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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with I. Beverly Lake Sr., September 8, 1987. Interview C-0043. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Evaluation of Terry Sanford's tenure as governor

Lake assesses the problems of Terry Sanford's governorship as cronyistic and pro-black. He argues that the Sanford machine caused him to run for governor in 1964. He asserts that Sanford's food sales tax as an unjustified and burdensome expense to pay for public schools.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with I. Beverly Lake Sr., September 8, 1987. Interview C-0043. 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

CHARLES DUNN:
After you ran in 1960 and were not elected, what prompted you to run again in 1964?
I. BEVERLY LAKE:
Well, I guess it was basically the same thing. Of course, Terry Sanford had been Governor for four years.
CHARLES DUNN:
Yes sir.
I. BEVERLY LAKE:
I guess you might say he prompted me to run more than anything else. [Laughter] I thought that the Sanford administration was characterized by "cronyism," and I'm not talking about financial corruption but I'm sure that there was some of that too. I thought that it was characterized by a catering to the black vote which was understandable because it was the black vote which selected Mr. Sanford. I got more votes in the 1964, I mean the 1960 second primary. I got more white votes than Mr. Sanford did. No question about it. The colored people themselves. who were in the NAACP group, publicly claimed that they were the ones who elected Mr. Sanford, and they wanted him to remember that when he became Governor, and he did. Those were the things I thought the government of North Carolina--now please don't misunderstand me, I'm not suggesting any personal corruption on the part of Mr. Sanford. He was and is an honorable man, an able man. But I think his political machine culminated, probably in Bert Bennett--and Mr. Bennett was and is, without a doubt, an honorable man in his own business and personal activities--I thought and still think Mr. Sanford's political machine was a very undesirable machine to be in charge of governing North Carolina. I guess I'd like to say that that was what prompted me to run in 1964. I saw him over again in Judge Preyer, who was Mr. Sanford's choice as his successor; that is, the choice of the Sanford group. There were several who were considering running, just as there are now, considering to run for the Democratic nomination, but most of them dropped out of consideration. Judge Moore vacillated back and forth as to whether he was going to run for a long time. It looked for a while like I'd be going alone with Judge Preyer. Justice Moore, who was then Judge Moore, did some very fine things in his administration as Governor. He made an excellent Governor, especially when it came to appointing me on the Supreme Court. [Laughter] Going back to Mr. Sanford, I thought that he had appointed to the Superior Courts in North Carolina some men who were not as well qualified as some others. The school system under Mr. Sanford's regime, the school system and the court system were being jeopardized. I thought that the promoting and the bringing into existence of the sales tax of food was an unjust burden on the poor people of North Carolina, and I still think so. I think it's here to stay. I think that Mr. Sanford put in the sales tax on food as an educational measure to get more money for the schools. I thought money was not the crying need for the school system. You always need money. I didn't think that was the crying need. So I guess you would say that the record of the Sanford administration was the reason I decided to run again in 1964.