Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginius Dabney, July 31, 1975. Interview A-0311-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Many Virginian politicians avoid public critique of Byrd

Dabney reveals Virginia politicians' private criticisms of massive resistance and Senator Byrd's dominating influence over Virginia politics. Public anti-desegregation sentiments also tempered secret critiques of massive resistance.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginius Dabney, July 31, 1975. Interview A-0311-2. 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

DANIEL JORDAN:
One final question about massive resistance, it involves an interesting thing to me and that is the presence of some secret doubters. We have Almond, we've already mentioned him, as attorney general saying that he didn't think that it would work, he would draft the legislation, but he didn't think that it would hold up. Technically, Albertis Harrison had some doubts as well.
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
Yes, he did.
DANIEL JORDAN:
And I believe that you wrote of David. J. Mays, you suggested that Mays, who was very important in the Committee on Constitutional Rights, and his diary reported that he was in fact telling people secretly that it wouldn't work. Is that fair to make?
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
I was trying to remember when I said that.
DANIEL JORDAN:
It was after his death. You wrote a feature editorial.
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
Oh. Yes, I knew Mays and incidentally, his diary is impounded for twenty-five years and he told me two days before he died that they were going to have to rewrite the history of massive resistance when his diary came out. I don't know what it is going to reveal. I imagine that he has got some things that went on in his private contacts. He was right in there with Byrd and the rest of them. He knew what they said and thought.