Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Jonathan Worth Daniels, March 9-11, 1977. Interview A-0313. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Daniels's father combined his religious beliefs with his thoughts on other social issues

Daniels's father openly criticized Methodist Bishop Kilgo's ties to the Duke monopoly. As a result, his ardent religious beliefs took a backseat to class issues. His father also often intertwined his religious beliefs about race and alcohol to establish order within the community.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Jonathan Worth Daniels, March 9-11, 1977. Interview A-0313. 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

JONATHAN WORTH DANIELS:
By what he'd been taught religiously. Oh, he'd be very critical of the preachers. For instance, one of his greatest fights was with Bishop Kilgo of Duke, and it practically split open the Methodist Church in North Carolina. So he was not clergy-intimidated in any sense. Of course, all those fights also are so difficult to single out as to what was the fight. For instance, when he fought Kilgo over the Bassett case, in which my father was wrong—at least, I think so—also involved was the fact that at the same time he was fighting the Dukes as the tobacco trust. And I don't think even he knew where his, well, call them convictions or prejudices stemmed from. He would distrust Kilgo as an agent of the Dukes, and maybe he even distrusted Bassett as a man in the Duke organization.
CHARLES EAGLES:
A case where a lot of his beliefs coincided.
JONATHAN WORTH DANIELS:
Yes, and where they were mixed up together. And Prohibition, for instance, was mixed up with the use of money in politics.
CHARLES EAGLES:
Was Prohibition also mixed up with, if black men started drinking, you don't know what they're going to do?
JONATHAN WORTH DANIELS:
I'm sure. I think the whole reason for the fact that Prohibition grew first and fastest in the South was the thought of the fear of what liquor would do to the blacks, and thus endanger the whites. That was a very old fear. For instance, a lot of people think that Columbia was burned down by blacks and soldiers who got drunk. Yes, the sense of a danger in your community that had to be curbed, that had something to do with Prohibition.