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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Maury Maverick, October 27, 1975. Interview A-0323. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Political awareness as a child

Maverick discusses his introduction to national politics, arguing that his first recollection of his father's political activities involved the Al Smith campaign of 1928. Additionally, Maverick cites his father's pacifist beliefs and his interactions with politicians such as Jerry Voorhis and Hugo Black as particularly influential in the shaping of his own liberal politics.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Maury Maverick, October 27, 1975. Interview A-0323. 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

CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
I guess that in a way, it doesn't make good sense to ask the son of Maury Maverick when he first got interested in politics. I imagine that came pretty early, didn't it?
MAURY MAVERICK:
Well, I never knew anything else in my life but politics, because my first recollection of politics is when my father, then a very young man, was Al Smith's campaign manager. The Ku Klux Klan still had some impact, not much in San Antonio, because this is a Catholic town, but it took a little spine to run Al Smith's campaign. That's the first campaign that I remember in my life.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
That convention was in Houston, wasn't it?
MAURY MAVERICK:
Yes. That's right.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
The one that Jesse Jones brought to Houston.
MAURY MAVERICK:
Yes.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
Some people said that Jesse Jones hoped to get the nomination for having brought it there.
MAURY MAVERICK:
Yes, he did.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
So, your father managed Al Smith's campaign in Texas?
MAURY MAVERICK:
In San Antonio.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
In San Antonio. How old were you at that time?
MAURY MAVERICK:
It seems to me that I must have been about seven years old.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
But you were aware of what was happening?
MAURY MAVERICK:
I was aware of that campaign and I was aware of politics in terms of war…my first recollection of my father when I was a very small child would be hearing him cry out from wounds suffered in the Argonne Forest and I used to go sit with him, he would get into a hot tub of water to ease the pain and I would sit with him and he would tell me that all war was wrong. He kept it up until Hitler began and after he had marched through about seven countries, he called me up and asked me, "Why in the hell aren't you in the Marine Corps or something?" All that twenty-five years of pacificism went down the drain, but that was another strong influence in my life.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
Your father suffered from his war wounds most of his life, didn't he?
MAURY MAVERICK:
Oh, yes. He was a semi-cripple all his life and he would almost stagger. He would throw his body left to right and people would sometimes say that he was drinking, and sometimes he was, but a lot of times, he just couldn't walk even when he was cold sober.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
So then, when he went to Congress, were you involved in his campaigns at that time?
MAURY MAVERICK:
Well, I knew about it. When I was a kid in Washington, you know, my heroes were people like Jerry Voorhis and Hugo Black. Hugo Black was a great favorite of the children of Congressmen because Senator Black would always stop and pat us on the head and treat us with great dignity. He was a fine fellow and I remember when he got appointed to the Court and all the liberals were raising hell in New York City, my father went all over New York City talking to ACLU groups saying, "Give this guy a chance. I don't care if he belonged to the Klan or not, he is going to be all right. Give him a chance." I remember hearing about that and was quite excited about it when I was a child.