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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Stanford Raynold Brookshire, August 18, 1975. Interview B-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Citizens feared blacks acquired too much power with gerrymandered districts

Blacks supported gerrymandering in order to obtain equitable voting districts, while whites viewed gerrymandering as inequitable. Brookshire contends that consolidation of city and county services failed because white citizens worried that gerrymandered districts would give blacks too much political power.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Stanford Raynold Brookshire, August 18, 1975. Interview B-0067. 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

BILL MOYE:
You reckon anybody had special interests or axes to grind? In other words, were some of the sort of social implications involved in the number of districts and some of the guarantee of fair...
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Definitely. I think that did have an important part. For example, I'm sure that our black citizens were much concerned with the districting to be sure that the weight of their total votes wouldn't be wasted. That some of the districts would be set up so that representatives from those districts most certainly would be black.
BILL MOYE:
As I recall, the proposed charter pretty much guaranteed there would be three districts or representatives on the council from...
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
The black neighborhoods.
BILL MOYE:
You think that that's part of the reason that the district representation became such a controversy during the...
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Yes. I think that was primarily the reason. Then, of course, there was always the argument against district representation that we might be getting back to the old ward system, you know. Where people, representatives elected from given districts would swap out on a lot of issues. "You vote for me on this. I'll vote for you on that."
BILL MOYE:
That sort of argument...I wonder if there's the possibility that some of these slogans like "going back to the ward system" or complaining so much about gerrymandered districts or things along this line were sort of code words in a way involved with the school busing situation to sort of keep the agitation about black representation or black influence or whatever alive in the community and take advantage, perhaps, of the emotions...
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
I'm certain that played a part. Yes. The blacks at that time, and you can understand why because of the progress that had been made in providing blacks with equal rights and opportunities as citizens which is nothing but what we should have done...It was legal. It was moral to grant them those petitions in those regards. They began feeling they had gained a lot of ground, and they just wanted to make some more ground with this matter of representation in local government.