Folsom explains that his racially progressive views were the result of his family's tradition of racial tolerance. Reaching back in time to the mid-nineteenth century, Folsom describes how his forebears in Alabama had opposed secession, focusing especially on his great-grandfather's decision to emancipate his slaves in the 1850s. In addition, Folsom notes the high rate of Lincoln Republicans in northern Alabama during the Civil War years. From there, Folsom describes some of the opposition he faced from white supremacist groups because of his support for integration. The passage concludes with his thoughts on the role of the "race issue" at the time of the interview in the mid-1970s.