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Oral history interview with David Schenck Jr. by Eugene Pfaff


Date: May 26, 1981

Interviewee: David Schenck, Jr.

Biographical abstract: David Schenck Jr. (1951- ) is the son of David Schenck, who was mayor of Greensboro from 1961 to 1965.

Interviewer: Eugene E Pfaff

Description:

In this transcript of a May 26, 1981, oral history interview conducted by Eugene Pfaff with David Schenck Jr., Schenck describes his father's role as mayor of Greensboro in ending desegregation demonstrations in 1963 and how it affected his family. Schenck reads from some of his father's correspondence, including hate mail, and discusses the mayor's relationship with North Carolina governor Terry Sanford. The younger Schenck's views on William Chafe's Civilities and Civil Rights are also discussed.

Subjects:

Format of original: Oral History

Collection: GreensboroVOICES Collection

Repository: The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Item#: 1.10.571

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Civil Rights Greensboro and the appropriate repository.



Oral history interview with David Schenck Jr. by Eugene Pfaff

Eugene Pfaff:

—conversation is being taped and that we have your permission to so tape it.

David Schenck:

Right.

EP:

Fine. Thank you. I'd like to begin by your reminiscences of your father's tenure on the city council and as mayor. I understand that you were quite young when he was first elected to the council in 1959, I believe.

DS:

Right. I would've been eight years old.

EP:

I see. Do you recall anything of the—major points of his tenure on the council and his administration as mayor? I believe you said in an earlier conversation that you had no real recollections about the Greensboro Youth Council. Is that correct?

DS:

That's correct.

EP:

I see.

DS:

Nothing that would add to what I think you already know.

EP:

Well, how about the period of the sit-ins and the marches in '62 and '63? Do you recall your father venturing an opinion about them or anything he may have said about them?

DS:

I remember several things, as I mentioned to you before, and I thought maybe I would go over some of those things. First, though, it was not—in 1963, I would have been twelve years old, and I spent a good deal of that summer out of town at a summer camp. And it was also not his policy to talk about those things with his kids. There was a sense of a boundary between private and family life and public life which he attempted to maintain, even though it was fairly difficult, particularly during that time. But there are a number of things. The main thing that, of course, a child would sense and which I remember very distinctly was an air charged with tension, with him, for instance, disappearing Sunday afternoon, and I wouldn't see him again until maybe Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday because he would be late at the police station involved in, well, I don't know exactly what. I learned a good deal from Bill Chafe's book [Civilities and Civil Rights] about what probably went on in some of those evenings that I had no idea of except that he was gone and that my mother seemed very nervous.

I remember two evenings in particular when my mother came home very upset and bundled us all in the car and we disappeared to spend the night at my grandfather's house one night, and a friend of the family another night. And later, I was told that was because there had been threats made on the children by white groups of various kinds. My uncle has told me that there were plainclothes policemen sleeping in the house from time to time. I don't have any recollection of that.

EP:

Did the threats all seem to emanate from groups that would be characterized as either the Klan or White Citizens Council or something of that nature?

DS:

Yes, none from the black community so far as I was aware. We had a second phone put in with a private line. My father's mother was very sick and the phone was constantly busy with mostly abusive phone calls, often threats, so that we, after about six o'clock in the evening, didn't even answer our public line—

EP:

Were these frequent or infrequent?

DS:

During the most intense periods, the phone rang constantly. You know, I'm talking about from six in the evening until midnight. He disconnected the phone—that phone.

EP:

Did any of your father's papers or correspondence indicate receipt of hate mail, threats, that kind of thing?

DS:

Well, I have a couple of things here that I thought I might read if you'd be interested. Let's see—

EP:

Very much.

DS:

For example, this is a telegram. “What outside pressure could have made you sell your Greensboro voters down the river in your speech? Don't make us give in. They will only want more. Let's quit giving and make the Negro earn a place for himself.” Another—

EP:

Do you have the date of that?

DS:

Yes, I think I do—June 13, '63.

EP:

So, that would've been after his public statement—

DS:

That's correct.

EP:

—that ended the demonstrations?

DS:

Yes. I don't have these in any particular order, there's just some I sort of picked out. Let's see. I think this is November 7, '63, so this is much later: “Don't appreciate your discourtesy on trying—on a phone call to you personally to try to explain to you my personal feelings, plus many, many, many others who are chicken. I think you have thrown Greensboro for a loop because of your so-called political aspirations. You have sold Greensboro down the river. Believe it or not, so help me God, I could put you down to a slow drip and could substantiate every word I say. I am a little guy with big connections.”

EP:

Was that signed?

DS:

Yes, it was. I don't know if this person is living or not and I don't know exactly that I would really want to read that, but it was signed. There was another that claimed similar things that was not signed, which I didn't pull out.

Another: “Your attitude over integration is shameful and disgusting. You no longer represent the white majority of your city, but are devoted only to driving them down to the negroes' level. Your support of these savages is inconceivable and your fear unwarranted since we can whip the negroes any time that they want to fight.” Again, signed.

And another one to the city council asking that they ask the mayor to resign, and it goes: “Is he a Communist, too, like so many of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] group? I would like to request his resignation as he does not represent the true citizens or the majority.”

Now, those are not from people with any significant power, I would say, in the community. There were some letters in relation to the statement from some more prominent people. Joe Hunt, former Speaker of the House—let's see, I'll just read one sentence: “Yielding to blackmail has never paid off in Washington, Greensboro, or any other place in the world.” He goes on to say World War II wouldn't have happened if [Neville] Chamberlain had not indulged in the same luxury. Then he says “You are in a tough spot and I have felt for you, but yielding to the mob won't solve your problem, it will only compound it.”

Another from an attorney in the Smith Moore Smith Schell & Hunter firm, which is a very prestigious and prominent attorney—law firm, excuse me—it goes like this: “While I agree with you that peace is desirable, how in the world did you manage to infer that demonstrations and violations have been the fault of law-abiding businessmen? To deny them protection of the law and law-enforcement is, in my opinion, unthinkable. Capitulating to threats of violence, lawlessness and vandalism will bring you more headaches in the future than you ever thought possible.”

EP:

And you say that came from Smith Moore Smith Schell & Hunter?

DS:

Yes, one of the members of the firm.

EP:

I see.

DS:

Another member of that firm was also very active in representing the theatre group and some of the motels that wanted to maintain segregation policy.

EP:

I'm trying to get a list of attorneys involved. For instance, I know that Armistead Sapp was involved in representing two of the theatres and the S&W here in Greensboro. Would it be possible to mention any of those attorneys' names?

DS:

The one person that I know is actually a fairly close friend of the family, Julius Smith, III. How exactly he played—what role he played in that, I don't know. I don't know, for instance, whether it was anything like analogous to Sapp's role. I have my doubts, but that would be something someone should investigate.

EP:

But he would have been representing the businesses?

DS:

Yeah.

EP:

I see. I was just curious because another member of the firm, McNeill Smith, seemed to, at least independently, be trying to seek a peaceful resolution of the demonstrations and trying to achieve the goals of the black community.

DS:

Yes, as far as I recall, as you say independently and sort of behind—

EP:

But not as a member of the firm?

DS:

No, so far as I know. Most of these—the things that I sort of would claim knowledge on are things that I have garnered from going back through papers and from talking with Chafe and various people about it. The impressions I have as a child are nothing that I would put forward as any sound evidence except just a sense of a household completely turned upside down by public events.

EP:

Well, if we could turn to some of the points in Chafe's book, I'd like to discuss those with you if I could. Correct me if I'm wrong, but one impression I get from Dr. Chafe's book is that your father, coming from a very old Greensboro family, represented the status quo, that is, kind of—the sense of enlightened attitude toward race relations, and that there was not the violence characterized in other Southern communities, but very much in the mainstream of maintaining the segregated status quo. Would you think that a fair assessment of your father's outlook?

DS:

I think probably so. He was, in terms of political philosophy, I would say fairly conservative, not a philosopher in any explicit sense, but his own “rough-and-ready” political philosophy was fairly conservative. I don't think, on the other hand, that he was a racist of any sort. I think he took Christian principles seriously and combined that with a conservative political philosophy so that when he said, a couple of times, “You know, I think the government shouldn't resolve this, or can't resolve it”—that's a conservative position, political philosophy position—he was speaking out of genuine conviction. And, in fact, he may have understood some of the limits of what government could and could not do to transform race relations in a way that some of the people who were demanding his statement didn't.

As Chafe mentions, when—I think it's Thomas, when they realized that now they had won the right to go into all of the places of business, but they realize that they don't have the economic power to make very much of that right, there's a realization there that, at least given the economic system that we have and the government that we have, that there are limits to what simply getting the government to make a symbolic statement can do. Now, I do think that my father overlooked the importance of making that statement, and it was the genius of the strategy of Bill Thomas to force him to make that statement. Given that, I agree with Chafe.

EP:

I see. So, he very firmly would have rejected the contention, CORE's [Congress of Racial Equality] contention at the time, that had the city council wanted to, they could have passed a resolution barring segregation in all places of public facilities and service to the public.

DS:

Yes. He had—I think that was—you know, it was researched, and he said several times “We don't have the legal power to do this.” But I think that's really not what Thomas was asking for. I think they got what they were asking for, which was a statement and an endorsement and kind of closed-door persuasion.

EP:

Well, as I understand—what seems to be a fairly consistent pattern in the CORE strategy was to try to focus on city hall, to put pressure on the business community. So, you're saying that your father would have said [any action] other than any kind of personal moral suasion was clearly not within the power of the municipal government?

DS:

Yes, but I don't think that—I mean, he would say that out of—would've said, I think, that out of some political philosophy. But I think he also had in here—you said that some more people would be doing research on this. Someone should check and see what statutory authority, in fact, the city council did have. I think I remember reading a letter where the city attorney had been, you know, instructed to find out what power they had, and they had very little. But, you know, I'm not sure about that. You know better than I do. I don't know.

EP:

I don't wish to belabor that point, but one of the more interesting aspects of this confrontation was the fact that both sides were essentially putting forth constitutional grounds which were more implied—well, at least until the '64 Civil Rights bill—implied than implicit, which made for a very interesting legal issue or confrontation, however you'd like to characterize it. Do you—I'm sorry—

DS:

Just one more thing about that. If you think very carefully about the city government of Greensboro and the economic structure of Greensboro, putting pressure on city hall in an effort to get city hall to put pressure on the business community is backwards, in a way. That is, city council/city manager form of government is a relatively weak government in the sense of political power for the people in a community. The dominant powers in Greensboro, as you know, economic powers are Cone Mills, Burlington Industries, the life insurance companies. These people—you know, my father was thirty-six years old in '63, he was running a fairly small insurance business. He was not—what I'm saying is he was not in a position economically or socially to muscle around Burlington Industries or Cone Mills, right? And the economic—those are the dominant powers in Greensboro, far more important than city hall in actual power—certainly were at that time.

When he tried to get meetings arranged, particularly one crucial meeting before he made his statement, he had a variety of odd responses. For example, Howard Holderness [president of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance] wired a telegram on June 6: “Regret cannot attend because have previously agreed to attend meeting in Lynchburg of Committee of Trustees, Randolph Macon Woman's College, which requires me for quorum.” So, that—Howard Holderness [was] leaving a community which was about to erupt, turns down the mayor's urgent call to “Please come, as a power in the community,” to go to a trustee's meeting for an elite woman's college in Virginia; the hidden message of that I don't know exactly what. W.C. Boren also turned down, saying that he had other plans—the letter is not even signed by Mr. Boren himself, it is signed by his secretary. Ed Morris of Blue Bell also turned down long-standing plans to be out of the city. Now, some of those, in fact, may have been long-standing plans, but on the other hand, there was not the kind of support that—from leaders, people in positions of economic power, that would have been very helpful at a time like that.

EP:

How soon before the June twelth, I believe, statement by your father were these telegrams sent to him?

DS:

It seems to me that the statement was on the seventh.

EP:

Seventh, that's correct. I beg you pardon.

DS:

Okay. These—this is June sixth, June sixth, [and] June eleventh.

EP:

So, it sounds like what your father was trying to do was organize a quiet meeting to ascertain support before making a public statement.

DS:

That's correct.

EP:

Does this indicate that your father went ahead, feeling that he may not have had the support of the economic clout in Greensboro, or did he feel he had enough clout, even without these very prestigious individuals attending?

DS:

Well, a note: Chafe devotes a few paragraphs to this on [pages] 203, 204, 205 [in Civilities and Civil Rights], where he mentions that Caesar Cone, Hayes, Holderness did not attend. Well, I think he felt—and I'm certain that it was—well, it seems reasonably certain that he was correct that the situation had gotten to the point where he had to act. I mean, I think here the CORE strategy was at its most successful. He could no longer wait to get these people's support, something had to be done immediately.

EP:

It's very interesting to me that, although he didn't have their support, and as you've admitted, [he dealt with] the weaknesses of the city council/manager system of government, that once his statement was made, the community, albeit reluctantly, fell in line behind him, by and large.

DS:

Yes. The stack of letters that I have, the supportive letters are about three to one—two to one, over the non-supportive letters.

EP:

Do they come from all segments of the community, or [are] they pretty much from what we consider the powers-that-be?

DS:

They were from all segments, I would think.

EP:

Well, does this suggest to you a certain contradiction that, given the fact he didn't have this much power, that once a public statement was forthcoming from the mayor, this, in effect, did end hard-line resistance, and that did facilitate this process that eventually resulted in a certain amount of desegregation?

DS:

Yes. Well, the meeting—although those major, you know, names didn't attend—the meeting took place and a great deal—let me see, I think—I have a sheet, sort of a tally sheet, and it runs slightly ahead of 50 percent of the people agreed to go ahead and desegregate before the statement.

EP:

I just wanted to get this point very clear: an informal poll was taken of them, and 50 percent of—?

DS:

Something like that. I can look it up if you want to look at it. Just a second.

EP:

And these were all businesses or just the ones that were targeted?

DS:

Just [the ones that were] targeted.

EP:

I see.

DS:

[Mumbling, shuffling papers] Let me see if I can find it. I probably can. That was one thing I didn't pull out.

EP:

So, principally we're talking about like the Mayfair [cafeteria], the S&W and the four theatres?

DS:

Yes. And that—you can be pretty sure most of those people were not on the “yes” side of the list. Let's see.

EP:

But it did include other businesses as well. Is that—?

DS:

Yes. Maybe if we can keep talking I'll see if I—

EP:

Okay. One thing that is very interesting to me is that I know that the committee that he set up under Dr.—

DS:

Excuse me, I just found it.

EP:

Alright.

DS:

Just a sample: Apple House Restaurant, Casey's Barbecue, Diplomat Motel, General Greene Motel, Holiday Inn North and South, Howard Johnsons, Honey's [Restaurant], Irving Park Delicatessen, King Cotton [Hotel], Lawndale Steak House, Mayfair, O. Henry [Hotel], Plantation Motel, Ranch Restaurant, S&W Cafeteria, Swain's, so on. In just running down the list, it looks roughly fifty-fifty.

EP:

One thing that's interesting to me is that the newspaper indicated that, I think Oscar Burnett [president, Bessemer Improvement Company], went around desperately on the weekend before the truce was supposed to run out, I think about June third, asking that businesses send in to the council a willingness to desegregate, and that by Monday morning no responses had been received.

DS:

Do you remember—do you recall dates, now?

EP:

Not specifically, but according to the papers you have in front of you, these were indeed sent.

DS:

Well, but I think that was later. I think this may be, by now, Friday of that week.

EP:

I see.

DS:

But I am not sure, that's why I was asking you about dates.

EP:

You're saying that these were received the following Friday?

DS:

Yes. There was a meeting that took place, which all those folks that I was mentioning to you did not attend.

EP:

Did—was there any indication of the effect of the CORE attempt to put pressure specifically on your father? Do you have any indication that this had a telling effect upon your father? [vacuuming in background]

DS:

Well, I think he felt that it was unfair that—well we'll just put it that way. I think he felt really torn in a variety of directions, and I think this is part of their strategy, really. I think he felt a number of ties—obviously to the white power structure, although he was very much a junior member in it [loud banging in background], [with] ties to that. On the other hand, he was much repulsed by Klan-type activity. That's as much a matter of social class and taste as ethical conviction, but ethical conviction was involved in it, right?

EP:

Well as—

DS:

On the other hand, he was very upset by—as a political conservative, upset by pressure tactics and things he felt like violated the basic rules of order which were necessary for political discourse to [dis]play. At the same time being sympathetic to the cause of—I think, sympathetic to the cause of desegregation, and not seeing why [a] certain [number] of the downtown businesses couldn't just go ahead. So, that's sort of, you know, being pulled in a variety of directions at once.

EP:

Did he ever mention any personal convictions on this issue one way or the other?

DS:

No.

EP:

Once the—

DS:

You know, not directly to me. I have no reason to doubt that the statement, the public statement—that there's any deviation between his own conviction and that statement.

EP:

Is there any indication in his papers of a close contact with the governor's office?

DS:

Yes, and I was told that he was on the phone on a daily basis. There are various and sundry memos that say “Governor holding on line two” or something like that. So, yes.

EP:

Was the fact that highway patrol and National Guard and so forth [was] not used—was that a result of the decision of the police or did your father have any input into that?

DS:

I have no idea. Sorry.

EP:

One thing that he was criticized for at the time, at least by members of the black community, and, to a certain extent, by members of the white community, was he left town the week that the students were released from the polio hospital and that Mayor [Pro Tem William] Trotter had to attend an emergency—well, virtually an emergency midnight meeting with the Coordinating Committee of Pro-Integration Groups, I think it was called. Did he ever explain why he went out of town or how he reacted to this charge of him, more or less, leaving town at a crisis point?

DS:

No. The only light that might be shed on that is just that he, as I mentioned earlier, tried to keep a line between public and private things, and had a family of three young children, and tried to keep in some semblance of touch with that family. During the period of '61 to '63, General Townsend, who had been the city manager, retired, and there was an interim period in which Daddy was the city manager and the mayor, in effect. Let's see—Hines, I think, was hired, and he then was immediately discovered or shortly there after discovered to have terminal cancer. He died, slowly. And then there was another interim period and then George Aull was recruited. So, there was an enormous period in there where my father basically neglected his insurance business, almost completely, and worked as city manager and mayor.

You will recall that the mayor's position is a part-time position that pays very poorly. During that period, '61 to '63, the woman that was his senior secretary embezzled about—I think this is in '62, but I'm not sure—embezzled about $10,000 [by] writing herself a double paycheck, which doesn't sound like a lot of money now, necessarily, but for a small businessman at that time it was a fairly significant piece of money; in other words, the drain of the office was significant. And I think he went—I remember going nearly every weekend to a place that we had in the mountains, and waiting on him, anxious to go. It was really—that weekend was the only time that we had together as a family, and that was important time to him for a variety of reasons. Now, that's not at all to be defending him for leaving town at a moment of crisis; I don't know anything about that. But this other kind of background of the general drain of those three or four years I think is interesting.

EP:

Did he ever indicate a feeling [about] the charges that it was a “do-nothing” council? That, when all of this was going on, the negotiating process was left up to the committees he appointed. Did he also regard that as unfair or did he think the council should play no role in this?

DS:

I don't know. Again, there are a thousand things I'd like to ask him but—you know, and I wish I had known more about it in time to ask some of these things.

EP:

Was the decision for him—I'm sorry.

DS:

I think one reason that—I think he had more confidence in the people on the appointed committees. I'd say that from a sense [I had] of who those people were and how he went after them and the general sense of—but that's very hazy and I was, again, I'd say I was very young.

EP:

Was the tension of these years a significant factor in him deciding not to run again for council?

DS:

Oh, absolutely, absolutely, and [the tension factored into him] basically stepping out of political activity completely.

EP:

Was there ever any indication either from him, his papers, your mother as to exactly what he regarded [as] the high points of his administration?

DS:

Well, I think in a showpiece sense, I think he was very proud of the Peruvian Exchange and the—[I don't know] the name of the town in France—

EP:

Greensboro Sister City?

DS:

Yes, The Sister City Program. More substantially, I think, one of the later bond issues which was, early on, defeated and then—I can't remember what all it involved now, but it was a fairly significant bond issue, a major improvement. It was defeated early on and then they put on a big campaign and it was victorious the second time around. I think he felt very proud of that.

I think, in a different kind of way and a more subdued way, I think he felt that he handled the '63 situation very well. It was surprising to him to get clippings from friends in New York and in France of Greensboro, North Carolina, in the newspaper there, and his own statements floating around here and there. Surprising for, you know, a mayor of a small-time town—well, not small-time, but medium-sized town in North Carolina. And I think that President Kennedy's recognition of all that—which Chafe notes that, perhaps, Sanford engineered, or which Sanford claimed to engineer—he was definitely proud of that, although he was quite at odds with Kennedy on most political matters.

EP:

You—I remember reading in your guest column that appeared in the Greensboro Daily News in January or February of 1980, you gave an overall assessment of your father, his thinking, and the time period and everything. And I was wondering, by way of conclusion, if you could summarize your conception of your father's role at that time.

DS:

Well, I don't think I can add anything to what I said in that column, but I can summarize it. The first [point] is, as I said there, given a choice between repression or moderation, I think—well, he chose moderation, and I think that that was the best choice and continues to be the best choice, despite the truth in the allegation that moderation is a more effective tool for keeping people in their place than repression, right? But still, I think I would prefer, I know I'd prefer the style—the mayor, mayoral, whatever—style of David Schenck to Bull Connor in Birmingham.

EP:

Do you think it's fair or unfair for Chafe to characterize Greensboro over that thirty year period, particularly this period, as using moderation as a manipulative tool to maintain control?

DS:

Yes, I do [think it's fair]. I'm in substantial, you know, substantial agreement with Chafe's book. My disagreements, very specific disagreements, are—and this will connect him with the general comments about my father's role and all that—my specific disagreements are these: I think Chafe underplays the importance of civilities in general. I said in the column, “Civilities are the unspoken rules of social interaction and discussion.” And I think that that's true, and I think that when they break down, you've reach a crisis point in your community. I think Chafe sees civilities as sort of manners that you can sort of put out, put aside in order to get down to business and be candid, and I disagree with him on that. And so, I think that—you know, my father had a sense all the time that certain basic rules of civic order were being violated and set aside and he thought that was a bad thing. I tend to agree with him, my father, on the notion that certain basic rules of discourse are important or the whole thing breaks down into conflict.

Now that notwithstanding, it's clear to me that, at that time, the only way for the black community to get what was just and what was right was to do what, in fact, they did: that is, to challenge the civilities and demand a reformulation of civilities, if you will, rules of interaction, political discourse, political order. The other place where I disagree with Chafe is his contention—[mumbles] pinpoint this fairly specifically—that he says on [page] 194, “Federal and local officials had thoroughly infiltrated the Klan's leadership and the threat from that sector was less than it might have appeared.” Chafe, along with several others—Larry Goodwin, who is also at Duke is another person—are interested in the Populist argument that the white ruling class used racism to split poor whites against poor blacks and therefore maintain the white ruling class control. There is certain truth in that, it seems to me, but there is also a certain truth in the fact that racism was a very important, large fact of Southern life on every social level, and it seems to me that Chafe underplays the very real threat of the Klan, even if—I mean, we know from all the revelations of the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] activities in the sixties that, even if organizations were infiltrated by the FBI, there's no guarantee that those organizations [were] under control. In fact, the FBI was often the instigator in bringing about fairly gruesome events from organizations that they were supposed to control. But those are just a couple of points about Chafe's book.

To go back to your other question about my general sense of my father's fame, the positive things, I think, were the moderation in the sense that civil order and rules of discourse, political discourse were important. The negative sense though—let me just read, again, a sentence out of the review. “Confronted by demonstration, the mayor saw first a challenge to civilities and civil order. Only later did he affirm the validity of the black call for a new civil order.” I think he was so concerned with his responsibility to—and I think he felt it as a responsibility—maintain social order, that he didn't see the moral importance of the black movement, and I think that was a flaw in his own moral vision. You know, and I say that with a great deal of love and a great deal of understanding, and yet I think he was wrong or I think he missed some of the significance of it, of the whole thing. I don't know what else I can say.

EP:

Well, I want to thank you very much for participating in the Oral History Program, Dr. Schenck. I think your observations have gone a great deal toward balancing an account which, just in terms of the written record, is very difficult to ascertain, particularly when you're talking about someone's personal life and personal convictions, and I think we've gone a long measure toward doing that.

DS:

Well, I don't think that his, my father's, role in any of this needs any particular defense. I do think that the subjective side—the personal side is more complex than Chafe was able to deal with, but Chafe was taking a thirty-year period and focusing on the chief dramatic events, and I thought, in general, he did a very nice job.

I don't have anything to add, but there is something that has bothered me, [chuckling] actually for a while. And this is a—you asked a question while back about the relationship between the governor's office and the mayor's office. My father and my mother both had a sense that—an apparently mistaken sense, that the relationship between my father as mayor and Governor Sanford was a very cordial, mutually—one full of mutual respect, working closely together in a time of crisis and handling things well together. We have a book inscribed by Terry Sanford and so on. So, that—I was rather surprised, even shocked to see the comments that Sanford made to Chafe and his book.

EP:

The downplaying [of] your father's role?

DS:

Yes and that “He (Schenck) had no spine, no back bone. We were all over him trying to get him to make up his mind.” Sanford's claim to have written the speech which, in fact, Chafe, by going through the papers, concluded that Sanford, in fact, had not written it. It is, I think, clear from the historical record that Sanford's record on racial matters is more progressive, and in that sense, more morally astute than my father's. That's not the point, but it did seem, you know, part of the complexity, I guess, in the tragedy of political life, comes in having to convey one impression to one audience, and another impression to another audience. And then when a historian comes along, one person is dead and can't tell his side and the other person is able to present it in a certain way.

EP:

Well, just to be perfectly blunt, I assume that what you are inferring is that Terry Sanford has subsequently made political hay out of this?

DS:

Well, I think that he did, and to a certain degree, justifiably so. He had, as I said just a moment ago, a more astute moral vision than most Southern politicians, but I don't think that justifies the kind of comments that he made in the book. And it was a surprise to hear a completely different tone from the Terry Sanford in this book to the Terry Sanford who inscribed a book that I have sitting on my shelf downstairs to my father, and the Terry Sanford who had interacted with my mother and father on a number of occasions. Anyhow, I just—as long as this is part of an archive to correct and amend and flesh out certain things I wanted to add that.

EP:

Well, thank you for conveying these observations to me. And, once again, thank you for participating in our program.

DS:

Okay, well, I appreciate the call.

[End of Interview]