of excellence. Well, what to do about the proliferation of black colleges, apart from that issue, is a judgment that the state is more able to make and it simply requires courage to do it. I don't know whether we have anybody with enough courage to get it done.
It's a pretty sticky, pretty sticky problem.

Page 77
I know it is, but it can be done. It can be done. There are ways to get it done. We can maintain a campus and consolidate administrations. There's a first step that I would take. There's no reason why North Carolina Central and Fayetteville State and Elizabeth City State cannot be administered by one office. Winston-Salem and A&T could be adminstered by one office, maybe by UNC-Greensboro. Let them work out ways. The multiplicity of campuses does not necessarily mean that you have to have a multiplicity of duplicated leadership. The fact that you teach English in Winston-Salem and you teach it in Greensboro, in two places, is not the major item of cost. The major item of cost is the residential provision and the administrative superstructure that's required. I know it's easy for me to sit here now and tell you what needs to be done, but that's exactly what needs to be done. I was on the Flora McDonald board of trustees when Halbert Jones decided that we were going to have a college at Laurinburg. I saw what was coming. I resigned from that office. I had three sisters to graduate there, and it was very dear to me, old Dr. Vardell. Another place, Presbyterian Junior College at Maxton—P. Carey Adams was the minister who was the depression era president. Terry Sanford told me one time that if it hadn't been for PJC, he probably never would have gone to college. He couldn't afford to go anywhere and for two years he went down there. It got him started. What a colossal loss that would have been if it hadn't happened. The Presbyterians did consolidate. I don't know

Page 78
whether they got a better institution. They got one that's quite different.
Well, Dallas, on behalf of the Oral History people I want to thank you for spending all this time and giving us this invaluable information because it's going to be very useful to some historian down the road.
Well, I hope you will not conclude that I'm a prejudicial and angry old man. I'm not. I'm very happy with the progress this state has made.
Well, I think your record speaks pretty clearly to that point.
I haven't talked about Jim Hunt. We'll leave that for another day.
1. Editor of the Charlotte Observer, a Davidson classmate.
2. Dr. Epps Ready, director of the Curriculum Study, State Board of Education 1958.
Asheville Citizen-Times
The American High School
5. A Magnolia native, black boxer.
6. A Raleigh lawyer, son of Dr. J. Y. Joyner, state superintendent during Aycock's term as governor.
7. Both boards met in the Education Building.
8. Dr. I. E. Ready had become director of the Department of Community Colleges in 1963.
High Point Enterprise.
10. State treasurer.
11. A Greensboro lawyer of the old school, son-in-law of Governor Aycock.
12. Both Gill and Sanford were from Laurinburg, but Gill was conservative and did not support Sanford. They were estranged to some extent while Sanford was governor.
13. Ed Wilson Sr. of the Department of Community Colleges, former legislator from Caswell.
14. Former management person with Carolina Power & Light Company, Raleigh, then head of the Department of C&D.
de facto
16. Controller, State Board of Education.
17. It's Doris.
18. Board member with at-large appointment. She would shorten her term by two years if she accepted the district appointment.
Civilities and Civil RightsSave Our Schools: Dallas Herring and the Governors Special Advisory Committee on Education