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Title: Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, December 18, 1990. Interview L-0050. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Sanford, Terry, interviewee
Interview conducted by Cheatham, Cindy
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: 52 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.
2007-10-08, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, December 18, 1990. Interview L-0050. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series L. University of North Carolina. Southern Oral History Program Collection (L-0050)
Author: Cindy Cheatham
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, December 18, 1990. Interview L-0050. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series L. University of North Carolina. Southern Oral History Program Collection (L-0050)
Author: Terry Sanford
Description: 56.2 Mb
Description: 6 p.
Note: Interview conducted on December 18, 1990, by Cindy Cheatham; recorded in Unknown.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series L. University of North Carolina, 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.
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Interview with Terry Sanford, December 18, 1990.
Interview L-0050. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Sanford, Terry, interviewee

Interview Participants

    TERRY SANFORD, interviewee
    CINDY CHEATHAM, interviewer


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. . . came out from Capitol Hill. I knew him through Tom Lambeth and Joel Fleishman and others in my office that had been at Chapel Hill and had actually known Anne at Chapel Hill. Then I would have to begin with the time that we had the Chapel Hill demonstrations.
Somewhat toward the tail end of my administration we had created the Good Neighbor Council, which was really a human relations council, but people didn't know what human relations councils were. I stole that Good Neighbor program really from Franklin Roosevelt who had named the Latin American initiative of his administration the Good Neighbor Program and that had sort of faded into history. I thought it was an apt name for what we talking about and so we adopted that name. I think they now call it the Human Relations Commission. It's enacted in the law. We just did it with an executive order. And it began to talk about jobs and education and doing away with the burdens of segregation and made that a focal point. That followed the street demonstrations and the sit-ins. The sit-ins, of course, preceded the street demonstrations. It was part of our effort to let the black community know that we were trying to help them achieve their aspirations. So that was in place. Then a group of people in Chapel Hill demanded that the town of Chapel Hill enact an open accommodations law. There was Lyndon Johnson's open accommodations legislation that was being debated in Congress and Sam Ervin and others here were against it, of course. We were in a campaign in which Richardson Preyor was more or less carrying our banner and Dan Moore and Sam Ervin were in opposition to what we had been doing. In that kind of atmosphere, came this demand that Chapel Hill's board enact an open accommodations law. Now I doubt very seriously if they had the authority to do it, but in any event, they very properly, I suppose, reacted to a demand that they do something and they might have been inclined to do it. Certainly, Chapel Hill was one of the most liberal places in the state. But out of all of that came demonstrations in front of two or three places. Grady's was a particular source. I think it's the Grady's out there on the Pittsboro Road. I'm a little bit vague about whether they had moved out there or whether they were still on the Durham side, but they were continuing to demonstrate. And by that time, we were sort of over the hump on that issue. This was a resurgence of the demonstrations. They had declared, I think, CORE, that they were really going to descend upon Chapel Hill and close it down if the City Council didn't do this and I assured the City Council and the people that nobody was going to take over running North Carolina, that we were going to continue to run it. The first time, I was a little bit more adversarial against that kind of movement because I thought it was so totally unnecessary, disruptive and in fact, I thought it was very damaging to Richardson Preyor's campaign. You could be sure that the other crowd that Beverly Lake was running ran third to Dan Moore. And they, of course, were against us politically, so all of this came in the middle of a political campaign. But that didn't say that we shouldn't try to do something about it. Now Anne had become very good friends with Ralph Scott who is now dead, but he was Governor Kerr Scott's brother and probably an outstanding state senator of our time; just an excellent public servant, very forward looking. In fact, in my memory, years later they made him an honorary member of the Golden Fleece. I could be wrong about that. But anyway, the Chapel Hill people took to him even though he was a State graduate. And he and Anne and David Coltrane, who was an old Conservative in a way. . . . He had been director of the budget and he had a little bit of a feud with Kerr Scott and Kerr Scott fired him for supporting Umstead instead of his county. He was sort of a symbol of the

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Conservative wing, but I made him the Director of Administration and then they retired him with age. I knew he was a great Methodist labor, so I figured that I had just the right man to be head of the Good Neighbor Council because he had all the credentials from the conservative side and I thought I was touching the Methodist vein there when I put him in. So, he did a great job. We wanted to settle this thing over there. We wanted to get rid of it and wanted to calm it down because we had not really had these things that had gotten out of hand. We had handled the difficult ones a year earlier. But this was particularly difficult. I know that Anne had the confidence of all the people that were taking part in this. It wasn't just black students; it was really mostly Chapel Hill students that were doing the demonstrating. I know the CORE people were certainly doing their part to keep it stirred up. I never really completely understood that. But Anne more or less took charge of calming that down. And I know she and Coltrane and Scott and others sat up all night dealing and consulting and conferring. Finally, they arrested a great many of them and sentenced all of them, including a professor of religion at Duke. And I commuted all of those sentences, partially I'm sure, with Anne Queen's urging, to zero. I didn't pardon them because they had indeed committed the crimes for which they were convicted. But I did commute the sentences so they wouldn't go to jail. I just didn't want North Carolina to send a professor of religion to jail and I didn't think it was fair to send the students either. Some of them got to stay in jail a little while. John Ely's book The Free Men tells that story better than I can remember it. But anyhow, that's the way I first got to know Anne Queen well. I probably knew her before and her memory obviously, would be better than mine on that particular point. I'm sure I had met her before. And after I left office, I remember doing two or three things over at Chapel Hill. I had a project going I called the State of American States. We would hold conferences over there and we would completely bring together all the help we needed for whatever it was we were doing. It became so obvious to me then, the high regard the students had for her and the great influence that she had. And really, the considerable part that the Y played beyond what it played when I was there. I was a member of it when I was there, but it wasn't a force on campus. Anne Queen made it sort of the social conscience of the campus in a way that it had never been before and probably isn't now without Anne's presence. Maybe it is. Maybe she left enough of the tradition that it is. But I always thought that Anne carried forward the fundamental tradition of Chapel Hill that Frank Graham had established; and before him, Edward Kidder Graham and other people going on back to, I suppose, Cornelius Spencer. In any event, you know, there was a special spirit about Chapel Hill that said the status quo is not good enough. And that's always a risky social and political posture to take because most people are comfortable with the status quo unless they are bound down by it. And I think that better than anyone else, Anne Queen picked up Frank Graham's spirit. But she certainly wasn't there to be a part of what he had done for North Carolina and for Chapel Hill. But those of us that were, I think especially appreciated that here was somebody like her on campus. In a way, she was an unlikely somebody, this young woman from the mountains who was there in anything but a major administrative position and had made her job, her organization, the Y, and her presence such an important part of Chapel Hill. The University certainly needs an Anne Queen. It makes a tremendous difference. And then of course, my association with her in subsequent years was less dramatic.
I better let you ask some questions.

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What was your informal relationship with her? Did you speak to her on the phone or did you speak to her through Tom Lambeth and Joel Fleishman?
Some of both. Some of all. And I think I had Martha McKay over there in Chapel Hill then who was very active in my campaign and very insistent that I put women on boards and commissions. We created the first commission on the rights of women or whatever we called it at the time; it's still in existence. So, Martha was there. Martha was not the same kind of spirit exactly of Anne Queen, nor did she have the connections at the University. In fact, I think I had Martha McKay on the Good Neighbor Council and indeed, a couple of other people in Chapel Hill. So, I had numerous ways to keep in touch with her. Of course, the governor's is an extremely busy office and you don't have time to sit around and casually direct an episode of that kind. I remember making a rather rough statement and getting a call from Tom. We didn't have car telephones then. We had the State Highway Patrol radio which of course, was not secure, so we didn't talk. I remember Tom stopping me when I was coming back to do something at the Carolina Inn that had nothing to do with this. I had been speaking in Southern Pines or somewhere down there. Tom chided me for making a statement about Beverly Lake and the demonstrators and the strikers that was a little too rough for his judgment and he was right. But at that time Tom, of course, was dealing with Anne and with Dave Coltrane. Tom was my administrative assistant. Joel, of course, was my legal assistant and he knew Anne Queen very well. We had plenty of ways to deal with them. And I think they probably dealt with Anne more than I did under the circumstances.
Why do you believe, just from your knowledge through Tom and Joel and your personal experiences with Anne, why do you believe she was perhaps as effective as she was? What were her personal characteristics that enabled that?
Well, I think over the several years she had been at Chapel Hill, she had earned their respect. They knew she was honest, that she would listen to them, that she wasn't part of any avowal to keep them down. The students, always probably, but certainly were beginning to feel that they had more rights. I suppose you saw a good deal of that coming along that we later saw more of during the Vietnam war where the first uprisings in California, of course, were not so much against the war as against Berkeley, against the University. And I think that students felt that Anne could be trusted even though she was over thirty at the time.
That's difficult to gain somebody's trust, students' trust. I thought I read that Anne Queen was also on a committee working with you for the Peace Corps. Do you recall that?
Well, I'm sure she was. We had a kind of an understanding with the Peace Corps people that everybody that comes back from the Peace Corps that comes to North Carolina, we'd give them a job. We employed a whole nation of Peace Corps people. You know, we just wanted to get those exciting young people into North Carolina. I'm not quite sure what all the Peace Corps thing did, but we wanted to support the whole concept of the Peace Corps and encourage people to go. Then since I didn't see that any other state saw in them what I did, we thought we'd just make an open offer to everybody. And as I recall, too, we had her involved in our foreign students commission or whatever we called it at the time. But anyhow, whatever effort we were

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making for foreign students as well as for the Peace Corps, as well as for the returning Peace Corps, I think Anne had a part in all of those, in almost anything that pertained to students.
Can you comment on just the reaction to the statement that you made in January of '63? It was the first time John Ely mentioned in his book in history that a southern white governor had made an open stand for the rights of Negroes or the rights of black people? How did you receive criticism for that statement and what made you come out openly for the rights of blacks?
Well, I think we took that position to a certain degree during the campaign which was a very difficult position to take because nobody had ever in the South run a campaign against a racist attack by being decent. And so how did you do that? I'd seen Frank Graham lose his campaign in 1950 and I'd seen what the racial attack almost did to Kerr Scott in '54. Then we ran against Beverly Lake who was an all out segregationist. I think the most recent statement to me the last time I saw him a year or two ago was that the great tragedy of American history is that the South lost the Civil War. So that's the man I was running against.
What was his name again?
Beverly Lake. His son has now almost won a Supreme Court position. You know, he's been testing the election over here right now in Durham. So, we had beaten down a racist campaign which some people say is the first time in a statewide race in the South post Civil War that that was done. So, we had been very careful to be against segregation by being for the Supreme Court decision. And unlike Virginia, with this massive resistance, we were going to answer it with massive intelligence. We had staked ourselves out. And furthermore, I think we had staked ourselves out to history that I would have rather been right on that issue than to have won. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to win by compromising on that issue. I thought it was so important in the sweep of history that North Carolina not pay like South Carolina and Alabama and Mississippi and to a certain extent, Georgia. So, there wasn't any question that we were going to take the right position on it. The only question was how far can we push that politically. And we pushed it pretty far. We pushed it far enough that Richardson Preyor couldn't win and pushed it far enough when I ran for President in '72, they got even with me.
Can you comment a little bit on how North Carolina politics works and the way that social change can come about? There's been a lot of criticism that because, you know, still the area of the South is fairly conservative, that social change is much slower. Can you comment on that? I know that's a very broad question.
Well, social change may or may not be slower and as we go along, I suppose we get a better understanding of what social change is and what's practical and what's maybe done just to take the passions on the other side of the issue, depending on where you are. So, I think that anywhere you take the country today, you've got a President that takes every cheap shot he can and cheap shots are easy to take. And it's leadership that will not take the cheap shot that makes a difference. And so easy to take. Right now there's idea that they are going to make quotas an issue. Well, it's outrageous that he would do that. What was it this morning Tom Wicker had comments on? But the point being, with his flag running out there and making a statement about the

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Constitutional Amendment that would tear up the First Amendment. Those kinds of cheap shots for political purposes are tempting. I think we always tried to say in our administration that we wanted to look good in history. So we want these decisions to stand up and we don't want to make a quick decision for the moment.
How did you see the role of religious leaders in the Civil Rights movement around the state?
Well, some of them were very bold and some of them were very conscious of the attitudes of their congregations. You had someone like Maurice Grant who was the editor of the "Biblical Reporter" for the Baptists, which normally would be considered a fairly conservative constituency. He certainly was one of the boldest, most courageous writers in the South and given his constituency, especially so. And you had a number of preachers around the state that boldly asserted what they thought was the proper position, the long run position. But by and large, it wasn't a movement of religion. Organized religion is fairly conservative.
Do you have any kind of closing comments that you would like to make on things in particular about Anne that you can recall, or about the Campus Y that we haven't discussed and its role just at the University?
Well, I think to go back to your question about social change that maybe I use this example a number of times in explaining to people why in the early sixties North Carolina seemed to be so far ahead of the rest of the South; that I thought the difference was education and I said, primarily, Chapel Hill, because at the turn of century, Chapel Hill was where most of the leaders of the state came. To put it another way, most of the leaders came from Chapel Hill or came to Chapel Hill. And I think Chapel Hill had that concept of how to make the world better as being a function of the University. I think they had it from the turn of the century on. I think you can look at the history of the University. Now, I could also tie in some efforts of other Universities. There were two or three great people at Wake Forest. Certainly academic freedom in the country got its greatest boost from Trinity College, which is now Duke. But of all of these forces, Chapel Hill had to be the principal force, because the most people who were taking up positions of leadership went to Chapel Hill. And I think to have social change, you almost need a continuity of spirit that comes from a University, not necessarily from one person at a University, but from the University. And I think Chapel Hill has played that role, sometimes played it badly but sometimes played it extremely well. And over the sweep of history, extraordinarily well. The highlight of that was Frank Graham. But you can go back prior to Frank Graham or you could go back to Battle. You could go back to Edward Kidder Graham who died of flu in World War I and then you had [unclear] and two or three other people that were great educators. And then Frank Graham came in in about 1928 and was the great spokesman for social change in the South. He thought things that you probably think wouldn't need a champion; the sharecropper. There aren't many sharecroppers left, but that was a great burden on society. He was a champion of labor unions. You could get shot in North Carolina for being for a labor union. And he was certainly the first very effective voice to do away with segregation. So, a lot of your social change does come from the University climate that goes out to the state through its graduates and sustains them, I suppose, by being kind of a bedrock back there that is a constant reference point as you are trying to find your way in your own activities and your own community or in state government or wherever. I think Anne was very much a

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part of that bedrock. Now she didn't influence everybody that went to Chapel Hill. Some of the people that went to Chapel Hill never were influenced by any good motivations, of course. But by and large, the spirit that made the difference that I've recited to people from the turn of the century on was the kind of spirit that I think Anne added to Chapel Hill. She came from a background, of course, that made her particularly sensitive to injustices. You know her background was one of poverty, of working in a mill, of deciding to go to college, of finding that opportunity at Berea College. I was a Trustee of Berea College. And then of going on to Divinity School and then coming here. Well, she wasn't a part of Chapel Hill, but somehow she refreshed that spirit in Chapel Hill at a time that I think that it especially needed refreshing. Bill Friday had come there and Bill is a fine administrator and of course, made a tremendous contribution to the University, but Bill had the responsibilities of dealing with all the establishments he had to deal with. Like I got Jake Felts, who actually and incidentally is a product of Chapel Hill, to be my Anne Queen at Duke. He's now head of the Student Union there. You need that kind of person that gains the confidence of the students and assures them that it's all right to be in favor of change and improvement and higher ideas. And I think she played that part very well at Chapel Hill.
You have been very helpful. I appreciate your words of wisdom today. This is going to be good for my thesis.