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Special Collections and Archives: Georgia Government Documentation Project: E

A guide to the Georgia Government Documentation Project oral history collection.

Series E. Black Involvement in Politics

Series E. Black Involvement in Politics

This series of interviews was conducted during and after the annual Georgia convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, held in Brunswick, Ga., October 13-14, 1989. Among topics discussed were 1940s efforts that led to the overthrow of the whites-only primary, the Primus King case, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

For Availability Information, see the Finding Aid.

Series E Oral Histories

Bolden, Dorothy (P1990-05)

Interviewed by: Duane Stewart

June 29, 1990

No Transcript

 

Dorothy Bolden (1923-2005) served as an Atlanta domestic worker for 41 years. She became politically active in the 1960s, founding the National Domestic Workers Union in 1968. She also served as vice-president of the Black Women Coalition of Atlanta, and worked for both the State and National Departments of Labor.

 

Brown, Benjamin (P1996-01)

Interviewed by: Clifford Kuhn

October 15, 1996

82 pp.

 

Ben Brown (1939-1999) was born in Montezuma, Georgia, was active in civil rights activities in Atlanta in the 1960s, and served in the Georgia House of Representatives 1966, 1969-77. He resigned in 1977 to take a position in the Carter administration.

Family background in College Park, GA; involvement with Methodist Episcopal Church as a youth; involvement with YMCA and Warren Cochrane; John Hope Camp, youth camp for blacks; family move into Atlanta; early interest in politics: Atlanta Negro Voters League, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon; John Calhoun; Martin Luther (Daddy) King; Reverend William Holmes Borders; WERD radio, first black-owned radio station in the continental United States; Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton; Phi Beta Sigma; political influences as a teenager; Grace Hamilton; student activities and activism at Clark College and Atlanta University Center; his wife, Lydia Tucker; Atlanta Committee for Cooperative Action; Second Look; Carl Holman; Lonnie King; Dr. Brawley; sit-ins; Herschelle Sullivan; Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, headquarters in Atlanta; National Student Association; march on the state capitol, Atlanta, 1960; involvement and arrest of M. L. King, Jr.; Kennedy involvement; Warren Street Church; relationship between student and older black community; bus station integration movement; Rich’s boycott   

 

Brown, Benjamin (P1996-01)

Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn

October 23, 1996

75 pp.

 

Student movement in Atlanta; Atlanta University Center; Atlanta Committee on Appeal for Human Rights; Lonnie King; Rich’s boycott; integration of University of Georgia; Don Hollowell; A. T. Walden; interplay of different generations in civil rights  activism in Atlanta; Leroy Johnson; women in  Atlanta movement; William B. Hartsfield; Dr. Rufus Clemens; Ruth Sturdivant; Lottie Watkins; Pearl Henderson; NAACP; Morehouse; Spelman; Morris Brown; Clark Atlanta University; Wesley Law; ACCA; Carl Holman; Atlanta Inquirer; “The Second Look”; Booker T. Washington; Atlanta Daily World; Atlanta Voice; Brown’s views on busing; Brown’s time at Howard University; Horace Ward’s election to the Georgia Senate; Phi Beta Sigma; Atlanta Urban League; Georgia reapportionment; Reverend William Holmes Borders; Brown’s first campaign for state legislature, 1965;  Irving Kaler; Al Kerr; Julian Bond’s campaign for state legislature, 1965; Julian Bond controversy 1966.   

 

Brown, Benjamin (P1996-01)

Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn

October 31, 1996

70 pp.

 

Paschal’s; John Cox; Jesse Hill; Q. V. Williamson; All Citizen’s Registration Committee; Negro Voter’s League; Leroy Johnson; mayoral race: Ivan Allen and Mugsy Smith; Young Democrats of Georgia; Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, 1964; Barbara Johnson; old guard and newcomers in Democratic Party in Georgia; Zell Miller; Peter Zack Geer; Carl Sanders; George T. Smith; Sloppy Floyd; Julian Bond controversy 1966; black freshmen legislators in 1966: Grace Hamilton, J. C. Dougherty, William H. Alexander, J. D. Greer, John Hood; Bill Alexander; Atlanta Urban League; Georgia Housing Finance Authority; automobile inspections; Charter Revision Committee; proposed consolidation of city of Atlanta and Fulton County; Culver Kidd; Eugene Talmadge; George L. Smith; George T. Smith; Bobby Rowan; Denmark Groover; George Busbee; Joe Frank Harris; Coca-Cola; Lester Maddox; Voting Rights Act, 1965; Brown’s efforts in black participation in the political process; Curtis Atkinson; Robert Parks; Maynard Jackson’s campaign,  1968; Chicago Democratic Convention 1968 and the Georgia Challenge; Georgia Democratic Party Forum; Julian Bond and McCarthy; Travis Stewart; Ellis Arnall.

 

Brown, Benjamin (P1996-01)

Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn

November 6, 1996

70 pp.

 

Ben Fortson; Max Cleland; Frances Duncan; Lester Maddox; Bo Callaway; Q. V. Williamson; Brown’s reactions to Maddox as governor; Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination; meeting between Bobby Kennedy and Legislative Black Caucus; 1969 Atlanta mayoral race of Sam Massell and Horace Tate; Leroy Johnson; Maynard Jackson; Charlie Davis; Abolish Atlanta; proposed consolidation of Atlanta and Fulton County; Carl Sanders; Andrew Young’s congressional race; 1973 Atlanta mayoral race; 1970 governor’s race in Georgia: Jimmy Carter and Carl Sanders; John Cox; Brown’s observations on Carter’s effectiveness as governor; Martin Luther King, Jr. portrait issue (at the capital?); John McCown in Hancock County; Rita Samuel; Brown’s work for George Busbee in 1974 governor’s race; Julian Bond; Betty Clark; statue of black Reconstruction leaders by John Riddle; Bicentennial involving Senator David Scott as Chairman of the bicentennial committee; Ben Brown Chairman of the Black Caucus;  Bobby Hill chairman of the Black Caucus in 1977; Governor Busbee’s involvement in the dedication ceremony of the statue in 1977.

 

Cheney, Gladys and Geneva Lyde (P1989-13)

Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn

October 13, 1989

No Transcript

 

Gladys Cheney and Geneva Lyde were NAACP leaders from Brunswick Georgia.  The interview was conducted at the annual state NAACP convention, Brunswick, Ga., October 13‑14, 1989. Gladys Cheney and Geneva Lyde were interviewed together.

Among topics discussed:  Barriers to voting; white primary; voter's league; Brunswick church's cooperation with voter's league; race relations in Brunswick; consolidation; Sea Island Company.  Geneva Lyde discusses Ku Klux Klan activity; Walter White; early involvement with NAACP; Glynn County Voter's League; mayoral campaign; difficulty in recruiting blacks to run for office; work with Community Action; blacks and the Republican Party; Glenn County Political Action Committee; THE ISLANDER; suit against Brunswick Democratic Club; lack of black access to white community institutions; fight against consolidation; and the Sea Island Company.

 

Combs, Doyle (P1989-15)

Interviewed by: A.K. Umoja

October 13, 1989

No Transcript

 

Doyle Combs was an NAACP leader from Stephens County and the first black to hold office in Stephens County.  The interview was conducted at the annual state NAACP convention, Brunswick, Ga., October 13‑14, 1989.

Among topics discussed:  Barriers to blacks running for political office; Wilbanks County voting bill; armed resistance to black voting in Franklin County; voting restrictions in Stephens County compared to surrounding counties; military service during World War Two; determination to vote; service on city council; election of a black mayor; increased black participation in political process; school desegregation; Ku Klux Klan activity.

 

Dollar, Beulah Clark (P1989-16)

Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn

October 14, 1989

43 pp.

 

Beulah Clark Dollar was an NAACP leader from Telfair County.  The interview was conducted at the annual state NAACP convention, Brunswick, Ga., October 13‑14, 1989.

Among topics discussed:  Early background; voter registration; Ruby Hurley; NAACP voting drives; attempts to have blacks named to county school board; Ronnie Walker; U.S. Department of Justice and rezoning voting districts; changing board member replacement laws; pressure on Dollar as a school teacher‑activist; lack of control over the school board and local press; vote buying; election mismanagement; registration locations; ward elections and the city council; U.S. census; fighting against the one man county commission; black and white voting patterns; NAACP political forums; voting in Lumber City; white control over employment and its effect on voting patterns; improvements in black political status.

 

Durham, LaRamon (P1989-14)

Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn and Duane Stewart

October 13, 1989

No Transcript

 

LaRamon Durham was an NAACP leader from Oglethorpe County.  The interview was conducted at the annual state NAACP convention, Brunswick, Ga., October 13‑14, 1989.

Among topics discussed:  Segregation in Maxey's, Ga.; poll tax requirements; retirement in Oglethorpe County; participation in United Automobile Worker's Union (UAW); interest in farming, nutrition and natural health; service as chair of Oglethorpe County NAACP membership committee; participation in non‑profit organizations; desegregation of public schools; black political candidates; "endurance" philosophy; difficulty in recruiting blacks for political participation; political education.

 

Flanagan, Robert (P1988-18)

Interviewed by: Josephine Bradley

November 10, 1988

38 pp.

 

Robert Flanagan served as the executive director of the NAACP's Atlanta Branch , was the Georgia field director of the NAACP, was president of the Georgia state conference of NAACP Branches, and was on the NAACP national board of directors.

Among topics discussed:  Career background; voter registration before and after the Civil Rights Act; the power of a local grand jury; at‑large voting; promoting voter registration; Voter Education Project; the black ministry; black leadership in Georgia; John Lewis; Vernon Jordan; Herman Talmadge; Curtis Atkins; Talmadge's position switch on race issue; Rufus Clement; voter education to combat poll list purges; apathy during Bush‑Dukakis presidential race; how to get a strong black vote without a white backlash; Douglas Wilder; the continuing importance of the Voting Rights Act; "packing" in redistricting precincts; methods to discourage black voting; second run‑offs; Ku Klux Klan; white politicians catering to black vote; modern voter registration; permanent voter registration; one man county commissions; marches in the 1960s; Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns; NAACP youth program; voter registration drives; fear during the Civil Rights Movement; Ed Brown and southwest Georgia.

 

Flanagan, Robert (P1988-18)

Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn and Josephine Bradley

January 9, 1989

88 pp.

 

Among topics discussed:  Early interest in civil rights; Bailey Theaters; Thomas J. Flanagan; the  Mankin election; Atlanta Daily World; John Wesley Dobbs; Benjamin Mays; Abraham Lincoln Republicans; WWII veterans challenging segregation; black leadership in Atlanta; Ira Reid; civil rights activity during WWII; Georgia's NAACP; NAACP and the EEOC's efforts to gain blacks employment in Georgia industry; NAACP expansion; SCLC in Georgia; efforts to integrate Twiggs county police force; NAACP hierarchy; the Black Panthers, NAACP and the SCLC in Savannah; Black Panthers in Georgia; the SCLC after 1968; NAACP voter registration tactics; Frances Duncan; the NAACP and Georgia's Secretary of State; Vernon Jordan; legal action to open voter registration in 1983; Justice Department pressure on local registrars; legal action to redistrict Mitchell county; John McCown (Hancock County); Sheriff Dye (Warren County); Ed Brown; police intimidation of blacks attempting to vote; voter turnout; Joe Mack Wilson; redistricting; Grace Towns Hamilton; the 1992 elections; black officials in poor counties; the change in racial etiquette; political infighting in the Georgia NAACP; counties with significant changes in racial etiquette; opinions of the administrations of Lester Maddox, Jimmy Carter, George Busbee, and Joe Frank Harris; Charles McCant; Julian Bond case; Robert Benham, the Talmadge‑Mattingly election; black senators and the Speaker of the House; new voting strategies; watching an elderly black man vote for the first time; changes in racial etiquette.

 

George, Stine (P1987-17)

Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn and Duane Stewart

October 14, 1989

74 pp.

 

Stine George was an NAACP leader from Colquitt county, and was active in the Seminole County voter registration drive.  The interview was conducted at the annual state NAACP convention, Brunswick, Ga., October 13‑14, 1989.

Among topics discussed:  Family background; reapportionment in Moultrie and Colquitt counties; "People United for Fairness"; Laughlin McDonald; voter registration 1959‑63 Donalsonville, Georgia; Mugg Burke; Seminole County organizations; KKK; "New Communities"; Charles Sherrod; George's campaign for city council; political maneuvering in Seminole county; Ford Foundation grant; traveling with Ford Foundation; problems of being both activist and teacher; gaining community support; desegregation of Seminole county police force; street paving; desegregation of juries; the Future Farmers of America; George being ostracized by the state of Georgia; community action council; the WIN program; Job Corps; racism in the Labor Department; Moultrie County; John Cross; the lack of morality of teachers in Moultrie County; the NAACP in Moultrie; Edward Starkey; Judge Robert Elliott; George's EEOC lawsuit against Community Action Council; Wesley Ball; the problems of at‑large council members; vote buying; D.L. Inman; Frank Wilson; problems of multi‑member's districts; Robert Flanagan; the multi‑member district plan's origins; opposition to ACLU's plan.

 

Hagen, Booker (P1989-18)

Interviewed by: Duane Stewart

October 14, 1989

No Transcript

 

Booker T. Hagen is an NAACP leader from Evans county. The interview was conducted at the annual state NAACP convention, Brunswick, Ga., October 13‑14, 1989.

Among topics discussed:  Childhood; induction into the army; formation of NAACP chapter while in army; Evans County Improvement League; candidacy for Justice of Peace; Ku Klux Klan activity; NAACP legal defense; employment history; obstacles to voting; black appointments to Housing Authority and county positions; Michael Moore case; voter education; black elected officials in Evans County.

 

Hamilton, Grace Towns (P1986-04)

Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn

June 26, 1986

No Transcript

 

Grace Towns Hamilton (1907-1992) was the director of the Atlanta Urban League, was active in the 1946 voter registration drive, and served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1966 until 1985.

SEE also Hamilton interview in series G.

Among topics discussed:  Organizing voter registration; black Atlanta churches; census maps; Robert Thompson; Prudence Herndon; business and financial support of registration; Calhoun v. Latimer; the 1946 report on schools; Mary Barker; A. T. Walden; Democratic clubs; obstacles to voter registration in rural Georgia; Rufus Clement; Q.V. Williamson; Georgia's reaction to Brown v. Board of Education; Atlanta's NAACP efforts in response to Brown; William B. Hartsfield; desegregation of the Atlanta police force; Atlanta's new charter; redistricting voter precincts in Atlanta; the League of Women Voters; Atlanta city council; Ivan Allen; Maynard Jackson; the Fulton County Commission; mayoral power; opposition to new charter; Appropriations Committee; the evolution of the Speaker of the House; John Greer; health programs; election irregularities; memories of elections; the 1984 election and how it was affected by reapportionment.

 

Harrell, Bertha (P1989-19)

Interviewed by: A.K. Umoja

October 14, 1989

No Transcript

 

Bertha Harrell is an NAACP leader from Crisp County.  The interview was conducted at the annual state NAACP convention, Brunswick, Ga., October 13‑14, 1989.

Among topics discussed:  Community development; Board of Education; voter education; Voters League; at‑large elections; Federation of Colored Women; Crisp County redistricting campaign; history of black voting in Crisp County; grand jury participation.

 

Henderson, Jacob (P1989-09)

Interviewed by: Duane Stewart

June 8, 1989

29 pp.

 

Jacob Henderson served as manager of federal housing projects in Atlanta from 1941 to 1963, and served in the Economic Development Association from 1963 to 1983.

SEE also Henderson interview in series L.

Among topics discussed:  Early background; Atlanta University; Atlanta housing projects (University Homes, John Eagan Homes etc.); John Wesley Dobbs; Chief Aiken; citizenship classes; the Civilian Defense and their maps used to register voters in 1940s; securing black employment at the Bell bomber plant (Lockheed); John Hope Jr.; voter registration and Helen Douglas Mankin; Robert Thompson; organizing voter "blocks"; Grace Towns Hamilton; David Watson; A.T. Walden, John Wesley Dobbs and two political parties in the black community; black coalition; the block vote; Helen Douglas Mankin; Tom Camp; Eugene Talmadge; Ellis Arnall; William Hartsfield; meetings with John Wesley Dobbs and A.T. Walden; Ivan Allen; integrating the police force; Hughes Spalding hospital; voter registration; Negro Voters League; Black Chamber of Commerce; travel agencies; Daddy King (Martin Luther King Sr.); sit‑ins; Urban League; Southern Regional Council.

 

Law, W.W. (P1990-15)

Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn and Timothy Crimmins

November 15-16, 1990

142 pp.

 

W.W. Law (1923-2002) was an active leader in the Savannah NAACP as well as the state organization from the 1950s to the 1990s, and is involved in African‑American historic preservation efforts.

Among topics discussed:  Early childhood memories of family and church; early twentieth century Savannah; segregated schools in Savannah; Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert and the revival of the NAACP in Georgia; the establishment of a Georgia Federation of NAACP Branches; Gilbert, Primus King and Dr. Brewer's fight to end the white primary; YMCA; Gilbert and voter registration drives; John McGlockton; Ella Baker in Savannah; NAACP youth organization; voter registration "schools"; Johnny Bouhan and the Savannah political machine; John Kennedy and the birth of city management; desegregation of the police force; segregated lines for the "Freedom Train" (1948); Savannah's progressive race relations; Jackie Robinson; NAACP and the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers union; Gilbert and A.T. Walden, John Wesley Dobbs, and C.L. Harper; Georgia's attacks on the NAACP in the 1940s; NAACP youth organization and its concentration on black history and philosophy; John Clifford Hardwick III; Walter J. Leonard; learning to speak in public; World War II service; lobbying for youth causes; historical preservation; Mills B. Lane IV; early NAACP leaders; Dr. William Madison Boyd; D.U. Pullum and "Terrible" Terrell County; John Wesley Dobbs; Reverend Shropshire; NAACP and Martin Luther King Jr.; Churches and the NAACP; lunch counter sit‑ins (1960); mass meetings; Hosea Williams and voter registration; Rev. Oliver Wendell Holmes; grass roots movement. Mass meetings and the boycott of white stores; the Ku Klux Klan; Law fired from the U.S. Postal Service; Elliot Hagen; being named to the NAACP national board; Brown v. Board of Education; desegregation of Savannah's schools; Donald Hollowell; desegregation; reinstatement to the Postal Service; historic preservation of Savannah's black neighborhoods; voter registration campaign of 1946; Bouhan machine; Kelly Bryant; voting in Savannah; election day slow downs; the Mingledorf election; Judge Emmanuel Lewis; T.J. Hopkins; Colored Citizens Committee of Chatham County; political payoffs; desegregation of public facilities; redistricting Savannah; NAACP voter recommendations; block voting; mass meetings; Reverend Gilbert's early fights for equality; speaking styles of A.T. Walden, Dr. Benjamin Mays, Reverend Gilbert, and John Wesley Dobbs; Adam Clayton Powell and Gilbert; Frank W. Spencer and efforts to train black river boat pilots; black Savannah history.

 

 

Norwood, Waymon (P1989-20)

Interviewed by: Duane Stewart

October 14, 1989

No Transcript

 

Waymon Norwood is an NAACP leader from Jessup, Georgia. The interview was conducted at the annual state NAACP convention, Brunswick, Ga., October 13‑14, 1989.

Among topics discussed:  Youth in Cairo, Ga.; barriers to black voter participation; experiences with Civilian Conservation Corp; racial discrimination felt in Washington, D.C.; army career; segregation in army; employment history; founding of NAACP chapter in Waycross, Ga.; Citizens Committee activities, Jessup, Ga.; serves as chairman of city commission; hiring of black policemen; voter registration drives; redistricting; fight against at‑large elections; "rotating" county chairman; election of James Johnson to county commission; future of black political power in Jessup; Norwood's early political influences.

 

Randall, William C. and William P. Randall (P1989-03)

Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn and Duane Stewart

February 4, 1989

96 pp.

 

William C. Randall has served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1975 to the present.  William P. Randall (1919-1995) was a black community leader in Macon, GA in the 1950s and 60s.  William C. Randall and William P. Randall were interviewed together.

Among topics discussed:  Family background; WW II; mortuary business; construction business; getting involved with NAACP activities; racial etiquette; Primus King case; courthouse registration; political parties; the Republican party; black leadership in Macon; Macon Voters League; registration drives; groups involved in registration; union involvement; Talmadge‑Carmichael election of 1946; Ku Klux Klan; Eugene Talmadge; the Crusaders; candidate yardstick; printing ballots; election of Jim Wood as sheriff; Randalls forced out of business; The Macon Weekly; the Anderson family; integrating the Macon police force; Louis B. Wilson; Ed Wilson; the bus boycott (Macon); B.F. Nerritt; sit ins; NAACP youth council; early success; police action during boycott; sit ins; SCLC; Bibb County Coordinating Committee; Macon bus boycott; Ku Klux Klan; the tension in Macon during the boycott; Buck Melton; Macon Council on Human Relation; Jewish support of Civil Rights movement; Gus Kauffman; early black candidates for office; influencing elections; Selma to Montgomery march; Coca Cola; law school; Donald Hollowell; Dr. Ben Johnson; NAACP legal defense and education fund; reapportionment; Randall (son) being elected in Bibb county; the bill for district voting; Ronnie Thompson; Black Liberation Front; Robert Brown; the Black Liberation Front's attempts to burn Macon; Randall (father) elected to County Commission; black hiring in Bibb county; mass registration; problems with registration; Randall (son) coming to state legislature in 1975; Tom Murphy; the Busbee‑Lance‑Rowan election for governor; Bo Ginn; Buck Melton; Joe Frank Harris; Jesse Jackson; Denmark Groover; the hunger march; the future of Macon.

 

Sheppard, Cornelius (P1989-24)

Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn

October 14, 1989

No Transcript

 

Cornelius Sheppard was an NAACP leader from Muscogee County. The interview was conducted at the annual state NAACP convention, Brunswick, Ga., October 13‑14, 1989.

Among topics discussed: Columbus NAACP; election of black official in predominately white district; mayor J.R. Allen; consolidation; vice‑mayor A.J. McClung; "black" school system; white primary; fight over Spencer High School; activity at Fort Benning during World War Two; voter registration drives; appointed school board; desegregation of schools; class action suit filed by NAACP; low voter turnout; church participation in voter registration; role of the black church in political campaigns; Edgewood Baptist Church; Judge Elliott's rulings on desegregation; personalities in Columbus political life.

 

Thompson, Robert (P1989-08)

Interviewed by: Duane Stewart

June 5, 1989

24 pp.

 

Robert Thompson served as the Housing Secretary for the Urban League from 1941 to 1945.

SEE also Thompson interview in series G.

Atlanta University's School of Economics; Urban League; Grace Towns Hamilton; the 1946 voter registration drive; Jacob Henderson; David Watson; using census tracts as an aid for voter registration; non‑partisan voter registration committee; the purpose of the Voters League; Eugene Talmadge; William Hartsfield; blacks leaving urban areas; Hughes Spalding Hospital; Rufus Clement; Helen Mankin; Martin Luther King Jr.; sit‑ins; Daddy King (Martin Luther King Sr.); Bell Bomber plant (Lockheed); American Veterans Committee; CIO Political Action Committee.

 

Williams, George (P1989-21)

Interviewed by: A.K. Umoja

October 14, 1989

No Transcript

 

Interview conducted at state NAACP convention, Brunswick, Ga., October 13‑14, 1989. NAACP leader for Sandersville, Ga. Youth in Sandersville; college education in Savannah and New York; memories of segregation; early involvement with NAACP activity in Sandersville; loyalty oaths; black voter participation; NAACP challenges to voting restrictions; black voting strategy; redistricting; impact of federal census.

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