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Georgia Government Documentation Project: F

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

Series F. Marvin Griffin

F. Marvin Griffin (P2000-04)

This series of interviews was conducted by Robert Dubay as research for a proposed book on Georgia Gov. Marvin Griffin, who served from 1955 to 1959. Dubay is a professor of history at Bainbridge College.

For Availability Information, see the Finding Aid.

Series F Oral Histories

Arnall, Ellis (P1976-01)

Interviewed by: Robert DuBay

July 6, 1976

No Transcript


Ellis Arnall (1907-1992) served as governor of Georgia from 1943 through 1947 and was an integral part of the anti‑Talmadge faction in Georgia politics throughout his career.

SEE also Arnall interviews in series A, G, and M.

Acquaintance with Griffin family; Arnall appointment of  Griffin as adjutant general; Cocking affair; Clark Howell; Atlanta Journal and Constitution; three‑governor controversy; segregation issue; Herman Talmadge; Ernest Vandiver; M. E. Thompson; Ben Fortson and the state seal; Dan Duke during three‑governor controversy; Griffin as adjutant general; opinion of Griffin; 1966 election; office of lieutenant governor created; opinion of lieutenant governor's office today; accomplishments/mistakes of Arnall's governorship; opinion of  Griffin's administration; freight rate issue; a Georgian for U. S. president (Jimmy Carter).


Baldowski, Clifford (P1979-09)

Interviewed by: Robert DuBay

January 11, 1979

No Transcript


Clifford Baldowski (1917-1999) was a cartoonist for the Atlanta Constitution from the 1950's to the 1970's.

Griffin as caricature; opinion of Griffin; role of cartoonist; Griffin rewarding his friends; race issue; politicians of 1950s and 1960s and anti‑Atlanta press feelings; 1954 election and Atlanta Constitution support for Fred Hand; 1962 support for Carl Sanders; comparison of politics in different decades; corruption of Griffin administration; Cheney Griffin; Reg Murphy; Ralph McGill; Rivers's administration; county unit system; The Atlanta Times and newspaper competition.


Byrd, Garland (P1976-02)

Interviewed by: Robert DuBay

November 10, 1976

No Transcript


Garland Byrd (1924-1997) served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1947 to 1949, as assistant director of veteran services 1949 to 1952, and as lieutenant governor from 1959 to 1963.

How he came to know Griffin; three‑governor controversy; education and early career; campaign for commissioner of agriculture; office of commission of agriculture; 1948 talk of Griffin candidacy for governor; M. E. Thompson; Talmadge; county unit system; usefulness of UGA and Emory law school acquaintances; relationship with Governor Vandiver; advantages and disadvantages of lieutenant governor office; Byrd's withdrawal from 1962 governor race; campaign contributors in Georgia politics; reasons why Carl Sanders defeated Griffin; what Byrd would have done had he become governor; Byrd's assessment of Griffin administration.



Caldwell, Johnnie (P1976-03)

Interviewed by: Robert DuBay

October 14, 1976

No Transcript


Johnnie Caldwell (b. 1922) served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1955 to 1970 and as state comptroller general from 1971 to 1984.

Reason for political support of Marvin Griffin; personal friendship with Griffin; chief of staff for 1962 Griffin campaign; reason for previous support of M. E. Thompson; rural roads program; E. D. Rivers; controversies following Griffin's departure from office; Rivers's and Griffin's influence over the assembly as governor; Griffin's stump speeches; Griffin's reputation for corruption;  Ernest Vandiver's investigation of Griffin; state insurance business; Caldwell's election loss; county unit system; white and black flight from cities; change of state flag; legislative corruption.



Caldwell, Sam  (P1978-01)

Interviewed by: Robert DuBay

December 12, 1978

27 pp.


Sam Caldwell (b. 1929) served as the State Highway Commission Personnel Director from 1962 to 1966, and on the State Labor Department Commission from 1967 to 1984.

First state job; speech writing for Griffin; Griffin's method of speaking; Garland Byrd campaign, Jim Gillis; Griffin's support of Caldwell for Commissioner of Labor; reasons why Griffin lost 1962 governor's race; aftermath of Griffin administration; accomplishments; Atlanta newspapers and state government feud; impact of county unit system on Georgia politics; the black vote; differences between candidates in 1962 governors race; difficulty of making a comeback; organized labor; Nova Scotia miners and segregation; anecdotal stories; Griffin's humor; Roy Chalker; Roy McCracken, 1962 campaign manager.



Gregory, Tom (P1976-04)

Interviewed by: Robert DuBay

October 11, 1976

32 pp.


Tom Gregory was an educator, and editor of the Eatonton Messenger from 1936 to 1940 and 1948 to 1956.  He served as executive secretary to Governor Marvin Griffin from 1957 to 1959.

How he came to know Griffin; Griffin's characteristics; Gregory's support for Griffin; executive secretary for Griffin; race issue; Little Rock; Griffin's belief that former political allies undermined him following departure from office; influence of Miss Liv; Cheney Griffin; state insurance; Griffin and dishonest acts; rural roads controversy; hunting; Griffin as people‑lover; speech writers; 1962 election; Red Williams; Atlanta newspapers against Griffin; humorous stories.


Maddox, Lester (P1976-05)

Interviewed by: Robert DuBay

June 16, 1976

No Transcript


Lester Maddox (1915-2003) served as governor of Georgia from 1967 to 1971 and lieutenant governor from 1971 to 1975.

SEE also Maddox interview in series A.

Marvin Griffin; Pickrick restaurant catering governor's mansion during Griffin's administration; reasons why he lost 1962 governors race; the "political establishment" support of Carl Sanders; Peter Zack Greer; 1962 primary; Ernest Vandiver; Americus, GA; the "political establishment"; the "liberal" media; race issue in the South; southern progressives; education during administration; number of blacks appointed during administration; negative predictions of what would happen in Maddox elected governor; support of sales tax increase while lieutenant governor; Georgia Bureau of Investigation; Sanders use of the media; Jimmy Carter; Carter's claim of cutting expenses; Griffin's loss of 1962 governor's race; hiring policies during Maddox administration; open‑door policy; past discrimination against blacks; question of restructuring merit system; meeting with black leaders to discuss racial issues; loss of black vote; Maddox desire to tell the truth.


McCracken, Roy (P1976-06)

Interviewed by: Robert DuBay

August 3, 1976

No Transcript


Roy McCracken, from Jefferson County, served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1935‑1968.

(Very difficult to understand/much background noise) McCracken's memories of Marvin Griffin.




Sanders, Carl (P1976-08)

Interviewed by: Robert DuBay

June 1, 1976

No Transcript


Carl Sanders (b. 1925) served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1954‑1962, and as governor of Georgia from 1963 to 1967.

SEE also Sanders interview in series A.

Reason for entering 1962 governor's race; career prior to 1962 campaign; political influences; Vandiver's lack of support for Sanders; campaign polls; point at which he believed he would win; corruption issue in Griffin administration; tax issue; Mitch Murphy; University System of Georgia desegregation controversy; Roy Harris; campaign methods of Sanders, Griffin; influence of Watergate on possibilities for Georgia politicians in national office; federal financing for national campaigns; necessary political compromises; successes and mistakes of Sanders administration; reaction to political attacks in 1962.


Talmadge, Herman (P1976-09)

Interviewed by: Robert DuBay

June 1, 1976

No Transcript


Herman Talmadge (1913-2002), son of Eugene Talmadge, served as governor of Georgia from 1949 to 1955 and in the United States Senate from 1957 to 1981.

SEE also Talmadge interview in series A.

Bill Anderson book about Eugene Talmadge; association with Griffin; Griffin and three‑governor controversy; radio broadcasts with Griffin; lack of support for Griffin's campaign; relationship with Griffin; Griffin's governorship; Gene Talmadge; role of Georgia legislators in national politics; Griffin's 1962 loss to Sanders; conflict between Georgia politicians and Atlantapress; county unit system; 1946 write‑in campaign; Gene Talmadge's declining health and death; GBI use in Herman Talmadge administration; Griffin's personality; Stone Mountain purchase; desegregation issue; Talmadge achievements in office; state highway creation announcement; education.


Thomas, Grace (P1979-10)

Interviewed by: Robert DuBay

January 10, 1979

No Transcript


Grace Thomas was a candidate for governor in 1954.

Reasons for entering politics; interest in law; 1954 election campaign; stand on Brown v. Board of Education; county unit system; opinion of M. E. Thompson; campaign funding; Charles Gowen's use of television; segregation issue in 1954 election; husband's opinion of her campaign; court house clique; campaign slogans; her opinion of Griffin; political position of Georgia women; campaign styles and money; Griffin's loss in 1962; two party system in Georgia; campaign difficulties; election accuracy; support for female candidates; George Wallace and other politicians' views on blacks; federal government interference in segregation; women in professions;  influence of the "masses" in politics; welfare reform; family's role or  in her campaigns; campaign issues.

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