Series B. Public Figures (P2000-06)
The interviews in this series were, with a few exceptions, initiated by the Georgia Government Documentation Project and are with a wide range of prominent public figures. Narrators include both elected officials and individuals who never held office. Among the narrators interviewed are former U.S. Attorney General Griffin B. Bell, U.S. Senator Paul D. Coverdell, Speaker of the House Tom Murphy, and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell. Most of the interviews are in a life history format, covering the narrator's upbringing, public career, and key events, developments and individuals.
This series is very large and has been divided into three parts by alphabetically by last name. This page contains oral histories from Pauley to Wilson.
For Availability Information, see the Finding Aid.
Pauley, Frances (P1988-14)
Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn
Frances Pauley (1905-2003) has been involved in various civil rights activities, was president of the Georgia League of Women Voters in the 1950s, served as the Director of the Georgia Human Rights Council from 1960 to 1969, and served as HEW field representative in 1970.
Among topics discussed: Early interest in politics; Talmadge and anti‑Talmadge factions; DeKalb County League of Women Voters; Eleanor Green; Josephine Heyman; Margaret MacDougall; white primary; three‑governor controversy; League of Women Voters' support of Ellis Arnall; Johnnie Hilburn; Louisa Gosnell; Morris Abram; Grace Hamilton; county unit amendment; Mayor William Hartsfield; League of Women Voters and segregation; Maury Flowers; Help Our Public Education (HOPE); Don Hollowell; Junior League; organizing health clinics; Maude Hamilton; poll tax; Henry Grady Hotel; Ed Friend; church segregationists; Sibley Commission; "Fill the Tower with HOPE" rally.
Among topics discussed: Jim Cherry; Scott Candler; Baxter Jones election; Mayor Bill Hartsfield; "Strike One "campaign; Helen Bullard; tolerance pledge; split in the Atlanta League of Women Voters; Rome's Council on Human Relations; role of white women in HOPE, OASIS, and other similar organizations; Rome anti‑desegregationist; Francisca Boaz; HOPE tactics; Florence Robin; ACLU; Maria Ladd; OASIS; training and preparation for desegregation episodes; the Episcopal bishop of Savannah; civil rights movement in Savannah; Mr. Aycock, principal of the black high school in Rome; Albany; pamphlet "Albany, A Police State"; SNCC; NAACP; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Wyatt T. Walker; Charles Sherrod; Sheriff Laurie Pritchard; Pauley's arrest; "Jail not bail"; Benjamin Anderson; Dr. Benjamin Mays; involvement of Georgia State Police in Albany; Americus, Georgia; Jimmy Carter; Carter/Sanders campaign; Koinonia; Warren Fortson; Americus civil rights trial of John Perdue; songs connected with the Civil Rights Movement; Hamilton Holmes; Southern Regional Council; John McCown; Austin Ford.
February 23, 1989
Crawford Pilcher served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1937 to 1941, as assistant Attorney General from 1943 to 1945, in the Georgia Senate from 1949 to 1950, and the Public Service Commission from 1953 to 1972.
Among topics discussed: Personal background; "Little New Deal" under Governor E. D. Rivers; the Rivers administration; Cocking affair; Pilcher as Assistant Attorney General; railroad freight case; Fred Hand; Jimmy Pippin; the Henry Grady Hotel; Roy Harris; Ham Lokey; Jack Ray; James Carmichael; Eugene Talmadge; three‑governor controversy; Henry Duckworth; Talmadge's campaign for governor; Bill Hartsfield; County Unit System; Marvin Thompson; Georgia Power and Light rate inequity; SEC; Federal Power Commission; NARUC (National Association of Rural Utility Companies); Southern Natural Gas lawsuit; Georgia Power rate case; Southern Bell rates; Knowles Davis; Properties Commission; Southern Railroad; Stone Mountain Memorial Association; 1968 Democratic National Convention; leaving Democratic party; Smyrna Federal Savings and Loan.
Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn and George Butler
November 5, 1990
Lewis Powell (1907-1998) served on the United States Supreme Court from 1972 until 1987.
Among topics discussed: Judge Wilkinson; family background; activities at Washington and Lee; Edward R. Murrow; National Student Federation of America; Edward Gwathmey; Harvard Law School; Roscoe Pound; Felix Frankfurter; views on juries; influence of Pound and Frankfurter; John W. Davis; summer work with Richmond Department of Public Works; Richmond law firms; Hunton and Williams; Phillip Morris; size and specialization of modern law firms; Lewis Powell, Jr.; Judge Oren Lewis; differences between thirties' and nineties' law firms; Powell's securities cases; offered chairmanship of Securities Exchange Commission; American Bar Association; Richmond School Board; Brown v. Board, closing of schools in Virginia; interposition, massive resistance; Oliver Hill; Forum Club; Senate Judiciary Committee, Powell's confirmation hearing; Birch Bayh; segregation cases‑Keyes, Richmond schools; de facto, de jure distinctions; cert pool; Powell's role in dynamics of court; education, segregation cases‑ Bakke, DeFunis, Croson; views on capital punishment; Bill Brennan; swearing‑in of Governor Wilder; Powell Commission, habeas corpus; race relations; changes in law profession over past 25 years; stare decisis; Fourth Circuit of Appeals.
Interviewed by: David Nordan
October 6, 1992
Bobby Rowan served in the Georgia Senate from 1963 to 1974 and has served as Public Service Commissioner from 1989 to the present.
Among topics discussed; Early involvement in electoral politics; county unit system; family background; 1962 state senate race; campaign strategy; Carl Sanders as governor; Zell Miller as governor; Lester Maddox election; Maddox as governor; prison reform; relationship with Jimmy Carter; 1966 and 1970 Carter governor's races; Carter image in 1970 campaign; Carter's strength as governor; gubernatorial power; George L. Smith as Speaker of House; relationship between governors and Speaker; working in the senate; legislators at Atlanta hotels; rule changes in the Senate; Maddox; Rowan and the "letter war"; Maddox retaliation; Rowan resigns as floor leader; 1974 governor's race; campaign finances; black vote in 1974 race; support for various candidates; The Art of Legislative Strategy; Roscoe Dean speech; Public Service Commission (PSC); problems with the PSC; changes over thirty years in Georgia politics; buying votes.
Interviewed by: Sally Flocks
May 1, 1987
John Savage served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1971 to 1974 and 1977 to 1982.
Among topics discussed: Family background; education; interest in politics; the Georgia Republican Party; Georgia political systems; political philosophy; personal beliefs; 1970 House campaign; family support for campaigns; processing legislative bills; taxation; Georgia progress; hostility to Atlanta; the marriage bill; eye research bills; state movie commission; handicap access; lobbyists; Georgia education system; education in Black Muslim philosophy; Georgia state pension investment; rural background; working with other representatives; Sidney Marcus; changes in party affiliation; reasons for leaving political career; Jimmy Carter and George Busbee as governors; dental practice; committee assignments; Constitutional Revision Committee; insurance premiums; primary voting laws; dental assistance for legislators; decision to move to Ansley Park; interest in educational issues; Education Committee; Clint Deveaux; dental bills and dental profession; Georgia dental schools; need for power sharing in state government; Speaker of the House; campaign for lieutenant governor; Republicans in Georgia; Mack Mattingly; type of people who win Georgia gubernatorial campaigns.
Interviewed by: Tom Chaffin
George T. Smith served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1959 to 1967, and was Speaker of the House from 1963 to 1966, and served as Lieutenant Governor from 1967 to 1971. He served on the Georgia Court of Appeals from 1976‑1980 and on the Georgia Supreme Court from 1980‑1991.
Among topics discussed: Reapportionment; political ties; committee appointments; constituency; school desegregation issue; Sibley Commission; Charlayne Hunter; political reaction to 1954 Brown decision; political survival; why Smith got into politics; 1958 campaign strategy; 1961 appropriation fight; Jack Ray; reapportionment; mixed drink bill; Denmark Groover; 1966 Julian Bond case; campaign against Peter Zack Geer; Mrs. Smith appearance on TV to campaign for husband; liquor bill; Sloppy Floyd; Mills Lane; campaign financing; Maddox/Calloway vote; position on Arnall as governor; Smith urged to run for governor in 1966; relationship with Lester Maddox; Governor Sanders' appointments; handling Maddox; 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention seating controversy; Industry and Trade Department promise.
Among topics discussed: Governor Maddox calls special legislative session; mistakes in politics (example from 1974); Maddox retirement maneuvering; obtaining appellate court position; campaign for Supreme Court seat; Bill Shipp editorial; family background; education; entering the military; naval experiences; hostility to unions; philosophy while on court; experience as a poor white boy; 1963 desegregation of House gallery; Capitol City Club serving policy; values; honesty in government; protecting individual rights; relationship with other Supreme Court justices; Harold Hill; Uniform Court Rules; the "Green Door" (budget) committee; ghost writing of court opinions and bribery accusations; Irving Stolz; insurance double recovery; Judicial Qualifications Commission; Attorney General Mike Bowers; Mac Barber; Joe Frank Harris; events leading to Smith's retirement; Jimmy Carter sets judicial age limitations; Pierre Howard; Zell Miller; changing relationship between the press and politicians; southern politicians eye national politics; relationship with Jimmy Carter; Carl Sanders as governor; Lyndon Johnson.
Starr, Terrell (P1988-21)
Interviewed by: Bradley Rice
August 1, 1988
Terrell Starr (1925-2009), from Clayton County, has served in the Georgia Senate from 1969 to the present, and was Senate Floor leader from 1975 to 1984.
Among topics discussed: Personal background; military service; civic activities; fills vacancy on Clayton county commission; 1958 commissioner's race; Clayton County buildup; 1968 General Assembly election; 1964 General Assembly; Carter's people; Maddox's people; Maddox as governor; Miller as lieutenant governor; controversy over removal of committee chairman; Julian Bond; senators during Starr's terms; Hugh Gillis as assistant floor leader; APEG (Adequate Program of Education for Georgia); Quality Basic Education program; county participation; budget process; the "Green Door" (budget) committee; reorganization under Carter; legislative process; World Congress Center; Dalton Carpet Center.
Suit, Hal (P1989-23)
Interviewed by: Randy Sanders
March 27, 1989
Hal Suit (1922-1994) was a candidate in the 1970 Georgia governor's race.
Among topics discussed: 1970 governor's race; Jimmy Carter; Richard Russell; Ernest Vandiver; "the courthouse gang"; Lester Maddox; county unit system; impact of rural vote; "two Georgias"; Civil Rights Act of 1964; 1965 Voting Rights Act; issue of death penalty; George Wallace; desegregation; Carter's "redneck" campaign; professional politicians; Buddy Darden; Tom Murphy; reorganization of Georgia government; media coverage of 1970 Governor's race; strategy of "subtle racism"; "pork barrel politics"; pari‑mutuel betting; conditions at voting sites; black vote.
Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn
September 21, 1992
Elbert Tuttle (1897-1996) served as a Justice on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1954 to 1968, as Chief Justice of the Fifth Circuit from 1961‑1968, and has served as Senior Justice of the Fifth Circuit (reorganized into the Eleventh Circuit as of October 1, 1981) from 1968 to the present.
Among topics discussed: Outrigger Canoe Club; meeting wife; settling in Atlanta; Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; national political conventions; black Republicans; post office Republicans; housing in Atlanta; cleaning voter registration lists; county unit system; Republicans in Atlanta, 1950; Bob Snodgrass; Helen Mankin election; Judge Robert Carpenter; Johnson v. Zerbst; politics 1952; credentials dispute; Roy Foster; patronage; Eisenhower campaign; Fifth Circuit Court; Judge Hutcheson; discussion of cases; appeals process; stalling desegregation; appointment of Judge Elliott; Judge Cameron; "The Four"; court packing; Baker v. Carr; Wesberry v. Sanders; county unit system; racial cases; Judge Gewin; Julian Bond case; Sloppy Floyd; anti‑war cases; Jack Bass; habeas corpus; civil rights cases; issuing injunctions; Ralph McGill; desegregation at Rich's lunch counter.
Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn
Charles Weltner (1927-1992) served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1963 to 1967, was Fulton County Superior Court Judge from 1976 to 1981, and was Associate Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court from 1981 to 1992, serving briefly as the Chief Justice in 1992.
Among topics discussed: Family background; father's political history; the New Deal; the Cocking affair; county unit system; Hartsfield v. Sloan; "Strike One" campaign; King v. Chapman; Supreme Court; Cook v. Fortson; Baker v. Carr; Jim Davis; Morris Abram; Democratic Forum; Kennedy campaign; Ivan Allen, Sr.; Lester Maddox; working on Ivan Allen's mayoral campaign; first congressional election.
Among topics discussed: Washington 1963‑1964; Hayes Johnson; attitudes toward southern Congressmen; agricultural bills; anti‑cotton subsidy speech; Banking and Currency Committee; rapid transit; voting age amendment; HUAC; Ku Klux Klan; John F. Kennedy; 1964 Civil Rights bill; Ben Blackburn (Bob); Voting Rights Act of 1965; Jim Mackay; Weltner's withdrawal in 1966; Robert Woodruff.
Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn
Osgood Williams served in the Georgia Senate from 1951-52, was a judge in the Civil Court of Fulton County from 1963-68, and was a judge on the Atlanta circuit from 1968-88.
Among topics discussed: Memories of Richard Russell as governor; senate race; 1936 re‑election campaign; Gene Talmadge; Huey Long; Ellis Arnall; Cocking affair; county unit system; personal background; Ordinary Court; Roy Harris; Tom Murphy; Ralph McGill; Jim Gillis; Jimmy Carmichael; Marvin Griffin; three‑governor controversy; George B. Hamilton; Governor E. D. Rivers; Tom Watson; "wool hat" boys; Herman Talmadge; Arnall campaign; Carmichael campaign; Bob Troutman; Claude Pittmann; Primus King case; 1950 governor's race; Miles Walker Lewis; Greene County; William Wyatt; Unified Farm Program; Adlai Stevenson; John F. Kennedy; Estes Kefauver; Henry Wallace; Harry Truman; Morris Abram.
Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn
Among topics discussed: A.T. Walden; Primus King case; black disfranchisement; Plan of Improvement; James V. Carmichael; Gene Talmadge; Tom Watson; Franklin D. Roosevelt; political parties; voter registration in rural areas for 1946; enfranchisement of blacks; NAACP; Atlanta Negro Voters League; Bill Hartsfield; Buckhead; East Point; Ku Klux Klan; MARTA; Daniel Duke and the flogging trials; John Boykin; County Unit System; W.O. "B" Brooks; Senator Walter George; Henry Wallace; Mankin/Davis congressional race (1946); 1954 Morris Abram‑James Davis congressional race; Charles Weltner; Scott Candler; Wyman Lowe; Colombians; Helen Mankin; Hank Henderson; County Unit System controversy; Margaret MacDougall; "Active Voters" plaques; Sam Sibley; Elbert Tuttle; opposition to Wage Stabilization Board; Huey Long; New Deal in Georgia; Ellis Arnall.
Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn
Among topics discussed: Koinonia Farm; Robert Jordan; Cocking affair; Young Men's Group of the Democratic Party; E.D. Rivers role in the 1946 governor's campaign, Jimmy Carmichael, and Gene Talmadge; M.E. Thompson; Tom Linder's school solution; Williams in the 1952 race; Private School Amendment; school desegregation; Constance Baker Motley; segregation of taxis; Decatur main streetcar line; HOPE; desegregation of the University of Georgia; "B" Brooks; John Sibley; John Greer; Williams on the Fulton County Civil (now State) Court; Lester Maddox case; Randall Evans; Lester Maddox as governor.
Interviewed by: Thomas Allan Scott
April 1, 1988
Joe Mack Wilson represented the city of Marietta in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1961 to 1985. This interview is also deposited in the Cobb County Oral History Collection, Kennesaw State University.
Among topics discussed: Family background; early family homes; education; successful students; ditch digging; quality of Marietta education; teacher salary; FHA mortgages; WPA jobs; effect of the Depression; hitchhiking to Atlanta; Wilson family business; family history; interest in city politics; 1959 Marietta mayoral race; Red Atherton; campaigning; power within Cobb County and the press; C. W. Barmlett; Sam Welsch; Rip Blair; Jimmy Carmichael; 1960 legislative race; support for education; interest groups; local races as personality contests; constituencies; county unit system; political support in local politics; university accreditation issue; attitude toward Ellis Arnall's book, The Shore Dimly Seen; Cobb County changes to five‑man commission system; 1964 commission race; voting machines; cause of lost 1964 election; Lester Maddox election; increase in legislative power; Tom Murphy; urban caucus; Elliott Levitas; George Busbee; reapportionment committee; affect of reapportionment of Atlanta area; 1980 reapportionment; Dorothy Felton's comments on race; country club Republicans; legislating by court edict; result of special session reapportionment; Rules Committee; Ways and Means Committee; elimination of factoring in tax assessments; Al Burruss; Burruss‑Wilson local sales tax bill; Southern Tech student center; domed stadium issue; decline of downtown Atlanta; Downtown Marietta Development Authority (DMDA); Kennesaw College conversion to four year college; University System Board of Regents; Maddox governorship; Jimmy Carter government reorganization; George Busbee as governor; Joe Frank Harris and Quality Basic Education (QBE); taxes; Republican Party of Cobb County; social responsibility; heroes.