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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Lindy Boggs, January 31, 1974. Interview A-0082. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Southern "graciousness and understanding" regarding race and politics in Congress

Boggs draws attention to what she calls "a certain graciousness and understanding" that she believed southerners brought to individual relationships, especially between African American and white politicians, in Congress. In citing the warm reception of Andrew Young, a newly elected African American congressman from Georgia, Boggs argues that racial animosity between individual politicians did not hinder the legislative process. Offering several examples of individual relationships between politicans of differing racial backgrounds, Boggs's comments offer one perception of the relationship between politics and race as one of "genuine friendliness" in the 1970s.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Lindy Boggs, January 31, 1974. Interview A-0082. 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

LINDY BOGGS:
At the expense of sounding as though I am bragging, I do think that southerners bring a certain graciousness and understanding in the individual relationships that sometimes alter the course of the legislation or affect it that is unique among the other sections of the country.
JACK BASS:
Do you think that situation this morning was an example of that?
LINDY BOGGS:
I do.
JACK BASS:
Would you consider that to be an unchanging aspect of southern politics that in the past has been overlooked because of negative factors?
LINDY BOGGS:
I really do. I think the relationships between the races is really more genuine in its friendliness in the South.
JACK BASS:
What kind ofrelationships all there between southern members of the Congress, white southern members of Congress and black members of Congress who are not from the South?
LINDY BOGGS:
I'd really think that you'd have to talk about it on an individual because I think, for instance, Charlie Diggs has a lot of southern friends, his portrait was being hung in the committee room yesterday or the day before . I was in George Mahon's office and he said, "Sometimes I forget the hanging of portraits, but I really want to go to Charlie Diggs, because I want him to know that I like him. Incidentally, this is allbut the same place that did George's portrait for the committee room did this of Hale and I was in his office getting it. I think it is an absolutely remarkable likeness, I can't get over it. I just stuck it here so that's why it is on the floor. It has got to be recrated and sent home. But I think you find these individual relationships that are very warm, very cordial. Ralph Metcalf has a lot of southern friends. I could probably think of a great many others, but certainly those two come to my mind right away. Ralph's mother was from Shreveport, Louisiana. One of the California black members was born in Louisiana. It is an individual thing. I don't think there is any animosity because they are black, or any special relationship because they are black. It is a tough body, that House of Representatives.