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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Orval Faubus, June 14, 1974. Interview A-0031. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Legal desegregation affects whites' attitudes toward blacks

Faubus insists that he did not let the incidents of Little Rock in 1957 affect his worldview. He does say, however, that some whites reacted with harshness, saying, "They're asking for equal treatment, so equal treatment they're going to get." In other words, some white Arkansans were determined to no longer give black people whatever "special consideration" they might have received before the court order.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Orval Faubus, June 14, 1974. Interview A-0031. 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

WALTER DE VRIES:
You said that before 1957 you actively pursued a policy of bringing blacks into the administration and the political party and so on.
ORVAL FAUBUS:
Yes. Arkansas was known as the most liberal state in the South at that point in time.
WALTER DE VRIES:
Was the reaction of what happened at Little Rock in '57, did that in any way change your philosophy or ideas about integration or about. . . .?
ORVAL FAUBUS:
No, not about these other things. Because we continued the very same things. Now it got—
WALTER DE VRIES:
It must have had some reaction on you, what happened.
ORVAL FAUBUS:
No, I don't think it did in my attitude because I tried very hard not to permit it to. After all, just because you get in a controversy with somebody—in this case it involved white and black—that doesn't mean that your good black citizens don't deserve the same consideration they always deserved. Or that they shouldn't have opportunities to do well, make progress, just the same as they did before. This did affect a lot of people and it affected the Democratic party in such a way that the very next time it came up—I guess in '60—they threw all the blacks off the state central committee. And I couldn't of kept them on if I'd tried. Because they said "Now, we did this before for you, just a special thing. We adopted the rule to add six more members at large and then we took the people you recommended, all of whom were blacks. Now then, if they get a place on the committee they're going to earn it just like we do." You know, they come up through the ranks, official in a local area and then regional. And there were some who still survived as delegates and came to the conventions. We had black people at each Democratic convention as long as I was governor. And they were always welcome and there were no difficulties. But the party leaders, as a whole, said "No more special consideration. They're asking for equal treatment, so equal treatment they're going to get." You know, if they can earn it and come up through the ranks and win enough votes to get the place, well and good, but we're not going to just put them on, you know, because you say so or because they're black. So it did have that effect, but it wasn't appreciable.