Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Aaron Henry, April 2, 1974. Interview A-0107. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Need for black political involvement

Henry looks toward the 1975 election cycle and shares his belief that black and white voters share the need to be energized by their candidates. He is excited about black participation in government in either the Democratic or Republican Party.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Aaron Henry, April 2, 1974. Interview A-0107. 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:
Okay, that was the strategy for '71. What sort of strategy for '75 do you see on the part of black politics in Mississippi?
AARON HENRY:
Well I don't think times really have changed that much. I think that for blacks to get very exercised over the elections then there's going to have to be somebody that they feel strongly for or strongly against. You know. Blacks are just like whites. The turn out will be. . . . They will respond to what they feel their psychic interests or responses are. If it's a ram rootin' tootin' campaign, the candidates charge everybody, you know, get everybody worked up, okay. But if the candidates play low key, the voters are going to play low key.
JACK BASS:
Do you see, though, a third party effort again on the part of blacks, an independent party effort? Or do you see more of an attempt to move into one of the two major parties?
AARON HENRY:
I see the independent strategy to a certain extent having validity. Very much so. I do feel that most people who run as an independent are actually allied with the Democratic party in Mississippi.
JACK BASS:
What's your reaction to the role of blacks in the Republican party? Those who are active in the Republican party?
AARON HENRY:
Fine! You know, we need somebody at every door. We need somebody to consult with everybody who can possibly be involved or in charge. See, as long as you and I live on this earth the leadership of the United States is either going to be in the hands of Democrats or Republicans. Every black inside the Republican council chambers is really good. Don't ever apologize.