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Oral History Interview with I. Beverly Lake Sr., September 8, 1987. Interview C-0043. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    I. Beverly Lake Sr. describes growing up in the small town of Wake Forest, North Carolina, in the early twentieth century. He discusses the centrality to residents of the local church and Wake Forest College, which were intertwined entities. Lake describes how the church provided a social outlet for students and inculcated Wake Forest students with Christian values. The college influenced Lake's academic, religious, and social education greatly, and his rural background wed him to North Carolina for the rest of his life. After attending Harvard Law School, Lake was offered a high-paying job in New York. He chose instead to return to his home state to work at a Raleigh law firm doing utilities litigation. His early legal work earned him the image of a charming populist. Because of his professional success, Lake was asked to teach at Wake Forest Law School. In 1950, he was appointed Assistant Attorney General of North Carolina. In this position, Lake served on the prosecution for the Brown case. In 1965, Governor Dan Moore appointed Lake as a North Carolina Superior Court judge. Lake voices somewhat unfavorable views of female attorneys and judges and reveals his racial views throughout the rest of the interview. Lake blames the decline of society on racial integration. He also views North Carolina's future negatively, criticizing the population growth of cities and the lack of white political solidarity.
  • Wake Forest in the early twentieth century
  • Local entertainment in Wake Forest was reliant on the college
  • Gaining a broader awareness of the world while at Harvard
  • Closeness of Wake Forest students and faculty
  • Fierce loyalty to North Carolina intensified with Brown
  • Appointment to the North Carolina Supreme Court
  • Belief that ladylike behavior and legal skills are often not synonymous
  • Lake's consistent political beliefs
  • Strong anti-integrationist beliefs led Lake to seek political office
  • Lack of political knowledge and positive press coverage made his campaign more difficult
  • Evaluation of Terry Sanford's tenure as governor
  • Unpromising forecast for North Carolina due to loss of local and white political solidarity
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • North Carolina--Politics and government
  • Women judges--North Carolina--History--20th century
  • North Carolina--Biography
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

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