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Title: Oral History Interview with Ruth Vick, 1973. Interview B-0057. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Vick, Ruth, interviewee
Interview conducted by Hall, Jacquelyn Hall, Bob
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 600 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-02-16, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Ruth Vick, 1973. Interview B-0057. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series B. Individual Biographies. Southern Oral History Program Collection (B-0057)
Author: Jacquelyn Hall and Bob Hall
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Ruth Vick, 1973. Interview B-0057. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series B. Individual Biographies. Southern Oral History Program Collection (B-0057)
Author: Ruth Vick
Description: 721 Mb
Description: 180 p.
Note: Interview conducted on 1973, by Jacquelyn Hall and Bob Hall; recorded in Atlanta, Georgia.
Note: Transcribed by Jean Houston.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series B. Individual Biographies, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Ruth Vick, 1973.
Interview B-0057. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Vick, Ruth, interviewee


Interview Participants

    RUTH VICK, interviewee
    UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER, interviewee
    JACQUELYN HALL, interviewer
    BOB HALL, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
RUTH VICK:
At one time the state council directors were invited to the annual meeting, and their presidents or vice-presidents were members of our board. And each year the field director for the state council, that was of the regional council, had an institute for the state directors. And they would all gather at maybe some beach or resort place, and they would meet for three, four, or five days and find out what each other were doing, what they were going to do next to improve the state council. But we didn't have a state council director for two or three years at SRC. You didn't meet Ed Stanfield, because he had gone.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He was the last one?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, he was the last state field representative, and he took a job in Texas. I think Ed was a little dogmatic about what he thought the state council director should do, and he and Paul sort of clashed on that. Alice Spearman. She married Marion Wright, who's retired, one of our ex-vice-presidents who was the president when I first went with the Council. She was the director of the South Carolina Council at the time, and they just had heated words, so Ed just resigned from that job. He said he thought that they should follow some sort of grand pattern the way they had said they would the year before. But I think Alice was out doing some of everything in the community and was doing a beautiful program. Got plenty of money. And when the new guy came in, Tom [unknown], who's a real bright young guy. I don't know whether you've met him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I've heard of him, but I don't think I've ever met him.
RUTH VICK:
Well, when he came she had money saved up that nobody, that

Page 2
the board didn't even know she had. [laughter] She just put the money away and saved it. She was a practical woman, just going about haphazard but doing some good. And so we never did hire anybody else as a field director.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In about '51 or so, I think, is when they first set up the state councils, isn't it, and gave them so much money and everything?
RUTH VICK:
They had so-called state divisions. It was 1954 when we got the Fund for the Republic grant, and I think it was beginning July 1 within the eleven southern states. I think Oklahoma was the only one who didn't want to be called a southern state. They didn't have any problem [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that right? That's interesting. That's where I grew up.
RUTH VICK:
They had said first there would be twelve state councils, but Oklahoma was the one who said that they didn't need one.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's amazing.
RUTH VICK:
So there were eleven. And each state council was given money to hire a fulltime director and an associate director or assistant director, whatever they wanted, and a secretary, rent office space, buy office equipment. And we had to report, I think, every six months to the Fund at that particular time. The first grant was an eighteen-month grant.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And it was especially to set up the state councils?
RUTH VICK:
Right. It was separate from what they gave the Southern Regional Council. And they were to be affiliated organizations. We hired the directors; they came, they were interviewed by the Southern Regional Council. And all the payroll was made from here. We gave

Page 3
them a lump sum, I think, every council, and I can't remember exactly what that figure was, to rent office space and buy equipment like typewriters, desks, file cabinets, and so forth. And they did that. And of course they were hoping that all of these state councils could have an integrated staff. Now in some instances it was almost impossible to get this in 1954.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where was it impossible?
RUTH VICK:
Well, in Louisiana, New Orleans, I don't think they ever had a negro anywhere on that staff in New Orleans. It was a very young guy who was working with that; I don't know what ever happened to him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why couldn't they do it then?
RUTH VICK:
I guess it was just the climate in the town, and there really wasn't much said about some of the state councils, but some of them were afraid to even let people know what they were doing or what they were. Like in the case of Mississippi, there was never any publicity although there was a negro woman who directed that in the beginning. I can't even think of her name now. [laughter] I can't remember all these names.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I saw some stuff about that in the files. It was almost a secret organization. Nobody knew it existed.
RUTH VICK:
Right. This was true in several instances. And even here in Atlanta, the Georgia Council didn't have a mixed staff until… Oh, it was a long time before the Georgia Council had a mixed staff. And it was just because of the director, and somebody'd come in applying and they got the job. And there was no effort made. They did, however, hire some black consultants that were at Atlanta University. They had

Page 4
people doing some consulting work for them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were there any black directors of the state councils besides her?
RUTH VICK:
John McCowan came in in '66 or '67, I believe, with the Georgia Council. Let me see if there was another black one. Yes, he was the assistant director in Arkansas, Little Rock, Elisha Coleman. And he is the director now. The director was white. He was past middle age and became sort of feeble, and he did retire. And I think it's been a pretty healthy state council. They've never cried, "We don't have a nickel. We don't have a dime." And I think I remember hearing that he's gotten some federal money and that they're working with some federal program and it's been quite effective.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What are the state councils supposed to do?
RUTH VICK:
They are supposed to do almost the same thing that the Southern Regional Council is doing here, and sort of keep the Council informed as to what was happening in the smaller communities, because most of the state councils had little branches in small towns and counties. Oh, they were strung all out throughout the state of Georgia, in very small towns. And they would report to the central body what was happening, and of course a lot of research that we needed, and needed stuff documented, they'd do that for us, which was quite helpful. And they were supposed to become self-sustaining after three years.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They were supposed to get money in the states where they were?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes, they have memberships. In Virginia there was a minister, a very fine guy, Jack Marion, who got I don't remember how

Page 5
many one-hundred-dollar memberships from people in Virginia. And he really built his up. And he did real well moneywise, but didn't quite keep this up. And of course when he got a job and left, you see, the next person couldn't quite do what he'd done, so they just sort of went down. The South Carolina Council and the Arkansas Council and I guess the Tennessee Council, because the Tennessee Council, I don't think, ever got that much money until maybe recently they got a couple of grants from foundations. The Mississippi Council was able to get grants out of Rockefeller and …
JACQUELYN HALL:
They tried to raise money independently.
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So, completely on their own, they wrote their own proposals and …
RUTH VICK:
We went to Ford, you know, we first got the Ford grant, and they gave us money for the state councils, but not enough to keep them running.
BOB HALL:
When was that?
RUTH VICK:
In 1965. And of course we went back to them for more money for the next three years, and they gave smaller amounts on a descending scale. That was the end of that last year, so this year we don't have anything to give the state councils. But, fortunately, some of them have gone to foundations, and we got copies of three letters where Leslie Dunbar had funded three of them, Field Foundation [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
And that was altogether separate from you all. You didn't even know?
RUTH VICK:
No, he just sent us a copy of the letter stating that he

Page 6
funded them. Two of them got $25,000, and the other one got $14,000, this year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What councils got them?
RUTH VICK:
Twenty-five to Mississippi, twenty-five to Tennessee, and fourteen-and-some-odd-figure to South Carolina. It was something special that South Carolina wanted to do, so he gave them that much. But he has always given money to the Mississippi Council. I think it's because he has faith in the guy who was there, Ken Dean, who is no longer there, but was quite effective. Just did some of everything. I think he went there before Les Dunbar left the Council. And Les got to know him real well. And of course he would go to New York and talk to Les. Les had visited Mississippi in so many places, and got to know what Ken Dean was doing.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of things did he do?
RUTH VICK:
He got involved with the young people who went down during the summers to help register people to vote. He worked day and night with people who were trying to integrate the schools or get people registered to vote, just year around. He was really quite active and quite vocal. And once he was there as a director, he did actually hire negro secretaries, and they were in the First Federal Building there in Jackson, Mississippi. So he worked at least five long years, because he's just left there, and he's in New York studying. I think he's in Syracuse studying. He did marry while he was there. He married a girl who was teaching in Mississippi. She was from Tennessee originally. When I went up to Gatlinburg to a meeting, she brought her mother over to the meeting. A very pretty girl. [text deleted]

Page 7
JACQUELYN HALL:
There were, then, a lot of differences in what the different councils did.
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes, right. Some of them worked solely for membership, and others worked to see what they could do about certain things in certain places to help ease tensions and so forth. They did all sorts of things, according to what area, what was happening.
BOB HALL:
Did they act as lobbying agents?
RUTH VICK:
Not really. All of them had their tax exemptions, which said that they could not play politics. [laughter] Because I think some of them almost got in Dutch messing around.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But most of them weren't able to sustain themselves?
RUTH VICK:
No, not really. There were some of them that were just existing then. But the Louisiana Council just never did do anything. And then finally, I guess while Ed was there, not long ago, there was a span of about eight years when there was nobody doing anything in Louisiana. And this black woman who's a contractor there in Baton Rouge decided she wanted to try it. But she hasn't done anything; she hasn't been able to do anything with it.
BOB HALL:
It's a tough state.
RUTH VICK:
It really is. You know, I didn't know that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You don't think of it as being as bad as Mississippi or something.
RUTH VICK:
No, you don't, but it is, and it has been. A lot of people don't know that, though. They just hear so much about Mississippi, though; they think that's the worst place.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But they know there's been a lot going on in Mississippi.

Page 8
RUTH VICK:
Right. Well, Alabama. I know I'd rather live in some parts of Mississippi than to live in Alabama. But a lot of people don't feel that way about it, not because of George Wallace but because of so many other things and so many other people.
JACQUELYN HALL:
There was some conflict along at different times between the council and the state councils, was there? The state councils thinking that they weren't getting enough support or that there should be more money or …
RUTH VICK:
Yes. Many heated meetings.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I kept coming across a lot of stuff here and there.
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes. [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
But I don't know exactly… What were the…
RUTH VICK:
You see, you got a lot of young people in as directors or working with a state council. They had different ideas, different views about what the state council should be doing. Like resolutions against the war in Vietnam, and so many things; we spent nights… I remember when we were in Gatlinburg, that was one of the issues.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What meeting was that?
RUTH VICK:
That was in September of '67. We met a whole week up there, the state councils and the Southern Regional Council.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The staff of the regional council?
RUTH VICK:
Not the full staff. There must have been about eight of us up there. Some of the senior staff people were there that knew what the state councils were …
JACQUELYN HALL:
And the state councils themselves were passing resolutions against the War or they wanted SRC to?

Page 9
RUTH VICK:
They wanted the Council to come out and make a statement. And of course they knew how the Council felt about the War in Vietnam, but this was no time to deal with something like that, they thought, when they were trying to find out where the state councils were going and what they were going to be able to do after. Because we didn't know then that they were going to get more money in '68 for the state councils at that time, because Ford had said they wouldn't give any more money to the state councils.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did the Ford Foundation think that the state councils had not been worthwhile or successful?
RUTH VICK:
Evidently, yes. In a way, they really hadn't done some of the things that they wanted to do and could have done. And it was because, I think, they were understaffed, and there are so many people who will not volunteer to give you their free time, even though they like what you're doing. But occasionally some people came across people who were willing to do things like that without any money. But a lot of them just weren't able to do all the things that they wanted to do programwise, because their boards weren't strong, their committees… They had lousy committees, people who just didn't do anything but come and meet once a year. Like the Southern Regional Council's [laughter] board met. Some of them don't read their mail.
They'd say, "Well, I never knew this happened." But you know, you know you send them everything, and it doesn't come back so they must have received it, but they don't pay any attention to it. So that's why we have that little newsletter now every month, from Southern Regional Council. It goes out to every board member, telling what's

Page 10
happening.
BOB HALL:
And the state councils put that out in their …
RUTH VICK:
They used to. [text deleted]
JACQUELYN HALL:
We should go in more chronological order, shouldn't we?
BOB HALL:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter]
RUTH VICK:
You should ask me questions; I should stop talking.
JACQUELYN HALL:
No, I was asking you. I'm really interested in the state councils. But I wanted just to find out where you came into the picture. Where did you grow up? Where were you born?
RUTH VICK:
In Cedartown, Georgia. That's northwest of here, sixty-three miles. It's on the same route as going to Birmingham. I remember when they built the road going to Birmingham from Cedartown. And my mother's people had land that they bought when they cut the road there, and it's just a very few miles, but it's close the Alabama line.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were your family farmers?
RUTH VICK:
No, they were not farmers. We lived in the little city, and my father was adopted. His mother and father both died when he was quite young, and he was adopted by a family. And he had all half-sisters and brothers who did live out. But he was a waiter for the only hotel. Cedartown was a mill town, cotton.
BOB HALL:
[unknown] mill?
RUTH VICK:
Cedartown Cotton Exposition Mill, I believe, was the name of it. And they had one other mill, and I don't know whether I can even remember the name of that mill or not. But it was a mill town. And my

Page 11
father worked for one of the men who owned the hotel and owned the mill. And he waited tables, plus he ran the only taxicab there in Cedartown, meeting the trains and taking the people to the hotel and so forth.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The same man that owned the mill owned the hotel.
RUTH VICK:
Right, Adamson. And there were five of us, five girls, and of course that kept my mother busy, keeping us clean and in school and feeding us and so forth.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where had your mother's family been?
RUTH VICK:
Her family was born right there in Georgia, and I think right out from Cedartown. My father was really born in Alabama, according to the records that we had. But his people died, and this family adopted him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Through an adoption [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know whether it was through an adoption agency. They just took him and reared him. I don't think there was any such thing as adoption agencies at that time. So we grew up in a small town, healthy atmosphere. Our house was right in the center of the block, and we were the only negro family that lived on the street. We didn't pay much attention to that because we were young at that particular time, and we played with the kids all day long. They played with us, and they would eat sometimes at our house, and their mothers would visit my mother and all that sort of stuff.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were they people that worked in the mill?
RUTH VICK:
I think some of the family across the street from us worked in the mill. But the family on the corner to the left of us; I can't remember what the Hanburgs did, but they were not mill people. But very

Page 12
friendly. We played during the summer and that sort of thing together. Quite neighborly. But then when my older sisters went away to go to school, after they finished high school and they came back and they started [unknown] and my father said, "Well, I'd better sell this and buy build some other place," because he knew a little bit more than we did about how things could happen with black men coming in the neighborhood and so forth and so on. So he bought a couple of lots about four blocks from where this was and built. Now there were still some whites on this street, but not many. And he built, and we lived there until we all left and my father left to work in Cincinnati. My mother came here to live.
BOB HALL:
The school you went to there in Cedartown was [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
Right. They didn't have but eleven grades. Everybody had to go away to finish that last year [laughter] , except the …
JACQUELYN HALL:
Both the white kids and the black kids?
RUTH VICK:
No. They had separate schools. They had a school for white and a school for negro.
BOB HALL:
Separate and unequal.
RUTH VICK:
Right. The whites could finish high school there. But the last year all of us had to go away to finish high school.
JACQUELYN HALL:
To a boarding school?
RUTH VICK:
My last year I spent with one of my older sisters in Bainbridge, Georgia. Her husband was the assistant principal of the high school there. The youngest sister, who's right under me, was the only one able to finish high school there; they had added that twelfth grade, so of course she went. But all the others had to go away. Now

Page 13
our two older sisters did board in to finish high school right here in Atlanta.
JACQUELYN HALL:
A lot of kids must have been hindered from ever finishing school by that.
RUTH VICK:
They were, because a lot of them never finished.
BOB HALL:
Was that one of the reasons why they didn't put in a twelfth grade?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know why they didn't.
BOB HALL:
So that black people wouldn't have a high school education.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter]
RUTH VICK:
That's a [unknown] reason [unknown] but you see, we were too stupid at that point to realize that this was something they were doing to us. Oddly enough, they integrated the schools there without any suit, without anybody saying anything. They took the elementary white school and made it a junior high for all the kids. They took the negro school and made an elementary school for all the kids. They built a brand new high school for all the kids. And they're being bussed all sorts of ways, because the people are living here, there, everywhere. It's just not the negroes living off in one section; it isn't like that. We visited there last year. My sister from Virginia was down and hadn't been there for years, and they just wanted to run on down one day. So we rode down there and saw [unknown]. But it was written up in the paper.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When did they do that?
RUTH VICK:
About four years ago. They just decided [unknown] They got together and did it, and they didn't have any problem at all. They never had a

Page 14
fight or anything.
BOB HALL:
Is that [unknown] Adamson family?
RUTH VICK:
No, he's long been left there and dead. His wife died even before we left there. And some other guy came in; I'm sure he's dead now. He would have been on the way to a hundred years old. I'm sure he's not still alive. I think they've even closed up the hotel; I don't think they have a hotel there anymore.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there just a small black community there?
RUTH VICK:
There weren't as many negroes as whites, by any means, but I don't know the ratio. The population was about ten or eleven thousand when we were there. I don't think it's grown that much, but they have done a little bit about building up around the area. And we didn't even think to ask about any industry or what had happened. But we noted that there were quite a few blacks as well as whites building real beautiful homes. They were expanding the areas around, and they were building, and it was quite pretty. But they haven't done anything to the downtown area.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was it unusual for a black family to live in the middle of a white neighborhood?
RUTH VICK:
Sort of, I think. Not too much, because my mother said before my father moved there and all of us were born there, right at that particular place, they had lived on another street where there were about eight or ten white families, and nobody ever said anything. And we did own our home. And of course I think all the other people in the area owned their homes, maybe except one person. But I don't think it was [unusual].

Page 15
JACQUELYN HALL:
But you pretty much just grew up not having any real …
RUTH VICK:
No, we didn't know anything about it. We thought it was sort of odd when we got ready to go to school, but we never paid any attention to it, not at all.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's amazing.
RUTH VICK:
And we met up with one of the girls who lived next door to us. She works at the arsenal base in Huntsville. In J. C. Allen's one day my sister and I were shopping, and she saw us and we saw her, and we thought we recognized her and she thought she recognized us. And we hadn't seen each other since I know we were in our teens. And you have never seen anything like it. She was so happy to see us, and we were so happy to see her. And, of course, she told us all about her family and where they were and what they were doing. I don't think anybody was left in Cedartown. But, of course, the same with us; nobody was left [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was it after you were out of high school that your parents split up?
RUTH VICK:
After college. Right after the Depression he couldn't find work there, because just everything was just shut down. So he found work at Cincinnati and went there. But of course my mother spent a lot of time in Cincinnati with him. And they just rented the house out, because we didn't think it was wise for her to stay there by herself. We were never going back there. But of course just before my father died he asked us if we still wanted to keep the house, and we said no, not necessarily, because none of us were ever going back there, so we sold it to a young doctor before he died and split the money five ways

Page 16
with us, because there wasn't any need of her staying there. And we've just gone back to visit once or twice since then.
BOB HALL:
Is it sort of a middle-class neighborhood?
RUTH VICK:
We lived as good as anybody, I guess. We had all of the [unknown] things that anybody else would have. We always had an automobile, just about everything. The only negro doctor there lived across the street from where we lived. And most of the nicer homes were on the street that we lived on at that particular time, but they're beginning to build some great big, beautiful homes there now. [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
When was that? When were you born?
RUTH VICK:
1916. [laughter] October, 1916. I left to go to high school about '32.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So the Depression was …
RUTH VICK:
It was pretty bad, pretty rough. My oldest sister did two years of college, and she taught to help. And then the next sister taught—you know, you could teach after high school at that particular time—she taught one year; then she married. She was the first one to marry, the one next to the oldest. And she was the one who married and lived in Thomasville, but taught in Bainbridge, and I was able to go and live with them and finish high school. So it wasn't so bad. And all of us were able to get scholarships to go to college; we got scholarship aid.
JACQUELYN HALL:
From the college.
RUTH VICK:
From the college, yes.
BOB HALL:
What was the Depression like?

Page 17
RUTH VICK:
I guess I didn't realize how bad it was until my father told us some of the things. It was rough. And of course we always had something to eat, and we kept our home. I remember him giving up the car when he left to go to Cincinnati, which must have been '32 or '33.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He just got laid off from the hotel?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes. Everything. It was bad. Nothing was happening.
BOB HALL:
The mills closed?
RUTH VICK:
One of them did. One of them closed completely down. But my father had gone on notes with so many people when he was doing real well, friends. "I need money. Henry, would you please sign this note?" He wasn't able to collect any of that money; he had to pay that money. And so therefore he [unknown] better find a job, so his half-brother's son lived in Cincinnati and told him, "I think I can get you a job if you come up here," so he left and went up there. And he worked with a man—I'm sure the man had to be a millionaire—who owned several lumber yards. He lived there in their home, and they treated him just like one of the family. And these people still correspond with us now. They have a home there in Pass-a-Grille Beach in Florida; it's not far from St. Petersburg. I tried to reach them when I was in Clearwater, because I wanted to ask them if they would come over.
BOB HALL:
Who is that?
RUTH VICK:
Louis and Dorothy Hinshaw. They still live in Cincinnati; they just spend the winters in Florida. All of the children are grown. But my father was there when the youngest boy was born, and saved his life once, and of course they were so grateful for that. But they said they thought of him as a member of the family; they never thought of him

Page 18
as being a servant. And whenever you went to visit, you sat at their table; you ate with them. You sat in their living room. You did all the things that their family did. They're just real fine people, all the children. She did write us, I guess about ten years ago, which she asked us never to mention in her husband's presence. She said that the son that my father saved—my father had saved him from getting killed—committed suicide, and they have never gotten over that. But she told us not to ever mention that if we were ever around him. But she has a son who's a doctor in California, and one of the sons teaches at Columbia or somewhere there in New York. Then she has another son who at Harvard [unknown], but they're all [unknown]. And I think the only one who's not married is the one at Columbia.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So then you got a scholarship?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. To Morris Brown. There were three of us in college at the same time, the three younger ones. But we all got scholarships. The three younger ones live here. The youngest is Rhea. She went to State College, and it was in Forsyth at that time. That merged with [unknown] State. And I think there were a couple of training colleges, something of that sort. Evelyn, the one older than me, went to Spelman. She was [unknown]. Two of us were here together. My mother had an aunt that I was named for, and she lived right off the campus at Spelman, so I stayed with her and went to school, about seven minutes' walk to Morris Brown.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was it like to go off to college?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, it was wonderful. [laughter] You know, you never want

Page 19
to go back. Oh, we'd go back and have a lot of fun at Christmastime and things like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was Morris Brown a girls' school?
RUTH VICK:
No, it was coed. But they offered the best business course that you could get in Atlanta, and that's what I wanted. I didn't want to teach, so that's why I went there. And Evelyn minored in French and psychology, but she wanted to teach.
BOB HALL:
How did you know that you didn't want to teach?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know. There was just something about it. I just did not want to teach school. And I told [unknown] when she retired, "Now I wish I had taught school, because at least I could retire [unknown] money." [laughter] Now I have to wait until I'm sixty-five. Isn't that horrible?
JACQUELYN HALL:
When can teachers retire, at sixty?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, no, they can retire before that. It's the number of years. She had taught thirty-two years. But I've been working thirty-two.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What were the students like at that time? Were most of the kids at school there just very involved in their studies?
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were there any social questions going around …
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
JACQUELYN HALL:
… or education [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
Morris Brown is a Methodist school. And of course you had to

Page 20
promenade instead of dance; you could not dance. And I don't think I ever went to an activity like that on the campus; I just heard about it then. What I did was to go to school, and I did participate in some of the other activities, though, but I just didn't go to any of the dances. I went to all the football games; they had a good football team at the time that I was there. And I was on the debating team one year. [laughter] Just something else to do, something extra. And I did my library work and everything before I went home, so I had my evenings free. I had a lot of friends that went to Spelman, so I spent a lot of time on the Spelman campus once I had finished with my work, because most of my friends went to Spelman. And we were right off the campus. They would always sneak down for a little party, down to my aunt's house. So it was a really interesting; we had a very, very good time when we went to school.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What years were you there?
RUTH VICK:
From '37 through '39. It was a two-year business course.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have much awareness of other things, that the New Deal was going on, and the labor-organizing drives?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes. I became interested in… The guy who taught me economics, who just died a couple years ago, left Atlanta and went to Detroit; he got a good job there. But he taught economics at Morris Brown, and he made you aware of all of the things that were happening. He was a very, very good economics teacher. I thought I would never be able to understand anything about economics. I had to finally talk with him and told him; I said, "I'm not absorbing what you say." I said, "I must get it, because I cannot stand to get a bad grade." So finally

Page 21
he kept talking to me, and I finally got into it. After school the first job I had was with an insurance company here. I was keeping the records for the people who did the ordinary work, and I was doing some secretarial work, too, because I was taking dictation at that time. [Omission] Then the next year I went to Macon and taught typing and shorthand at the Georgia Baptist College. It was a church-owned college, very small, but it was interesting. And then I got a job with a real estate company here in Atlanta the next year and kept their books; I started bookkeeping [unknown]. And when I married, I left and lived in California. I lived in San Francisco and Alameda. I was married to a guy who was an architect, and he was a draftsman with the naval air base there at Alameda. He was supposed to have been essential to the war effort. Did I tell you that story?
JACQUELYN HALL:
No.
RUTH VICK:
It turned out that there were quite a few people working at Alameda, and he had been there for way over a year, going into his second year of working. And he came home one day and told me that they were fixing up this little room in the attic up there, no ventilation whatsoever. And he said, "I understand that some of the Southerners have been griping about working beside a black here." And he said, "I know that they're thinking about putting me up there." He said, "But the day that they put me up there," he says, "I'm not going to take that." I said, "Well, I know you're not. I know you're not going to do that. You're not going to let them do that to you." He said, "No, I'm not." But neither one of us thought that when he quit

Page 22
that Uncle Sam was going to call him. [laughter] Well, it was about thirty days after that. Of course, he had got another job at one of the shipbuilding companies, Kaiser Shipbuilding Company. He got another job; he knew he could get another job. But about thirty days after he left the Alameda Naval Base, he got drafted. So I came back to Atlanta and went back to work with the real estate company. And the day I left the real estate company I was called to come to work at Atlanta University—and that was in '44—at the School of Social Work for the man who was head of the School of Social Work, [unknown] Washington at that time. He knew me, and he said he needed some additional help, so I went over there and helped him for a week. And the next Monday I got a telephone call from Grace Hamilton telling me to go see Dr. Ira Reid at Atlanta University; he wanted a secretary. I said, "Oh, my goodness. I've heard about him. I know I can't …"
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was that?
RUTH VICK:
He was such a fast thinker and everything. He rarely found anybody able to take the dictation. And so I was a little frightened, but then I said, "Oh, shucks, I'm going over to see him." So I kept the appointment; I went over there had saw him and talked to him. And he was interested, and I didn't think much about it and I said, "Well, I'll let you know." And he said, "Well, I need somebody. I'd like to know as soon as possible." And this must have been around the first of April, and so I didn't say anything for a week, so he called me. And he said, "Young lady, I really need somebody, and I'm interested. Won't you come and try?" So I said, "All right, I'll come and try." So I went back over there, and we started working,

Page 23
and it was the most interesting job. And that's how I became acquainted with the Southern Regional Council. He was the Associate Director. He was the head of the Department of Sociology at Atlanta University, and he was the first Associate Director.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who was the Director at that time?
RUTH VICK:
Guy Johnson. And the Council paid me two-thirds of my salary; AU paid me one-third.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But you were working at AU.
RUTH VICK:
But I had a desk, and I worked sometimes at Southern Regional Council.
BOB HALL:
To do what, to keep their books?
RUTH VICK:
No, I was Dr. Reid's secretary. I did his secretarial work for the Southern Regional Council.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you hadn't really heard of the Council or been acquainted with it before that.
RUTH VICK:
No, I had read about the old Commission, just a little bit about it, not too much, because there wasn't much in the papers then about it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was the Council like? That was about forty …
RUTH VICK:
That was '44; that was in the very beginning.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So they were just getting started.
RUTH VICK:
I worked from April through December for them. And the work got so heavy at Atlanta University, we had already hired a second person at Atlanta University while I was working then at the Council, Marie Saxon. I had known her husband, and I met her; she's a South Carolinian. So Dr. Reid said, "What do you say, Mrs. A., that we let Marie go to the

Page 24
Southern Regional Council, and you stay over here?" And I said, "That's fine with me." So I stayed at Atlanta University, and she went to the Southern Regional Council. I think she worked there about three years or more, and then she decided she would teach, and she's still teaching.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So were you in the board meetings and executive meetings?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, no, no, no. You didn't get in any of those things.
[laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
You were just a secretary.
RUTH VICK:
Right. It was very little. It was very interesting at that time. Mrs. Tilley had an office down the hall in the church building. They had what you call state divisions at that time, and she worked in a State of Georgia. And she used to come down. The first day she saw me they introduced me to her, and she turned up her nose.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What?
RUTH VICK:
That was the funniest thing. Yes, it really was.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why …
RUTH VICK:
And she said little things around to the other girls in the office. There was a Miss Margaret Price there. Jane; I can't remember Jane's name before she married. She married a Dr. Simpson later, and then she married Hal Fleming. And then there was a young girl from Macon, Georgia, who had to give up the job. Her husband was in the service at the time. But her mother found out what the Southern Regional Council was and that there were some blacks in it, and her mother almost drove her crazy, so she had to give up the job and leave. I [unknown]
JACQUELYN HALL:
And why did Mrs. Tilley turn up her nose?

Page 25
RUTH VICK:
I don't know. I guess she had just never been around anybody. She didn't know who I was. She didn't know me or anything like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of things did she say to the other people?
RUTH VICK:
She'd say, "Who is she? Is she going to be down here?"
JACQUELYN HALL:
You were the only black secretary?
RUTH VICK:
Yes.
BOB HALL:
But that's what it was about.
RUTH VICK:
That's what it was. It was interesting. Nobody would have ever believed that now, all the stuff that she had done beforehand, unmasking the Klan, doing this, that, and the other. But this was just something new to her, you see. There I was going to be so close. And so I didn't very much of Mrs. Tilley then at all.
But then when I ent back in 1954, you see, the Council took her off their payroll and made her Director of Women's Work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In about '49.
RUTH VICK:
No, in '54.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You mean she hadn't been on the Council payroll. What had she been doing?
RUTH VICK:
She had been collecting dues from people in Georgia, memberships, and turning over a portion of it to the Council for a subscription to New South, like the other directors. But they knew that she wouldn't be able to do the type of work that called for directing or going around the state and all that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was that, because she was too old?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. So they hired Dr. Guy Wells, who had been at the college in the little village, whatever the name of it was. Anyway,

Page 26
he had retired from the college, so he took the first directorship of the Georgia Council. And she came on and directed women's work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had there not been a Department of Women's Work at all up until that time?
RUTH VICK:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Then what was she supposed to do?
RUTH VICK:
She was supposed to work with all the church women, which she did. And she had a meeting that brought all of them together. It was actually a South-wide meeting that she had, once a year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were these white church women?
RUTH VICK:
There were some Negro church women; they were not all white.
BOB HALL:
This was after '54?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes. This was after '54. Well, the only place you could meet was Atlanta University. Dorothy Hall in Tuskegee. There weren't but a few places you could meet, so most of the meetings were held at Atlanta University, because you could live there; you could eat there. None of the hotels would take you at that time, so you had to go to a black college campus.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was Mrs. Tilley's attitude toward you then?
RUTH VICK:
She became very, very close to me. At that time she didn't have a secretary. I was doing some of everything when I went back there. I went back as Assistant to the Secretary-Treasurer. She called and told me that they needed somebody and would I come, and I said yes, because it was paying more than I was making at Atlanta University.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It was her that called you to come back there to work?

Page 27
RUTH VICK:
Not Mrs. Tilley, no. The gal who was the Secretary-Treasurer. George Mitchell was there, and George Mitchell knew me. And he had called me earlier about becoming his secretary, and I told him I hadn't taken dictation in so long, and I said, "In fact, I've been doing nothing but bookkeeping. I haven't even been typing. I couldn't possibly do it." I said, "Do you want somebody?" He said, "Yes. I want a good gal." I said, "All right, I have the gal for you," and so I sent her. She took the job. And the Secretary-Treasurer, Katherine Stone, told me, she said, "I think I'm going to need somebody to help me, because we're going to have all these state councils to take care of." And I said, "All right," I said, "but don't call me until you get the money." [laughter] "Because I'm not going to quit one job for another one." She called when they got the money, so I gave a month's notice and I went down May 1, '54. Mrs. Tilley was quite congenial then, and of course I was doing some of her work. I was cutting the stencils for her and running them off for her, doing a lot of things [unknown]. And her husband became very fond of me. I guess she had told him how nice I had been to her. He was really a very fine man. And he went with her; he backed her in everything she did. He was retired when I first knew him. I think he had been in some surgical supply business. But he had been a successful businessman; he was retired.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever say anything to her about her earlier attitude [unknown] ?
RUTH VICK:
No, I didn't, but [Interruption] research and told [unknown] was leaving. She had a run-in with Dr.

Page 28
Mitchell, so he told her she could go find another job.
Emory Bayh and his wife were visiting Atlanta, their son, with a young baby, so she invited us out to her house for dinner, Mrs. Tilley did. Liz [unknown] was black—that was George Mitchell's secretary that I had found for him—and I was black; we were the only two black people there. So Liz picked me up that afternoon, and the fellow that I was dating then, because I was divorced from my first husband at that time. The fellow that I was dating was here from Chicago, so she told me to bring him out, so I took him out. We drove out there and parked the car and went in and we had a nice dinner. And Mr. Tilley was so sweet; he was helping with everything. And just as we had finished eating the telephone rang, and Mr. Tilley answered the phone. And he called Mrs. Tilley to the phone, and she answered the phone. Well, pretty soon Katharine Stone went there, and I could hear them talking but I didn't know what they were talking about. I said, "I'd better go back there and find out what's happening." So I went back there and I asked. I said, "Katharine, let me help you with the dishes." She said, "Oh, no, you don't need to help me with the dishes." I said, "Well, what is all the talking then?" I said, "Was it the telephone call? Was somebody threatening Mrs. Tilley? Is something happening?" And she said, "Somebody made a crank call and said that they had better get those so-and-so-and-so-and-so's away from there, or they would do this, that, and the other." Well, I went to Mrs. Tilley and Mr. Tilley and [unknown] said, "Mrs. Tilley," I said, "We don't want anything to happen." I said, "We've have a nice dinner, and we've chatted a while," I said, "and before it

Page 29
gets late, I think we should go on home." I said, "Now, we have done exactly what we come to do. We had a lovely dinner; we talked." And I said, "We can leave before anything gets too bad, that something might happen." She said, "I'm really not afraid that anything is going to happen, but I certainly am sick over this." I said, "Well, don't be sick. We know that there are sick people anywhere." She said, "My neighbors would not do this." But she found out exactly who did it. Some man who was visiting somebody across the street. So Emory Bayh decided that he would walk to the car with us, just to see if anybody made any move. Well, what had happened was, the man who was visiting had backed his car right up on the front bumper of our car, so we could not pull out, and we couldn't back up nor pull out. So we got out there, and Emory saw this car [unknown] in like this, and he said, "Somebody did this on purpose," and we said, "Yes, it's true. This must have been the guy that called." So we stood there and we looked around. Well, this guy was still sitting on the porch with the people he was visiting, across from Mrs. Tilley. So when he saw Emory with us, he walked over, and he said, "Am I blocking you?" And Emory said, "Well, I think they can't quite get out. Is this your car?" He said, "Yes." And Emory said, "Well, it would help if you would move your car so that they can get out, so they can leave." So he actually got in his car and drove on off; he didn't go back to the people across the street. She found out who it was later, because the people across the street told her who it was. And then when her husband died, she insisted that I come to the house and go to the funeral

Page 30
because she said, "He thought so much of you, and this is what he would have wanted." Well, I tried not to go because I didn't like funerals, but I went over to the house. She made me ride in the car with her and her son. And we went to Patterson's and stood there; we were there an hour before the funeral. Well, Patterson would not let me walk in and sit with the family …
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who was he?
RUTH VICK:
… as she wanted me to do. Patterson Funeral Home. No, they couldn't do that.
BOB HALL:
What year is that?
RUTH VICK:
That was in '61.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's just unbelievable.
RUTH VICK:
And Mrs. Tilley said, "If anybody had told me this, I never would have believed it." He would not let me go in with her and sit where she wanted me to sit. He made me wait until they were all seated, the family, and then I could go and sit in the back. That's what he did. But, you know, I acted real, real white that day [laughter] , as the people say. I didn't say one word.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter]
RUTH VICK:
I didn't exchange anything with him or any words with him, anything. When he said we couldn't do that, I didn't say one word.
BOB HALL:
[missing]
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter]
RUTH VICK:
But you know, Mrs. Tilley talked about that, she talked about that, and she talked about it, because it really hurt her. It really did. It hurt her.

Page 31
BOB HALL:
She'd never been in the position where what she wanted to happen was blocked.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter] Where was the Council located at that time?
RUTH VICK:
Sixty-three Auburn Avenue. In a Methodist Church building.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where all the other Methodist offices were?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. The North Georgia Conference offices were there. But the building is down now. Do you know where the telephone company is, on the corner of Ivy and Auburn?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Yes.
RUTH VICK:
It was right across the street from there. It's now nothing but a parking lot.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there difficulty in having an integrated staff in that building?
RUTH VICK:
Some people tried to make something out of it. But the bishop was on our side.
BOB HALL:
What bishop was that?
RUTH VICK:
Bishop Moore.
BOB HALL:
Oh, Arthur Moore.
RUTH VICK:
He's now retired. But he was one of the original five on the charter. He was a very pleasant person. Just some people in the North Georgia Conference from some of these small towns didn't like it, and they tried to make something out of it. But for a long time we didn't have a negro on the staff. From about '51 until about '54 they didn't have any negroes. They had a very small staff, because

Page 32
they had very little money. That's when George Mitchell was actually borrowing on his insurance and on his home to pay salaries and things for some of the people.
JACQUELYN HALL:
From '51 to '54 that was happening?
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was George Mitchell Director?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. He was the Director at that time. And they really didn't have any money. People weren't giving money.
BOB HALL:
That was during the McCarthy era. Was that part of it?
RUTH VICK:
It could have been. I've never heard any information as far as anything of that sort. The first money that they got was Rosenwall money, and when that gave out they couldn't quite convince the foundations or philanthropists that this was a needed thing in the South.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was that, do you think?
RUTH VICK:
I just don't know, but finally he got to the Fund for the Republic, which was a subsidiary of Ford. It went through years of negotiating with them, and finally the money came through in '54, in April, 1954.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You were there, I guess, when Tom Mitchell was attacking the Southern Regional Council and …
RUTH VICK:
No, I was with the Georgia Workers Educational Service then. There was a little period in there, '46 to '51, when I was working for Dr. Reid at AU, and he got this visiting professorship at New York University. And I said, "Oh, shucks, I don't want to stay over here and work while you're gone." He said, "Well, I'll tell you what, they're

Page 33
looking for somebody just like you at the Georgia Workers Educational Service. Do you know Frank McAllister?" I said, "Yes, I've heard about him." He said, "All I have to do is call and tell him that you're interested, and you can go on in for an interview." He said, "You'll probably make more money, but I hate to lose you, because when I come back I know I can't take you back [unknown]." I said, "Well, you probably won't come back to stay." Well, he talked to him, and I got the job.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Frank McAllister was the director of that?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. And what they did was to provide recreation and education for labor people, union people throughout the State of Georgia.
BOB HALL:
Union members?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, union members.
BOB HALL:
Union organizers?
RUTH VICK:
No, just union members, not the organizers. Supplied recreation and education. They held night school in the office. It was on the corner of Cortwell and Forest Avenue. [Interruption]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did the union people come here to that night school?
RUTH VICK:
Really, the night school was held for people right here in Atlanta, union members right here in Atlanta who wanted to learn how to conduct a meeting. And some of them couldn't read, couldn't write; they taught them how to read and how to write. And then there were a lot of them had no recreation whatsoever. They had a recreation director. They'd go off wherever they wanted to go in the State of Georgia.
BOB HALL:
Was that integrated?

Page 34
JACQUELYN HALL:
It was the CIO union?
RUTH VICK:
AF of L-CIO, yes. We got a lot of labor [unknown] financed by Rosewall, too. And we had a lot of labor [unknown] the labor was interested in the union people being educated and know what was going on. They were taught how to conduct a meeting and all that sort of stuff, just anything.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Frank McAllister, what was he like?
RUTH VICK:
He was a very fine person. He was originally from Illinois. He married a southern woman, I think from [unknown], Georgia. A very fine guy. And I went as his secretary and the bookkeeper. And he left about a year before the organization liquidated, and took the job as head of the Labor Education Division of Roosevelt in Chicago. He just died last year. He had a heart attack and died. He was supposed to come down to a meeting that Emory was having, and we got word that he had had a heart attack and died just the year before [unknown] before. But it was a real interesting group of people.
BOB HALL:
How was he to work for?
RUTH VICK:
A very fine guy. I enjoyed it very much.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You were working there when …
RUTH VICK:
The Council was having such hard times. But you see, I was in close contact with them, because we all went to the Hungry Club on Wednesday. The Hungry Club started while I was working at Atlanta University with Dr. Reid.
BOB HALL:
The two staffs of those two different organizations would meet?

Page 35
RUTH VICK:
We would always go to the Hungry Club, because there were interesting speakers there, and that was one way of getting together and seeing people. So we would always meet other people there. We knew what was going on because some people on their board were on our board.
JACQUELYN HALL:
There's always a lot of …
RUTH VICK:
Overlapping, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
All of these organizations are very …
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What were some of the other organizations like that that were working with SRC at that time? Your group and what else was going on then?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know of another organization like that.
BOB HALL:
Was SCEF working then?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, SCEF was, but they didn't have an office here. No. I remember many letters that I wrote to Dombrowski in Louisiana at that time, because there were a lot of people on their board, but they all got off. The man I worked for, Ira Reid, was on there. I'm sure that Frank was, and he got off. Any number of people. But I can't remember all the things that they told me. I wondered why. Well, they said that Dombrowski was really an overpowering individual, and he didn't listen to his board. He did things that he could have avoided doing. And not that they believed that they were communist at all—they never believed that; all of them said that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But SCEF was being really attacked …

Page 36
RUTH VICK:
Right. And they did some shady things, and I think they had some people around that caused people to attack them and that sort of thing. And they did some foolish things, which I don't remember all the things, but they did tell me some of the things that he did. So people just began dropping off the board. And they used to get us mixed up with them all the time, the Southern Regional Council and Southern …
BOB HALL:
… Conference Education Fund.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How do you mean, get mixed up?
RUTH VICK:
They would say things about us that they meant to say about them.
BOB HALL:
In the papers.
RUTH VICK:
Yes, in the papers. All sorts of stories and things.
JACQUELYN HALL:
George Mitchell was on the board.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
BOB HALL:
Do you remember any of those incidents, like Dombrowski, meetings he would hold?
RUTH VICK:
I just didn't pay too much attention to it then. I was writing letters and things, but it's not too clear to me now, the things that were going on, what was happening.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Are the papers from the Southern Workers Group anywhere?
RUTH VICK:
There should be some somewhere. Miles Horton up in Tennessee.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Highlander?
RUTH VICK:
Right. The last attack was while I was at the Council, and they had a meeting. Highlander Folk School. Brad Brown, C. H. Parrish, they were up there at the time, went up to a meeting. And they had

Page 37
this guy from Atlanta go up. He went up and took some pictures, but what he did was to take the pictures that he took—and I don't know how you do this process, but photographers know—how you can take this person, cut it off, and put it with another person. So he had negro men dancing with white women and white women dancing with… And of course, as long as they saw this …
JACQUELYN HALL:
And SRC people were at that meeting?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were the pictures of them?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, there were pictures of them and the names, and this communist outfit and that communist outfit Oh, yes, they had the pictures in there, and I'm sure they're filed somewhere in Research, because they were in the Augusta Courier.
BOB HALL:
They weren't in the Constitution?
RUTH VICK:
No.
BOB HALL:
The Constitution didn't participate in that whole thing?
RUTH VICK:
No. Ralph McGill knew what the Council was. He had been closely connected with it from the beginning, and he knew [unknown]
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did SRC do about that?
RUTH VICK:
We have some stuff there in a file attacks on the Council, and there were answers made. And people would write; like McGill would write an editorial, and so forth. So there never was anything that …

Page 38
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did the people who had been trying to help Highlander Folk School get off of the board and quit going to those meetings?
RUTH VICK:
I don't think they went as much after that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When was it that the Tennessee legislature was attacking Highlander and finally destroyed it? Fifties, I think, wasn't it?
RUTH VICK:
Was it early sixties or late fifties? It could have been late fifties. Because the woman who was working with Miles Horton came here and worked with King, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. I don't know whether she's still here or not.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who was that?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, what was her name? I think I'll remember. But she came here. I don't know whether she's still with the SCLC or not. She came here and worked.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was SRC involved in that in any way, when the Highlander …
RUTH VICK:
No. SRC, I don't think, said anything as such.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there any debate about whether SRC should come out supporting Highlander Folk School or take any kind of stand?
RUTH VICK:
I can't remember exactly what [unknown], but… I really can't remember.
BOB HALL:
Wasn't there an association of southern liberal organizations?
JACQUELYN HALL:
NARRO? Was it called that?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, NARRO.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That was an organization of all …
RUTH VICK:
All the agencies. Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
… representatives of all these different agencies.
RUTH VICK:
Right. Our people began to participate in it, I'm sure, after

Page 39
Harold Fleming became Director of the Council, and not before that. I don't know how long NARRO had been existing. They had what they called an inter-agency conference here in Atlanta that met [unknown] while Harold was here and after Harold left, and the Council was the secretary for that group and sent out all the notices. And of course you always had a representative from the Y's and the Urban League, NAACP, and all of the Jewish organizations and whatnot, they would come together. I don't know that they ever really did anything. I don't think they did. I don't think NARRO's done anything.
BOB HALL:
I was just wondering whether that would be a format [forum?] for SRC and other organizations to issue statements in support of the members, when Highlander or SCEF was being attacked whether SRC supported…
RUTH VICK:
There might have been some. I don't think there was anything openly done. I think it was talked about, but there are a lot of things that Miles Horton, they said, has done that he shouldn't have done. Now I don't know what it was, and I don't know whether it was politics or what, but they had been on him a long time. But they said he had been using funds for his personal use that were meant for the organization. And I think Internal Revenue uncovered a lot of stuff up there. And I think that's what really ruined him, was [unknown] that he had really misused those funds, and that he had been operating out of his home and paying himself rent. And there was a lot of little stuff; I can't remember all the things that happened. But there was quite a mass going on.

Page 40
BOB HALL:
They worked long enough; they should have been able to find something.
RUTH VICK:
They found something.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who was Director of SRC when you came back to work for them?
RUTH VICK:
George Mitchell. He was there '54, '55, '56; he left in January of '57. He retired. And he needed that January paycheck for his thirty-three quarters for Social Security. He could not get that Social Security until he was sixty-five, but he retired, I think, at fifty-five or fifty-six. But he had been in TIAA because he had taught, so he had it planned where he would have enough income to live on, because you know the story about going to Scotland and him building over there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He went to Scotland and built himself a little house?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. He and his wife built a house.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
BOB HALL:
Way out in the country.
RUTH VICK:
Yes. They said one night a few friends were at his home, and he blindfolded himself and stuck a pin in a map and said that that would be where he would retire, and it was a small place in Scotland.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Gosh. Why did he want to leave the country?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know. I think this was just something he thought he wanted to do, and of course his wife didn't want to do it. They have two daughters. But she went, of course, and I guess they had just about finished their home when they found out that he had arteriosclerosis. And he didn't live long. He died, and of course she stayed on and sold the property. She's working in Richmond, Virginia, now; Virginia is

Page 41
her home. And Virginia was his home, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was she active in things in the Council?
RUTH VICK:
She would come and help with anything that the Council was doing. If we were swamped with work, she'd come down and just pull off her shoes and sat up there and helped fold stuff, take it to the post office, do anything. She was a smart and very sweet woman.
BOB HALL:
What is she doing in Richmond?
RUTH VICK:
She is teaching, and I don't know what she's teaching. But she was prepared.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you came to the Council just as they got the big, pretty good-sized grant from the Fund for the Republic.
RUTH VICK:
Yes. They said it was for three years. [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
And the Supreme Court decision [unknown] segregation had taken place.
RUTH VICK:
Yes, the same month I came there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So the Council must have been really starting in a new thing then.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
For the last three or four years before you came, what was it?
RUTH VICK:
Just nothing. It was just existing, and that was it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Just a few staff people and …
RUTH VICK:
Right. They had four.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So what did the Council do to try to… How did they respond to the Supreme Court decision? What was their idea of how they

Page 42
could help?
RUTH VICK:
They had had C. H. Parrish, who was a sociology professor from Louisville, come down and go through the South [unknown] visiting people to find out how they felt about it, before the Supreme Court decision. They knew it was coming.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that where the Fund for the Republic gave …
RUTH VICK:
When they submitted the proposal to the Fund for the Republic, there were so many letters back and forth. I've never read all of that sort of stuff that they sent. That's something I just didn't do. Did you ever see any of that in …
JACQUELYN HALL:
I did, but I didn't really …
RUTH VICK:
I didn't read that at all. I just never thought about picking up that big document and reading it, but I know that they wanted to help the state councils. That was one of the main things. George Mitchell was really wrapped up in that idea, and he thought that after they got on their feet that there was no need for the Southern Regional Council any longer. And when he left, we had very little money [unknown]
Harold Fleming, because the Fund for the Republic money had gone. So Harold Fleming started talking to people about what the Council wanted to do, and the Fund for the Republic gave us some money with no strings; didn't tell us what to do with it. And later on—it was in '58—that's when the Curriers needed to give away some money. She was part of the Andrew Mellon family; I guess she was the granddaughter. And they had to give away some money. And they were talking to David Singer, who had been associated with the Fund for the Republic, and he

Page 43
told them about us. And they gave us something like two or three hundred thousand dollars' worth of stock, just before the end of the year, for tax purposes.
BOB HALL:
Currier and Ives?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know what his family was. He must have been about twenty-seven years old at that time, and she was twenty-nine.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They were with the Taconic Foundation.
RUTH VICK:
Right, the Taconic Foundation.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And when they died in a plane accident, they were young.
RUTH VICK:
Right, young. They were in their thirties.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And since then, I think, the Taconic Foundation hasn't been as liberal, or they haven't had as much money.
RUTH VICK:
I don't think they have really worked out what's to be worked out in that foundation. There's plenty of money there, but …
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they give any money to SRC anymore since that happened?
RUTH VICK:
They've given us something like $25,000 a year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Ever since.
RUTH VICK:
Yes. But you see, what Currier did, Currier liked Harold Fleming because he was a Harvard graduate; he was from Harvard. So he took Harold Fleming away from us and set up this Potomac Institute in Washington. And he endowed that Potomac Institute, so you see, Harold doesn't have anything to [unknown].
BOB HALL:
Is that where he is now?
RUTH VICK:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But who does the Potomac Institute give money to? Do they give money to SRC?

Page 44
RUTH VICK:
No, I don't think they give money to anybody. [laughter] They operate.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What do they do?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, they do some research, and a little something. I don't really know what they do. [laughter]
BOB HALL:
Never heard of it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It's not a foundation that gives away money.
RUTH VICK:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It's just supposed to be a research foundation.
RUTH VICK:
What it was supposed to do was to bring the government closer to the people and that sort of thing. That's what it was meant to do. I don't really know what they do. Every now and then you see a little something about what they do. But they do not say they've got money.
JACQUELYN HALL:
All of SRC's directors …
RUTH VICK:
I know it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter]
BOB HALL:
They see some contact with that money, they go right to it.
RUTH VICK:
Right. They just take them away [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's really amazing.
RUTH VICK:
Isn't it so? Yes, because Les Dunbar had said he would never live in New York when they started talking to him about Field Foundation. Les said the only reason that he went, when they told him that they would put $25,000 a year into a retirement fund for him, well, that was too tempting for him not to take that. You just think about somebody putting $25,000 a year for you into a retirement fund.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You mean… Gosh. So if he works there for ten years …

Page 45
RUTH VICK:
Well, he's already been there six years.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So when he retires, he'll have a tremendous lot of money.
RUTH VICK:
Oh, he will.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Plus the salary …
RUTH VICK:
The salary that he makes. I don't know what his salary was, but his salary had to be more than $25,000, I believe.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is it that the Southern Regional Council has been able to put its people into the heads of those foundations like that?
RUTH VICK:
Somehow, I guess, in dealing with the foundations, they like the way you talk; they like what you do. Leslie Dunbar delighted them. He's a very keen person. Of course, Harold Fleming was as smart as he could be, too. And I think that they just saw these things in these people. They said Currier thought there was nothing like some of the Harvard persons. So I think he and Harold just hit it off when he found out that Harold was a Harvard graduate, and so was he.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What impact have the different directors had on what SRC is like? When George Mitchell left and Harold Fleming came, what did that mean?
RUTH VICK:
It really meant that people began to know a little bit more about the Southern Regional Council once Harold got to be Director, because Harold talked about the Southern Regional Council and what it should do. George Mitchell [unknown] promoted George Mitchell more than he did the Southern Regional Council. [laughter] People knew George Mitchell, but they didn't know the Southern Regional Council. So that was one of the things that Harold did.

Page 46
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was he involved in other things besides the Southern Regional Council?
RUTH VICK:
No. We found out that George Mitchell was sick long before he left the Council, and of course nobody knew it. We didn't know what was wrong with him, but he really was suffering before he left there. And you could tell it sometimes in the way he did things, what he said, like the day that he fired Anna Holden. There was a letter in the reading file saying that she would like to participate in the Program Committee meeting. She was the research person at that time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Research Director?
RUTH VICK:
They didn't call it Research Director. She was doing the research at that time. Harold was Director of Information, and he was the editor of New South. Anna Holden did all of the research. Anna wrote some articles that were published in the New South, but she got tired of just sitting there clipping and doing nothing. She was an able person, and she just wrote this letter to the Chairman of the Program Committee and asked could she be invited and included. Harold was irritated by it and showed it to George Mitchell, and George Mitchell just got on the telephone and called her up and told her she was fired.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Gosh. Why? On what grounds?
RUTH VICK:
Because he said that she should have come to him, not written to the Director. And of course I think Harold and Anna had not gotten along too well till then ; it was a real ugly situation. And she told him that he couldn't fire her that day, because he had some work to complete. I think she stayed about two or three weeks

Page 47
after that. But she was working on her master's thesis at that time, and she was at home. She was taking a day's leave that day when he called her.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did other people on the Council respond to that?
RUTH VICK:
They didn't particularly care for the way he did it. We thought that he could have done it a little better. But we understood later that this probably was happening to him, that he was ill. But he used to do some pretty odd things. Many days it got too hot, because we didn't have air conditioning. He'd say, "Close up, Miss Ruth, and let's go home. It's too hot to work." So we'd close the office and go home.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter] That's good.
RUTH VICK:
Well, that helped a little bit, you know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter] Right.
RUTH VICK:
Because that first summer I worked down there, I lost ten pounds, it was so hot. Here we were on that top floor, and they had a flat roof on the church. I don't care how many fans you had; the sun got on top of that roof, it was just unbearable. So I just sweated off ten pounds that summer. [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
How was he promoting himself more than the Council?
RUTH VICK:
It seemed as though the people that should have known about the Southern Regional Council didn't, but they knew George Mitchell.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Like what kind of people?
RUTH VICK:
The people that could help us most, like other foundations, like Rockefeller and Field. You know, we've gotten very little money

Page 48
from them. We had almost none, maybe $5,000, with all that money they had, millions and millions of dollars to spend. I just think he'd sit up and talk about what he had done. And when he came to the Council he came in charge of veterans' affairs, because it was at the time that World War II was being ended. Veterans would be coming back looking for work, and they knew that in the type of society we were living in, that they would be the last ones to get jobs when they came back. I think he had worked very effectively in that, but when he got to be Director of the Council, he didn't like detail or anything like that. He liked to go off speaking, telling tales, and all that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He was a big story-teller.
RUTH VICK:
He was a big story-teller. And I think that the Council was just forgotten in the mainstream. A lot of people didn't know what the Council was. So Harold really did a beautiful job.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Of publicizing the Council. What would he do, write articles for magazines and things?
RUTH VICK:
Anything. All sorts of articles, doing research, then getting it published, putting it before the public. We built the [unknown] tremendously under him, and then Leslie Dunbar continued it. Leslie came under Harold as Research Director, because we haven't had a good research director since [laughter] Leslie became Director.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I know.
RUTH VICK:
No, we just haven't had one. I think that's one thing that the new man is going to do. I'm very excited about George Esser. I really am.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did Harold build up your mailing list?

Page 49
[text deleted]
RUTH VICK:
Harold knew a lot of newspaper people, media people, that he'd dealt with while he was Director of Information. And he just began spreading the word around and what the Council was doing. And then the state councils did have a newsletter. We had a newsletter that we put out about the state councils. And of course we'd send information to the newspapers. He just got a lot more stuff going. We had more stuff really going once we got the state councils on their feet. And then the Council started doing so much more, hiring more people, and starting publicizing everything we did. And you got some people on your board who came out with these statements at these annual meetings every year, which kept people [unknown]. And then they put out so many more publications about school desegregation and all that sort of stuff, and people were just eating it up [unknown] like mad. Every time a group would come up, like the medical group here in Georgia, and they would visit all the doctors [unknown] that said they wanted open schools, and all the other organizations that came up. [unknown] we'd just [unknown]. We kept people aware of everything that was happening, so it helped a great deal.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who was Director when the sit-ins started?
RUTH VICK:
Harold Fleming.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did SRC respond to that? Did it take people by surprise?
RUTH VICK:
I think the very fact that it did happen when it happened—

Page 50
because nobody knew it was going to happen—was a surprise. But then we began to cooperate with the students. The students would ask our advice on things, and we would tell them what we thought. Because at that time we moved from Sixty-three Auburn. But when the first student marchers went down Auburn Avenue, we stood and watched them.
And then we moved to Five Forsyth Street.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did you move?
RUTH VICK:
Because the church building was not air conditioned; it was almost falling apart. And we found this place on Forsyth Street that was air conditioned and had it fixed up; it was real nice. And so we were in the midst of everything then, because most of the demonstrations were in the downtown area. And I think Frank Neely—Frank or not—who was vice-president of Rich's, his daughter came to visit Harold many times, trying to get him to talk to the students so that their business would pick up. Harold said [laughter] , "What you need to do is to talk to your daddy and tell him what he should do about Rich's.'" He said, "Those students know what they're doing."
JACQUELYN HALL:
What were they doing at Rich's?
RUTH VICK:
They were just keeping people from going in; it hurt their shopping.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did he send his daughter to talk to Harold? [laughter]
RUTH VICK:
I don't know whether he sent her or whether she just thought… She knew Harold. But Harold just told her point-blank, "There's nothing in the world that…"
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did SRC people participate in any of the [unknown] ?
RUTH VICK:
There were one or two people who did. You could do it on

Page 51
your own time. What you had to do was sign a leave slip, and then you could go out and march and sit in, if you wanted to. Marge Manderson almost got herself arrested several times.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did people have to really discuss that and make a policy decision about it?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes, right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What were people's feelings about all of the participation like that by SRC people?
RUTH VICK:
They just said that you couldn't do it on SRC time. What you'd have to do is take a leave, and then when you were on your own, as long as they had a record slip in there that you were on a leave of absence or annual leave or what…
JACQUELYN HALL:
That was to protect …
RUTH VICK:
The Council. Really I guess it was, but I think there was something, and some lawyer mentioned this who was in the Council—I think it was Marion Wright at that time who was the President—and he mentioned that he thought that the senior staff members should not get involved in it, in the actual demonstration part. But otherwise they could go talk to the groups; they could offer them advice; they could put out any kind of reports; and of course they were the final reports during that time. And there were about four members of the Council there that were not considered senior staff members who did participate, actually sat in. But luckily none were arrested, but they did participate in the march [unknown] city. And a lot of the staff people at the Council sent their charge cards in to Rich's,

Page 52
closed their accounts just like that, and told them why they were doing it, because they refused to open up their bathrooms. So of course Davison's was ready to do it right away, and Rich's kept trying to hold them off until they were ready.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was Rich's able to keep Davison's from [unknown] ?
RUTH VICK:
This was real funny. A guy called Harold from Davison's [unknown] —what was his name? it started with a J—anyway, he was a New York man that they sent [unknown] down here; he was here for quite some time. He's not there anymore now; [unknown]. But he called Harold and told him the reason they didn't. He said, "We're ready, but Richard Britch and Neely are just needling me: ‘Don't do it. We're going to do it, but we've got to do this thing. [unknown] so-and-so and so-and-so."’ They just kept this going, back and forth, like this, for the longest time, until Rich's lost enough money, until they felt it, you see, and then they did open up. When they opened up, they decided that they didn't want the blacks to sit other than a certain place in the…
BOB HALL:
That cafeteria [unknown] ?
RUTH VICK:
Up on the sixth floor. Albright was working on the Council at that time, and we were the [unknown] first ones to go down and eat. She had a lot of guts. [laughter] And she was the first one to send in her card and wrote them a letter and told them why she was doing it. So we ate together all the time, and we went down to eat. And you could see them, the person back here holding up their hand for two, and then the hostess here would turn around and see that there was

Page 53
a negro to be seated. Well, you see they would wait and find a spot where they wanted you to sit. So we decided that the next time we did that, that we weren't going to take the seat that they were ushering us to; we were going to take another seat in another part, and we did. And of course we could tell that they didn't like it, but they didn't do anything about it. So we went there daily, the two of us, as long as she was there. We just wouldn't go any other place, only when we went to the Hungry Club. So they know me very well [unknown]. The Magnolia Room.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter]
RUTH VICK:
But we did go to Davison's. They had a lovely restaurant at Davison's and the food was much better there at that particular time. And they had a restaurant for men only just like they do at Rich's, the Cockerel Bar.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do they still have those?
RUTH VICK:
No. They just have that one [unknown] Restaurant, and the food isn't very good. The food isn't very good at Rich's anymore, either. In fact, there are very few places where you can get a decent meal [laughter] in our town.
BOB HALL:
But Rich's managed to get all the credit for integrating the city.
RUTH VICK:
They tried to, but they didn't. They didn't do it. You see, Stouffer's came and was integrated when they came to Atlanta, and it was right at the time that this was happening. But you see, they just had all these negro teachers' trade. They had more trade than anybody else, more business. And they just thought that Rich's

Page 54
should take the lead, and they wouldn't do it. And they [unknown]. They were stubborn until they lost some money.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So Les Dunbar came in about sixty…
RUTH VICK:
One. [unknown] It was around April, because Harold left in April. Les came as Research Director in '59.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was his style as Director of the Council?
RUTH VICK:
He said he didn't like administration. He didn't like dealing with personnel problems and things like that, so that's when he… Paul was the administrative assistant when Les came. And Paul [unknown] left, who was the director of the [unknown]. And when he left, Paul wanted that job because it paid more. Paul took that job, and then Les hired [unknown] Jordan as administrative assistant. And that's how Vernon came with us, Vernon Jordan. And of course under Leslie Dunbar, the first [unknown] voter project was formed. And this started in New York; the Kingsley Foundation said they wanted to give away some money. They thought that this was one way of negroes really helping themselves, was to get people registered, go to the polls, and that was quite true. So they're the ones who dreamed up that idea of the …
JACQUELYN HALL:
Not SRC.
RUTH VICK:
Not SRC. No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did SRC get to be the…
RUTH VICK:
These foundations knew SRC, and they said, "We'll give it to SRC and then let them give it to the other organizations that will be working in the field," like Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, the NAACP, Urban League, CORE.

Page 55
JACQUELYN HALL:
How close did SRC work with those other organizations, like SNCC, for example?
RUTH VICK:
Other than offering assistance, not really. There wasn't too much.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of assistance?
RUTH VICK:
If they needed advice.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What about money? Did SRC get money for any of those other people?
RUTH VICK:
No, they got their own money. No, we didn't get any money for them. They were able to get money. They weren't suffering for money in the beginning.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where did they get money?
RUTH VICK:
People were just giving it to them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Not from foundations.
RUTH VICK:
I think they may have gotten a little foundation money; I think they did. I don't know what foundations, but I think they did get some. But they had to have people just keeping records for money coming in. Oh, yes, they got money in the beginning. They did quite well for themselves.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So Vernon Jordan was the first black person who had a pretty high position at SRC, wasn't he?
RUTH VICK:
No, because you had two black assistant directors before. In the very beginning there was Ira Reid, and then there was Dr. Harold Tree, who was the next black person there, right after Ira Reid. So then Vernon came in. They hadn't really had any associate directors or assistant directors or executive assistants, as they call them now,

Page 56
for a long time. There was a period when…
JACQUELYN HALL:
Other organizations like the NAACP and the Urban League started out interracial, but there were very many white people in leadership positions, but gradually black people have taken over the leadership positions until they are black organizations.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But SRC is the only one that this has not happened in, and I wonder why that is.
RUTH VICK:
It has something to do with your committee and your board. That's exactly what it is.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The Executive Committee and the Board of Directors?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. That's the reason for it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How do people get on the board? So many people have stayed on the board over a long period of time.
RUTH VICK:
You have members who send in [unknown]. And of course the staff can actually suggest new members. You have a nominating committee that picks all these names, and they meet once a year, so it's somebody who knows somebody. And some of those people who are on there really need to come off, because they're not active; they've been on there a long time. Of course, some of them are going off now. They've got a better system now than they did. For about ten years I know about six or eight people never came to a meeting and never said anything, so you don't need people like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
There's been sort of a constant conflict of one kind or another between the staff and the board, or a kind of pulling in different

Page 57
directions?
RUTH VICK:
I think this is lately. I don't think it's been true all the while. There seems to have been [unknown] a very nice working relationship up until just lately.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But the Board and the Executive Committee has determined who was hired for the staff, pretty much.
RUTH VICK:
Right. You have a Personnel Committee that comes from the Executive Committee.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And they do the actual hiring?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And they just haven't looked for black people.
RUTH VICK:
Well, now, they said they were looking for black people this time. But they were being dictated to from the outside, and that's what …
BOB HALL:
By the Ford Foundation.
RUTH VICK:
No, not the Ford Foundation, by Vernon Jordan. You see, Vernon owed Wiley Branton a debt; he owed him something. Because Vernon could not pass the Bar, and Wiley took him and coached him and sent him to Arkansas, because he still had his office over there, and Vernon passed the Bar. Vernon owed Wiley something. Vernon wanted Wiley to have the job here, even though Wiley has been away from Atlanta six years, and he's been on four different jobs. He was first hired, I don't know whether it was with the Justice Department in Washington, but he wasn't there very long. Then he moved in another job with the government; he wasn't there very long. He didn't work out in any of those jobs. There must be something wrong. We got to know Wiley. I like Wiley as a person, but I think the Council would have gone down the drain with Wiley Branton, and I don't think we should hire a negro just because he's a negro. If

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he were a qualified person…I'd like to see him. I think it's time. I think there should be a black Director, but I didn't think that Wiley should do it, and of course Vernon had already said before Paul even announced that he was leaving to the staff, that we would have a black director, and that three people on the staff would be fired as soon as this person came on. It really made me furious, and I just told
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
RUTH VICK:
I should have known that you never would have liked me." I said, "Well, I've got to tell you, your own man is cutting your throat." And he didn't believe it. And I said," you've just gotten so sloppy He really cut your throat. And he did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He had been wanting for a long time to get rid of Paul?
RUTH VICK:
He wanted the Directorship, and Paul got it. And Les Dunbar tried to get it for him, but Les couldn't work it.
BOB HALL:
Through the Executive Council.
RUTH VICK:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I'm surprised that Dunbar couldn't pick his own successor.
RUTH VICK:
It's kind of hard to do sometimes, you know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But he's really a very powerful man.
RUTH VICK:
He is a powerful man. He really is. And he tried, but he couldn't quite work it, because he didn't have all of the committee with him, the Executive Committee. You have to have almost a unanimous vote. If you don't, then there's going to be a little division there and

Page 59
stuff. So Paul had one or two things in his favor. Harold Fleming liked him, and the staff liked Paul. Then he had Josephine Wilkins who was on the Personnel Committee; he had two or three other people on the Personnel Committee who liked Paul. And I think Paul could have done a much better job had he tried, but he really didn't try hard enough.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know. Frankly speaking [laughter] , I just don't know. I can't believe yet that he wouldn't have done a better job than he did, but he just sort of got careless and didn't care.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did Vernon Jordan have people on the Executive Committee that were pushing him for Director?
RUTH VICK:
I think that the only person who was really pushing for him at the time that he wanted to get on was Don Wheeler, but Vernon took the job as Director of the Voter Education Project, which was fine for him, because he could not get the other job. But he thought that Paul was going to stay there, and then this job came up. I think he would have liked to be Director still.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You mean this time?
RUTH VICK:
No, not this time at all. But when he found out that Paul was going to continue to stay, when the job came up with the United Negro College Fund, he took it. Had that job not come up, I think he would have still been here waiting to take the Directorship of the Council. But he would not have come back, once leaving. No. And oddly enough, people who know about the situation in New York said that Vernon had high hopes of Roy Wilkins dying before [laughter] , and taking over the job of the NAACP. That's what he really wanted.

Page 60
BOB HALL:
Instead of Whitney Young.
RUTH VICK:
Instead of Whitney Young.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Vernon Jordan's really a vicious man.
RUTH VICK:
Well, you know what he did. He's a shrewd guy, because while he was Director of the Voter Education Project, he got to know every foundation person of any note. He kept going back and forth. Those people were fascinated by him. They had him up to all sorts of things, their lunches, everything. And Vernon just got his foot in the door for anything [unknown] wanted [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why does he make such an impression on people? I've never met him.
RUTH VICK:
I don't know, because he couldn't make that impression on me. And I think it's talking about how "I came up the hard way," you know, and this, that, and the other. I think that had something to do with it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So he had really good connections with foundations by the time he got through working with VEP?
RUTH VICK:
Right. And John Wheeler was sick for a couple of years. Then he promoted Vernon by letting Vernon take his place with this Urban Coalition. Every meeting they had, Vernon was representing him, instead of Paul, who was the Director of the Council.
JACQUELYN HALL:
John Wheeler is President of SLC?
RUTH VICK:
He was at one time, yes, but he isn't anymore. Dr. Raymond Wheeler is. I think [unknown] three years ago. He [unknown] Dr. Raymond Wheeler [unknown].

Page 61
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was Les Dunbar so much in favor of Vernon Jordan?
RUTH VICK:
Well, you know, Vernon invites you to his house to eat his mother's good cooking all the time. He does all sorts of little things to win you over.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you think Dunbar was just taken in.
RUTH VICK:
I think he was charmed by Vernon. I guess he did see some good things, and I think there are some good things about Vernon. But he's crooked, and I didn't like it, because I found out he was crooked, and you know, haven't had much faith.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you find that out?
RUTH VICK:
Working with the books. [laughter] Keeping books, you see.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have run-ins with him?
RUTH VICK:
Many times. And I could get no cooperation from Leslie Dunbar, and we almost fell out about that [unknown]. And Paul was afraid to do anything about some of the things I went to him about. So I just really got took. And Nobby doesn't like me now, because I know that she actually forged Vernon's name many times. And I found it out and I called Vernon, and I told Vernon. I showed him. And he tried to take the stuff from me, and I told him no, he couldn't do it. I said, "This is a part of my record; I'll keep it." I said, "But you just tell her, don't do it anymore." [unknown] tried to get away with murder.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did he know she was doing this?
RUTH VICK:
He said he [unknown]. But she finally told me that she signed Vernon's personal checks and paid his bills. And I said, "Well,

Page 62
you know, that's forgery." I said, "Your name wasn't at the bank as signing his checks, I'm sure." She said, "But I pay his bills every month." I said, "Well, I don't care. [unknown] do that here." don't put anybody's name on something.
JACQUELYN HALL:
She was his secretary.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where, at VEP?
RUTH VICK:
Yes.
BOB HALL:
But that's [unknown], in the course of being a secretary?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, but then Vernon would try to get away with… He would travel. He was reimbursed for that travel. But he would never pay the Council back. And I insisted that when they made a trip where they were going to be reimbursed, that I get a copy of that letter that went back to this outfit [unknown]. Because he was travelling on the Council's expense card.
BOB HALL:
And the foundation would reimburse him at the other end.
RUTH VICK:
Churches, anything, that had him speaking and travelling.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So he charged that to the Council, and then he'd be reimbursed for it, and he'd keep it.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did he deal with that when you talked to him about it? Or did you go directly to him?
RUTH VICK:
I went to him, and I went to Paul, and I couldn't get anywhere with it, because Paul said, "Oh, I'm sure that he will do this, he will

Page 63
do that." There were three people on VEP staff that was doing consulting work with this Atlanta research group, and Marvin Wall was the only one who would reimburse the Council. The checks were coming in every week or so, the three of them; they were all in VEP. Which meant that about half of their time was being spent doing work for another outfit that they were collecting consultant fees for. It's fine if they were doing it on their time; I don't care. They were doing it on VEP time, but they still… Vernon nor Olive would give any of the reimbursement to the Council. But Marvin Wall would write down every trip that he had made, and he would reimburse the Council for every bit of that money. But Vernon and Olive [unknown]. And Paul wouldn't do anything about it. I think a lot of things messed Paul up. And he was just too weak to do anything about it. He didn't want to challenge Vernon, because Vernon could say, "Well, I didn't use the Council money for this," when I very well know he did. So a lot of stuff, you know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you in favor of Paul coming in as Director?
RUTH VICK:
I was. I was in favor of giving him a try, yes. I was.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But things really have not worked out.
RUTH VICK:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It seems to me that from Dunbar to Cole, the Council has really gotten into trouble …
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
… but I'm not sure why.
RUTH VICK:
Paul had a good chance, I think, to do a very good job, but

Page 64
he was really hardheaded. He didn't like… Like when the Council, the full body, would meet and they would challenge him on anything or ask him a question, he was on the offensive all the time, which was bad.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was he being questioned and pushed about?
RUTH VICK:
Well, anything. "Shouldn't the Council do this?" "We'd like to see the Council do this, do that, do the other." Well, that was the end of it, the membership. They would like to see certain things done within the Council. And if they passed a resolution saying this should be done, well, then when they came back the next year, nothing was done. And then he didn't like the idea of his secretary bringing this to his attention, that we were supposed to do so-and-so and so-and-so. The best thing in the world; she was really the best secretary that they've had.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That was Mildred Johnson?
RUTH VICK:
Right. We missed out on a lot of money by him not even making proposals to foundations that even asked us to make them. She would bring them to his attention, and he didn't do it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why didn't he do it?
RUTH VICK:
[unknown]. Just rolling along, you know, just rolling along. "We've got the Ford money, you know; we've got enough money." I guess that's the way he felt about it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And he felt that he knew what the Council should be doing, and that the Board didn't have any …
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[unknown] anybody else's suggestions weren't needed.

Page 65
RUTH VICK:
That's right. Because there was a letter to go to President Nixon a couple of years ago that came from the full Board, and he did not mail that letter. He told his secretary …
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was the letter about?
RUTH VICK:
It was telling the President that he would be making a mistake in nominating I think it was a couple of judges or something. Maybe not judges, but it was something.
BOB HALL:
To the Supreme Court?
RUTH VICK:
I believe. Not these last two, not Haynesworth and this other man. This was a couple years ago. Anyway, the statement was going out, but Mildred did the statement and did the letter, and Paul kept saying, "They're making a mistake by doing this. They shouldn't do this." Anyway, she asked him to sign the letter and she would put it in the mail, and he told her no, he would sign and he would put it in the mail. The Board had said, "Once you get an answer to this, then we'll make the statement public," the full statement that they had made. There was never any answer from the President or anybody at the White House. The statement never went to the press or anything. So, you see, the Board knew that something happened. He never mentioned it, or anybody else mentioned it, but then all this stuff came up when Mildred was fired. Josephine Wilkins went to her and asked her if she would make a statement as to why she thought she was fired, and what happened. And Josephine told her she was obligated to do this, so Mildred mentioned this incident, and she mentioned other things that he did not do that he had been directed to do. And she just felt that the Council was too important to be done like this, so I think it opened a lot of people's

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eyes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Mildred Johnson made that statement to the whole Board?
RUTH VICK:
To the Committee. It was a written statement. It was about seven pages long.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was Josephine Wilkins' role in all that?
RUTH VICK:
She saw that he was failing. And Paul began to drink more and more and to stay out more and more, just come to the office to see if there was anything there, and that's about it. I think he became disinterested and just didn't care any more [unknown] [Omission]
JACQUELYN HALL:
And then everybody [unknown] the same?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, right. And the younger you are when you come there, the better chance you have. And of course, salaries are higher now than they were when I went there. There are some of them now who've been there, say, about nine years, who probably have almost as much as I have. Pat Waters, he's been there exactly ten years. He's got as much or more, and I've been there eighteen. It shouldn't be like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Esser wants to raise the pension percentage, and what other kind of benefits?
RUTH VICK:
He said everything that we have; he wants to improve every bit of it. He says he thinks that an organization like ours, that is not endowed, that you never can tell when everybody will be out of work and will need the maximum amount of money to live on. When they have sacrificed for something like this, they should be paid adequately for it. He mentioned this income protection insurance, which we've never had. We have the disability insurance, which is a group insurance. Everybody

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has the chance to accumulate ninety days' sick leave, if you've been there long enough. You're paid for ninety days you're ill; after ninety days, if you're still sick and cannot come back to work, then this insurance will pay seventy percent of your salary. But the limit is $1,500 a month. Well, that's not bad, $1,500 a month. That would be the maximum that they would pay at this point. There aren't but a few making more than $1,500 per month, but that would be something. But he's interested even in the travel insurance. The maximum now is $100,000; he wants it $250,000. And I can see why. A man with a family and children; if something happens to him while he's travelling for the Council, $250,000 isn't too much to leave to take care of his family. So he says he can raise the money; he knows where he can get it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Let me go back a little bit. Why did Les Dunbar change, go to the Field Foundation?
RUTH VICK:
The Field Foundation approached him. I can't think of the man's name now, but he has been visiting the Council offices for years. We've known the man, and the man was kind of old. He wanted to retire. He retired and went to Mexico. And he liked Les, liked the way he talked, liked the way he wrote, and he approached Les.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So it was just an offer …
RUTH VICK:
And then before he left [unknown] office, [unknown] job. And, oddly enough, we had met the Field Foundation board back in 1960. They had one of their board meetings in our office on a Sunday. And so I got the chance to meet Adlai Stevenson.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[unknown] ?

Page 68
RUTH VICK:
Yes. Mrs. Marshall Field was there, and Marsh Abrams, who was in Atlanta at that particular time, was on the Field Foundation board. And they would meet here once a year and then meet in New York. I think they'd meet in New York in the spring and then meet here in the fall. So they met with us. We had just moved to Five Forsyth Street, and we were on the second floor, and our office was so pretty and so clean and everything. We had it catered. And we invited other people in to have the dinner with us that Sunday.
JACQUELYN HALL:
This was a board meeting of the Field Foundation.
RUTH VICK:
Right. They met, and then they had this dinner in our offices. We invited them to have dinner. But they had met; we didn't meet with them. They had had their meeting, and they were here. And Currier was on the board, so he and his wife were there with them. Martin Luther King, Jr. was there that day. They asked us to invite people, because when the Curriers gave us money before they set up a foundation, they asked us about churches that they could give money to in the South. So we had to name some churches that they could give money to, and of course I think King's church was one of the churches that we mentioned. And they knew him anyway, and they wanted him to come, and several other people. And we invited our Atlanta board members to that dinner that day.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did New York foundations often ask SRC's advice about who to give money to in the South?
RUTH VICK:
They have. And a lot of them give us money now to give to other people that they won't give outright. They want us to be responsible for seeing that it's spent correctly and the [unknown]. They don't want to bother with that kind of stuff. And that's why Les

Page 69
used to funnel a lot of money through us. Now he's giving money to this group in Alabama, one of these cooperative groups [unknown], but he sends the money to us and we have to send it to them. Then they have to report back to us, and then we report to Field. And then he's giving money to this Southwest Rural Project in Albany, Georgia. He's sending the money to us, and we have to send it [unknown]. We had to send our auditors down there last year for them to get their books straight for us, because Les refused to give them any more money because they didn't have their books straight. So they paid seven-hundred-and-something dollars for a week's work down there to get the books in order. Trying to get tax exemption for the guy. He's a good guy and a hard worker, but he really doesn't have anybody to take care of the office. And he's out working in the field, and nothing is being done there in the office, which is kind of bad, because the records are there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Are you talking about Charles [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. The records are in bad shape, real bad shape.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And Adlai Stevenson was there, in Atlanta?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. And I thought that he was a much bigger man than he was.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Yes, I think of him as being very tall?
RUTH VICK:
No, he was very short and tiny, but, oh, such a sweet person. Just sort of a charming man. I [unknown]. Just delightful. [Interruption]
Harold was the Director at that particular time, but Morris

Page 70
Abram at that time was closely connected with the Council. He was on our Board at that time. And he and Harold had been very close, because they both had worked on that white primary thing in Georgia through the years. And so Harold just invited him to see our new quarters, and they were delighted.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was Les Dunbar a good Director?
RUTH VICK:
He was a better Research Director. He really is a scholar. He actually wanted his assistant to do all that stuff like personnel and all these little administrative things.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did Vernon Jordan deal with personnel problems and stuff? He doesn't seem like a very …
RUTH VICK:
No. Do you know what happened? Up until the last year or so, everybody always wanted me to do the talking to everybody who came in, because nobody [Interruption]
JACQUELYN HALL:
So Les Dunbar was at the Field Foundation.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I was asking you whether he was a good Director.
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes. He didn't like detail work, but he was good. He knew what needed to be done; he wasn't afraid of anything or anybody. He wasn't afraid to say anything that he wanted to say.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did he get into any …
RUTH VICK:
Not really. The government came back at him once or twice. There were two publications. The first one Harold asked him to do.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The Federal Executive and Civil Rights.
RUTH VICK:
Right. And then there was a follow-up that he did once he

Page 71
became Director. Those went over quite well, and not too many repercussions from either of those. But they placed just dozens of them at each department. They went to the President and his cabinet.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In Kennedy's administration?
RUTH VICK:
The first one went while Eisenhower was there, and then the follow-up, I think, was the next year or so, and maybe Eisenhower was still there, or Kennedy was there. But there was another one, something about progress; that was the one that caused so much… They had said any government agency getting federal funds would have to employ minorities. So they had somebody do a study and document this stuff, and it was written up.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That agencies weren't complying.
RUTH VICK:
And when Johnson got it, he just blew his top.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He was mad?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, he was mad. Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
At the Council or at the agencies?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
At the Council?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. Because we were pointing up the fact that they had not done any of the things they said they were going to do. There were all these people who had this government money, and they were not hiring minorities. They were not training or hiring minorities. And I think they even sent somebody down to check some of this out. But he was not afraid of anything at all. I tell you what he did not like, was for anything to go out from the Council that had not been thoroughly proofread. He hated errors more than anything in the world. I don't blame him for

Page 72
that. We have not done that since Leslie's been gone. And sometimes we have reports going out, and, say, a three-page report will have three errors. Well, that's inexcusable, because we've got some very good proofreaders there. Marge Manderson and Janet Smith, both of them are excellent. So when Les was there, Les Dunbar said, "Nothing goes out of this office unless Marge Manderson proofreads it." We didn't have errors in our reports, but we do now invariably.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So VEP was created while Les Dunbar was Director.
RUTH VICK:
Right. As Harold was leaving, it was being formed. The foundations were talking about it, and all that year of '61 they were getting together and thinking about how much money they were going to give and how it should be done. So Les was back and forth to New York, talking with the foundations. And that fall they hired Wiley Branton from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who had just come on our Board, I think, the year before as a Board member. And they hired him—he was in private practice out there—to head it up; he was the first director.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did he do as Director of VEP?
RUTH VICK:
I think he did a pretty good job. I think he did as well as anybody would have done in the beginning. With something new, you're going to make some mistakes. And the only thing that I know was, it was just the way the money was given out, and then …
JACQUELYN HALL:
[unknown] whether there wasn't competition and conflict among the different organizations that would think they should be given a lot of VEP money?
RUTH VICK:
There wasn't as much then as it was later, because it was done differently under the second voter project. By the way, we had to get a

Page 73
tax exemption for our Voter Education Project [unknown] operating, and the foundations in New York saw that we got that, a special tax exemption for that Voter Education Project.
BOB HALL:
Did you have trouble with the government?
RUTH VICK:
No, we did not, but registering people to vote and all that sort of stuff would have jeopardized our tax exemption. So we got a separate one for the… It was supposed to have been a research project, and this book was written, Climbing Jacob's Ladder, as a result of the first Voter Education Project.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, the first one was supposed to be a research project, and that's how [unknown] it?
RUTH VICK:
Right. And we had to send copies of that book to Internal Revenue.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So were Pat and Reese Cleghorn working closely with VEP at that time?
RUTH VICK:
No. Pat Waters was working with SRC, and Reese Cleghorn, of course, had written some things for us. And as Les was leaving, going to the Field Foundation, he had the contract drawn up with Karkill, and that Reese and Pat would write this book, to get the research, the reports and all that, and write this book.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So they weren't really involved in the project.
RUTH VICK:
No. They took the reports that they found in the file, and they wrote from that, because they had field directors out in the field, and they made reports that were there in the file of the VEP.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And how was the second grant different from the first?
RUTH VICK:
The second grant was not different, but it was handled differently

Page 74
when it was disbursed. Instead of giving, say, $25,000 to this group or $15,000 to this group, and then they report to you later how they've spent it, what you did was to do it on a revolving basis, so they had to report back every week and be reimbursed for it. It was a real headache.
BOB HALL:
For everybody.
RUTH VICK:
Yes, it was a real headache for me and a real headache for [laughter] VEP. And VEP had a guy who was supposed to have been doing the bookkeeping for these people weekly, and all he gave me was a monthly report. Because I wrote all the checks and everything. But all of these reports came back, and then I got a monthly report. Well, these monthly reports never added up, but I reconciled their bank statement, which I knew was correct [unknown]. But each one of these small voter projects all around the South had a little reporting form that they sent in, and these were supposed to be reconciled, plus they had all their bank accounts. And all these bank statements came back to VEP, and they were supposed to be reconciled. So I didn't know that this wasn't being done until the auditors came at the end of the year to audit.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Which wasn't being done?
RUTH VICK:
The VEP weekly stuff that was within VEP.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, it wasn't being done.
RUTH VICK:
So anyway the guy took leave, and [laughter] we couldn't find him for I don't know how many days.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Doug Keezer took leave when the auditors came?
RUTH VICK:
Yes.

Page 75
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, dear.
RUTH VICK:
He told Vernon that I should have told him long before they came that they were coming. I said, "Well, that's not even fair to anybody. They have the liberty to walk in any day without saying anything." And I said, "When they called me, and I called them and he wasn't there, so I didn't say anything." So he finally called me. He was at home, but he had somebody answering and saying that he wasn't there, that he was out of town. But anyway, I think Vernon went out there and got him and brought him in. And of course he had to suffer the consequences. They wrote a letter saying that he had done a sloppy job. And he had a master's in business administration. But it was Vernon's fault; it wasn't anybody's fault but his, because he should have either gotten rid of the guy or demanded that he do the job right. But he was busy working with this research Atlanta group and just wasn't doing anything in the office. So John Wilkes got rid of him as soon as he got there, because he found out he wasn't doing what he was supposed to do. He made him a field director, and the people in the field told John that he was coming in and spending about five minutes in the offices down there. He didn't know what they were doing. And then he was out on the town the rest of the times he was in [unknown]. So John got rid of him.
BOB HALL:
They were government auditors?
RUTH VICK:
No. They're independent auditors that we have, but they are a national firm. But they [unknown]. They suggested that he get rid of him. Of course, Vernon said he was, but he didn't.

Page 76
JACQUELYN HALL:
So it was his fault and not the organizations', the various projects'.
RUTH VICK:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They were sending their stuff in.
RUTH VICK:
Right. And if they were wrong, then he should have told them they were wrong. If they weren't right, he should have seen to that they were right. And he just wasn't doing anything. After he gave up the job as the bookkeeper and a young lady took it on, we found a check that was over a year old that one of the agencies had refunded, in a box of papers that he had down hidden in a file on the floor. You know, things like that, just sloppy work.
BOB HALL:
The change from the first year to the second year, it meant that rather than VEP disbursing money for other organizations to conduct voter projects, the VEP oversaw all the projects themselves?
RUTH VICK:
They had somebody going to check on each one of these projects. I gather you didn't know Weldon Rougeot, but he was an excellent field person, and we got some of the best reports from him of any person who ever worked with VEP. He's at Harvard now, getting a law degree; I think this is his last year. A very bright guy. Internal Revenue, the year before last when they were there, called me in one day and asked me who was he and where was he? They didn't know how to pronounce his name, but anyway when they spelled it to me I told them who he was and he was a Frenchman, and that he came from Louisiana, and where he was. [unknown] this guy is really going someplace. He said, "We've never read reports like these."
JACQUELYN HALL:
You mean financial reports?

Page 77
RUTH VICK:
No, field reports, detail reports about what these people were doing, getting people registered to vote. Everything was described perfectly. Every incident, everything beautifully done, after each one of his field trips. So they came across this stuff, and they said, "Later on we know we're going to read about him."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Amazing. Did all of those projects work out? Were some of them not doing …
RUTH VICK:
I think they may have cut off one or two projects, closed down one or two. They gave them a certain amount for a certain length of time, and if it worked out all right then they gave them more money. But if it didn't, they cut them off.
BOB HALL:
But these weren't SCLC project over here [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, no, these were small local groups. There were a lot of organizations already operating in the South before the Voter Education Project, all in small towns. They had little groups, any kind of little group organization that was closely knitted that had been working for any good cause. Those people could do more than SCLC or SNCC or NAACP, Urban League or CORE. So what happened was, maybe one CORE representative would go down and work with this little group that was there, and that happened in many cases.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The money wasn't being given from VEP to SNCC or SCLC.
RUTH VICK:
Not in the second project, no.
BOB HALL:
It would be given directly to the projects.
RUTH VICK:
Right, because they had a South Carolina voter project; they had an Arkansas voter project. And they worked with the local organizations that were already there.

Page 78
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did the other organizations feel about that change?
RUTH VICK:
They didn't like it very much [unknown] there wasn't anything they could do about it. What they wanted to do was to take credit, really, and especially SCLC, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. They wanted to take more credit than they were due, from the very beginning. But what they were doing was taking the money and paying somebody big salaries, and these people in the small communities were actually doing the work. And I think SNCC should have had more credit than anybody, because they were working harder than anybody and taking less money. They really did work.
BOB HALL:
Now what period is this?
RUTH VICK:
This was in the first Voter Project, from '62 to '65.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did VEP support SNCC? Was that recognized at the time?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes. Because there were people in the field constantly, and knew that this was happening. SNCC would go into Mississippi just like SCLC would.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]
RUTH VICK:
But SCLC would print all this stuff, everything that SCLC had done, and never mention SNCC. But SNCC didn't care that much for all the publicity or anything like that, because they knew that people knew what they were doing. And of course we gave them credit for everything that they did. One time John Lewis was head of SNCC.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So Vernon Jordan took over; was the [unknown].

Page 79
And before that he had been Assistant Director under Les Dunbar.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And while he was in SRC, he was being very critical of other people that were in SRC.
RUTH VICK:
This was after Les had gone, yes, and Paul was Director.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh.
RUTH VICK:
Yes, he was very critical of some of the professional staff.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What for, on what grounds?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know, but I think it really wasn't the staff's fault. In the case of Pat Waters, he was hired as Director of Information, although he did do some other things, but he was told that he could freelance write while he was there. And most of what he's done is freelance writing. Not for the Council's benefit, for his own benefit. Because he probably makes as much money outside of the Council, or more, than he does with the Council. So therefore, most of his time has been spent doing stuff for himself. Okay, that's the way he was hired.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was he hired like that? [laughter]
RUTH VICK:
I don't know. That was one of Leslie Dunbar's mistakes. He hired Pat Waters. Pat Waters was good; he could write. But he spent most of the time doing things for the New York Times Magazine or writing books. He's just come out with a new book, Down to Now, I think that's the name of it. It just came [unknown]. Eight dollars and ninety-five cents.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Gosh.
BOB HALL:
The price of a book goes up two dollars every year.
RUTH VICK:
Right. I said, "Who do you think is going to buy it?"

Page 80
And do you know, I saw Paul Garrison's book at Davison's for $1.99? They had it on sale. One ninety-nine?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Really? That's amazing.
BOB HALL:
It's not selling, huh?
RUTH VICK:
It's not selling. Of course.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[misssion]
RUTH VICK:
That's right. It wasn't selling. A book of history like that just doesn't sell like other books.
JACQUELYN HALL:
No.
RUTH VICK:
And you just have to use that as a course book or something of that sort. Pat has a book that just came out last year or the end of the year before.
JACQUELYN HALL:
For the South and the Nation?
RUTH VICK:
The South and the Nation. And he gets all the royalties from that book himself. I don't think it's fair, though, because he wrote it on Council time. It seems like the Council should be getting some royalties.
BOB HALL:
The Council gets credit, in a sense. The Council …
RUTH VICK:
Yes, I know that; that's true. But if he does it on our time, I think that we ought to get some of the profit, because he was being paid a salary. All his benefits being paid and everything the whole time he was writing.
BOB HALL:
What did he do as Director of Information?
RUTH VICK:
I suppose to answer requests and put out reports. In fact, he put out very few reports lately, but he used to do a little better

Page 81
about reports, gathering material when something happened, like going to Augusta when they had the problem there, and going to Memphis and places like that. He used to do pretty good with that kind of stuff. But the last couple of years, he didn't do much of anything for the Council.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And Vernon Jordan was very critical of him?
RUTH VICK:
That's right. He was one of the ones that would have to go if Wiley Branton came. Jim Wood was another. And Emory Bayh. He doesn't like Emory.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they know that?
RUTH VICK:
I had to tell them. [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
You mean he [unknown].
RUTH VICK:
I told it to the Committee. Yes, this was all done behind… Paul told me that he knew about Vernon disliking Jim Wood and Pat Waters, but he didn't know about Emory. I said, "Well, those three names were mentioned to me, and I have a witness. When the person told me, this came before you even announced to the staff that you would resign and were leaving. And it could have only come from one place, because I'd already heard this before." And he said, "I know exactly who you're talking about. But I never heard him talk about Emory." I said, "Well, these three names, and I have a witness." And I said, "I told him I knew exactly where it came from." He came and said, "You're going to have a black Director, and when this black Director comes…" He said, "Because [unknown] get no more money from any foundation until Paul is out. He will be gone, and there are three people on this staff who will be fired." And he named them one by one. And I told him, I said,

Page 82
"I know exactly where it came from." And he [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did he have the power to do that?
RUTH VICK:
I really think that a new man coming in has the right to get rid of who he wants to. And this has happened in many cases. The only way to get rid of somebody is for the new man to come in, because every time a Director has left, every professional staff person has had to resign and be rehired by the new Director.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that right?
RUTH VICK:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that going to happen this time?
RUTH VICK:
No, it's not going to happen this time, but it was only because the Directors came from within the staff that was already there, and they already knew who was no good and [laughter] needed to go. So this was one way of getting rid of them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did things change when the change from Les Dunbar to Paul Anthony happened?
RUTH VICK:
There was only one person that he got rid of, and Les had admitted that it was a mistake when he hired her, and that was Maggie Long. Have you met Maggie Long?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Yes.
RUTH VICK:
That was the only person, and it was done very well.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was she [unknown] ?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. It was done very well, though. Les had given some money to Clark College to teach journalism, and George MacMillan was over there heading this program. And George MacMillan made a deal with the Council that if we'd let Maggie come over there and teach,

Page 83
that he'd do some writing for SRC. And what we did was put George MacMillan on our payroll, and God knows, I haven't seen anything that George MacMillan did. [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
He was on the payroll as what?
RUTH VICK:
Consultant. Actually, not really a consultant. We paid him a salary, because we made deductions and everything, but I haven't seen anything that George MacMillan did. But they actually got Maggie on the payroll at Clark, and she went over and taught at Clark. George MacMillan got rid of her, I think in her second year over there. And of course she wanted to come back to the Council, and she came and said that she didn't quite understand, but she knew that Paul was getting rid of her now. I think she's done one or two little reports or written one or two articles for New South she's gotten from a [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was it a mistake to hire her?
RUTH VICK:
Maggie is an alcoholic, and she wasn't dependable at all. She'd lose the copy sometimes and didn't know what she'd done with it. She said it was gone to the printer's; it would be in a desk drawer somewhere. And things like this. She never was together. And sometimes Les would have to call her to come to the office for a meeting, or "Do this; do that." So it was one of those things. Well, Paul was there; he knew what was happening. So that was the nicest kind of firing that I've ever seen, because when Les took over he just got rid of two or three people.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He just fired them outright?
RUTH VICK:
He just told them that there was no place for them, just like

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that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who was that?
RUTH VICK:
The guy who was editor of New South, John Constable. Les [unknown] hired Maggie Long, and so she wasn't any better than he was. He was lazy. I think he had what it took, but he was lazy. He got rid of one of the secretaries that was no good; she was working with Mrs. Tilley. And he got rid of another person, and he moved a couple people about within the organization. [Omission] But there is a way to do it. And since Vernon didn't like these people, Wiley… Actually, Vernon was going to be running the Council through Wiley. He was going to tell him what to do and what not to do.
BOB HALL:
Now who did he have behind him? He had the foundation people behind him.
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes, he had some people behind him, and he had some of the Board members behind him, because he did a terrific campaign of calling people.
BOB HALL:
Within the Board.
RUTH VICK:
Yes, right.
BOB HALL:
And then he was able to say that So-and-so of the foundations are very favorable to [unknown].
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And were his connections with the foundations really good enough that he could have made good on the threat that the Council couldn't get any more money if they didn't do what he wanted them to?
RUTH VICK:
This was while Paul was there. I think that the foundations had found that Paul [unknown], and this really may have been true.

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And Paul called me in one day and told me that he was going to leave the Council, that he was resigning, and I said, "Why?" And he said, "For the good of the Council." And I said, "Well, I was hoping you would say, ‘For the good of Paul Anthony,"’ because I could see he was really going to the dogs himself. And I said, "I was hoping you could pull yourself together." And he said, "No." I said, "Well, why didn't you resign last year instead of this year?" And he said, "Well, I was too stupid. I thought [unknown]. I was just too stupid to do it." And I said, "Well, I think it would have been better." And then after all this happened …
BOB HALL:
You said this to him about this?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, I did. Oh, I've been able to speak very frankly with him, because Paul came two years after I did. He came to do some research, and then Harold Fleming hired him as the administrative assistant. And he did a very nice job. Paul did a lovely job. But he just relaxed after a couple of years in that job and three years in that job, and just wouldn't do anything. So, you see, it was obvious, I think, to everybody.
JACQUELYN HALL:
All the conflicts among the staff of SRC, had that kind of thing not happened before?
RUTH VICK:
It had not happened before.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Until Paul was in, that kind of thing didn't go on before? What was that all about?
RUTH VICK:
There's been quite a little instances of little subtle things that people have done to some of the black members of the staff.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were there different people there, like what new white…

Page 86
I mean, why did the conflict between black and white come about then, and it hadn't happened before?
RUTH VICK:
We had more blacks on the staff, but blacks were not being hired in top jobs like heads of projects. And if they were hired, they were not hired at the same salaries that whites were hired when they were hired, even though they had experience and things like that. There were a lot of little things that maybe part of the staff didn't know, but some other part of the staff did know [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
But that had probably been going on all along.
RUTH VICK:
It had, but nobody paid too much attention to it. But you had a few people who knew what was happening, and they just decided that they would get together. And Weldon Rougeot was there then, he was one of the ones, the guy who's at Harvard now at law school, who was working with VEP for two or three years. He knew it. And Mildred Johnson was very close to Paul; she knew what was happening. And of course they had to know that I knew what was happening.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had you been conscious of that kind of thing before, though?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes, I'd been conscious, because I was being paid one of the lowest salaries, and I had told Paul, I said, "Well, if a white person had been in this job, they would have been making a top salary. Make no mistake about it." And I said, "They wouldn't have been doing all the work that I'm doing. They would have had all sorts of help." And he said, "Aw…" Let me tell you this: Marion Wright, who was the President when I first went there, saw me grow into the job that I'm in. He saw me do things that maybe nobody else had done, and worked myself to death. I used to work on Saturdays and Sundays because

Page 87
I didn't have adequate help. I used to bring stuff home. I worked like a dog, overtime. I never got any recognition, I don't care what I did. And when Paul became Director—you know, Paul and I were good friends— didn't [unknown] he [unknown] of not letting me have anything to [Interruption] in Mobile, Alabama. And someone in Mobile, Ed Stanfield, had met him in his field work for the Alabama Council and said he was a good guy and Paul should hire him. So Paul hired him [unknown] as the executive assistant.
BOB HALL:
Was he a salesman?
RUTH VICK:
I think that's all he was, a salesman.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Paul was trying to bring Jim Wood in as a [unknown] in the Council.
RUTH VICK:
He did bring him in, but what he did was, the things that I had done before… And of course, before he could present this stuff to the full Council, he had always come to me to get some stuff. Like for the budget, he wanted to know how much we'd spent this year and what Social Security was going to be. Well, all right, I worked all this up, and put it on paper. He'd present it. Well, you see, that looked like he'd done all the work. See what I mean? And all this sort of stuff. I was put in the background. And Marion Wright wrote him about a four-page letter, and Paul didn't know that I saw the letter, but he told him he didn't like the way that he had treated me at all. He said, "I have told you from the very beginning that I thought that her salary should be next to yours and that kind of thing. She works hard and I've seen her grow in that job. I know what it's like. I

Page 88
know what she's gone through." And he said, "I think it's a shame." And of course, when the black committee was formed and everybody expressed themselves, I told them that I really knew that there was discrimination itself on the Council, because I knew that if a man—I said be he black or white—had had my job, he would have been making much more for the length of time and the experience and all the work involved.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did George come in at a higher salary than you were making?
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
At that time?
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
After eighteen to sixteen years, [unknown].
RUTH VICK:
Right. So you see …
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's amazing.
RUTH VICK:
… anyway, that's all I had to say to the committee, was that I felt that I was worth more to the Council, that I thought I had been discriminated against because of my sex and my color. And that I had talked to the Director about it, and …
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had you talked with Paul Anthony about it?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes, I had told him that I thought I was being treated very [unknown], and he said he was paying me a decent salary; he thought I was making… Anyway, he wrote Marion Wright back and politely cussed him out and told him, he said, "She's making as much as she needs to make."
BOB HALL:
On the basis that your husband was working, or what?

Page 89
RUTH VICK:
Oh, no. That didn't have anything to do with it. At that time, I don't think I was even married, when this came up.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So the black committee formed to combat those kinds of things.
RUTH VICK:
They wrote a paper to Paul; it was in the form of a memo. It was a good memo.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did people know that the blacks were meeting [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
No. They knew something was happening. You see, they had met about four times before they let me know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, really?
RUTH VICK:
Though there was one person who said that "She thinks white, and we don't want her in there." That was one of the blacks.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Nobby [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter]
RUTH VICK:
"We don't want her in there:" [laughter] Weldon Rougeot said, "She's a black, and she should be in here, and we're going to have her in here." He said, "Now, I don't care what you say." [Omission]
JACQUELYN HALL:
So when you got in on it, was that every black person that worked there?
RUTH VICK:
Every black person that worked there were in those meetings, every one of them [unknown] me. I knew something was happening, but I didn't know what. So I didn't question anybody. So they told Mildred Johnson to invite me to the next meeting, and she said, "I hate to do this. I hate to tell you that we've been meeting." So anyway, Weldon told me exactly what had been said. I didn't ask who said it or

Page 90
anything, because I knew.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who was the leader of the whole thing, and who sort of instigated …
RUTH VICK:
I think that Bernice Cook, who was in charge of the [unknown] and the mail room… She started working in about '59 or '60. She'd been there a pretty good while, and a hard worker. She and Vernon had had several run-ins, and she had had one or two run-ins with Jim Wood. VEP wouldn't even fold their mail. We were doing all their mailing. Their first class mail, they'd bring it up. Which meant that Bernice had to stop and fold all their mail and put it in the envelopes, that kind of stuff, when they could have actually brought their mail up there all in the envelope. Well, they wouldn't do anything. So Bernice had told VEP that they would have to send their mail up in envelopes, because she didn't have time to do all that, so she and Jim had a run-in about that because everybody was afraid of Vernon. And this is one of the things that happened, too. They used to go to every executive committee meeting; used to be invited to come in and were supposed to have been there. Well, all of a sudden, a little over two years ago—maybe three years ago—Paul said, "Well, you don't need to come." They started meeting at night, Friday night, and then on Saturday morning he'd say, "You and Mildred can come out on Saturday morning." Well, we found out that nothing was taking place on Saturday mornings. We were just wasting our time going out there, because they had taken care of all the stuff the night before. But there was Vernon Jordan, who was a stuff member, was always in on those

Page 91
meetings, putting in his two cents' worth. There was always Jim Wood at those meetings, putting in his two cents' worth. And Emory Layh and Hubert Tatum. So one day I got up courage enough to tell Emory and Jim, and this was after Vernon had been up at Harvard in that government [unknown], and he came back. Well, he was demanding to make as much money as Paul, so he was going before the committee that night. Well, anyway, I wanted to put a little ink in the [unknown], so I said, "Who all is going to the meeting tonight? Jim, Emory?" And they said, "Well, we're not going." I said, "Are you sure?" I said, "Well, Vernon's going. Why aren't you going? He doesn't have any more business at the meeting than anybody else."
I said, "You know what? All of you act like you're scared to death of Vernon." And they said, "We are." And I said, "Why? Is it because he's big and black?" They said, "And powerful." I said, "So you admit it." They said, "Yes, we admit it."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Gosh.
RUTH VICK:
They were [unknown]. They called themselves kidding, but it was true.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Sure, it was true.
RUTH VICK:
It was true. And he demanded and he got just five hundred dollars less than what the Director was making. That was the year before he left.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So did you go to that meeting?
RUTH VICK:
No. See, I haven't been to but one meeting… Well, now, last year I went to two meetings. I didn't go to any of the meetings the first five years, other than a special evaluation meeting.

Page 92
I didn't go to any Executive Committee meetings until I was asked to come out. They said they wanted to find out what was said about the staff, when we were about to hire Wiley Branton. But the vote was split, so that Wiley decided he wouldn't take the job. But I had told them what [unknown] had said.
BOB HALL:
This vote was split among who?
RUTH VICK:
The Executive Committee.
BOB HALL:
The staff?
RUTH VICK:
Seven-to-six.
JACQUELYN HALL:
No, the staff didn't vote.
RUTH VICK:
No, the staff has nothing to do with voting on that, no.
BOB HALL:
Oh, the Council. You had told the Council?
RUTH VICK:
I told the President and two or three other members who had asked me. Paul I think I told what I had heard. And you can't sit up and tell a committee what you know about a man, or you don't think he'll be a good man for the job, because they don't listen to the staff when that type of thing comes up. They'll say, "What in the hell do you know about him?" But the record should speak for itself. Within six years the man has had four jobs; something is wrong. When he held two government positions, he was in one less than a year when he was appointed. I mean this is the kind of thing that I thought they should have looked at. And they said when they interviewed him, when they asked him what type of programs would he like to see the Council do and that sort of thing, he didn't have one thing to say. He had no ideas, no nothing. So I think they were stupid for just trying to get a black man to have a black man.

Page 93
BOB HALL:
They were trying to get Vernon Jordan, is that right? Did they realize what …
RUTH VICK:
Vernon Jordan was doing the skullduggery. He was going around calling these people and telling… Oh, he got in touch with all the black folks on the Board.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was that how the split was, in [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, I'm sure it was, because some people just decided that they didn't want Wiley Branton, some of the Board. And a lot of them were white. And I don't blame them, because if you want a good Director, be he black or white, okay, but just to have a black Director, and he not be qualified, is terrible.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What came out of it, when the black caucus was meeting? So [unknown] meetings.
RUTH VICK:
Yes, I [unknown] to the meetings, and we finally drew up this paper from all the things that all of us had said. There are some copies around somewhere.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I wondered why I never saw one of those when I was [unknown]. [laughter]
RUTH VICK:
Paul took his an locked it up. But he did answer us in writing. He met with us. He met with the committee and said that he had no qualms about doing any of the things that we asked for; he would do those things. And he really put it in black and white.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He wrote it out.
RUTH VICK:
He answered the black committee.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He said that he would start promoting black people?
RUTH VICK:
Within the staff, he would post positions available, so that staff people there could elevate themselves. If they were qualified, he'd

Page 94
give them first choice. And so I think the first thing he did was when Vernon got ready to leave, he brought Nobby Morgan as the administrative assistant, which we didn't even need. Vernon was going to United Negro College Fund.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Nobby had been his secretary.
RUTH VICK:
She had been his secretary. Vernon thought that there wasn't going to be any more VEP because of the new tax law, and they had to split and form their own organization. So Vernon didn't believe that there was going to be any VEP worthwhile anymore. So he was looking for something to do, and when this job came up he took it right away. But he made Paul promise him that he would give Nobby a job within SRC. But what we found out during the black committee meetings, that after every meeting Nobby went back to Paul and told him everything that happened.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So before the memo ever came, he knew everything that went on.
RUTH VICK:
He knew everything. And he admitted to me, he told me things… Paul invited me out to his house to have dinner one Saturday, and I had never told Vic anything that had happened in the Council, because I didn't think I should bring that kind of stuff home to him. And it wasn't anything that amounted to that much, as far as I was concerned. Anyway, Vic was with me that day, and Paul went on to tell me some of the things that he knew. And he said, "But I'm not going to tell you who told me." I said, "You don't have to tell me who told you." I said, "I know exactly where it came from, Paul. You ought to know that I know the kind of [unknown] that certain people do. I've been there long enough. I'm no fool." So he admitted to me that she did. And we knew all the

Page 95
time when she came up and closed the door and was in there talking to him, it would be pretty soon he'd know when the next meeting was going to be and all this stuff. He knew everything. So he and Emory and Jim would stand around to see where we were going to meet, because we wouldn't meet on SRC time. We met on our time. We either went out and got changed and met at lunch hour, and we met down in the VEP offices; we never met upstairs in SRC. Or we met after work; we stayed after work and met. So that they couldn't say that we were doing it on SRC time. So when we found out that he had hired Nobby… See, Vernon put it where we could get it, because he hadn't posted the job on the bulletin board or anything. He hadn't told anybody that he planned to do this. And Vernon put it where Mildred and I could hear it over the weekend, before the committee had even acted on it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did he do that?
RUTH VICK:
Vernon told somebody, so they could tell us. And so that Monday morning Mildred went to him and said, "Paul, I understand you have hired an administrative assistant." And he said, "No, we haven't." She said, "Well, I heard you had, and I would like to know if anybody on the staff shouldn't have a chance at that job." She said, "Maybe I would like it. You were going to post all the things on the bulletin board, and we could apply for them if we wanted." And he said, "Well, no, because I don't know where we're going to get the money from, or anything like that. I first have to get the money." He just lied like everything. [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Gosh.

Page 96
RUTH VICK:
And so it got around to the staff that this had been done. So that afternoon Bernice Cook wrote him and asked him for a staff meeting. And Paul had gone that afternoon. The next morning he called a staff meeting, and he knew what it was about. So he had VEP come up for everything [unknown]. Nobby was sitting there; she didn't want to come, but somebody insisted that she come and sit in on the [unknown]. Mildred said, "Paul, it wasn't a question of who you were hiring; it was the way you did it, because you had promised us in a memo that you would not do this, that you would post it on the board, and then people could make application for it." And I think this was one way of getting back at Mildred, because she had been his secretary, and he thought that she should have never been mixed up in anything like that. And so he just finally point-blank told her that he had hired her in the meeting, and she said, "Well, then, you lied to me when you said you hadn't." And then he told her she was fired.
JACQUELYN HALL:
This was in the staff meeting.
RUTH VICK:
In the staff meeting, before the full staff, yes. He said she could not work for him any longer; she could work within the Council if she wanted to.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That must have been awfully dramatic.
RUTH VICK:
It really was. And he said anybody else who wanted to go could go right then. I said, "May I have a conference with you as soon as this is over?" He said, "Yes, and anybody else can have a conference with me." I said, "Well, I want to be the first." So Mildred came in and got her stuff together, and he told me that he was giving her two

Page 97
months' salary plus her leave, twenty-four days' leave. He tried to tell her after she came back, "Simmer down. Now I didn't fire you." She said, "I was hired as your secretary. You fired me. I would not work within the Council. I cannot do it." She said, "I'm going to go home." So she left, and I told her I'd send her her checks. [unknown] talk with him. So I told him, I said, "Now you were here, and you know all the things that have happened. You know that Nobby doesn't like me. The very day she walked in she decided she didn't like me, and she's done all sorts of little ugly things to make life miserable for me, but I've paid it no attention."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was that?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know. I think it was just sheer jealousy. That's all. But there were times when she was not speaking to me. She wouldn't even come… Well, right now she doesn't come in my office. She'll put things on Priscilla's desk that have to come to me, or she'll do something with them. She won't bring them to me. But anyway, I told him, I said, "She can come up here, but Paul, I want you to make it clear to her that she has nothing to do with me or anybody [unknown]." I said, "She will not have any jurisdiction or anything to do with what I do." He said, "Oh, you don't have to worry about that." I said, "But I want you to let her know that. Because you were here, and you were working here. You were the one who told Les what happening and how they did not respect me [unknown]." And I said, "Les even moved her from the area where I was, because he knew something was happening." And I never will believe—and I have never felt this way about anybody—but we were

Page 98
meeting at the Biltmore, and that was at the time when I used to sit at the head table when they had the banquet and they had a speaker and all that sort of thing. And we always had placecards up there. Well, that afternoon after the meeting, the placecards were put at the head table with the flowers and everything on there. When we got to the head table to sit there, in front of my placecard, the salad that was there was filled with broken glass. You couldn't see it. But what happened was, somebody couldn't come and Paul said [unknown] exchange with me so I can sit between you two [unknown] ?" So Paul got the salad filled with glass, and as soon as he put the first forkfull in his mouth, he had to take it out. And not any glass in anybody else there. Now what would you have thought? In front of my placecard; now what would you have thought? There wasn't any glass in any other salad, and there must have been close to four hundred people in that place. The headwaiter saw Paul when he did this, and he looked, and Paul beckoned him to come over, and Paul said, "Take this, because it's just filled with broken glass." And he said, "I really don't understand how this could have gotten in there." There wasn't any glass in anybody else there's salad. Okay, the manager, who was white, came to the table during the banquet and apologized and wanted to know if he wanted to make a statement to the hotel about it, and he said, "I just don't understand how that could have happened." I had on a white wool knit dress that I'd had on all day long. See, a lot of people would go home and change, or they'd bring something and change [unknown] all day long. Sitting right down below me was a table with Nobby and all of her [unknown] looking up there at me.

Page 99
I can't believe that anybody did that but that she did. It was in my salad, with my name in front of it. And I said, "I imagined her seeing this blood running all down this white dress and thinking [unknown]."
BOB HALL:
That's pretty hairy.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Gosh.
RUTH VICK:
It is hairy, but there was no other explanation for it, because if there was going to be glass broken into the salad, it would have been in more than one salad.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's right.
RUTH VICK:
And not only in the one with my name on it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Bringing her in as administrative assistant, that sounds like a position next to Paul's.
RUTH VICK:
Right. But she didn't get the salary that went with it, and I was determined to see that she didn't.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was she going to?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know what he was going to do. I don't know what he was going to do. I don't know what he was going to do. But I let him know that I wasn't going to take any stuff, and I said, "I am not going anywhere. I am not going to quit this job." I said, "I am going to stay here." I said, "I'm not going to quit. I'm going to stay here."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did he want you to quit, do you think?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, I think he would have rather seen anybody quitting that day.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I don't understand how… Nobby was involved in the black caucus meetings very much, but what was it? Once it looked like she might be able to get this job, then she started doublecrossing people.

Page 100
Is that what it was?
RUTH VICK:
No. I think even before that she wanted to build up her image to Paul, and even long before anybody knew that Vernon might leave or that this new tax law was going to separate the two agencies, I think she's just one of these people that will talk back and forth. And Paul laughs and talks and pats her, and she'd just tell him everything that was happening. And what she would do would be to tell him that she didn't go along with a lot of this stuff that we were talking about, that if she had any gripes or anything, she just told the person about it and that was all there was to it. She'd straighten them out, and she didn't have any problem. And in essence that day, in the staff meeting, that's exactly what she said. But she was just saying the opposite of what she had said in the black committee meeting.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did she say in the staff meeting?
RUTH VICK:
That if she had anything to say to somebody, she said it to them, and that was the end of it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh. Was this after Mildred had been fired, she was saying it?
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In defense of Paul's part? She was coming to his defense in the staff meeting.
RUTH VICK:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did other people act in the staff meeting?
RUTH VICK:
Bernice Cook resigned that same day. She said she wouldn't

Page 101
stay there at all. And Jeffrey Hinton, the guy in the mail room, wanted to leave. And I tried to get Bernice Cook not to leave. I said, "Because of Mildred, don't leave." I said, "You ought to stay and fight. Stay here; don't leave." But she said no, she couldn't stand any more. She'd had enough of it. So she left and sent in her letter that next week. And Jeffrey Hinton started to leave, and I impressed upon him not to go. I said, "Stay; don't go." And he stayed. So they were the only two that did go.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did other people speak out in the staff meeting?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, a lot of people said things, but didn't too many say too much that day. I think they were too shocked, really. I think they were really shocked. Weldon Rougeot was not there at that point. He was at Harvard at that time; he had gone. And Vernon signed the memo from the black committee, but [unknown]. I must get a copy of that and let you see it.
BOB HALL:
Was Vernon involved in all the meetings?
RUTH VICK:
No, he was only in one or two meetings, but the day that we signed it he was out of town, but he told them to sign his name to it. They read the document to him over the phone, and he said, "Yes, put my signature on it." But that was just to get all the information that they could so they could go back and tell. So we just know what happened. But we did get a grievance committee out of that. They did want a grievance committee, because there are things that come up where people need to talk over their problems, solve their problems, and we had nothing for that. So we do have a grievance committee. And you know who it worked on first?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who?
BOB HALL:
You.

Page 102
RUTH VICK:
Do you know what I did? I made an error on the payroll last year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Amazing.
RUTH VICK:
I made an error in figuring the payroll.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And somebody had a grievance?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes. Marge Manderson really took me [unknown]. [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
She lit into you?
RUTH VICK:
When I discovered it, let me tell you, I [unknown], every one of them knew that they were getting more money than they should have, because every one of them had been told how much they were going to be raised. They were going to be raised five and a half percent. And I made an error in figuring it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I remember that, because that was on one of my paychecks.
RUTH VICK:
Right, and I had to take some back from you. Okay. Well, I didn't discover it until May. And I talked to Paul over the telephone, because Paul was in Florida at the University of South Florida doing these interviews with students down there. He said, "Well, don't worry about it, Ruthie. Anybody can make a mistake. By God, as long as you've been there, you've made very few mistakes." I said, "Well, I can correct it. Could we have a staff meeting when you come back?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Because I'd like to tell the whole staff." Well, Paul never would call a staff meeting. I should have called one myself, but I didn't. Anyway, I tried to tell everybody about it. And I had figured out where I would do it, say seven months, starting in June, and that would be a small amount out of each paycheck, so it wouldn't make that

Page 103
much difference. But if I had to take it all out at one time, then it really would hurt everybody. So Marge was mad; she was really mad. But most of them told me, "I knew I was getting more than I should have." I said, "Well, I wish you had told me." You know, if I had done that, and I said, "I really would have come and said, ‘Well, am I getting more than 5.6 per…"’ I said, "Then I would have gone back and somehow made my mistake."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Well, I certainly didn't know it. [laughter]
RUTH VICK:
Well, you're the type who won't think [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
Right. [laughter]
RUTH VICK:
But now most of them told me that they knew they were getting more.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Gosh.
RUTH VICK:
And [unknown] Jackson told me, she said, "Ruth, I am guilty. I am so guilty. And I know I should have told you, because I recognized it." Janice Smith said, "Well, I knew it was more than that." I said, "Well, why didn't you tell me?" [unknown] it would have been easier to correct right away.
JACQUELYN HALL:
If you'd known it right then.
RUTH VICK:
Right. Let me tell you how I found it. One guy, Leon Hall, who didn't get a raise because he didn't come on the payroll until February last year—he was doing consultant work —and when they gave him a raise, they gave him a raise the same as someone else had gotten on the staff, and it was made retroactive. And when I figured his and I saw that it came out lower than the ones that I had figured earlier in the year, I said, "Oh, my God. What have I done?" And I went back and

Page 104
I found out how I had made that error.
BOB HALL:
What was it in? You gave them like eight percent increase?
RUTH VICK:
No. It would have amounted to something like eleven percent. It was given to me at the last minute, and what I did was to bring it home and figure it out. And what I had done, just not thinking, because I know exactly how to figure it on the machine—had I been at the machine, you see, all I do is put fifty-six times whatever it was, and I'd get the correct amount. But [unknown] figured now, five and a half percent, and I was taking a half of the wrong figure. And I had done every one of them just like that. But the professional staff didn't get but five percent. I didn't make any error on that at all.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's good.
RUTH VICK:
And that they should have been the ones I made the error on. [laughter] But she took me before the grievance committee.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Marge is funny.
RUTH VICK:
And the only thing they said was that the staff should have been told in a staff meeting, and they should have.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I never understood when all of that conflict went on, the kind of things, the kind of grievances and problems that you've talked about are I think what was really going on, but there was also all this stuff that involved the white secretaries. These other kinds of personal kind of things that were going on.
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did that come into the [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
It really dates back. Marge Manderson was back in research

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and sitting outside Bob Anderson's office out there. She had a desk. And you know where Pat Waters' office was, way back in the back. Well, where Doris Reed was sitting was where Glenda Bartlett sat. And Doris Reed was over with Barnett, or either Doris was out in that little open space by that door over there. But anyway, Marge heard them talking about that, and Glenda [unknown] in the office. Nobody paid it very much attention, but it was an obsession with Marge; she just couldn't stand it. And she told all sorts of little things. But Bob and Pat really just had her moved from that desk up to where she was sitting while you were there, right outside Priscilla's office.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did they engineer that?
RUTH VICK:
Bob said that either Paul would have to fire her or move her, because he didn't want to work on the team any more. They just couldn't get along. And then Janet Short had been with Glenda and with Pat, and she had worked very hard and very diligently with Pat, because she has done all the typing for all of his books. And she had even worked on weekends at home with his books.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did she start having conflicts with him?
RUTH VICK:
Because she thought that he should have paid her extra, because when he got somebody else to help out, he was paying them extra. And she didn't get any extra money for it. [unknown] [Omission] [unknown] And it was really kind of messy. It got kind of messy there for a while. But we did hire some people, I think, who were a little bit prejudiced, and there were certain things that they wouldn't do when they took the job.

Page 106
They would do so much, and they wouldn't do others, but most of the black people had to do everything concerned with the job, I don't care what it was. But some of the whites wouldn't do it. So they just thought that there should be something done about that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was that one of the grievances on the memo?
RUTH VICK:
It was one of the grievances. Catherine Martin, I think, was gone when you came.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Yes.
RUTH VICK:
She had a nervous breakdown, and she had had one even before she came to the Council. We didn't know that, but we were told that by her husband after this happened. She was hired as a Kelly girl from the Kelly Girl Agency while Mildred was taking a month's leave. When Mildred came back, Paul said, "I have need for two secretaries at times, and you know that, Mildred," and Mildred said, "Fine." He said, "And plus Jim needs somebody to do his work [unknown]." But it turned out that they didn't have quite enough work for Catherine, so Catherine came to me and said, "Ruth, do you have anything I can do for you?" And I said, "Yes. I need somebody to type up the permanent minutes for the record book." We have special paper that we buy. So, in her spare time when she didn't have anything to do, she could sit there and type these minutes for us, which was beautiful. And then she got to the point where she didn't want to do anything to help Mildred, because it looked like Mildred was telling her what to do. If Mildred was overloaded, she would say, "Catherine, would you help me with this? Would you do this for me?" And she resented it. So there was some conflict there, but

Page 107
Mildred didn't say too much about it. She once told Paul that she didn't think Catherine wanted to work with her. And so it didn't amount to that much, because finally Catherine was given to Emory Bayh as his secretary, and then she did the cash receipts for me because she had plenty of time to do them. So it worked out real well until she became ill and left, but she was there doing a lot of the black committee stuff. And she was there even after Mildred left until I think about May.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So what happened after Mildred left? The Board meeting was going on right then. It happened on a Friday and the meeting was that same evening?
RUTH VICK:
No, the meeting took place Friday and Saturday, and Mildred and I heard it that Saturday morning.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, so it was right in the middle of the board meeting.
RUTH VICK:
It had already happened the night before when we went to the meeting on Saturday. But Paul denied it on Monday morning, that this had even taken place.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That Nobby had been hired?
RUTH VICK:
Right. He denied it to Mildred. But then when we got him in an open meeting, you see, "Well, yes," and anybody who didn't like it, they can go.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But didn't all this finally come before the Executive Committee?
RUTH VICK:
It came before the Executive Committee in June.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, much later.
RUTH VICK:
Oh, no, this was earlier.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, earlier; it had already been …

Page 108
RUTH VICK:
This was the year before when it came before the full committee, when we asked to meet with the full committee so that the full committee could know what was going on, would know what was going on.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Let me get this straight. You wrote up the memo and sent it to Paul, and he answered it. And then you asked at the same time for this all to be brought before the Executive Committee.
RUTH VICK:
Right. Well, we asked for official recognition of the committee, and this was really just to get a chance to go before the committee. We didn't want recognition for the name "Black Committee." But they thought we did, and Paul had said that this would have to be something that the full committee… So we wrote the full committee and asked them when could we meet with them, and they told us that we could come. Weldon presented all of the grievances to the full committee, and after they had heard all of these things, they just couldn't believe that all this stuff had gone on within the Council. Paul cried and broke down.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In the Executive Committee meeting?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, he did. He had to walk out. He just [unknown]. And he had had too much to drink, too. That was one of his problems. He had had much too much to drink, and he just broke down and said that he would resign. He would leave. So Weldon told him, he said, "Nobody's asking you to resign. We don't want you to resign. You are our leader. We want you to lead us." And so he decided after that that he wasn't going to do anything.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Paul did?

Page 109
RUTH VICK:
Yes, after having had to put this stuff in writing to us, what he would do and this sort of thing. Yes, he decided, because he just floated along, as though nothing was happening.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was the Executive Committee pretty unanimously sympathetic toward the blacks' demands?
RUTH VICK:
I think they were, although they didn't want us to know it, but I think they were.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why didn't they want you to know it?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, you know how they are. They don't want us to think that they are with us. They didn't have too much to say that day, but then they formed a committee to meet with our black committee, in case we needed them, from the Executive Committee. And Paul didn't really care too much about any of that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Paul didn't care?
RUTH VICK:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why didn't he?
RUTH VICK:
He thought it was a whole lot of nonsense.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I never did get the whole story when I was working there. I can't remember, but the way that Jim Woods or somebody like that, Emory, but the way they just sort of refer to that whole episode is just sort of silly little squabbles, it seems like.
RUTH VICK:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But for me, it sounds like a really basic [unknown] problems.
RUTH VICK:
They were basic problems, and they were growing. Something needed to be done. Somebody needed to sit down and listen to people when

Page 110
they had grievances. And nobody had the time [unknown]. So consequently, everybody who had a problem up on the fifth floor came to me with it. This burdened me a great deal, with all the stuff that I had to do.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you were supposed to resolve all [unknown].
RUTH VICK:
This was something they felt like they could talk freely with me, because I would sit and listen. I was understanding. And I knew that some of these problems were legitimate problems, and they needed to be solved so that people could work. You can't work when there's a lot of friction and stuff; you can't do your best.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you think part of the reason all of this conflict was going on was partly the fact that the Council was not really doing anything?
RUTH VICK:
Right. This was in the position paper.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, really?
RUTH VICK:
And you must read it. All of this is talked about, what the Council should be doing. The Council was not doing what it should be doing, and they needed more of this, more of that. All this was in there. It wasn't just discrimination in the staff there. It had a lot to do with programs.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But it didn't really affect things, did it?
RUTH VICK:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Things didn't change.
RUTH VICK:
They got worse instead of better.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did they get worse?
RUTH VICK:
Nothing was done, just nothing. And that's why, in the Board

Page 111
meeting year before last, in the fall of 1970, that several members got up and asked for a re-evaluation of the Council. That's why they did it, was because of this black committee and that nothing was ever done.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What role did Jim Woods and Emory Bayh play in all this?
RUTH VICK:
I don't think Jim said much of anything, but Emory was always talking for Paul, even in the meetings that we had.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Always supporting Paul.
RUTH VICK:
Yes. He was saying that anybody who read the annual report could see that we were doing a damn good job, and he would advise all the staff members to read it. And a lot of us knew that that stuff that was put on paper, some of that stuff was never done.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Right.
RUTH VICK:
It was just a lot of words.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But most foundations didn't know that.
RUTH VICK:
No. Anybody can sit up and write a report and say this was done and that was done and the other. We met with this, and all this was doing, and we plan to do this the next year, and all that sort of stuff. Well, somebody got the message.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I was wondering, doesn't Ford Foundation send somebody down to investigate what's going on before they give more money?
RUTH VICK:
Before they gave us the second three-year grant, they came down and sat about a week.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They didn't evaluate the program every year firsthand.
RUTH VICK:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They'd just read the report.

Page 112
RUTH VICK:
Right. And you have to go back to them for one. Now they've only funded us for one year this time. And they said they would fund us on a one-year basis from now on.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So when did Paul Anthony decide to resign?
RUTH VICK:
When they asked him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Not until they asked him?
RUTH VICK:
They asked him to resign.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The Executive Committee did?
RUTH VICK:
Either the Executive Committee or the Board. And I think what happened was this. I think that the foundations actually told the committee that they were not going to give the Council any more money until he was gone.
BOB HALL:
Which ones?
RUTH VICK:
I think the major ones. I think Ford, Field. Field hasn't given the Council any money since Leslie's been up there. They've given money for us to give to the state councils and the other groups, but they haven't given us one dime.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Because Dunbar never had any faith in Paul Anthony, I don't think.
RUTH VICK:
No, he didn't.
BOB HALL:
Field, and then would …
RUTH VICK:
Rockefeller. Rockefeller had given us, I think, a five-year grant, which ran out this year. And they said they wouldn't give us any more. And the Rockefeller brothers haven't given us any money in a pretty good while. But they were giving to VEP, but they weren't giving to us.

Page 113
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you think somebody on the Board just told Paul that he had this …
RUTH VICK:
Right. I think that committee told him. And I'm sure that Dr. Wheeler, who's the President, told him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Raymond Wheeler?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. He told him to just go ahead and resign and get out.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So did you know that he was going to resign a long time ago?
RUTH VICK:
I thought he was going to resign the year before. I didn't think he was going to wait until last year to do it. I thought he was going to do it at the annual meeting, which would have been the right time to do it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The year before last.
RUTH VICK:
Right. We didn't have one last year. He should have done it, and I told him. I said, "Paul, why didn't you resign last fall? Then we wouldn't have had this problem of getting this black man that somebody else is going to tell what to do here and all that sort of thing. I think if you had resigned last year, we wouldn't have had this thing." And he said, "I don't know why I was so foolish, to try to stay."
JACQUELYN HALL:
What about that whole review, then, that was done?
RUTH VICK:
They talked about task forces.
BOB HALL:
Was that something that the foundations wanted to see happen?
RUTH VICK:
They're very interested in that. We got money to do that this year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
To do the review?
RUTH VICK:
The task force.
BOB HALL:
What is that?

Page 114
RUTH VICK:
It's sending out people, scouting out to find out what's happening, target stuff, to be there when it happened. Get firsthand reports and that kind of stuff. I mean, don't sit back and wait; get out there in the field and do something.
JACQUELYN HALL:
A special grant to do that?
RUTH VICK:
This is in the Ford… It was put in the proposal to Ford, because this is what the Board said they wanted.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When that review business was going on and I was there …
RUTH VICK:
Did you go to one of the meetings?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Yes.
RUTH VICK:
Were you there in January at the meeting when Paul broke down and cursed one of the members?
JACQUELYN HALL:
No, I wasn't there. What was that about?
RUTH VICK:
Paul Gaston was sitting at the table talking, and one of the members asked what was the criterion for hiring professional staff, and didn't even give Paul Gaston a chance to answer the question. And Paul jumped up and said, "By damn, you must think I'm a fool," or something like that. "We know who's qualified and who isn't."
BOB HALL:
Paul Anthony.
RUTH VICK:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was this in that whole meeting?
RUTH VICK:
Right. They were all in there. He became very upset. The Board member said, "Well, I didn't doubt that you do. I'm just asking a question. I wasn't trying to say that people aren't qualified that you hire on the staff. I think you do have qualified staff. I was just

Page 115
asking, what was the criterion for hiring certain people on the staff?" They put him out of one meeting.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, yes, I heard about that. They asked him to leave?
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Because he was dominating the meeting?
RUTH VICK:
Right. He was on the defensive.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The way that Jim Woods and Emory and Paul and maybe Paul Gaston—I don't know what his role in the whole thing was …
RUTH VICK:
I don't think he played a big role, but I think he was concerned about what was happening. I think he saw enough to know that there was something wrong.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But it seemed to me that the way they viewed that whole review was as a threat to themselves, not as a constructive thing at all, but as something that they had to defend themselves against.
RUTH VICK:
Right. I think that's exactly what they did, and I think that's where they made a mistake.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I could hear them. My desk was right across. [laughter] And Paul was lining up support for himself within the Review Committee and stuff.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But I was not invited. I wasn't at enough of the meetings to [unknown] whether he was able to line up people on the Review Committee that were supporting him or not.
RUTH VICK:
A lot of the Executive Committee members did go along with him, but there were some Board members who only came once a year who knew

Page 116
that something was wrong within the Council, and he wasn't able to get those people to line up behind him beforehand.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But the Executive Committee members …
RUTH VICK:
Some of them did. Marion Wright resigned from the Executive Committee, and he was a strong man and …
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did he resign?
RUTH VICK:
Because he got sick of Paul Anthony doing nothing. He really did. And when he resigned, he sent a copy of the letter to Paul. Ray Wheeler, who was the President, wrote him and begged him not to resign, and Paul got angry with Ray Wheeler, and he told him, "Let him resign. Don't ask him to stay. I want him off." [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was Ray Wheeler's role in the whole thing?
RUTH VICK:
He believed that there should be some change. I think he was working, really, for the good of the Council mostly. Of course, he's a personal friend of Paul and had tried to help Paul, but Paul's hardheaded.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is Josephine Wilkins still supporting Paul?
RUTH VICK:
I don't really think so anymore. She's still friendly toward Paul, but I don't think so. Josephine knew that Paul was failing, and she knew that long before this came up, because she had talked about it. Josephine had been to see him several times; she knew things were happening. And she was very angry because they didn't put her on that Review Committee.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, she wasn't on it?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, no, she was not.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who decided who was going to be on the Review Committee?

Page 117
RUTH VICK:
I think Paul told Ray Wheeler who to…
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, really.
RUTH VICK:
Yes.
BOB HALL:
What role did Les Dunbar play in that?
RUTH VICK:
He didn't play any… I don't think he was on there. Harold Fleming was on there. Paul got Harold Fleming on there, because he and Harold are pretty close. Let me see, what other outsider was on there? I can't remember who else.
BOB HALL:
Will Campbell was on there?
RUTH VICK:
I think he was, yes. He was. Will Campbell was on there. But I don't think Will came to but two meetings. Oh, Baxter Bryant was on there. But there were so many, I don't think they ever got the full Review Committee together, because there was always somebody missing at one of the meetings.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who was that youngish woman, I think from Mississippi, that seemed to be working so closely with Paul in those meetings?
RUTH VICK:
Pat Barian.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Right.
RUTH VICK:
Did you see the …
BOB HALL:
No, she hasn't. The article in today's Constitution, in the magazine, about this symposium.
RUTH VICK:
And her picture is in there. There's quite a bit about Pat in there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
She was the one woman speaker at the symposium.
RUTH VICK:
Right, that's the only woman.

Page 118
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was she so supportive of Paul and so supportive of the Council?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know that she was that supportive, because she was one of the ones who got up in the open meeting of the Board the year before [unknown], and thought that this evaluation would do much for the Council. She was one of the ones; it was a younger group that proposed these [unknown], and during all this there was this same man who's coming to be Director of the Council now, he was sitting in on our meetings.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, he was?
RUTH VICK:
He was a consultant with Ford at that time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So as a representative of the Ford Foundation, he was sitting in on the Board meetings?
RUTH VICK:
They're invited to come to any open meeting. He could not come into an executive session. There's none of the staff could go.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So the Ford Foundation knew about all the conflict that was going on.
RUTH VICK:
Yes. This was something else, too, that came out in that annual meeting that year. In the President's report to the Council for the year, he mentioned this black caucus, and most of the Board had not heard about the black caucus. So two or three of the people came to me and asked me what was this, and I told them a few things. I just told them it was [unknown] problems within the staff, that blacks had gotten together and asked for certain things. And so he asked me if he could see a copy of it, and I told him I'd send him a copy of what I had.
BOB HALL:
George Esser?

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RUTH VICK:
No, not George Esser. But George Esser was the guy from Ford who was there in the meeting. But this was Father Gibson from Miami who had asked me to send him this report. Anyway, they made him a Life Fellow. [laughter] They get rid of people who are vocal, you know, or who might do something, and I think that that's one of the reasons. He was a faithful member, too, and a very intelligent, very fine guy.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Life members are not …
RUTH VICK:
Life Fellows can't vote, but you can come to the meetings.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh.
BOB HALL:
You lose your vote.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
BOB HALL:
And you lose your platform to speak.
RUTH VICK:
Right. Oh, you can say something, but it won't mean anything. You can't vote.
BOB HALL:
It sounds like a promotion, but it isn't.
RUTH VICK:
[laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Right.
RUTH VICK:
But there was this guy from Arkansas, John Walker, who worked at the Council, I think one summer, with Wiley Branton. He was on the Board, and he was quite concerned about where the Council was going and what it was going to do. He didn't think it was relating to the problem now and that we needed to move in a new direction.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So the Board as a whole never knew about the black caucus, really, about all of that?
RUTH VICK:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So that then the problems weren't really solved.

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There was nobody to bring pressure that was [unknown] against…
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
To pressure Paul to do anything. There was nobody above him that would pressure him.
RUTH VICK:
No. The Ford did let Paul know
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]
RUTH VICK:
[unknown], I think in the Chairman's Report, which Paul actually writes from the minutes …
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who's supposed to be the Chairman?
RUTH VICK:
Vivion Henderson is Chairman of the Executive Committee now. But what they do is take the minutes and say, "The Committee met four times this year on such-and-such a date and such-and-such a thing happened," just like that. It's almost nothing. And some of the Executive Committee members were not in on the meetings where the black caucus met with the committee. And in this report, some of the members stated that they didn't like it because they thought they should have been able to read the report before it was read [unknown]. Because most of the minutes are watered down. Half the stuff is not in the minutes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who keeps the minutes?
RUTH VICK:
I keep the minutes, once they are done up. But they stopped letting me come in. Paul said, "It's not necessary for you to go." They started meeting on Friday nights. He said, "You and Mildred can come out tomorrow morning."

Page 121
JACQUELYN HALL:
So who was taking down the minutes when you weren't there?
RUTH VICK:
Paul would dictate what happened on Friday night to Mildred.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Afterward.
RUTH VICK:
Afterward.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He would just dictate what the minutes were.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So there was nobody actually at the meeting writing down the minutes.
RUTH VICK:
No. This was so different from the way it had been.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you use to take the minutes while you were there?
RUTH VICK:
I have never taken the minutes, because I told them when I took the job that I had not taken shorthand and they would have to get somebody else, and they said, "Well, the Director's secretary can take the minutes."
JACQUELYN HALL:
So Mildred …
RUTH VICK:
Yes. Each secretary to the Director has taken the minutes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What role did Vivian Henderson… Was he on the Executive Committee all that time?
RUTH VICK:
No. Vivian Henderson just came on and was made Chairman last year. He came on the Executive Committee and was made Chairman. He came on the year before, but it was in the fall of the year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So he wasn't there when the black caucus presented their grievances?
RUTH VICK:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What role has he played since then?
RUTH VICK:
I think he's been a good Chairman. I think he's worked real

Page 122
hard. He was sick a lot last year. He had this [unknown], and then he had surgery. I think the illness was the year before—it was—and then last year he had the surgery. So he's beginning to look good now.
BOB HALL:
Was he pushing for change within the Council? Did he have a role in the decision for a new Director?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes, he had a vote. And he's a good friend of Vernon's. Vernon is on his board at Clark. And he doesn't know Wiley, but I think he was going along with Vernon, and I think he once voted for Wiley to come on.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who was it that was searching for a new Director? Was it a special committee, or was it the Executive Committee?
RUTH VICK:
The Personnel Committee were accepting any names that came in, and they had something like thirty-five names in the beginning. And what they did was to narrow it down to about eight or nine, I think, and then they asked for resumes, and then they had these people come in and they interviewed them. It boiled down to two people; that was Hardin Carter and Wiley Branton.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, these were the first …
RUTH VICK:
Yes, right. And the vote was split, seven to six, and then they [unknown].
BOB HALL:
What do you mean?
RUTH VICK:
I think it was seven for Wiley and six for Hardin, or something like that. And Hardin said, well, he wouldn't take it even if he had gotten the job, because if it were not unanimous he wouldn't want it. So then they offered it to Wiley, and Wiley asked if it were unanimous,

Page 123
and they told him no, and he didn't ask how the vote went. But [unknown] said that somebody told him, and he told them give him two or three days to think it over. Then he called and said he wasn't going to take it. He called for me at home to talk about it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did you tell him?
RUTH VICK:
He said he didn't think he was going to take it. I said, "Well, why?" And he said, "Well, I don't know. There are a lot of things that have to be ironed out." I said, "Well, get them ironed out. We need a Director."
BOB HALL:
You were supporting him.
RUTH VICK:
No.
BOB HALL:
[laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did he realize that you weren't?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know what he realized. I just got a notice in the mail that he has [unknown] a law firm in Washington. I like Wiley as a person, and Wiley is a good lawyer. And when he was here last summer at the Bar Association, he came into the office late that afternoon. There weren't but about three of us in the office when he came in. And by the way, Vernon had been in just a few minutes before Wiley did. And I said, "You just missed Vernon." Well, there was nobody there that they knew very well anyway. Anyway, they walked straight to my office, because everybody was gone, and I was still back there working. So Wiley said, "I hear you're going to have a new Director." I said, "Yes, Paul has resigned. He [unknown]." And he said, "Well, you know, I have just quit my job" with the Labor Alliance outfit out of Detroit, but he

Page 124
worked in Washington [unknown].
BOB HALL:
ALA?
RUTH VICK:
I think it was the National Labor Alliance Something Committee. Anyway, labor did it. But I think Walter Reuther had set up this thing before he died.
BOB HALL:
UAW.
RUTH VICK:
Yes.
BOB HALL:
That's right.
RUTH VICK:
And the home office was in Detroit, but he worked out of Washington. I don't really know what he was doing. I never did really know what it was all about. But he said he took the job for two years. Now that was the first time I had heard Wiley say that. But Wiley has been in and out of that office. He was thrilled to take over the job and all this sort of thing, and then he tells me in the office that he only took the job for two years. And he didn't like the way Reuther's brother was running it, so he didn't know what he was going to do. He was going to look around and see. But in the meantime, Wiley didn't know that I knew that he had called as soon as the announcement was in the paper about Paul's resignation. He had called to Ray Wheeler long distance and said he'd like the job. And Ray said "All right, submit an application for the job." Because I knew he wanted it, but he didn't know that. And if it had been unanimous, he would have taken it.
BOB HALL:
That review procedure that went on the year before, on whose initiative was that?

Page 125
RUTH VICK:
Several of the Board members. It came up in an open meeting. Pat Barian was one of them. John Walker and, I think, Ruth Charity, a black woman lawyer from Virginia. Pretty well just the young Board members.
BOB HALL:
Had asked for that.
RUTH VICK:
And John Walker. They got up in an open meeting and thought it would be a very good thing, that they didn't think that the Council was doing the things that should be done now, that they needed some new programs to meet the needs of what's happening now. And Paul got up and said he agreed with that. Now we've had an evaluation committee before. And it worked out beautifully.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When was that, '63?
RUTH VICK:
It must have been, yes. I think it was when Les was [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
I read that evaluation. How did that work out?
RUTH VICK:
It worked out beautifully.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They really implemented the suggestions?
RUTH VICK:
Right.
BOB HALL:
Was one of the suggestions at that time to relate more to…
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes, definitely.
BOB HALL:
To what?
RUTH VICK:
Whatever it was that was happening. I'd have to go back and read. [laughter]
BOB HALL:
[unknown] to the student movement on the campuses.
RUTH VICK:
Well, that was even earlier when Harold was there, and Les was working there too, that there was cooperation with the students.

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And they could come and get anything we had, any kind of help we had. [unknown] speakers for their meetings. We did anything we could to help them, so there was no problem there.
BOB HALL:
Is that SNCC?
RUTH VICK:
SNCC, yes. SCLC, CORE, all of them.
BOB HALL:
And SSOC? Do you remember SSOC?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, there were some dealings with SSOC. Pat Waters, I think, knew something about SSOC, because I think he went to some of their meetings, and somebody else on our staff dealt with SSOC [unknown].
BOB HALL:
Maybe Emory.
RUTH VICK:
I'm not sure whether it was Emory or who it was, but it was somebody who was out in the field sometimes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they get help from the Council?
RUTH VICK:
They didn't get any money that I know of, [unknown].
BOB HALL:
But that was white students, mostly, after SNCC became mostly black.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why didn't they get any money?
RUTH VICK:
They may have gotten some, working with voter registration. They could have gotten some through them, but not from the Council. Because none of the student groups got any money per se from the Council. But if we could do some mimeographing for them or something like that, we did it. But they got most of the money from VEP.
BOB HALL:
One of the ways the Council functioned was in terms of being able to recommend. I mean the foundations would ask the Council if this was a good group.

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RUTH VICK:
Right. The foundations had faith in the five that they gave money to in the first project. They knew that they were doing work, that they could do it. And it worked all right, but I think that they didn't get their money's worth out of the first VEP the way they wanted to. So that the second VEP had the best reports, and some of the second VEP is in the Climbing Jacob's Ladder. They didn't complete it until the second VEP had started, because they wanted to use some of the figures and some of the stuff in that book.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I'm still not sure why Wiley Branton did not take it. Oh, somebody told you about Vernon Jordan's role in the whole thing.
RUTH VICK:
Yes. They didn't call his name, but I knew who it was. And I told him, when he finished telling me, that "I can tell you who told me," because I had a witness. [unknown] the SRC office. He said, "Ooooh, I've got news." So I said, "Well, come tell. Do tell." And we went into a conference room. Well, Jay Brothers was there. Weldon Rougeot was the guy; he's at Harvard. He had just come through New York, because New World Foundation had given him some money to recruit black law students who were in law school to come back to the South and go into practice in the South, because they need good black lawyers in the South.
BOB HALL:
That's true.
RUTH VICK:
So he got a grant to do that [unknown], and so he came in, and he took [unknown] tone. He said, "Well, I want to tell you some facts. You all won't get no more money with Paul Anthony as Director, till he's gone. We're going to have a black Director and going to get

Page 128
rid of these no-good so-and-so's." And I said, "Who are they?" and he named them. And I said, "Well, I'm not going to ask you who told you that, because I know where it came from, because that's all the same stuff that was said by somebody who was on our staff. And they said it to me; they said it to other staff members." I mean Vernon went so far as to say that Paul isn't worth a damn; he isn't smart; he really doesn't know what to do. And several times I just had to really curse him out and tell him that "If you feel that way, don't come tell me. You go tell him. Be man enough to go to him. Don't laugh in his face and then come and tell me this."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was Weldon telling you that?
RUTH VICK:
I guess he just wanted me to know.
BOB HALL:
What's going on.
RUTH VICK:
And right away I put two and two together. I knew that it had to be somebody that he wanted in there, that he could tell what to do.
BOB HALL:
Do you think Les Dunbar was …
RUTH VICK:
Oh, I think Les wanted to see a black man in there. I don't think Les was so much for Wiley as such, but if it had to be Wiley, if the Committee got Wiley in there, okay.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Aren't there other black men? I mean, is Wiley Branton the only black man [laughter] [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
No, they could get the people to campaign there, you see. That was a campaign; they tell me it was done on a Sunday, Saturday and Sunday. And they said that they knew that the Urban League's phone bill was something, because he was working on the Urban League and the

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United Negro College Fund at the same time. And with all this money… Did you see where they got over $300,000 for a committee to elect an Executive Director for the Urban League? And I think it was Rockefeller that gave the money.
BOB HALL:
Three hundred thousand dollars to what? To find a new Director?
RUTH VICK:
To find the Director:
JACQUELYN HALL:
Just for the committee?
RUTH VICK:
Listen, it's in the book. We got the book the other day, and it's in there.
BOB HALL:
In their annual report.
RUTH VICK:
No, it's Foundation Grants, all the foundation grants during the year of every foundation.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And Vernon Jordan is the one that got that grant?
RUTH VICK:
I guess they gave it to the Urban League.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But is he on the Urban League?
RUTH VICK:
He is now Director.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, right. Sure, sure.
RUTH VICK:
He took the job.
BOB HALL:
The Executive Secretary [unknown].
RUTH VICK:
Well, the Executive Secretary [unknown] …
BOB HALL:
The Executive Director.
RUTH VICK:
Yes, whatever it is. Well, they gave $300,000 to find the Director.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Gosh. Vernon.
RUTH VICK:
But now that may be his salary for a year. And I understand he has this Lincoln Continental with this chauffeur for twenty-four hours.

Page 130
JACQUELYN HALL:
Unbelievable.
RUTH VICK:
A live-in maid to take care of everything there at the house. And I don't know how much it's been. Supposedly he's getting $60,000.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Ruth, what I do not understand is how somebody like Les Dunbar, who's a person of integrity and really cares about things, I think, and who is in the position where you can give away money, why does he support people who are living like Vernon Jordan? I mean, doesn't he know what's going on? Why does he support the things that Vernon Jordan wants to do?
RUTH VICK:
Vernon is slick. I don't know how he does it, but he does it. And there are a lot of people like Vernon who get by with murder. There are a lot of people, a lot of people who get by with murder. It's a long time before people can see what's happening. It takes a long time for some people to see, because they don't want to see it in a person. They don't want to make it… And so it's just one of those things. But it happens all the time. You just have to work around people long enough to know this about people. But he'll get caught somewhere down the line. He's crooked. He's too crooked for me. Ooooh, my goodness. Now I would not have worked with him as a Director.
JACQUELYN HALL:
If he had come in?
RUTH VICK:
No. If he had been Director, I would not have worked with him. Because I could not have worked with him, knowing what I already knew about him. I could not have worked with him. Not at all.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who else did they consider besides Wiley Branton and Hardin Carter?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, there was Bill Allison, who was with the [unknown] here in

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Atlanta.
BOB HALL:
And he's white.
RUTH VICK:
No. He's black. They guy who's Mayor of Chapel Hill, Howard Lee. Howard, he pretended that he was interested, but knowing that he was going to run for the Senate. He finally said that he wanted to stay in politics. Otherwise, he said, he would have taken it, but I don't think he would have. I think he was just kidding us.
BOB HALL:
Did you offer the job to Allison?
RUTH VICK:
He was interviewed. I don't know whether he was offered the job or not. But I know Howard Lee was offered the job.
BOB HALL:
The head of the Civil Rights Commission office here?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, Andy Young was offered the job. He was offered the job first. Now we really wanted him. I think he would have made a good Director.as a black.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why wouldn't he take it?
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
Because he says he's going back into politics.
RUTH VICK:
He said he wasn't quite ready to settle down, he and Howard Lee. Now he was one that I think might have made a good one. They offered him the job, the first negro. They interviewed him for two solid hours one Saturday morning. He was the first negro [unknown].
BOB HALL:
Why did he interview if he didn't want the job?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know. You see, people take up your time; they spend your money. Now there were people who came, like Howard Lee came down here and he would meet with the staff knowing that he wasn't going to take the job. That was money wasted.

Page 132
JACQUELYN HALL:
People want to check things out, get a free ride. [laughter]
RUTH VICK:
They do. They eat lunch and all that sort of stuff. Oh, they like that, you see.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did the staff meet with any of these potential people?
RUTH VICK:
Only when Howard Lee said he was interested and he would come down and talk with us there. And he came down and he met with a few of us; he didn't meet with the full staff. But he had lunch and stayed all day with us.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was John Millick a possibility?
RUTH VICK:
No, I don't think so. I think John is happy and comfortable and is doing real well. He's getting an awful lot of money. He's expanded it [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was Paul [unknown] considered?
RUTH VICK:
He was considered, and we were all kind of angry about them not really giving more consideration. But they were so messed up with this black stuff. I think they simmered it down to Harding and Mylon, and then they decided that they were not going to hire anybody who had been on the staff. I think this was in the very beginning they had decided that, that no body would get the job that had ever been on the staff.
BOB HALL:
That meant people like Bob Anderson.
RUTH VICK:
Right. Jim Wood, Emory Bayh, anything. And most of them didn't want Emory Bayh as Director. I don't think he would have made a good one. I think he's a smart man in his field, but I don't think he would have made a good Director.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was a woman considered?

Page 133
RUTH VICK:
Winifred Green. Somebody put her name in, and she said what she'd do when she came on would be to fire everybody over thirty. And you know she wouldn't have had many people on the staff.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter] Was she kidding?
RUTH VICK:
Connie Curry said she told her, "Well, that would be your biggest mistake, because the people under thirty don't know anything about the Council." [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
It might be good if she fired everybody over thirty and under forty-five [laughter] , and had the old-timers and the new-timers and knock out the middle rank.
RUTH VICK:
That's really right cute, because Connie Curry told her, "Well, you won't get it, honey." [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did she tell that to people?
RUTH VICK:
All this discussion came up at this symposium one night when we were in the hotel. Pat Waters got drunk and decided that by God, he was mad, that he didn't want George [unknown] as the Director. So Les Dunbar quieted him down and sat him over. He had had too much to drink; I don't think he would have even mentioned it had he not been drinking.
BOB HALL:
Where was this?
RUTH VICK:
This was Cold Water Beach. One night after the meetings everybody got to drinking and talking. But that's where this came up, Winifred, that somebody asked had a woman ever been considered, and somebody said, "Yeah, Winifred Green is going to be interviewed." And I think she had been at that time, but I didn't think that they were

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going to hire her.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did George Esser come on the scene?
RUTH VICK:
Somebody mentioned that he was interested.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had he been related to the Southern Regional Council [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
He had not been related to the Southern Regional Council. He headed the North Carolina Fund, and they got Ford money and North Carolina money. They operated for six years with seven and a half million dollars, and they did an awful lot of good. And there are some organizations that they set up that are still operating in North Carolina. He did a very good job. He had a good staff. We met with the North Carolina Fund at Jekyll Island one weekend, the Southern Regional Council staff and the North Carolina Fund, to get to know each other, because we didn't know too much about… They were doing some of the same things we were doing, in North Carolina, but on a much larger scale because they had the seven and a half million dollars to spend.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did they get so much money?
RUTH VICK:
What they did was to get, I think, close to five million from Ford, and two and a half million from [unknown] Babcock and some other Reynolds foundation. You see, foundations have said to us, "Now, you're going to have to get some southern money before we give you anything. You've got some southern money; why can't you get support from the South?" But we never had been able to get anything from any southern foundations.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But George Esser did get some southern money.

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RUTH VICK:
VEP finally got some, I think $50,000 one year and $50,000 another year, from [unknown] Babcock. But that's all the southern money that we've been able to get [unknown]. They just won't give it.
BOB HALL:
Is that one of the reasons why George Esser's been named?
RUTH VICK:
I don't think that's the reason. I think he's an able man. I think they finally decided, "Now we'll just put down this black stuff and get somebody. You know, this is just foolish, the way we're going around [unknown] a black director. We can't find anybody who's qualified who wants the job, who will take the job, so let's look for a director." And they ended with Esser, because Esser has all these good ideas [unknown] and he is a capable man. So he wanted the job.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was your impression of him when you met him on Jekyll Island?
RUTH VICK:
He was quite dull and no personality. I didn't like him at all. Some of his staff I sat up and played poker with all night one night [laughter] while we were down there. While the other people were off drinking, getting drunk, which I don't really care to get drunk. [Omission]
JACQUELYN HALL:
But you weren't impressed with him at that point.
RUTH VICK:
No, I really wasn't, and I think most of us weren't impressed with him. But he's quite a different guy now. He's been in and out of the office quite a lot, because in this consultant position that went before, he was in and out of the office at least five or six times last year. I don't know whether he was looking at us, but he was talking to Emory Bayh and with Jim Wood and with Paul.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Has he been the person in the South who decided …

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RUTH VICK:
No, there were people in New York who made the decisions, and they would visit. They would come down and talk with people and meet with heads of the projects and that sort of thing. And when the team came down, they even brought their treasurer down with them. And they went through our books and our records and everything. They wanted to know how we did this, how we did that. Very, very nice man, and he was quite satisfied. That's how we got that second grant. They were slightly impressed with what had happened during that first… That's why I say those first three years Paul operated, he did fairly well. But then I guess he became too complacent and thought that "Well, all is well, we'll just glide along," but it didn't work like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Times kept moving on. I should think that getting somebody to be Director who has been so closely connected with the Ford Foundation is a very strategic move.
RUTH VICK:
We thought that this would be bad, because we thought then that Ford would have too much to say about what the Council should do. We were very concerned about that. But we were told—and we were told by George again once he took the job—that the Ford Foundation would not be able to tell him what to do as Director of the Council, that he, with the Executive Committee and the Board of the Council, would run the Council, and not the Foundation. And of course Vivion Henderson is a board member of the Ford Foundation, and he was in there when George Esser was telling some of this. And he said, "Ford is just too bureaucratic. They need to split that foundation up into three smaller foundations, because they just don't know what they're doing half the

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time up there." And George agreed with him that this was very true.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did that mean that they're bureaucratic they couldn't …
RUTH VICK:
They don't function well at all. One afternoon a call came in for Jim Wood. "He's not here." "Is Emory Bayh there?" "No." "Is Ruth Vick there?" "Yes." You see, they always ask for the woman last. And really, he just could have told me what he wanted, and I could have done it and gotten it off to him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
This was when the three of you were co-directors.
RUTH VICK:
Yes, this was in December. And when I picked up the phone, he said, "Hello, Ruth. This is Whiting." I said, "Yes, how are you?" And he said, "Listen, Ruth, you all are going to get your money. It's just a little budget matter." And I said, "Okay, tell me what it is." He said, "Well, I'll tell you what you do. Have Jim Wood call Miss Dickerson in the morning in my office." I said, "All right. Well, when are we going to get a letter?" He said, "Oh, you'll get it, but we have to have one little something first." And I said, "Okay, I'll have him call Miss Dickerson in the morning." He still wouldn't tell me what it was. All right, so the next morning I said, "Jim, call Miss Dickerson in Whiting's office. It's something about some budget matter." Jim called. Miss Dickerson didn't even know what he was talking about. It was about four days before we found out what he wanted. And what he wanted us to do, when Paul submitted the request last year, there was ten thousand dollars that they had asked Emory Bayh to spend out of his project, and they would reimburse us for it. Well, they never gave Emory the money back. Anyway, they wanted us to include that ten thousand in

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the total figure, revise what we had sent to include that in there, and include $9,450 that they would give him at the University of South Florida. And he could have told me that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They wanted you to revise it upward, ask for more money than you had asked for.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why were they giving money to the University of South Florida, for the symposium?
RUTH VICK:
For a film, two thirty-minute segments that will be shown sometime on television.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How much input has the Ford Foundation had on what the Council did in the past?
RUTH VICK:
They only told us, I think, what they would like to see done, and maybe what Ford would give us money for. "Ford is interested in seeing such-and-such a thing done. Do you think you could do it? We think we could find some money for this." Now they refused to re-fund the housing and planning project after the first three years. And crime and correction. They wouldn't fund either one of those again.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you think those projects weren't doing too much?
RUTH VICK:
I think they were poorly done. Maybe they didn't have the right people or enough staff to do what needed to be done from the very beginning. And you should be able to see some end result somewhere when you put that much money into something. And I think that's what Ford was saying. Moreland Smith is a fine man. He knows architecture; he's marvelous. But as far as doing a project that they wanted done, he needed somebody that knew something about programs that could help him.

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JACQUELYN HALL:
He's supposed to have really been trying to build houses, is that right?
RUTH VICK:
No, I think there was a whole lot involved in that. I don't recall exactly what, but a lot of research and stuff was supposed to… Some reports came out that were pretty good, but his plans were a little too elaborate for Ford and for the person it was supposed to help, the low-income family, the middle-income people who really need help housing and planning. Then the crime and correction thing just did not get anywhere.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of things did they want the Council to do?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know, but they just thought his plans were too elaborate, and they mentioned that, and they said they would not fund it again. So that's when Les Dunbar did give us the money for that, housing and planning, because he met Art Campbell and said he liked Art Campbell. And he gave the money for two years, but he said he wouldn't give any more.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is Art still at the Council?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. He is in that very last office down there beyond Janet Smith at the end, and he keeps his door closed because he's working. But he does a beautiful job.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He works. [laughter]
RUTH VICK:
Yes, he does work. And he's doing something, because he's hoping that Pinola County Land [unknown] Association in Alabama gets federal funds to build low-cost housing. The people have the land over there. But I think they're just about to get something going.
BOB HALL:
That's a 235 FHA?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know whether it's 235 or whether it's something else.

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I know that's low-cost housing, but I think this might be something [unknown]. The people need places to stay; they need homes. They didn't even know how to go about getting federal money, so Art has been working with [unknown]. So I think that they're going to get something going over there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was anybody very opposed to George Esser as Director?
RUTH VICK:
I think in the beginning, maybe people didn't really… I wasn't too particular about him, but I said, "By golly, I know he's a capable man. We need somebody capable." And I don't know the man well enough to say whether or not… And I don't know him because I've only been in his company those three or four days that we were at Jekyll Island, and then I've only spoken to him once or twice. I've seen him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was Vernon Jordan opposed to him?
RUTH VICK:
No, I think Vernon Jordan finally… And George Esser wanted us to put in the release that he was endorsed by Vernon Jordan [unknown]. And we told him no, that would be bad.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That he was endorsed by him. Why?
RUTH VICK:
Vernon probably told him to do that. Vernon likes his name in the paper. You know, this is the big man [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
So he's pretty friendly with George Esser or finally in the end supported him.
RUTH VICK:
I don't know about that. He wants people to see his name in print.
BOB HALL:
He's not going to come out against him after he's been accepted. What position would he be in?

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JACQUELYN HALL:
Right.
RUTH VICK:
We told him if we did that, then we'd have to put a lot of other people's names in. We mean other foundations, because Vernon Nebel said that there were several foundations who said they would not give us any money if Wiley Branton got the job. Vernon Nebel, the New World Foundation. He only gives us thirty, forty, fifty thousand dollars a year, but that'll pay two or three salaries. And he gives it to us with no strings attached. Most of the people who give you money give it to you for a project and won't give you money to pay rent or administrative salaries. And then there was Rockefeller, who said that they weren't sure that they would give us any money if Wiley Branton was Director.
BOB HALL:
Is that Tom Warren? No.
RUTH VICK:
I don't know the person's name there now. I have not even looked at a letter lately, and I don't know who is there. But I think they've got a new man coming in.
BOB HALL:
This is a young guy. He's been there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But he's Rockefeller's brother, isn't he?
BOB HALL:
Yes.
RUTH VICK:
I'm talking about Rockefeller Foundation. Now we used to get money from both of them, but they're getting a new person at Rockefeller Foundation, and I think he's supposed to come in pretty soon, because George Esser knew who he was, and he said he would be going to New York [unknown] to meet with foundation people.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Then foundation people were in on the sessions.
RUTH VICK:
Not all foundation people; some of them were. Not all of them were, but they got in on it as they found out what was happening and how

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Wiley was being pushed on us. Almost "You have to hire this man. We've got to have a black director; this is the man." They found out about that, and Vernon [unknown] said he wouldn't give us a dime. Some of these people remember Wiley, and they have followed him since he's left the Council, so they can just about tell when a person is capable or whether he can do a job. He wouldn't have been shifted around and all that sort of stuff; he would have hung on to something worthwhile [unknown].
BOB HALL:
What kind of program do you think George Esser's going to promote?
RUTH VICK:
He's got some good ideas. He said he would talk to us about them when he came back. He was there when I came in around eleven and left at two-thirty. He had to catch a flight, so he just talked to the full staff, and he mentioned one or two things [unknown] the three of us [unknown]. We told him that his office was not in the budget. He said, "Well, don't worry, I know where I can get the money from." [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
What does that mean, that his office is not in the budget?
RUTH VICK:
His salary and all that sort of stuff was not in the budget, because we didn't know what they would offer the Director, what the Director would demand, so we didn't know what to put in the budget before it was finally approved. And then we mentioned that when the committee approved the budget last December.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So he's going to raise his own salary. He said he really knows how to get the money.
RUTH VICK:
We lack, I'm sure, close to $100,000 for the …
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]

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RUTH VICK:
… general operating budget.
BOB HALL:
How many are on the staff?
RUTH VICK:
Twenty-four, I believe, right now. That's including one parttime person.
BOB HALL:
That's all in the Atlanta office?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. But that doesn't include George Esser, because he's not on the payroll. When he comes on that will make about twenty-four or twenty-five.
BOB HALL:
And you think the task force kind of thing he'll [unknown].
RUTH VICK:
Oh, yes, he's interested in that. He's going to start doing something about that.
BOB HALL:
And that would be a field [unknown].
RUTH VICK:
Right. He's going to bring Lucy Watkins, who's been with him through the North Carolina Fund and is his assistant now. [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
She's going to be his secretary?
RUTH VICK:
She's going to come here. She's not going to be his secretary. She is going to have some program job. He said he wanted to bring her because she's good [unknown]. And there will be some place for her with the way the program is set up.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is he going to shift the existing staff around?
RUTH VICK:
We don't know what he will do. He just might.
BOB HALL:
I think during the review session, I think he mentioned about doing some Nader-type research.

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RUTH VICK:
That's what they're talking about, right, Nader-type research.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's the task force [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
Right. Go dig up some stuff; do something; get something going. You know, don't wait until it happens and somebody asks you to come in. They want you to get there, get the information, and get it out to the public. Let them know what's happening in the South.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And why is Pat Waters working against George Esser?
RUTH VICK:
He just said, "He's a damn foundation man, and why would we have him?" Well, he was really pulling for Paul [unknown], and they'd already told him that they weren't going to hire anybody. And I think this was his [unknown], because they were afraid to tell Pat in the beginning that George Esser was going to be the Director. And Bob Anderson said, "Well, we've got to tell him."
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter]
RUTH VICK:
And they said, "Okay, tell him, but don't tell him while he's drinking. Hit him when he's sober."
BOB HALL:
He had a run-in with Jackie's brother when he was pretty loaded.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter] That's right.
RUTH VICK:
I've seen him really go out. The night that he showed up down at the symposium at the hotel that night, Linda just walked out. She asked him to come on and go to his room, and he wouldn't, so she left. And I think that was very good, because then Les got him over in a corner and quieted him down so that nobody heard even the conversation between the two of them. See, it was bad because it took place in Paul's room. Everybody congregated in Paul's room every night, Paul Anthony. I think Paul [unknown], because Jim Silver said that he invited [unknown]. Because it all started when Paul was Director, this meeting.

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BOB HALL:
The plans for that meeting.
RUTH VICK:
Yes. Jim Silver and Paul. They got together on who should [unknown] symposium.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, Paul Anthony and Jim Silver started planning this symposium.
RUTH VICK:
Yes. And the Council gave them three thousand dollars to help, and then Ford gave them [unknown]. Les has given some money to them, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
To that symposium?
RUTH VICK:
Yes. I think he got quite a bit of money.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was the purpose of that?
RUTH VICK:
Just to bring people together. This was all for his students' benefit. This was for the University of South Florida in Tampa. They have a branch at St. Petersburg; we met over there one day at the Hilton in St. Petersburg, and it was quite interesting.
BOB HALL:
Was Les the one that… I read the New York Times article, and there was a reference to one of the foundation executives, in his presentation said something about, "As I look around, this seems to be the same old group. What's the matter with us? Why can't we get new blood [unknown]?"
JACQUELYN HALL:
Liberals and [unknown]. Was that Les Dunbar that said that?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, he was quite something. He and Peggy [unknown] stayed the whole time. In fact, we left him there, because they were coming up to [unknown], florida, where Chuck Morgan had a winter home. They were thinking about buying. [Omission]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was he really being critical, or was he just joking?

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RUTH VICK:
He was joking. And most of the people he did know. He'd meet them [unknown] at these meetings.
BOB HALL:
Sure. Because the Times presented it as though it was a real criticism or as somebody that was aware that there were no young people there.
RUTH VICK:
Julian Bond introduced Benjamin Mays the first [unknown]. We just did get a chance to see Julian Bond. We were trying to find the theater on the campus at nighttime, never having been there before. [Omission] But Julian had to leave before it was over, because he had to catch a plane and be back here the next morning for the opening of the legislature. There was the cutest little guy who was the bellhop in the hotel at Clearwater who took my bags up when we went in. And when I got ready to check out, I asked him if he would go up and bring them down for me. And he said, "Yes, I will. Would you like to go with me?" I said, "Yes, I'll go with you just to make certain that I have everything out of the room." So he said, "Were you here attending that meeting at the University of South Florida?" and I said "Yes." He said, "I thought you were. I kept seeing you going and coming." He said, "I wish I could have gotten a chance to see Julian Bond in person. I think he's the most wonderful thing that ever happened."
JACQUELYN HALL:
A lot of people feel that way, don't they?
RUTH VICK:
"I wish he were old enough to become President. I just wish I could have gone over there just to shake his hand or hear him speak." I said, "Well, he didn't speak. He introduced the speaker, and after he had to leave." He said, "Every chance I get, every time he's on

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television and I know he's going to be on there, I make it a point to see him."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Isn't that something?
BOB HALL:
What do you think of Julian?
RUTH VICK:
I think he's a bright guy, but I don't know about the Presidency.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter]
RUTH VICK:
I don't feel the way a lot of other people do about their presidency. [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Right. [laughter]
RUTH VICK:
But I like Julian. He's all right. I think he's a smart… Oddly enough, the man who came in the other day to do the slipcover, we were talking about it. He told me he was listening to the radio just before he got over here, and he said Julian was on there, and he said it was amazing how Julian could come back and answer those questions so quickly, and how good he was. He said, "I'd really like to see him become President." And I said, "You would?" And he said, "I wish he were old enough." He said, "I think he's the only black man that I'd like to see in."
BOB HALL:
Was this a white guy?
RUTH VICK:
He was a white guy. He has an upholstering place right down here on Peachtree, not but a few blocks from here.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Gosh, that's amazing.
BOB HALL:
The bellhop, though, was black?
RUTH VICK:
No, the bellhop was white.
BOB HALL:
That's amazing.

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RUTH VICK:
I said, "Well, now, we just need [laughter] to get some more people talking to each other around here; we might get us a black President one day." But he seems to attract people.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why didn't they have him as a speaker, I wonder? Did they try to?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know. Maybe he didn't want to, or something of that sort. I don't know how they would have fit him in, but he could have done the same thing that Mays did. Mostly what Mays talked about was school desegregation [unknown] He talked the same stuff that he talked all the time. Most of it was from his book.
BOB HALL:
What is going to happen now? I mean, you get a sense that the Council has begun to think that… Maybe Paul or somebody, I don't know whether… You've talked about it in terms of not taking as much initiative or kind of letting the slack go. But didn't that also come out of the feeling that a lot of the basic problems were solved and they didn't need to work as hard anymore?
RUTH VICK:
I think that's the way he felt, but I don't think a lot of us …
BOB HALL:
The schools were getting desegregated.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I think Paul did feel that way.
RUTH VICK:
I think he did, and I think he said, "Now we can just sit back, you know, and…"
JACQUELYN HALL:
I think that Paul felt that white people weren't blatant, like at cocktail parties, people didn't say real racist things anymore, that

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everything was okay. [laughter]
RUTH VICK:
I think he did, and he felt, "Well, we can just glide right through this second grant. We won't worry about anything."
BOB HALL:
This new statewide boycott of the schools must be quite a shock. [laughter]
RUTH VICK:
That is a terrible shock.
BOB HALL:
To him. The President of the United States.
RUTH VICK:
I was so disgusted last week I didn't know what to do. And all of a sudden I thought about what it was. And I said, "All these people, Fletcher Thomas, Carter, and all these stupid people. What in the world are they talking about?"
JACQUELYN HALL:
Carter, the new liberal, new South governor saying, well, he might support a statewide boycott. It's just like [unknown].
RUTH VICK:
Well, you know what they're doing, is drumming up votes. That's all they're doing, honey, and that's all Fletcher's doing.
BOB HALL:
But that's the worst kind of way to drum them up.
RUTH VICK:
It is, but they've done it, and they keep doing it.
BOB HALL:
[unknown] it's Nixon who's trying to get Wallace.
RUTH VICK:
Oh, Nixon, I know what he's doing. Oh, yes.
BOB HALL:
That's where it's at.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He's trying to get Wallace's supporters?
BOB HALL:
Yes.
RUTH VICK:
That's exactly what he's doing. I don't think he'll need them with all the Democrats running. Of course, you won't have all of them running once the convention is over.

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BOB HALL:
He doesn't want to see Wallace run as a third candidate.
RUTH VICK:
I know he doesn't. So I knew what he was doing the other day, but I hate him for it. I mean I despise him for it, because I don't really hate anybody. But I really do despise him for coming out and saying what he said. The Supreme Court has said what should be done, and here he comes up, [unknown] boy.
BOB HALL:
Just like Andrew Jackson, back in the days when the Supreme Court said, "You can't move those Indians. You can't take them out of the state."
RUTH VICK:
Right. [laughter]
[Omission]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you think Esser is going to be more sensitive to the problems of discrimination and sex discrimination within the Council?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, I think he'll be interested in keeping the staff together and working with them. He walked in and saw me typing a letter just before he left. He wanted to come in and say that he'd be back and spend the whole morning with me. And he said, "You mean to tell me you are typing your own letters?" And I said, "Yes." He said, "You don't have a secretary?" I said, "No, I've never had one." He said, "Well, I'll take care of that as soon as I get here."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Gosh.
BOB HALL:
He got you on [unknown].
RUTH VICK:
[laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
When I was talking to Jim the other day, he didn't sound very enthusiastic about George Esser to me.
RUTH VICK:
He was worried about his job, and he finally told [unknown] he was.

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JACQUELYN HALL:
I don't blame him.
BOB HALL:
But he could be very important.
RUTH VICK:
He said it was a relief to him to find out that George told him he was going to bring Lucy, but not as his assistant. But he wanted to put her in the program.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Jim thinks that means he'll keep him as his assistant?
RUTH VICK:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that right, do you think?
RUTH VICK:
That's what he thinks, and I don't know what George has in mind.
BOB HALL:
The Council has never really pursued a program that directly challenges the interests of bigger businesses the way the Nader reports do. I mean it's always, in a sense, tried to take more of an interpretive role.
RUTH VICK:
They've tried to get leadership to work with… In fact, they've tried to stay in contact with leadership.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Business leadership?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, business leadership. They haven't done too much otherwise, but that's one of the things that Reese Cleghorn was supposed to do, try to contact new leadership, new businesses.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of business leadership has ever really been open to cooperating [unknown] ?
RUTH VICK:
We have asked, and several people have said that they thought that we ought to have some businessmen on the Executive Committee, [unknown] on the Board. Some of us said no, because then they'll want

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to dominate the Board. They'll want to tell us that we should operate just like their business, you know. And they talked that down each time they said, "We ought to have business [unknown]." All right, they got Elston on there, who's the paperback book guy. He's doing business at the airport and all these shopping centers. He's got a big place out there at Chamblee. I think I've seen him one time; he's on the Board.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He never comes to the meetings?
RUTH VICK:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why?
[Interruption]
RUTH VICK:
… paperback book project Elston did. He did the purchasing and sent the books out. This is something that Carnegie financed several years ago.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Louise Somebody did that.
RUTH VICK:
Cole. Then we got Elston to take [unknown] and distribute them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
To other businessmen. Or in his store, you mean.
RUTH VICK:
Anywhere he put his books, yes.
BOB HALL:
He's the distributor for a lot of magazines. That's how magazines get on newsstands.
JACQUELYN HALL:
After Little Rock, didn't the Council try to work with the business community in different towns …
RUTH VICK:
They did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
… to prevent that same kind of thing?

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RUTH VICK:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did that work?
RUTH VICK:
Some of the superintendents and the school boards, they'd call us and ask us to send people to talk with them. And that actually happened.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But did they get businessmen in Atlanta? Did they work with the Atlanta business community [unknown] ?
RUTH VICK:
I don't think so. They tried to talk to influential people and tell them that it would be stupid to try to defy the Court order, that they really should try to work to integrate the schools and keep things peaceful, because it was inevitable; it was coming. They knew it was coming.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The Atlanta business community did sort of try to keep …
RUTH VICK:
Well, they [unknown] because there were the doctors said they wanted open schools; they didn't want any schools closed because of integration. There were several groups that came out, and there was a pretty good campaign going on. The Council had some part in it. What we did was to get these statements with all the names on there, and we had them printed and we sent them out all over the South, you see, showing people how many groups had signed this. [Omission]
BOB HALL:
In a campaign, like Martin Luther King in the Alabama campaign in Birmingham, what role would the Council play during that time?
RUTH VICK:
We had people over there.
BOB HALL:
Just observers? In terms of, if any arrests were made, Council members would be there to observe?

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RUTH VICK:
[unknown] on the spot, that's right.
BOB HALL:
But they wouldn't take part in the demonstrations, [unknown].
RUTH VICK:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you all work with Martin Luther King very much? Was he in and out of the Council?
RUTH VICK:
Yes, and they were always asking for certain information, materials, and things [unknown]. I think everybody at the Council respected him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I know something I meant to ask you, that we were talking about a long time ago. I was asking you about the relationships between the state Human Relations Council and SRC, and you had started telling me about that.
RUTH VICK:
[laughter] Oh, they always thought that they could get a lot more money than they did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It was money [unknown] ?
RUTH VICK:
Mostly, yes, it was money. You see, when people hear that you're getting $1,800,000 for three years, they think that's an awful lot of money, and say $100,000 of that per year for three years is going to the state councils. Well, that leaves $1,500,000 for the Council. In that, most of this was going for projects, and some of that was for the Voter Project. Because last year, when that last three-year grant gave out, we had to deduct what was going to the Voter Education Project, which was maybe $200,000 for the voter project.
BOB HALL:
You mean you were still giving money to VEP?

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RUTH VICK:
No, Ford. You see, once we separated, Ford had to give it to VEP and not us. When the grant was made, we were together, so it was all included on there. We had to fill out a form at the end of each year, when that three-year grant was given to us; we had to say how we wanted that year's money. They'd give it to us quarterly. We had to say how much we wanted the first quarter and when we wanted it, and how much we wanted for the second quarter, third quarter, and fourth quarter, and tell them what date we wanted the money. We had already submitted the sheet for the year they separated. All we had to do was deduct what went to the VEP. The first part of the year, I think $100,000 of their money did come, and we disbursed it, because they didn't separate until May that year. But the state councils always felt like that they didn't get enough from the Southern Regional Council. And actually, I think what they wanted us to do was, every foundation we went to, they wanted us to ask for money for them, too. And this wasn't possible, because if you go in asking for money for yourself and for somebody else…
JACQUELYN HALL:
Right.
RUTH VICK:
And you see, the state councils were not affiliated with the Council after, I think, '65. They were cooperating agencies. And we did ask for money for them in '65, and the money came for '66, '67, '68, and then again they gave it for three years, which just ended last year. Then they said they wouldn't give any more. So they'll have to go direct to the foundations. [unknown] [Omission]

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JACQUELYN HALL:
Were there other things? Did the state councils think that they should have a say in the policies and programs of the Southern Regional Council?
RUTH VICK:
At one time, when they were affiliated, either their president or their chairman was a member of the Council, and it was always a big hassle. The councils wanted more money; they wanted more support. And program-wise, they didn't have this; they didn't have that. And what could be done? Anyway, [unknown] that was not the case after they were not affiliated and we no longer had those people on our Board, they just sort of got together. The state councils would meet after we didn't have a field person, and they started getting out and getting their money from foundations. And I think this year they knew well ahead of time, because they were told in this last grant that Ford said that they would not support them any more, that they would have to.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What came out of the controversy over passing a resolution against the War or coming out against the War?
RUTH VICK:
They stayed up just about all night long, you see, and Pat was with them [unknown], and they all were drinking.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter]
RUTH VICK:
I think I left about midnight, and they said they didn't go to bed until about four or five o'clock the next morning.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Pat was on the side of the state councils?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, always. Any radical thing. Not really radical, because that wasn't radical. Everybody agreed with everybody, disliked our

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involvement in Vietnam, and we'd like to see it end. Everybody wanted that. But we were there trying our best to do something to bring the state councils closer together, see if we couldn't help them work out their problems and try to help them to get more money, more staff. And at that time Ed Stanfield was the Field Director and was doing a very fine job. But Frances Pauley was the Director of the Georgia Council at that time, but she was leaving, and John McCowan… Have you heard of him?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Yes.
RUTH VICK:
Did you read about him the other week?
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was it?
RUTH VICK:
I think it was seven million dollars he's supposed to be getting from Ford. It was in the Constitution.
JACQUELYN HALL:
To do what?
RUTH VICK:
He's operating a catfish farm down at [unknown] in Hampton County. And of course Ford denies [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
They deny that they're giving him money?
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why?
RUTH VICK:
They denied that they were going to give him seven million dollars. Now they have given him some money for the past three or four years, I know. And I'm sure that the Georgia Council got rid of him—his Board got rid of him—because he was not spending one day in Atlanta in his office here.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He was doing catfish farming [unknown]?

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RUTH VICK:
Right. He was doing absolutely nothing but the catfish farming and several other federal-funded programs. He was getting federal money, too. So Ford denied that they had made any commitment to give him money.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you think he just [unknown], or they …
RUTH VICK:
John McCowan says that he did not tell the newspapers that, that he told them that they were working with him to get this amount of money. And John McCowan's shrewd.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You think he sort of let that out to pressure the Ford Foundation [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
I think he probably talked to somebody, not knowing that they would tell it to the newspaper. And then shortly after that, the Miami Herald had this Sunday magazine. I can't think of the guy's name that writes for it, but I understand John McCowan has been close to him, and everything that he tells him to print, he'll print it on John McCowan. I don't know how much John is paying him [laughter] , but it was a lengthy article in the Sunday magazine about him and how much land he owned there, but he bought it with his $16,000 salary. And he could not have [unknown]. And these two or three cars he's got.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The article was talking about his cars?
RUTH VICK:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That is not very good publicity.
RUTH VICK:
The guy went on to say that John McCowan said some of the people thought he was rich. John McCowan said he had one car, but they found out he had several cars in his name.

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A GBI agent who works in that county came to visit a couple that one of our staff members and her husband were visiting one weekend. And when she found out he was from the county, she [unknown] asking if he knew John McCowan. Well, he just went on to tell her all he did know about John McCowan and what-all he owned.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The GBI has been investigating him?
RUTH VICK:
They know everything he's got down there, and they say every bit of it's in his name. All of it is in his name, so pretty soon he'll have the whole [unknown]. Of course the whites don't like that; they can't like it. [Omission]
JACQUELYN HALL:
… come out with a statement against the War.
RUTH VICK:
Yes, they did. That was the full Council.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was that later that same year or when?
RUTH VICK:
I think it was that same year. No, that was later. No, it wasn't the same year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Sixty-five, wasn't it?
RUTH VICK:
No, it wasn't '65.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Not that early? Sixty-nine?
RUTH VICK:
It must have been '69.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there a lot of controversy before you could do that?
RUTH VICK:
No, I think just about everybody… What they do at the meeting is, they don't have a statement drawn up, and they take all this time in the meeting drawing up the statement, and this one saying, "I think we ought to delete that and put this in," and so forth and so on. So what they have asked people to do now when they come to the meeting is have a statement already drawn up, and then they will have a committee

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from the Board work with the group who drew up the statement, and then they bring it before the full Board for its approval. So it has eliminated a lot of that hassle in the open meeting. And I think every year they always want to issue a statement, and they have [unknown] issued a statement, the full body. And I think this is good, so that people will know that the Council is still operating, because some people don't understand.
BOB HALL:
There must have been quite a lot of discussion about whether it was a proper thing for the Southern Regional Council to do, to make a statement about the War.
RUTH VICK:
I think there was some talk about that in the beginning, but some of the Board members—and some of the older Board members—felt very strongly about this war, and when they started speaking out in the meetings about it… And I'm sure that some of the state council people had talked to some of the people [unknown] within their state. And that's why they got this statement going.
BOB HALL:
Was Les Dunbar behind it?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, I'm sure he was, but he was not at the Council when they issued the statement.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When SNCC came out against the War and all of that controversy [unknown] Julian Bond and everything, how did the Council relate to all of that?
RUTH VICK:
I don't remember that anything was actually said or done. He felt like most of the Council staff. He is a member of our Board now, Julian Bond is.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had he been all along?

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RUTH VICK:
No. This came out of one of the meetings, where someone suggested that they thought that we should have more young people on the Board to relate to what was happening then.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When was that?
RUTH VICK:
I don't think he's been on there but a couple of years, so it must have been three years ago. And they did. They got some more blacks and some younger people on. They got about four blacks, and they wanted some low-income people on there, so they got a couple low-income people. Doris Reed's mother, who was head of the Foundation, was [unknown]. They did get a couple of black women from outside the state. One is from Florida and one from Virginia, and I think they're both lawyers.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Butch and Leon, when did they come on the Council?
RUTH VICK:
Butch came on August, 1970.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And was that part of the conscious effort to try to get more young blacks?
RUTH VICK:
We'd just lost John Lewis that year to VEP, and that community organization had been left without a director, and we still had money from the Ford grant. So I think Paul Gaston was responsible for Butch …
JACQUELYN HALL:
Right. He was one of Paul's students.
RUTH VICK:
So he talked Butch into coming, and Butch came. And Butch had some ideas, and he needed some help. So they got Leon Hall, because Leon was a [unknown], and he was recommended. Both of them are real fine workers.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Their projects used to be so separate from the Southern Regional Council.

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RUTH VICK:
I think where the mistake came there was that Paul and Emory and some more people that [unknown] resource and development center, for which we never got any money. And Paul made Emory Director of that. And then he put community organization under that, put leadership project under that. There were three things under that. And I don't think anybody's been happy with that, because Reese wasn't happy with it. Butch has never been happy with it. Moreland and Art weren't happy with it. Nobody's been happy with Emory saying, "You can't do this; you can't do that." And nobody really liked it. That may be one of the reasons that Reese decided to leave, because [unknown]. There was an exchange there one time. Emory didn't put anything on paper, but Reese did answer him on paper. And I think this might have been [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of things does Emory want …
RUTH VICK:
[unknown] little things that the project directors would want to do, and he would say, well, he didn't think it should be done like that.
BOB HALL:
You think that he's more conservative?
RUTH VICK:
I'm sure he was more conservative, and it took him too long to give the people an answer when they needed answers right now. He deliberates too long on anything. He can't make up his mind. He can never give you a yes or a no right [unknown]. He'll have to think about it. Paul admitted it; he said it was a mistake that he did that, and he only told me this last week. He called me to ask me to try to convince Emory that he should stay with the Council and not take this job at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. You see, Emory was

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afraid to [unknown], and he got this offer to head [unknown] labor education program over there. And he said it was an attractive offer. He talked to George Esser about it when he came the other day and told him that he [unknown] decide what he was going to do, since the job was going to be available the first of July, he thought he'd just let him know about it. I don't know what George Esser said to him. When Emory had told me that he would be talking with him in private, he wanted me to know that it would be something concerning a job that he might take, and it wouldn't be anything that he would be discussing outside the group. I told him, well, that was fine; I probably wouldn't even have thought about it. But he said he did want to talk to him in private, and it would be concerning a personal matter concerning a job. So he did tell me Monday that he just decided to stay on with the Council. And I don't know whether George told him that he needn't worry about it [unknown]. He probably did. No, they have never been happy about that arrangement. And Paul said he made a mistake. He said Emory never should have had any administrative responsibilities.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did he think Emory should do?
RUTH VICK:
He's a program man. He really should be with these labor education …
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[TAPE 5, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 5, SIDE A]
RUTH VICK:
… guy. He should be doing the work that he was hired to do.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Actually, he's not related to the labor movement at all.

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RUTH VICK:
I know that. We used to get an awful lot of money from labor. We're not getting much money from labor now. And it's because we're not doing what we could be doing with labor.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What labor unions did you used to get money from?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, any number, even small unions. But we've always gotten some from the AF of L-CIO. We used to get ten thousand; we get five thousand now. We don't get anything from any other union. We used to get money from United Mine Workers every year. We used to get it from Auto Workers. We used to get it from just locals, not only the national groups. The Garment Workers used to give us money every year. We don't get that money any more. He has in the past conducted institutes, weekly institutes, and taught at some of the labor institutes, and he relates well with the labor, and he's got money for this. But he really hasn't been doing anything for it. Paul had put this in the budget, to have this resource and development center, and I don't recall whether he said [unknown], and I think they wrote off a few letters for money, but we never got any money for it. And he just made Emory head of it and put these three projects under Emory, and it's just been the worst mess.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I think a good example of that is the Florida [unknown] labor stuff. Bobby wrote an article on the labor guy that was in American Report and in the Great Speckled Bird, and we heard that Pat wants to know if they can put it in South Today. And it's just sort of amazing that the Southern Regional Council didn't know about the labor that's going on [unknown] in Florida. [laughter] And so he wrote about it.
RUTH VICK:
Emory hasn't said a word about that. Because before, he never

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said anything about the grape strike. We had to get that from the outside. People came in and told us what we should do and what we shouldn't do. Emory never said a word.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He doesn't seem to have any real contact …
RUTH VICK:
You know, when you're teaching school, and coming into an agency, I think, is a little bit different. He has taught labor education, and that's about all. And he really has done mostly institute work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Which is not really the same thing as relating to the labor movement. It's academic.
RUTH VICK:
No. It is academic, although he knows how to relate to union members. He did that long years ago. Because he came with the Georgia Workers' Education Service the last year. That's how I met him. I knew Emory Bayh back in the forties. And this is what he's done, mostly. He really doesn't need the administrative duties at all, because it takes him too long to make up his mind and answer a question or a request for anything. And so they sort of get peeved at him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of topics do you think the task forces are going to address themselves to?
RUTH VICK:
I have no idea what they will decide to do. I don't know what they'll talk about, whether it will be health… They'll probably go into all, health, education, just about every phase. They'll probably try to do quite a few things. They need to get something going, because we've got to report. This is unlike any other year, the grant they've given us. They want a report at the end of June before they give

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us our next quarterly grant.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He's not even going to be here until May, is he?
RUTH VICK:
He is acquainted enough [unknown] what's going on, but he says he'll talk to Ford, because he's not sure that we're going to get our money. And he knows Ford. We had sent him a copy of the letter that came with the money, and so he knew about it [unknown].
BOB HALL:
Does the Council still function? Does the Director of the Council still function as a kind of a liaison for money from the foundations? I guess actually most of the foundations now have their own representatives in the South [unknown], and they don't depend on the Council to keep in touch in much?
RUTH VICK:
We have to submit an annual report, along with the audit as to how the money was spent, what program was carried on. And there are reports from the project directors in the file. Leon and Butch have been excellent. Every time they have done anything, they have given Emory written reports. And [unknown]. Have you seen the newspaper they're putting out?
JACQUELYN HALL:
No.
RUTH VICK:
It's the school desegregation project newsletter, but it's done by [unknown]. Marge Manderson has been doing the art work and putting it together for them. It's interesting.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of thing?
RUTH VICK:
The third issue's out. It's talking about all student activities, what they're doing, what they're planning to do. It's sort of a tabloid

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sheet, but it's four printed pages. [Omission] Several issues have come out. These are more readable. The first one, you had to sort of search for where … [Omission] We said, "It's going to be hard for some people to follow." But she's done a little better with the other [unknown]; you can really follow. [Omission] They want to get it out monthly. You know, sometimes Marge does real well for a week, and then again, you don't see her. [laughter]
BOB HALL:
Is the Council now being pressed by some groups that are [unknown], some black power groups?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know of any. Vernon had a little trouble with Hosea Williams and some of SCLC. He was after they asked Vernon for I think it was $30,000 to do a weekend voter registration drive. And it turned out it wasn't going to take one-tenth that much to do what they wanted to do, and Vernon told him how much he would give them, and that would be all. And they picketed for the longest kind of time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They picketed VEP.
RUTH VICK:
In front of the building, yes, they did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And he didn't give in.
RUTH VICK:
Vernon was at Harvard; he wasn't even there.
BOB HALL:
SCLC picketed VEP?
RUTH VICK:
Right.
BOB HALL:
When, 1969?
RUTH VICK:
1970.
BOB HALL:
1970: [Omission] SCLC's quite a group, isn't it?
RUTH VICK:
That Hosea Williams, I just cannot… Every time I hear

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that name or see that… King made a mistake when he took him on the staff. He didn't know anything about him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you ever had dealings with him?
RUTH VICK:
No, I have not. I just don't like him. I think it's bad to have somebody like that on your staff, because he can hurt you more than he can help you. Hosea just doesn't have what it takes. [unknown] everything anybody could do that [unknown], [unknown]. He had a criminal record before he came with VEP, and that's one thing that King didn't know, he didn't check out. I think he might have been useful, but I don't think he should have been on the staff. I think he could have been useful in the community where he was, but he got too much power here and he made a spectacle of himself. And he's disliked more than anybody I know. I never did like him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What has happened with Nobby Morgan? I don't see how you can keep working with somebody that…
RUTH VICK:
She avoids coming in contact with me as much as possible, and I speak to her; whenever I have something for her, I take it to her and give it to her and tell her what I want [unknown]. Last year, when Paul was still on the staff, she had a lady who was coming in from Winston, doing some parttime work. The lady had been signing her forms, signing her name, employee's name. And it had to be signed by the employee. And she could type the name at the top if she wanted to, but it's a daily time sheet, and the woman is supposed to put down the time she comes in in the morning and the time she goes out in the afternoon. Nobby had filled this out at the last minute in her own

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handwriting, signed the lady's name. And she had on there that the woman had worked until nine o'clock some nights, oh, just all hours of the night [unknown]. She'd come in one morning at such-and-such a time when everybody else knew when they came in; they came in at two-thirty or something like that. Anyway, that didn't matter because I was going to honor the time that she had put down there, but the lady was supposed to sign her own name. So I told Paul, "Now, Paul, I'm not being picky or anything of that sort, but this is not right. This lady is supposed to sign her own time sheet. I'm not going to honor this until she does sign her own time sheet. I'm going to take it down and tell her to have the lady sign her own name to it." And I took it back to Nobby and said, "I can't honor this time sheet, because Mrs. So-and-so did not sign. You signed it for her [unknown] This is not quite right, and for my records I'd like to have her put her time down. When she comes in in the morning put it down, and when she goes out in the afternoon, and then turn it in to me with her signature on it at least three days before payday, when I have to make up the payroll." So she said," [unknown] make any difference." I said, "Well, it does make a difference, because [unknown] sign her own name to her time sheet. She was here this last day that you've got on here, and she should fill out her time sheet and send it in. She can read; she can write. Instead of you doing it for her, let her do it and turn it in to me. [unknown] do it." Well, in the meantime, Nobby had added up thirty and a half hours, but it was only twenty-eight and a half hours, even with the hours she had

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So I didn't mention anything about the difference in the addition. So she said she couldn't understand. She said, "What is it about me you don't like?" I said, "There's nothing about you that I don't like, Nobby. You decided that you didn't like me, and that's the only thing that's been wrong. You decided that shortly after you came with the Council. I've been as nice as I could to you, but I still have not been able to get through to you at all. That's one of the things that you have to find out, what it is that's wrong, because there's never been anything wrong with me." And she said, "Oh, you think [unknown] I just don't understand [unknown]." I said, "Nobby, yes, you do. You know exactly why you don't like me, but I have no idea why you don't like me and why you have told people you didn't like me, who have come to the Council. You have told them that they should not associate with me." We've had plenty of students down there working, and new people have come on the staff, and she has told them, "You're not to associate with her at all." Things like that. And some of them told me, and they told me, "Well, we decided that we would wait and find out for ourselves what kind of person you were. And we found out that you were a very nice person, and we like you." Well, everybody that has been a friend of mine at the Council [unknown]. I've had nothing to do with it. So anyway, she finally told me that she was going to pray for me, and I told her I didn't need her to pray for me, that she had better pray for herself.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, dear.
RUTH VICK:
This was last [unknown]. So she got the woman to fill it out, but

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the woman filled it out exactly as she had done and added it wrong, just as she had done. Of course, when I add up, I always make corrections, so I corrected it to twenty-eight and a half hours. And I gave Nobby the check to give to her. I said, "Here is So-and-so's check." I gave it to her in an envelope with the lady's name on it, because the lady [unknown]. We got on the elevator that same afternoon going down [unknown], and she said, "Why is it that you took two and a half hours from the paycheck?" I said, "You made an error on yours, and she copied exactly what you had entered. There was a difference of two hours. If it had been thirty-two hours, I would have made the two-hour correction in her favor. But since she had down that she'd only worked twenty-eight, but added it up thirty and a half, I had to make the correction. That's one of the things I have to do, is check everything that comes in here to make sure that I don't underpay or overpay." And she said, "Oh [unknown]. Paul left her out of the budget this year. In [unknown], he said that that job would be eliminated as not being necessary, that the duties had been performed by the Secretary-Treasurer and the Executive Assistant before, and he could save that money.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What does that mean?
RUTH VICK:
I don't know what they're going to do with it. Jim and Emory asked her why didn't she take the job of secretary to Butch and Leon. She said she wasn't a secretary anymore. [laughter] she's still there. They act like they're scared of doing [unknown]. Evidently Vernon and Nobby must have [unknown] something on

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those people, because they really are afraid of them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I know. I really get the feeling that the only way… [unknown] some people are afraid of you, then [unknown] you. [laughter] That that's what motivates them to [unknown] people and believe that people are worth dealing with.
RUTH VICK:
It's something. I've never seen anything like it. I brought it to Paul's attention when she bought coin envelopes for her church on the Council's account. And I brought it to Nobby's attention. I said, "Nobby, we don't use coin envelopes in the Council." She said, "Oh, those were personal, and I'll give you the money for them." I said, "Well, you can just write the check to Southern Regional Council." To this day we don't have that money.
BOB HALL:
How much money [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
It's a small amount of money, but it's dishonest. And some of the companies charge you if you don't order fifteen dollars or more [unknown] delivery [unknown] It costs them more money to deliver, so some have a minimum of twenty-five dollars before they'll take an order. And whenever these things come in, I pass them on [unknown] who's been doing the ordering. On several occasions we've had to pay a dollar and a half or two-fifty for delivery of something that cost $7.95, when you could order enough for six months and get a price break on it at the same time to save money, plus we wouldn't have to pay the delivery charge. So I mentioned it to her one day, and she said, "We don't use those but about once a year." I said, "It would certainly be better to try to find something

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else that we need from that same agency, because we do buy such-and-such a thing from them, and order enough so that we [unknown]." But it turned out that she had bought this special stuff for her church. So this is the smallest thing. But everybody's afraid but me to speak to these people. But if I don't have any backing up, what can I do?
BOB HALL:
Is she the only one that uses the Council for …
RUTH VICK:
Yes. Vernon and Paul let her get away with it. Paul doesn't do it anymore, because he's not there anymore, but he let her get by with murder. He was scared to say anything to her.
BOB HALL:
Paul didn't order things for his own …
RUTH VICK:
Oh, no. I'm just saying that he would not insist on her doing right by the Council; neither would he insist on Vernon doing right by the Council.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Over the long years, from the time you first knew the Council up till now, has the Council gotten to be more and more… One of the things that impressed me about the Council, which I was very surprised at, was in some ways how much like any other business it was run, in the sense that the secretaries and the women don't seem to have any commitment to the Council and are not involved in policy-making.
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But there are all these employees, and they're there to make a living just like if they were working at a bank.
RUTH VICK:
Some of them don't give a hoot about what the Council does or what it's doing.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And they're not encouraged to, really.
RUTH VICK:
Well, they're not.

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JACQUELYN HALL:
Even the ones who do care are not brought in on policy or anything.
RUTH VICK:
Right. You see, this was [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that something that gradually happened to the Council or …
RUTH VICK:
It's something that gradually happened. I remember when Les was there, he found out that I had been working a long time and knew a lot of people. And he would come to me and say, "Ruth, do you know So-and-so and So-and-so?" And I'd say, "Well, Les, I don't really him personally, or I don't know her personally, but I've met her, and I…" He'd say, "Do you know any reason why we shouldn't hire this person? I've talked to this person, and I like the way this person talks, and I think we ought to give this person a try." And I said, "Well, if you think so, I respect your judgment. Why don't you try this person?" He used to do that all the time with me. But that hasn't happened since he left. [laughter] I think he respected me and would come to me sometimes and say things to me that I didn't expect a man to do. But he was the only one.
BOB HALL:
But what about in terms of the whole approach of the organization, to have people in the organization that were dedicated to the goals and that felt a place [unknown].
RUTH VICK:
We had that at one time. Not the staff in the policy-making [unknown], but the staff could make suggestions, and it could be taken before the [unknown] and acted on. We used to have regular staff meetings, and some fruitful things came out of those staff meetings.

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And the staff could [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
Under Les Dunbar?
RUTH VICK:
Under Les Dunbar, and in the very beginning of Paul's administration. We used to have wonderful staff meetings. Everybody knew what was going on. But they just got to the point where they wouldn't even call a staff meeting. And that was one of the gripes of the staff, that half of us didn't know what was going on, what one staff member was doing, and there was just no communication whatsoever. And some of the staff was really concerned and wanted to know. And a lot of them said that they just thought that the money was being wasted, which it was. They weren't really doing what they should have been doing.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It's amazing that the Council has survived …
RUTH VICK:
I was worried, and Mildred Johnson was worried, as to whether the Council would survive. But we didn't see how it could survive if something didn't happen real soon, and that's why I thought that Paul really was going to resign the year before last in the fall, at the meeting. Because I thought he knew then that that was the end of him, and I just don't know why he didn't do that. Because I think he would have stood a better chance of getting a job.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What's going to happen to him, I wonder?
RUTH VICK:
Now he's going to have to get out and look for a job. Because the grant that Ford gave him is not going to last.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They gave the grant just to him?
RUTH VICK:
Oh, darlin', they gave us $30,000, honey, to give to him this year, because there he was without anything.

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BOB HALL:
Serverance pay.
RUTH VICK:
That's exactly what it is.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It's amazing.
BOB HALL:
Actually it's a [unknown], in a sense.
RUTH VICK:
That's why I know they asked him to resign, because they told him when he made up this proposal to put his $30,000 in there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The Ford Foundation told him that?
RUTH VICK:
Right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And made it clear that that was it?
RUTH VICK:
They had put his name there, but we knew exactly what it meant, and that's what it was for.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did they call it?
RUTH VICK:
I'll have to look at it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[laughter]
RUTH VICK:
We've got three separate little grants there, and we've put "Special Projects Grant Number One, Special Projects Grant Number Two, and Number Three," and his is one of them. But I don't remember the names that they had on the proposal. He ought to be looking for something now. He ought to be working on that. He said he's writing something. He said it doesn't sound like anything, and he doesn't know whether it's any good or not. Harold Fleming told him, "Don't throw it in the wastebasket. Let somebody else read it first, because it may be worth something." You can't evaluate your own work sometimes. So he promised Hal he would. And he's serving on the grand jury January and February on Tuesdays and Fridays.

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BOB HALL:
You were talking about that study that was done after the federal government, after an order came down that federal agencies should be [unknown]. Whatever happened to that whole [unknown] after the Johnson administration sent some people down to check it out, whether or not the report …
RUTH VICK:
We stood firm. And as I remember, Les was just mad enough to [laughter] do anything with them at that point. He's not afraid of anybody. There is some stuff in the files there. "Something for Progress." I can't remember now what the name of it is, but he …
JACQUELYN HALL:
He [unknown].
BOB HALL:
Whether some arrangement was made with some cooperation between SRC and the government to identify those agencies that needed some work.
RUTH VICK:
They identified the agencies. All that was in the report.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But the administration in Washington didn't…
RUTH VICK:
They said they came down and checked out something, and some of the stuff was wrong, but there wasn't anything wrong here. They were just coming to [unknown] over and clear themselves, but they didn't because this stuff was right. And Les had worked on rechecked and checked out to make certain that the figures were right and everything, so we weren't worried about that. "Plan for Progress," that's what it was.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Another thing about Washington. I remember I heard a long time ago that really behind the Voter Education Project was Robert Kennedy, and he wanted voters registered in the South who would vote

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for John Kennedy for the second time. Was he actually in on [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
Not that I know of. He may have helped get that Voting Rights Act through Congress, but that was after that, but I think he worked pretty hard on that. Oh, he was in Congress then.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He was the Attorney General?
RUTH VICK:
He gave up that job, but then he ran.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Didn't he run from New York?
RUTH VICK:
He was really hoping to get himself elected, but he was very sympathetic to the voter project.
BOB HALL:
When VEP started, he was still an Attorney General, I believe, under John Kennedy.
RUTH VICK:
Sixty-two.
BOB HALL:
And they were gearing up toward his re-election. And that's when it started, when John Kennedy was preparing for his re-election in '64.
RUTH VICK:
He was killed in '63.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did SRC have good contacts in Washington during the Kennedy administration that they didn't have under Johnson? Were there any changes [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
We really got a lot of contact once Harold got up there. Harold got to know a lot of people in Washington. And John Lewis got to know the Kennedys, Robert Kennedy much better than John Kennedy, and was very close to [unknown]. So we always had some entree. We could always get something through Harold or some person's name that we could get in touch with.

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JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of things?
RUTH VICK:
Who to send reports to, who should get this, that, and the other. And they were constantly writing for different things that we had put out. Or information; they used to call for information.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It seems like at that point, SRC's effort to get their reports and get their information out to a national audience, or to bring it to the attention of the national government, was a workable strategy, whereas now there's nobody for SRC to get their information out to, that's going to respond to it.
RUTH VICK:
No. You see, we had was it Douglas in Congress? He was liberal. What was the guy's name from Illinois? He was a friend of ours.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How have people like that been able to help SRC, people who are in Congress …
RUTH VICK:
When we were attacked, this senator came to our defense, and we were written up in the Congressional Record. And several people have spoken out for us up there. But usually we've had a friend or two in the White House somewhere, a senator somewhere, not from our state. [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's for sure.
RUTH VICK:
But Senator Talmadge can write the nicest letters to you. But he doesn't know, really, and I think, though, he might be just as gracious if he knew, I was black; if he knew I was half-way intelligent and wanted some information, he'd write me a nice letter back.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Or his secretary.

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BOB HALL:
You write as a Council [unknown]?
RUTH VICK:
No, just a personal letter. I'm sure he dictates it he signs it.
END OF INTERVIEW