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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Clark Foreman, November 16, 1974. Interview B-0003. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Aggressiveness and commitment to the Bill of Rights guides Foreman

Foreman believes that some aggressiveness and ruthlessness is necessary to properly run a political organization like the Southern Conference for Human Welfare. His commitment to upholding the Bill of Rights motivates his political activism.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Clark Foreman, November 16, 1974. Interview B-0003. 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

JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you read Thomas Krueger's book on the Southern Conference, Promises To Keep? What do you think about it?
CLARK FOREMAN:
Yeah. I wrote him and told him that I thought he was a little bit hipped on the communist issue, too much so. And he wrote back and said he thought so too. He agreed that he had been too much worried about the communists when he wrote the book. I sent that letter to Atlanta University. I don't know whether you saw it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you think the book was accurate except for that?
CLARK FOREMAN:
Well I don't remember any points in it that I thought were false. It was just that general attitude of fearing that the communists had more power than they did have.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In that book he describes you as being self-confident, aggressive and a little ruthless. What do you think about that? Do you remember that? Some people thought that, he said.
CLARK FOREMAN:
What do I think about it? Do I think I am self-confident? Aggressive? A little ruthless? Yes. Or was. BILL FINGER Was that necessary to keep the organization alive and well in 1942?
CLARK FOREMAN:
Yeah. I think so. I think you can't be too namby-pamby and keep a big organization together. BILL FINGER When you took on the leadership in 1942 did you have ambitions of building it into a stronger organization that-
CLARK FOREMAN:
Sure. BILL FINGER Where did you think it would go?
CLARK FOREMAN:
We were hoping that it would become a popular, mass membership sort of. We thought in terms of state committees. And then we organized various state committees. One committee for Georgia here, under Margaret Fisher. A committee for North Carolina under Mary Price. And various state committees which we hoped would be politically effective. And that came to bear in 1948, when they were politically ineffective. But if they had been properly organized, if we had really got going, we might have had a different situation in 1948 when we came out for Wallace.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I'm trying to understand what your political views were at this time. Krueger describes you as a deeply traditional American progressive. What does that mean to you?
CLARK FOREMAN:
That's right. It means that I believe in the Bill of Rights and am devoted to it for everybody. As far as I'm concerned that's what it means. I don't know what he meant by it. But my attitude is that the Bill of Rights is there as the basis of American democracy and it's for everybody. Communists and socialists, black and white, everybody. And as soon as you start drawing lines and saying everybody but . . . you know. Everybody except. Then the whole thing is destroyed.