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Oral History Interview with Thomas Jackson White Jr., March 14, 1986. Interview C-0029-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    At the time of this interview, in 1986, Thomas Jackson White Jr. could look back on decades as a civil and criminal lawyer in eastern North Carolina, terms in both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly in the 1950s and 1960s, a stint as a lobbyist, positions on the governing bodies of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a long career of influence in state politics. In this interview, White describes some of his experiences as a leader in North Carolina. He speaks at length in the first half of the interview about his eighteen-year chairmanship of the State Art Museum Building Commission, time he says he spent navigating resistance from Raleigh residents, bureaucratic mazes, the press, and party politics. In the second half, White focuses on his career as a lobbyist for the tobacco industry, offering a behind-the-scenes look at how the legislature works. This interview offers not just a portrait of an influential North Carolinian, but also insight into the intricacies of state government. White died in 1991.
    Excerpts
  • Winning convictions in a brutal rape case
  • Legal and bureaucratic obstacles to the construction of Raleigh's art museum
  • Racing to secure an appropriation for art museum in changing political climate
  • Maintaining devotion to art museum project despite significant setbacks
  • The press and some community members resent Building Commission's privacy
  • Lobbying for the tobacco industry
  • ERA supporters "acted like dogs"
  • Lobbyists' role in Raleigh
  • Lobbyists help legislators understand their jobs
  • Influences on the path of legislation in North Carolina
  • Hard work and integrity drive White's career
  • A politician navigates a relationship with the media
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

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