Reflections on Georgia Politics: Oral History Sampler
Reflections on Georgia Politics, a Russell Library oral history program, features conversations with prominent Georgians. Historian and veteran political consultant Bob Short brings 50 years of experience in Georgia politics to the series, engaging public servants, grass roots activists, and "back room boys" in illuminating and lively discourse. With over 50 programs recorded and counting, a new interview is added on average every ten days. This video is a sampler reel of some of the interviews thus far completed.
Source tapes, edited masters, and accompanying documentation of No Other Road, a public oral history, from November 10, 2003, in which Walter Lundy, Bill Shipp, Priscilla Arnold Davis, and Gene Britton discuss in front of an audience their experiences as editors of the University of Georgia newspaper, Red and Black, in 1953. Other participants include UGA President Michael Adams, Dr. Maurice Daniels, Dr. Kent Middleton, Dr. Derrick Alridge, Horace Ward, and Harry Montevideo. Topics include the desegregation of public schools in general and Horace Ward’s experience at the University of Georgia in particular, along with a discussion of free speech issues relating to the resignation of the four editors.
Oversight or Overlook? Intelligence in the Modern World
3/08/06 — David M. Barrett provides a provocative account of relations between American spy masters and Capitol Hill in his recently published book, The CIA and Congress: The Untold Story from Truman to Kennedy. Join Barrett and a panel of UGA experts on modern intelligence gathering—Dr. Loch K. Johnson, co-author of Who's Watching The Spies?; Powell Moore (ABJ), senior congressional and presidential aide and Donald Rumsfeld's first Asst. Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs; and Dr. Michael C. Speckhard, CIA officer-in-residence, University of Georgia—to discuss the structure of intelligence and questions of its oversight in light of current events.
In 2004, the Russell Library asked political writer Bill Shipp to interview Griffin Bell.
Griffin Boyette Bell was born October 31, 1918, in Sumter County, Georgia. After attending Georgia Southwestern College for a time, Bell left to work in his father's tire store in Americus. He was drafted in 1942, serving in the Army Quartermaster Corps and the Transportation Corps at Fort Lee, Virginia. Upon his discharge in 1946, he enrolled in Mercer University Law School, and became city attorney of Warner Robins before graduating or passing the Georgia bar exam. Following his graduation he worked in Savannah and Rome before joining in 1953 what would become King and Spalding in Atlanta. His interest in politics led to his appointment to chief of staff for Governor Ernest Vandiver and his subsequent involvement with the Sibley Commission, organized to oversee desegregation of Georgia's public schools. In 1961 President John F. Kennedy appointed Bell to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and he spent 14 years on the bench, returning to King and Spalding only to be nominated U.S. Attorney General by Jimmy Carter in 1976. He served in that position from 1977 to 1979, returning to Atlanta to practice law. He led investigations of E.F. Hutton in 1985 and the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, and also served on the Commission of Federal Ethics Law Reform at the request of President George H.W. Bush. Griffin Bell died January 5, 2009. He was ninety years old.
An interview with Carl Sanders, in which the former Georgia governor describes his political ascendancy following his service in World War II, discusses Augusta's Cracker Party, his victory over Marvin Griffin in 1962, and his defeat by Jimmy Carter in 1970.
An interview with Tom Watson Brown, including discussions of Tom Watson, the Leo Frank case, Walter J. Brown, James F. Byrnes, Strom Thurmond, MARTA, the Watson-Brown Foundation and the T.R.R. Cobb House.
An interview with Georgia Commissioner of Veterans Services Pete Wheeler regarding his long career, his development of the “Supermarket of Veterans Services,” and his involvement with the National World War II Memorial Committee.
An interview with Anthony Alaimo by Charles E. Campbell. Topics include his experiences as a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II, his time as an attorney in Atlanta, and his tenure as a judge in the U.S. District Court.
A Persistent Past: Reckoning with Racial History in the Era of Obama, A Lecture by Douglas Blackmon
1/28/10 —Acclaimed Atlanta Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas Blackmon is a passionate advocate for history and research as a tool for social justice. He has also applied the most painstaking and rigorous standards to his research and his quest for sources. To construct a more complex history of forced labor African Americans after the Civil War, Blackmon embarked on an exhaustive search through county records, legal files, oral history, family histories and even historical archeology. In the end his research yielded an unparalleled detailed account of the “tens of thousands of African Americans who were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. . . [who were] sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries and farm plantations.”
Lorena Weeks was born in 1929 in Columbia, South Carolina. Shortly afterward her family moved to Augusta, Georgia, and when Lorena was nine, to Louisville, Georgia, where her father was killed in a sawmill accident. Lorena’s mother died nine years later, leaving Lorena to care for her younger siblings. In 1947 she went to work for Southern Bell Telephone Company as an operator. In 1966 Ms. Weeks applied for a promotion at her longtime employer, Southern Bell. The position, that of a switchman, promised an increase in pay and a significantly shorter commute to work. Despite her seniority with the company, she was denied the promotion because she was a woman and it was a job reserved for men. Weeks knew about the 1964 Civil Rights Act passed by President Lyndon Johnson and felt that Southern Bell had violated her rights under the law, which specified that an employer could not discriminate on the basis of sex. Although she initially lost the case, she appealed, and with the help of National Organization of Women (NOW) attorney Sylvia Roberts, had her case heard in front of Griffin Bell in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. After years of appeals, Weeks won her case in 1969. She became a switchman at Southern Bell, a position she held until her retirement in 1983 after more than thirty years of service to the company.