Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Caesar Cone, January 7, 1983. Interview C-0003. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Pernicious effects of cars on communities

Cone blames the automobile for destroying communities, basically by allowing the wealthy to establish enclaves that they then protect with an increasingly complex and limiting network of laws.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Caesar Cone, January 7, 1983. Interview C-0003. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

CEASAR CONE:
I don't think much of Mr. [Ralph] Nader. He's criticized the automobile for killing people and messing up the countryside with all these roads, etc. I think the automobile has damaged our society more than anything it could possibly do physically. As an example, my father had the biggest house in town and was the richest man in town. He lived right next to his mill, so he could walk to work. And he lived right next to his mill houses, so his employees could walk to work. They had a store, and they had their churches, and they had the schools withink walking distance. As the automobile came along and made people more mobile and they could live twenty miles away and commute, it gave an opportunity to the individual to process his baser instincts, if you please. "I only want to live next to rich people in big houses, and I don't want to live next to smoke or noise where there's manufacturing, and I don't want to live next to a school where there's a lot of hollering at recess time," etcetera, etcetera. So zoning came along, and planning came along, and government came along with all this mix. As a result, it has created some of the problems, probably more problems than it's solved. I'm talking about society-wise.