Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with U. W. Clemon, July 17, 1974. Interview A-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

More blacks on Alabama legislature will make a difference

Clemon believes that an increased black presence in the Alabama legislature will make a "tremendous difference."

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:
What effect do you think it's going to mean, having 15 black legislators instead of three?
U. W. CLEMON:
Well, I think it's going to have considerable effect because along with the presence of 15 black faces in the Alabama legislature there is the additional consideration that at least, at least 20 whites would not be in the legislature had they not received the support of the black community. So along with those 15 is another 20 at least. And I think that, for example, in the house of representatives, with 105 members, 37 or 40 of those people wield very considerable power in terms of influencing which way particular items of legislation will go. So I think that's going to be a tremendous difference. In the senate I think the difference is going to be less optimistic. There'll be two black faces in that body and probably five or six others who owe their positions in the senate to black support. And I don't think that that, that those numbers would be sufficient to determine the fate of some items which will come up for consideration. However, the presence of just one black senator in the Alabama senate is going to mean a lot, because unlike the house of representatives, at least at the present time, there's a right of unlimited filibuster in the senate. So that effectively one senator can pretty much tie up things.