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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with U. W. Clemon, July 17, 1974. Interview A-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Clemon comments on Richard Arrington

Clemon evaluates city councilman Richard Arrington. Clemon thinks that Arrington has done well, but may lose the upcoming election because in speaking out on behalf of the black community, he has made enemies among the Birmingham elite.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with U. W. Clemon, July 17, 1974. Interview A-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACK BASS:
So to what do you attribute the election of Richard Erring?
U. W. CLEMON:
Well, Richard Arrington was elected in 19—, I believe it was '72. At the time that Arrington was elected, he was, politically, an unknown.
JACK BASS:
I see. Then he was an incumbent in this last year's election?
U. W. CLEMON:
Right. He did not run again. He's up for election, I guess it will be in October. But when he was initially elected he had support of the newspapers and of most groups because Dick Arrington, up to that point, had been a very capable dean out at Mills College and had had no political involvement whatsoever. He wasn't considered to be a threat.
JACK BASS:
How do you assess his record to date?
U. W. CLEMON:
I think he's had a very responsible record. I think that he has addressed himself to the problems of the black community, unlike any other person who has served on the city council. And because he has taken positions, I think that he is in trouble politically in terms of re-election. If some kind of massive voter registration effort is not made in the black community, I think there's a very substantial chance that he won't be re-elected to the Birmingham city council. Because he has publicly attacked unknown got public hearings on that and has generally spoken out where he knows that a particular issue effects the black community and that the view point of the black community is not being heard. And for that reason people in power here in the city fear him.