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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginius Dabney, July 31, 1975. Interview A-0311-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Godwin's statewide education conference assessed the state of public schools

In 1966, Dabney chaired Governor Godwin's education conference in hopes to stir up support for public education. He discusses the controversy surrounding bonds and sales tax initiatives, which contradicted Senator Byrd's pay-as-you-go financial policies.

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 of the major categories we would like to discuss today involves your work with education. In general, I would like to comment on some of your highlights of work in this field and get you to assess what you did, the nature of the work itself. You were the chairman of a statewide conference in 1966 called by Governor Godwin to assess current Virginia commitments in the field of education. What was the nature of that conference and your chairmanship?
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
The conference was called by the governor to stimulate interest in better appropriations for higher education and the public schools. Both categories of education were dealt with in the conference and it was well attended from all over the state. The Mosque was filled on the lower floor and partly in the mezzanine. There was great enthusiasm. The program went off very well and the reaction was excellent. Governor Godwin made, I think, eight speeches after that in eight sections of the state in order to stir up grass roots sentiment for better education and better support for it. He, of course, at the next session of the legislature, backed general obligation bonds and a sales tax, both of which were essential to the progress that he achieved.
DANIEL JORDAN:
Now, what was your role in the conference, as chairman? What exactly did you do?
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
Well, I helped to organize the conference. I presided. I made an opening statement and a closing statement and introduced the speakers.
DANIEL JORDAN:
You mentioned Governor Godwin's support of a sales tax and a bond referendum. Did you support that partly from a pay as you go approach?
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
Yes, we supported both of them in the Times-Dispatch and I did personally. The time was ripe for both changes. It was obvious that Virginia couldn't possibly go forward in education and various other areas without these additional funds.
DANIEL JORDAN:
Had you supported either before this time? Either personally or editorially? Either sales tax or bonds?
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
No, I don't think I had.