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Oral History Interview with Clark Foreman, November 16, 1974. Interview B-0003. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    This interview covers three separate conversations with Clark Foreman regarding his career in race relations, public service, and politics. His childhood in Georgia and his travels in Europe led to his work for the Commission on Interracial Cooperation in Atlanta with Will Alexander. His enduring reputation as a radical and rumored Communist began during his tenure with the Phelps-Stokes and Julius Rosenwald Funds. He acted out his growing commitment to integration and political equality while supervising New Deal projects for the Department of the Interior, the state parks, the interdepartmental committee on Negro affairs, and the power division of the Public Works Authority. This interview also addresses his attempts to provide more public housing for African Americans, and his opinion of leadership styles within the Interracial Commission and the Southern Conference for Human Welfare. He explains why the Southern Conference needed to endorse the Henry Wallace 1948 campaign, even though it was unsuccessful. He also compares the contributions of socialists and communists to the Southern Conference at state and national levels. Foreman lost jobs over false reports that he endorsed Communism or was too aggressive in his work. The interview concludes with comments by Clark and Mairi Foreman about his work with Black Mountain College, the Navy, and the National Citizens PAC, especially focusing on how his children developed radical views during those years.
    Excerpts
  • Foreman witnessed a lynching while attending college in Georgia
  • Foreman read about the Atlanta Commission on Interracial Cooperation while in London
  • White and black Augusta leaders address the inequality of local public services
  • Foreman's growing concern for civil rights concerned his older colleagues
  • Phelps-Stokes Fund director disliked Foreman's political interests
  • The Interior Department integrates in the 1930s
  • Gettysburg park officials stop protesting their new black officer
  • New Deal programs made more jobs available to African Americans
  • Pamphlet on Southern politics written to support a candidate for Georgia senate
  • Foreman refuses to bar communists from the Southern Conference
  • Aggressiveness and commitment to the Bill of Rights guides Foreman
  • White citizens of Detroit and southern politicians worked together to get Foreman fired
  • Family support for pursuing political goals without running for political office
  • Comparing the Southern Regional Council and the Southern Conference
  • Foreman resigns from Black Mountain College in protest
  • Foreman defied segregation laws in his work and political activities.
  • Foreman's family dealt with criticism for supporting integration
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • Southern States--Economic conditions
  • Georgia--Race relations
  • Lynching--Georgia--History--20th century
  • Southern Conference for Human Welfare
  • Graham, Frank Porter, 1886-
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.