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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 >>

Rapid racial and political changes in the South

Dabney remarks on the dramatic racial and political changes that occurred in the South. He fears black political retribution, but remains hopeful for racial fairness.

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:
If you were to update your book and write about southern liberalism covering the last thirty or forty years, what kinds of subjects would you deal with and would you deal with it much in sympathy? I am wondering if the continuation of tradition is there and what is it, if it did continue?
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
That is something that I find hard to answer. Some of the things that are happening in the South are so different from earlier days. For example, take your state of Mississippi. I believe that there are hundreds of black office holders and that isn't necessarily a bad thing; I just can't foresee where we are heading in these areas where blacks are becoming more numerous than whites. I am just so accustomed to having whites in control that I am having a hard time adjusting, I must confess, to having black governors and black mayors and black everything else. The thing that bothers me, I suppose, is the fear, and I admit it is a fear, that in time they will take things over and go so far in the opposite direction and in the direction that we whites went into, wrongly, I admit. That is, we enacted legislation that was definitely to our benefit and to the hurt of the blacks, and I am now afraid that the blacks will get control and go headlong into legislation that will be unfair to us. I am in favor of fairness to all, theoretically at least. I don't know whether I can accomplish that in my own mind, even.