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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Anne Barnes, January 30, 1989. Interview C-0049. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Learning to negotiate politics from female mentors in Howard Lee's campaigns

Barnes recounts her role as manager for Howard Lee's 1969 mayoral campaign, a successful bid that made him the first African American mayor elected by a predominantly white municipality in the United States. She also explains how other women involved in the campaign mentored her by showing her both how to survive in the political world and how to balance her family and her job. For more on the importance of female guidance, see the end of the interview.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Anne Barnes, January 30, 1989. Interview C-0049. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Then in 1969, a gentleman named Howard Lee ran for mayor of Chapel Hill. We had had the opportunity to know the Lee's through our church. We belonged to the same church, the Binkley Baptist Church, and I had taught Howard and Lillian's children in Sunday school and got to know them, a very lovely family. But no black person had run for a top position around here, and Howard had a desire to run for mayor. He had become very involved with the town. So had I, through zoning and planning issues and school integration issues. So he began to talk to many of us about the possibility of helping him to run for mayor, and I thought that was a great idea. So I became the, he has referred to me as the manager of his campaign. It was a campaign that had several, it was a shared responsibility, but I managed the headquarters with a lady named Peg Parker. She and I shared that responsibility. As the campaign moved along, more and more and more responsibilities were placed on me. My husband did the public relations and publicity work for Howard's campaign, and Florry Glasser taught me everything I ever knew about precinct organization because she did the precinct organizing and did just a fantastic job of it. I learned a great deal during that campaign. It was a victory that is one that I will never forget the feeling. I also managed Howard's second campaign as mayor and became involved, as well, with his Congressional campaign. However, in the interim, I attended precinct meetings and became elected to the Precinct Committee and to the County Executive Committee from my precinct, and in that capacity, worked for a number of years in the Democratic Party organization very intensely. Also, because I had gotten that experience in that victorious campaign, I was asked by many people running for office to manage their campaigns. So I got more and more experience in campaign management.