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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Herman Talmadge, December 18, 1975. Interview A-0331-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Thoughts on objectivity and retrospective view of segregation

Talmadge offers his view that history should be objective and that it should include both positive and negative aspects. When asked to address aspects of his own political career, Talmadge briefly reflects on the book he wrote about his views on segregation. While Talmadge admits that he would not write a similar tract in 1975 (the time of the interview), he does not indicate that he regrets his previous adherence to segregation.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Herman Talmadge, December 18, 1975. Interview A-0331-3. 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

JACK NELSON:
You know, I asked you before we discontinued the last interview whether or not you had anything that you thought we ought to put into the Southern Oral History project, you like your history warts and all. Can you look back and see any warts that people ought to look for when they are trying to judge Herman Talmadge as a public figure? If you were reading a biography of Herman Talmadge, some episodes or some parts would . . .
HERMAN TALMADGE:
Oh, I'm sure that if I had my life to live over again there would be some things that I would do differently. Hopefully, people as they get older and have more experience and have more knowledge, utilize that knowledge to better advantage and I guess that is true not only of Herman Talmadge but of every other individual who ever lived.
JACK NELSON:
Sure. Is there anything, though that you could look back as a matter of public record now and say, "Well, if I was reading a biography of Herman Talmadge, I would like to know more about this particular episode in his life."
HERMAN TALMADGE:
Not that I can think of at the moment, Jack. Of course, I don't suppose that any individual can appraise himself with any 100% objectivity.
JACK NELSON:
Well, let me ask you something. Going back once more to the segregation thing, you wrote a small book one time about segregation and apparently, a lot of the copies of the book were picked up and there are few in circulation, although there is a Library of Congress card on the book. I forget the title of the book.
HERMAN TALMADGE:
You and Segregation.
JACK NELSON:
Yes, You and Segregation. What was the background of that and can you tell me why the copies did disappear?
HERMAN TALMADGE:
Some publishing house over in Alabama . . .
JACK NELSON:
The Vulcan Press.
HERMAN TALMADGE:
. . . asked me to write such a book and I did. I don't know what the sales were or what the circulation was, as a matter of fact.
JACK NELSON:
Do you look back on that, though, as something that you just as soon you hadn't done or does it make any difference?
HERMAN TALMADGE:
If they made me the same deal today, I probably would reject it.
JACK NELSON:
You'd probably reject it?
HERMAN TALMADGE:
Yes.