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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Ruth Vick, 1973. Interview B-0057. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The Southern Regional Council establishes state divisions

Vick recalls the grant that made it possible for the Southern Regional Council (SRC) to set up eleven state divisions around the South. The SRC was an integrated organization, but in some divisions it was very difficult to hire black employees, such as in Louisiana and Georgia.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Ruth Vick, 1973. Interview B-0057. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACQUELYN HALL:
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 .
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 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 people doing some consulting work for them.