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Title: Oral History Interview with Paul Hardin Jr., December 8, 1989. Interview C-0071. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Hardin, Paul, Jr., interviewee
Interview conducted by Mathews, Donald
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 136 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-07-20, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of sound recording: Oral History Interview with Paul Hardin Jr., December 8, 1989. Interview C-0071. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0071)
Author: Donald Mathews
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Paul Hardin Jr., December 8, 1989. Interview C-0071. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0071)
Author: Paul Hardin Jr.
Description: 152 Mb
Description: 42 p.
Note: Interview conducted on December 8, 1989, by Donald Mathews; recorded in Unknown.
Note: Transcribed by Donald Mathews and Jovita Flynn.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series C. Notable North Carolinians, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Paul Hardin Jr., December 8, 1989.
Interview C-0071. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Hardin, Paul, Jr., interviewee


Interview Participants

    PAUL HARDIN JR., interviewee
    DONALD MATHEWS, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
DONALD MATHEWS:
Bishop Hardin, can you just state your name and when you were born and where, and we'll see how it picks up your voice.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
My name is Paul Hardin Jr. I was born in a little town called Goldville at that time, not in Chester, though I give Chester as my birthplace and rearing position. My father was a bookkeeper of a cotton mill in Chester, South Carolina. He moved over to Goldville to become superintendent of a cotton mill. That's in Lawrence County. About, I suppose eight of nine months after he got over there, they offered him the superintendency of the mill he had just left as a bookkeeper. Since he was a native of Chester, he returned to Chester. I have always given Laurens County as my legal place of birth, but ordinarily I say that I am a native of Chester, South Carolina.
DONALD MATHEWS:
When do you consider that you began your ministry in the church?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Do you mean when I thought about going into the ministry?
DONALD MATHEWS:
When you thought about going into it and why?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
You have to give Wofford College a good deal of credit for that. My background and rearing were not particularly pointed toward the ministry. My father and mother were social people, not that that meant anything against them because Dad never drank. Mother never drank, of course. That was just not allowed in our family, but we did play bridge together and things of this type, and we loved to dance.

Page 2
DONALD MATHEWS:
Was that approved by Methodists at that time?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, let's say that it would be slightly frowned upon by the average Methodist preacher and the parsonage family. But we always enjoyed that kind of life. I don't remember Mother and Dad doing much dancing, but they encouraged us to be as graceful as possible in all things we did. Dad was a college graduate. In fact, Dad was a better student then I. Dad was, I think, a straight A student at Wofford. Mother was a graduate of Wintrop College. We children had an educated background. Mother and Dad argued for years over whether molasses was plural or singular. This kind of thing. So I went to Wofford, and I sort of grew up at Wofford. I went to Wofford as a green freshman, literally. I thought it was time for me to buy clothes for myself, and so I went downtown and bought a suit that I thought was a lovely gray. It turned out to be green.
DONALD MATHEWS:
You and I have the same problem. [Laughter]
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Do you have that problem, too?
DONALD MATHEWS:
I have that problem.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
And I went to college as a green freshman! But I did the things at Wofford that my father had done. I joined the same Kappa Alpha fraternity that he joined. And I enjoyed Wofford very much. But later on towards the latter part of my years there, part of the junior year and most of the senior year, I began to think rather seriously about what I was going to do. First, I wanted to be a lawyer, and then I shifted away from that. I have to confess that Billy Sunday came to Spartanburg in my senior year.

Page 3
DONALD MATHEWS:
What year would that be?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
That would be 1924 or possibly the fall of 1923. But I didn't admire his antics in the pulpit. I didn't like seeing him crawl over the pulpit and down on the other side, standing on his head, and all that sort of stupid stuff. But he made me think. He was a forceful preacher, and while I wanted to laugh, I also was touched. I didn't go rabid or anything like that, but he got me to thinking. So then I decided to teach school for a year. I got a job in my own high school before I was twenty-one years old. I taught at Chester, English and history. I signed up to teach another year. I laugh and say I taught a year and a week. I did. I signed up with a slight increase in salary to teach the second year, but about a month before school convened, I'd really had a spiritual experience in that I faced up to reality, and I knew that I could not go ahead and get married, for instance. We didn't have places at that time that you could take a bride, and you'd be sure to get a church somewhere around Atlanta. We couldn't do that. So we had to postpone our wedding. Dot and I were engaged at that time. And I still tease her and tell her there's a spot on the ceiling where she hit it when I told her I was going to be a Methodist preacher. [Laughter] But she's made a wonderful wife. But to go on with the story, I decided that I wanted to be a minister, and I knew I had to go back to school. So I sought funds. Dad, in the meantime, had lost everything he'd ever made. He would not go into bankruptcy though his own banker begged him to do so. But, no, that was not the kind of thing that he would do and so forth.

Page 4
DONALD MATHEWS:
This is the late '20s? This is '29?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
This was back in '22, '23, and '24. He was losing everything he had. Now, I had a car all four years I was in college. This was part of my life, but it didn't mean we had money. It meant we had automobiles. Anything I rode in was for sale. Anyway, I borrowed money and went to Emory, and I did three years work in twenty-three months. I took an extra minor every quarter and I went four quarters, the year round. And then I got out of school in late August and went down to Cheraw, South Carolina and worked in the drugstore that my grandfather owned. I jerked soda. I enjoyed a certain degree of notoriety. I was the only soda jerk in town with an A.B. and B.D. degree. And then Dot and I got married just about a week or ten days before the Western North Carolina Conference met. And I came up to Asheville and joined the Western North Carolina Conference on trial. Now, there was a reason for that. I was related to nearly everybody in South Carolina. I didn't want to start down there. I really had just multiple relatives.
DONALD MATHEWS:
I understand that.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
So I came into the Western North Carolina Conference, and started at Matthews which is now the fastest growing Methodist church in the Western North Carolina.
Knotty Rembert, now, Knotty is a nickname, of course, for Dr. Rembert, who was a Bible teacher Wofford. He helped me more than anyone else to make a decision. As I told him, I had not been brought into the Kingdom by any blinding experience. I just had to make a decision. He said, "God gives man certain talents.

Page 5
Some get more than others; some get less. But whatever you have, you've got to make a decision about what you're going to do with the talent God gives you. You're either going to use it for your own selfish interests, or you're going to try to dedicate those talents to God and to his cause, and you're going to try to be an influence in that direction."
DONALD MATHEWS:
Do you think that your experience was characteristic of your generation of ministers?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
No, I don't think so. I was with boys who, from the time they could crawl around, they had thought about being Methodist preachers.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Oh really.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I hadn't. I didn't want that. I didn't want to quit dancing. I didn't want to quit playing bridge, although I did none of those things to the detriment of my mind or body. And yet, I know Dot and I have danced a thousand miles together in our life. She, incidentally, was one of the best ballroom dancers in South Carolina, and I wasn't a slouch. [Laughter] Anyway, we gave it all up, and she became a minister's wife and a great one, and we've been happy ever since.
DONALD MATHEWS:
What do you remember most about Emory at that time?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I wrote a thesis on the religious influence of college life on a group of college students. That was my thesis.
DONALD MATHEWS:
That was an important issue at that time, wasn't it?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Very. And they've got a copy of it down there in the library at Emory. I sounded out and interviewed a number of representative students in the different classes, trying to look

Page 6
in the direction of what were your attitudes toward the church and what did you believe when you came here and what do you believe now, what do you do now. Well, we made some rather startling discoveries. We discovered that one of the most detrimental classes down there happened to be a Bible class taught by a graduate student in the seminary, who was taking everything he got in the graduate school back to freshmen who weren't ready for it.
DONALD MATHEWS:
He just learned it and he wanted to. . . .
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
That's right. He wanted to let everybody know what he knew, you know. But it was pretty stupid. And I'm sure that I cost him his job. I didn't mean to, but that was just the way the ball bounced. And I found that a teacher of biology in the undergraduate school perhaps had the most profoundly good influence, religiously, on students of anybody on the campus. And that was a revelation.
DONALD MATHEWS:
By his example?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, an example was that he let them understand that you can be intelligent and you can look at the facts of science without being irreligious. This was an important thing in that day.
DONALD MATHEWS:
That was really important at that time, wasn't it? That was the time of the Scopes trial.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Sure, that's right.
DONALD MATHEWS:
A little while afterwards.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
And it's the time when Methodist preachers in Georgia thought that anybody that went to the seminary at the university

Page 7
was losing religion. They were going to lose all the religion they had! It was terrible what some of the preachers down there said about Emory. Of course, it didn't take long for them to become convinced that they had better get on board. That this was a new day.
DONALD MATHEWS:
When was Candler founded?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
The School of Theology was founded about 1918 or '19, somewhere in there. I've forgotten the exact date.
DONALD MATHEWS:
So you came there in just. . . .
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I went there in 1925 after teaching a year.
DONALD MATHEWS:
A lot of Georgia ministers were suspicious of this thing, right?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes. And very few of them, comparatively, had graduate degrees in the field of religion.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Did you get the impression that they had gone to college?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Some, yes. Just because they didn't understand the seminary, didn't mean that they weren't normally decent and intelligent people. But they didn't know what was going on at the seminary. They just heard what somebody said about professor so and so, Smart, for instance. Dr. W.A. Smart was one of the ones and Shelton. Dr. Shelton was supposed to be a Godless nonbeliever, you know.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Were they in Bible or were they in theology?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, one was in theology and one was in the field of Hebrew and history. Dr. Andrew Sledd was "suspect."
DONALD MATHEWS:
Oh yes, I know who Sledd was.

Page 8
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Andrew Sledd married the bishop's daughter.
DONALD MATHEWS:
That's right he did.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes, and the bishop was ready to throw him out of the church. I remember one time the old bishop walked in on a discussion. Some of the professors were discussing a debatable matter. When he walked in, they all got quiet. They just shut up. The old bishop, Warren Aiken Candler, said, "Well, what were you talking about?" And nobody volunteered the information. He said, "I don't care whether sister Isaiah had twins or triplets. You better read up on that book. It's a good book." This was the kind of thing he would give them. Anyway, it was a developing time.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Yes, it was.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
And W. A. Smart was a keen man. He had a great contribution to make. When we left the seminary, there were sixteen of us who formed a "round robin" letter, and Smart represented the seminary. And that thing still goes around today. I think it's on about it's 214 or 15th round.
DONALD MATHEWS:
How does it work? That's fascinating.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
The letter comes to you. Now, it's down to about six or seven letters. It started out with sixteen. When it comes to me, my letter is on top. I read it to refresh my mind. And then I write a new one and put it at the back. So it moves gradually forward. It's a magnificent thing.
DONALD MATHEWS:
It's a wonderful historical document because it tells you about the change and development over these most important years.

Page 9
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
It's just about to peter out right now. But I think some of us have almost complete files on it.
DONALD MATHEWS:
I think those files are historically significant.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
We had some very fine scholars in that group.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Do you think the research files will go to Junaluska?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes, they probably would, although I think I have them still in my files here, most of them, a lot of them.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Well, those are important for understanding the development of Methodism in the 20th century, especially from the '20s to the present. That's fascinating.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I'll have to check into that.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Why did you do that? Did you have a feeling of camaraderie. . .?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes, we felt like we would keep in touch with each other. There were four of us very close friends, and we had a good deal to do with the organization of that letter and the setting up of it. Out of the four, three became bishops.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Who were they?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Which was interesting. Bishop John Bransome from Florida, Bishop Ed Pendergrass, native of South Carolina but elected from Florida, and I. And of course, I was elected from First Church, Birmingham, Alabama. So I've gone a long way around to answer your questions as to when I first began to think in terms of the ministry.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Then you came up here to Matthews.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I joined this conference up here and they sent me to Mathews. Now, I wasn't particularly dumb. I knew I was going to

Page 10
get a church and a charge. I had borrowed some money to go to Emory. I borrowed some money from a fund up here in the Western North Carolina Conference. My mother and father had moved to Charlotte at that time, and they were members of the church, and I had access to it. So I borrowed $300, and the superintendent of the Charlotte district, the presiding elder at that time, had endorsed my note for $300. I borrowed to get married, and I knew pretty well that I was going to get a church since he signed my note [Laughter] for $300. Dr. D. M. Littaker from Charlotte. He was my superintendent. So we started there at Matthews. I stayed two years, and then I went to Concord, Forest Hills Church in Concord, where W. R. Odell, a great layman, became almost my second father and did everything in the world for me.
DONALD MATHEWS:
He must have been on in years by that time?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
He was seventy-five and I was twenty-six. And he just took me on as a protegee. One thing that was interesting, he was a member of the book committee and got a copy of everything that Methodist Publishing House published. If he ever read a book, I never saw it. He just turned them on over to me.
DONALD MATHEWS:
How wonderful.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Right on down to my house, without some of them even being opened. I guess in a way he did the best thing that he could have done with them. He gave them to a mind that was starving for all the information it could get, and he wasn't going to read it anyway. But he loved the church, and he was a good member of the book committee. He had business sense, and that's what they needed as much as anything else.

Page 11
DONALD MATHEWS:
What do you think was the major problem as a minister, and problems among the church—what were the laity most concerned about in the '20s and '30s?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, the southern laity in some places was most concerned about the church getting out of hand and these young preachers coming in, too liberal, they thought.
DONALD MATHEWS:
You're one of those young preachers?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes, I was one of them. But I didn't give them the whole dose at one time. My father came to hear me preach one Sunday at Asheboro. I'd been there about two years. And I preached a sermon on race relations. It was race relations Sunday. And after the sermon was over, he followed me back to the parsonage, and said, "Son, those people will run you off tomorrow." I said, "No, Dad, they won't run me off tomorrow. I've been here two years. Now, if I had done that when I first got here, they probably would have tried to run me off." But I had a man once come to me, I was his bishop, and I had to move him every year. And he came to me and he said, "You move me every year, and you've moved me because I preach the gospel too strongly for these people. You've moved me because I rock the boat." I said, "No, I don't move you because you rock the boat. I have to move you because you have never learned how to rock the boat successfully." And there's a tremendous difference.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Yes, Yes. Well, race, you think they were really more anxious about race than anything else, or were they concerned about Darwinism or science?

Page 12
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
They were more concerned, primarily, about the feeling that they were going to be forced together in the church, as they were going to be forced together in the public schools. This was beginning to dawn on them. That was a feeling growing in the country that the type of segregation we had and restrictions that we put upon blacks about the use of toilets and so forth and so on, that this had to crumble someday, and they did not want to see it happen. But I laughed, when I went to Birmingham, they some of them. They weren't laughing all together. They said that just because I was from "North" Carolina, I was a Yankee.
DONALD MATHEWS:
When did you go to Birmingham?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I went to Birmingham in '49.
DONALD MATHEWS:
So you had been in the ministry for about twenty-two years?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I was the minister there for eleven years.
DONALD MATHEWS:
After you went to Birmingham?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
After I went to Birmingham, and then I went to South Carolina, my own native state, as a bishop. That was a shock to them and a little bit to me. I had not expected them to send me, but they did a wise thing. As a native son I could say and do things in South Carolina that other people couldn't have done. I went down—you don't care if I ramble?
DONALD MATHEWS:
Ramble!
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Not long after I got to Columbia as a bishop, I was invited down to a little town, Allendale, on the way to Florida on 301. Anyway, it's a lovely little town, and the Methodist church has the prettiest name, Swallow Savannah United Methodist

Page 13
Church. The swallows come into the savannah grass, you know, beautiful. Anyway, I went down there, and I had been away from South Carolina, oh, let's see, twenty-two years in western North Carolina, eleven in Birmingham, and then to South Carolina. I was "up country," Chester. They're "low country," Allendale. They didn't know me, and when I got in the pulpit that morning, I could see or feel that they were suspicious. They were cautious. And when I got up and said what I did in the very opening sentence, I could tell they were surprised. I said, "You don't have any idea how much at home I feel." And they looked kind of puzzled. I said, "I've been reading the list of your ministers who have served this church in the 150 years that you have been organized as a Methodist Church. I saw that you had two preachers here, one here in the 1830s, R. J. Boyd and one here in the 1880s, T.E. Wannamaker. T. E. Wannamaker was my great-grandfather, and R. J. Boyd was my great-great grandfather!"
DONALD MATHEWS:
R. J. Boyd was your great-great-grandfather."
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Great-great-grandfather. I said, "Now, if any of you have moved into Allendale in the last 130 years, I want to welcome you to town." [Laughter]
DONALD MATHEWS:
That's nice.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
And it just made all the difference in the world. You know I'm the only Methodist Bishop in the world who has ever presided for twelve years (or any time) over an annual conference of which his great-grandfather and his great-great-grandfather were clerical members of that annual conference. That's why it helpful to send me back to South Carolina.

Page 14
DONALD MATHEWS:
When did you go, in '60?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I went there in 1960 and stayed until I retired in 1972.
DONALD MATHEWS:
You got a difficult assignment?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes, but it was fun. [Laughter] It was fun. And I guess in a way the greatest obstacle to a successful merger and the two annual conferences in South Carolina was the "Black Power" group. They didn't want to merge. They had that power block and those men were making, actually making, the appointments, about seven or eight of them in this little tightly knit group. They had the bishop, who's name I don't care to mention, in their hands. And even after he left that conference and went all the way to California, he tried to run that organization by long distance.
DONALD MATHEWS:
They had a vested interest in that?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
That's right. They had all the appointments that were worth having, and if others didn't play ball with them, they'd see that this guy got bumped. It was a terrible situation.
DONALD MATHEWS:
What were the general problems when you came in, the first thing you had to do?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, this was the basic one. I got no cooperation from them. The first time I visited the conference as the bishop, there was almost open discourtesy toward me. And I refused to let it bother me. Finally though, it got so rough that at the end of the first year, I had to remove a man who had only been in the cabinet for two years, one year with the previous bishop and one with me. We would have a meeting of the

Page 15
cabinet and we'd make appointments and we would bind all to secrecy, and before he had been out of the cabinet thirty minutes, the black power crowd knew every appointment we had made! So finally, just about two or three weeks before the annual conference was to meet, at a cabinet meeting, I just said, "I have an announcement to make." And I turned and said to them, "I'm going to have to tell Brother so and so that he will be leaving the cabinet and going back to the pastorate." Well, you would have thought I had shot him. I said, "I regret it extremely, but I have tried to work with him and he has not been willing to cooperate. He has been more concerned about "Black Power" than he has been about the church."
DONALD MATHEWS:
What did they want?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
They wanted to run the conference. They wanted all the best appointments. They weren't interested. . . .
DONALD MATHEWS:
Of the newly integrated conference?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, they didn't want to integrate.
DONALD MATHEWS:
They didn't?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
No, no, they didn't want to lose control of their power block and the appointments.
DONALD MATHEWS:
So they benefited from the situation.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
That was the only conference of any size, the only black conference of any size. You see, they had over three hundred churches.
DONALD MATHEWS:
That's a lot.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
They had about 138, I believe, members of the conference, pastors. So that was the only thing the blacks had,

Page 16
and when they saw that slipping out of their hands with a merger, well, they just fought it.
DONALD MATHEWS:
How many white churches were there in South Carolina?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
About I think somewhere around 850 to 900.
DONALD MATHEWS:
So the ratio was about 8 to 3.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes.
DONALD MATHEWS:
How do you integrate a conference in 1960?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Gradually we came nearer to it. On January for three successive years we had a meeting of blacks and whites from every section of the state. We let them come together in the hotel for a weekend. We took over the hotel. We had speakers to come in. I had black bishops and white bishops to come in. And we just talked and prayed together, and it was a marvelous experience. It really was great. Some of the bishops I brought down from the North were better preachers than some of our southern bishops were. And some of the white bishops who came down demonstrated the feeling of devotion to the cause that was beyond any sort of racial feeling. It just finally began to melt itself. Then I had two meetings of the annual conferences together. I brought the whole two conferences together. I had the secretary of this conference sitting up here with me, and his conference there and the secretary with the white conference here, sitting with me. And the white conference members out there. And we discussed it. I was in a swivel chair conducting two annual conferences. [Laughter] I don't know whether it was legal or not. I never bothered to find out. But we had these meetings. And the Lord helped me on more than one occasion. The funniest thing that

Page 17
happened, happened when we were meeting one day down in Columbia in the city auditorium, and we were just getting along beautifully. Here were the blacks and here was the whites, and everybody was in a good mood. And all of a sudden, a guy got up in the back of the auditorium, says, "Bishop, if we have this merger, how long will it be before you send us a black preacher?" You could have heard a pin drop. I mean it just got so quiet it was painful.
DONALD MATHEWS:
[Laughter] I guess it did.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
And the Lord helped me. I grinned and I pointed, I said, "I know you. I can't hardly get you to take a white one!" [Laughter] Well, it just blew the whole thing wide open. He sat down. His face got red. I never heard another peep out of him at all. But you know, I learned a lot along in that time. You can laugh something out of court that you can't argue out of it.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Which of the white churches got black preachers first? How do you manage that?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I can't tell you that exactly. It was sort of an intermingling gradually, and it has not been as rapid as I think it ought to be. But it is doing it. It is going that way. When big churches like the church in Greenville, South Carolina, one of the stronger churches, they first took a black associate minister. And they began to feel that this move was for real. Then we began white. . . . Let me tell you something interesting, the black people basically don't want in the white churches. Apparently, they really don't want in them. They

Page 18
don't think white preachers can preach! They want somebody preaching with fervor and gusto, like Bishop Scott Allen.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Matter of style.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Sure, that's right.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Does it still continue to be a matter of style?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
To some extent. Blacks are getting better educated all the time, and they are coming into conference offices that are putting them out over the conference and this kind of thing. I laughed at Scott Allen. Do you know Scott Allen very well, Bishop Allen?
DONALD MATHEWS:
No, I don't.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, he's a black, and he's a good bishop. He was the last editor of the Advocate of the South-central jurisdiction, the black jurisdiction. I told a story on him last Sunday. We had a "big doing" here. We opened a big building that's new, and he started a movement when he was the bishop here in this Western North Carolina Conference. He organized what we call the Century Club, members of the churches around through here who will give a hundred dollars or more to Givens Estates. And he called those people members of the Century Club, and it has brought about $150,000, which is not hay even now. But I told a story on Bishop Scott that's typical. He was trying to initiate a new man in the cabinet. Fellow had never been a member before, and he was kind of taking him under his wing. And walking in, the fellow was trying to show his interest in learning, and he walked into the room and he asked Bishop Allen, "Bishop, which end of this table is the head." Scott said, "When I sit down, that's the

Page 19
head." [Laughter] And it was a true story. That's the way Scott was. But Scott was a good man, and he did a good job here in this conference.
DONALD MATHEWS:
You can integrate the conference, in terms of when you come to meet, the annual conference, and you can have black ministers and sometimes white ministers in white and black churches, but probably not often. But you can't integrate congregations.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Not that way, Unless you can find some lay person who will give strong leadership, and say now, "Look, this is our bounding duty as good Methodist people, for us to set an example." I was down in Meridan, Mississippi, preaching in a series of services. At that particular time I was president of the Council of Bishops, and I was preaching for thme there in Meridan. And when I got there the pastor told me that they were very much afraid that some of the blacks were going to try to crash the evangelist services, just as a matter of testing the bishop or themselves or the congregation. And I told him, "Now look, not only am I a bishop, I'm the president of the Council of Bishops, and everybody your ushers turn away from the door, they're turning me away too. So you'll have to just let them know that when they don't let a black in, they let me out. I'll just quit and go home." But nobody came. The last night I was there I told them, "You are some of the loveliest, most cultured people I know of in Methodism," and I said. "If you let yourselves be part of the problem instead of part of the solution, I don't see how the Lord can ever forgive you." And I

Page 20
left. Well, I thought I'd never hear from them again. About six months later they called me over the phone and said, "Can you come down here again this coming year?" And I said, "No, I can't come, but thank God you asked me." I felt that way about it. Oh, I don't know how to explain what goes on. I don't how to explain why some people have so much trouble. I think they agitate people unnecessarily. I think there's a challenge about some people. They just want to push and tug over something.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Style of confrontation, sharpening differences.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Well now, you were there for twelve years in South Carolina?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
South Carolina, twelve, yes.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Did you see much improvement over the period of time? I think there was, wasn't there?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes, I saw a good deal, but I've seen even more since. I was followed by two good bishops. Actually, they both have held a stick high, and they've moved cautiously but firmly.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Going back to thinking about the integration of congregations, it would be hard to integrate standing congregations. The only way you can get an interracial congregation is to create one from scratch?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
It's easier to do that way because you get volunteers. You could, way back yonder, a good while ago, you could have blacks in your services if your people knew that you believed it was the right thing. I remember in Birmingham, I used to have black people in my Sunday night services. They would

Page 21
voluntarily, they wouldn't ask about whether they should or shouldn't. Most of them would voluntarily go to the balcony, but whites were up there too, thank goodness. We would have these services. I had a Sunday night service everywhere I ever served, and I averaged around 400, 450 people on Sunday night at Birmingham for eleven years. I used to laugh and say that there was a preacher who came up there every Sunday night. Sat there in the balcony taking notes. And I still have the feeling that he preached that sermon at his church the next Sunday. [Laughter] But no black was ever turned away from the First Methodist Church of Birmingham as long as I was there, not ever.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Those were difficult years in Birmingham. You were there in the '60s.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
But they came. And my people knew that I wouldn't allow them, you know, to do anything else but accept them. I didn't have to bully them. They just got the feeling that this is part of it, and we're going to take it.
DONALD MATHEWS:
You were a whitness at the beginning of the civil rights movement then?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Oh yes. Let me go back to my childhood. My father was one of eight children. He grew up on a farm about four miles out of Chester. His father was a very large landowner, and he gave eight children an education if they would take it. Dad was one of the younger children and went to Wofford, and as I said, he went to Wofford in very fine shape. As we got along in life, we found out that certain things were inculcated in that family that maybe every family didn't get. In the first place, they had, to

Page 22
a certain degree, financial security and advantages of that sort. My grandfather put all of those children through college if they would go. Daddy was of the impression, I think, that he had a responsibility toward society. But in the first place, my grandfather did not believe in the War Between the States. He opposed it bitterly. He said it was stupid for the country to go to war. That those things ought to be amicably and so forth, and he understood certain situations. And I think he was ready to back the integration to that extent. So Dad grew up feeling that the church was powerful and influential. So that helped, I think, us, the family. And Mother and Dad were at one in their relationship to the church. Course, my grandfather Wannamaker, my mother's father, was the son of the Wannamaker who was a pastor at Allendale back in the 1880s. Well, I'll get wound up and I don't know where to stop. I'll stop. Now, you might have some more questions.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Well, I just wondered about your ministry in Birmingham.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
It was a delightful experience. I had anonymous letters by the dozen, but I never let them bother me. One fellow was a persistent writer, and I nicknamed him. I called him "Old Bashful." I started telling the congregation about him about two or three years after I got there. He, of course, thought I was awful. That I was a Yankee, and that I was trying to bring blacks into the church and so forth and so on. And I would tell the congregation, "Well, I had another letter from ‘old Bashful' this week." And I'd tell him what he was trying to tell me, you

Page 23
know. I remember once just before, well, I had a big preacher coming, Dr. E. Stanley Jones. I mentioned the fact that he was coming, and I said, "I hope we can have good attendance." I said, "We all need to come here."
DONALD MATHEWS:
E. Stanley Jones?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
E. Stanley Jones was coming to preach for me, and he did a good job. I said, "Stanley Jones is going to be here, and I want us all to come. We all need to come. You need to come. I need to come. ‘Old Bashful' needs to come." [Laughter] They all started laughing, you know. But I never did hear anymore from him after that. "That ‘Old Bashful' needs it." That killed him. There's more than one way to kill a cat.
DONALD MATHEWS:
You watched the civil rights conflict in Birmingham, right?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes, I did. Of course, as a bishop I took the Alabama-West Florida Conference for three and a half years when Bockman Hodge died. We had to divide Alabama. There were two conferences in Alabama, north Alabama and south Alabama. Nolan Harmon took north Alabama because I had just been in that conference for eleven years, and I took south Alabama. We were together, working our ways together. So it was a thing that had to be worked as best we could. I went to south Alabama and found a real, old Frazier. Do you know the preacher Frazier down in south Alabama?
DONALD MATHEWS:
No.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Frazier was the cock of the walk. He was the most conservative man in the conference, and he dominated the

Page 24
conservatives. So it made it very difficult down there but we finally whacked that down.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Can you talk about the nature of the conflict in south Alabama?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, there were a few men in south Alabama who were very liberal. Some of them had left during the days when Bishop Franklin was over there. Franklin was a sweet person, but Franklin was not a strong character. And we had an exodus from south Alabama of young preachers that ought not ever to have left Alabama. But Franklin was out of the country, for one thing, when they were taking the first black student into that University of Alabama. Franklin was overseas, and some of his crowd got away while he was gone. They just said, "I'm not going to put up with this kind of stuff," and went out. I remember when I went up to Drew University to preach up there, oh, some years ago now, maybe ten years ago or less, the pastor at the church there at the university was a Mississippi man who left Mississippi during that period.
DONALD MATHEWS:
There was an exodus from Mississippi.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
They went from both, Mississippi and Alabama.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Did you have much problem with the White Citizens' Councils in South Alabama?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I would say it seemed like a lot. As I look back on it now, it was not really a lot. They tried to get meeting space in my church in Birmingham, and I forbade it. Some of my lay people on the board felt like we ought to let them have it. That they had a right to their side. I just told them frankly, "If you

Page 25
need them in this church, you don't need me." Fortunately, they did not allow them to meet there. [When I became a bishop, they already knew my position.]
DONALD MATHEWS:
Were there any, I should know this but I don't, Methodist churches that simply split or left the denomination?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes, some. I went to court three times. [I went to court over Union Springs, Alabama. We won. I also went to court twice in South Carolina and won both suits.]
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
BISHOP PAUL HARDIN:
[I went to court] three times. Union Springs was the most notorious case. Union Springs tried to pull out lock, stock, and barrel, and I told them they couldn't do it. I sent the district superintendent. I had an engagement that morning. I think it was in Mobile. But I called the superintendent of that district and told him to go and be present at the church that Sunday morning that they were going to have it. "You tell them that they cannot do that. It's illegal, and it would normally necessitate an expensive court case." But anyway, two of the men escorted him out of the church. So then I got a lawyer to take our case, and we sued for the property. And in the long run—we could have gotten quick action in the federal court—but we wanted the local, the south Alabama court, to make the ruling. And they finally had to rule in our favor. Well, that put a [unclear] to a lot of that stuff.
In the meantime, I turned right around and moved the preacher. The preacher that was at Union Springs, he was the ringleader. He was going to take them out. Go with them, see. Well, he went, but he didn't take the church with him. The church now is coming back fairly well. It took them, I guess, ten years to get back on their feet. But Lord, what a loyal group, about twelve or fifteen people, made it. They weren't going to let that church go.
DONALD MATHEWS:
That's wonderful.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Two brothers were on the school board, and their sister taught in that school. And even though they had her fired because she stuck with the church,. . . .

Page 27
DONALD MATHEWS:
Oh my.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Can you imagine? I see her about once every year or so up at the lake, and every time I see her, I just tell her, "You're the apple of my eye, absolutely."
DONALD MATHEWS:
This is not a question that I find easy to ask, because I don't. . . . But I'll ask it anyway. It has to do with the difference between Methodists and Baptists in the integration problems, civil rights actions of the '60s. Do you think there were any basic differences between the two denominations, or Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes. The Baptist, on the whole, were far more antagonistic, openly, about integration of any kind. That doesn't mean that we had people who were lily white. They weren't. But the Baptist were more so. We are overlooking something that ought to be brought into this. After I had gotten hold of the Alabama-West Florida conference, and Bishop Harmon had gotten hold of the north Alabama conference, we had this showdown when Martin Luther King came to Birmingham, and he issued the letter "From a Birmingham Jail." Now, that letter, "From a Birmingham Jail," was addressed to six people. I was one of them. Bishop Nolan Harmon was one of them. The Episcopal bishop was one of them. The Presbyterian minister was one of them. And the other one was a liberal Baptist who was, I believe, the director of the Baptist organization in town there. He was a very forward looking man. The way that thing came about. I think it was about two weeks before the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" came out, the governor, on the steps of the

Page 28
state capital, said, "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Now, when Wallace said that, we six went into the press, and we said that there was no statement for the governor to make. That if he had to contest anything, it should be contested in the courts of the land and not from the capitol steps. We rebuked him as strongly as we possibly could. He [Martin Luther King] picked up those six names as just ideal people to address a "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." Nolan Harmon was so mad. He called me over the telephone, and he was furious. And he wanted us to go in and protest and say that this was not fair. That we were the only people who had been outspoken in rebuking the governor, and he jumps on us from a Birmingham jail. And I told him, "Nolan, you're just wasting your breath. You're wasting your time. Let it go." I had letters from California and all asking me to explain why that letter was addressed to us. It was addressed to us because he found the handle to put on the letter. I'm convinced, in my own mind, that that letter was written before he ever got to Birmingham. I think it was studied and written, and I'm still convinced although I could be wrong. But anyway, that was the thing that had happened, and we had rebuked the governor about this thing. And yet we were held up as the recipients of such a rebuke from the Birmingham jail.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Why do you think he did that?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Because he wanted prominent people to address it to. It wouldn't have much influence if he'd addressed it to a backwoods Baptist church. But here were three bishops, a

Page 29
Presbyterian, and a Baptist. He had just a good team. I never have felt that he treated us right there, but Lord knows, there wasn't any use to argue about it. He was getting his thing done. And we would do more harm to rebuke him. That wouldn't have been popular at all.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Was it pastor Goodson?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
No, Governor Wallace was the man who was the block of everything. He wasn't going to move an inch, not an inch forward. Dot said I was rude to Wallace. I didn't mean to be. But he was a delegate to the annual conference over which I presided. And one morning after we'd just opened the conference, somebody came up to me to tell me that Governor Wallace was out in the hall. And I thought, well, if he comes in, I'll have to present him. He's the governor of the state and he has that right. I kept waiting for him to come in. I could hear him talking out in the hall. He was politicking out there. He wasn't hurrying in. And then, just about the time that we were deeply into something very important, he came sauntering down and sat down in the front seat. Well, I nodded to him, and then went on with the debate. And then I interrupted and I said, "The chair's aware that the governor of the state has entered, and it's always a matter of importance when the governor of the state arrives. We're delighted that he has come. We were going to give him the floor a few minutes ago but he was detained in the hall, and we're now deeply into a situation which must continue, and I'll ask the secretary to direct us in our discussion." I just turned away. Dot said, "Paul, you ought to have had him

Page 30
stand up." I said, "Stand up, my foot. He was trying to stand up my conference." That was what he was trying to do, you know.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Those were exciting years to be a pastor and a bishop at the same time. Those are difficult years because you were presiding over change in which personality very easily got inflated and hurt. Politics—it takes a great diplomat to do that.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, one of the men down there, one of the conservative men, wanted very much to be on a district, and he was a power. I had men call me asking me to put him on a district. He, himself, came to see me. Wanted to get on the district. And I said, "I'm sorry. I have to pick men that I think will work warmly and closely to me. I just don't believe that you can do it. I'll have to confess that I doubt myself whether we would be compatible to the point where we could do intelligent work and make intelligent appointments. And so, I'm sorry but I just have to have people in my cabinet that are more in line with my thinking than you are." So we didn't put him in.
DONALD MATHEWS:
You talked about blacks' resistance to the integration in South Carolina and wanting to maintain their network of control, did you have white ministers split? Or did you have them generally. . . .
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes, they were split, most notably when they were voting for representatives to go the general and jurisdictional conferences, and they would just openly do things that were absolutely unethical. I mean, they would say things about each other that were not true. Exaggerate, he does [inaudible], you know,

Page 31
and all this kind of stuff. But by and large, it was a matter of just weathering the storm and knowing that one of these days it would be over. It's not entirely over yet, but it's much nearer. Now, they've got a black bishop in South Carolina, Joe Bethea. And he's a native.
DONALD MATHEWS:
I know Joe.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes, of course you do. I met Joe about twenty-five years ago up in Washington, D.C. I said, "Joe Bethea, what are you doing up here. You ought to be in Dillon, South Carolina." He said, "That's where I'm from." You see, South Carolinians know where everybody, by name, is from. And I knew he had to be from Dillon. That's where the Bethea are.
DONALD MATHEWS:
I was very much impressed with him.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Joe's fine.
DONALD MATHEWS:
He was superintendent in Raleigh when I went there, and I talked to him about certain things in the church. And he and I wrote chapters in the same book together. I really am impressed by him. I'm impressed by the way he deals with people. I'm impressed by his preaching too.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I had a letter from Joe just about ten days ago asking me to do the ordination sermon at his conference next spring. And I will. I'll go down and do it.
DONALD MATHEWS:
What problems do you think he's having?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
He's doing fine.
DONALD MATHEWS:
It's not as blatant now.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
No, I think things have—I'll tell you. . . .
DONALD MATHEWS:
This is nineteen years later.

Page 32
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, let me say this, you've got, in South Carolina, a degree of culture. You've got black preachers in the conference down there who are third generation Methodist preachers in the conference.
DONALD MATHEWS:
That makes a difference.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
It makes a difference. I had somebody from Mississippi ask me how in the world we did what we were doing in South Carolina. And I told them, "With no reflection at all, but we've got third generation preachers in the black conference." And we've lived together in peace and harmony. And we have. The easiest place to put a black district superintendent was Charleston. Now, does that surprise you?
DONALD MATHEWS:
The Methodist church in Charleston was originally black, and it was founded by Asbury.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, in Charleston you had a culture, both white and black, that was superior to the culture in some southern most states. They had lived together in love. At that time, they didn't want to actually be together, physically, legally, and all that, but they loved each other. Listen, we had two girls cook for us, my mother. I was preaching at a Mother's Day sermon here in Asheville not too long ago, and I said, "You know, the thing that we think about naturally when we think about mothers, we think about what good cooking we had, you know. What good food mother had." I said, "My mother was an atrocious cook." Well, they just broke down and really laughed—the idea of saying that my mother was an atrocious cook. Well, she was. She didn't cook. She grew up in a family that was a big family and had

Page 33
older sisters. When she graduated from college, she went to teaching and then she married my father. There were servants in the house. She never learned to cook. Well, this kind of thing is what happened in Charleston. They were part of the family. Annie and Jesse were members of our family. So Charleston people, for years, had lived with black people close to them, and there wasn't a whole lot of change in their relationship toward individual blacks.
DONALD MATHEWS:
What's the relationship with the AME/AMEZ churches in South Carolina?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, it's not very close. When I was in Birmingham as a pastor, I used to get invited down when they had an annual conference, maybe in Birmingham. They'd ask me to come down and preach a sermon or something. But it never has been very close, not anywhere I've ever been anyway.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Central jurisdiction, what about the CME church, because the CME church came out of the old church?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I frankly never had a whole lot of relationships with them, never did. I'm thinking if there's anything else that would be enlightening. I had some rough knocks. I remember I had to make. . . .
DONALD MATHEWS:
Tell me about your rough knocks.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Oh, I had some rough knocks. But I remember I made up appointments at an annual conference once, and the wife of a preacher thought that I had not been just with her husband. And I was glad my wife was in another room and gone to sleep. And she spent at least twenty minutes cussing me out over the

Page 34
telephone. She just let me have it. I mean, her language was uncouth and it was terrible. And I would say, "I'm listening." Finally, she just ran out of steam, and I said, "I'm so terribly sorry. Good night." My wife was in another room, did not know. And I just wanted her really to stay asleep. But those incidents were few. They were not really. . . . Course, I gave this fellow that I had to take off the cabinet, as I told you, I gave him free access on the platform the next day. And he castigated me as very few men have ever been castigated. No bishop that I know of has ever been castigated as I was on that conference floor. In fact, he was so ugly and mean that he finally lost his own people. They were ashamed of him. He was showing them his colors just as he talked. I'll tell you, I wouldn't take anything in the world for the experience that I've had. I wouldn't give you a nickle to go back over it. [Laughter] I surely wouldn't.
DONALD MATHEWS:
What do you think were some of the lost opportunities which white ministers ignored over a period of time?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I think that the biggest mistake most of them made was that they ignored or did not realize the loyalty, deep down, of their members to the church and to Jesus Christ. I think that they underrated, underestimated, what they could count on. I remember when the decision was made about integrating the schools. I called the brightest laymen I had in my church in Birmingham. Multi-millionaire, he'd made it himself in the insurance business, although he never got to be president. Somebody else owned the business, and he did what he did, Phi

Page 35
Beta Kappa from the University of Alabama and all that. Most efficient chairman of the board I've ever had in my life. He never had any communication or did anything about the church that a copy of it didn't cross my desk from his desk. Well, when this decision was made about integrating the schools, I called him over the phone, and I said, "Ehney, I need to talk to you." Ehney Camp, University of Alabama, Phi Beta Kappa. I said, "I need to talk to you." Well, he said, "It's fortunate that you called me. I'm without my car. How about coming by and taking me home, and we'll sit in the car and talk." What we talked about was what had just been happening in court. And I said, "Now, Ehney, this could mean a rough time. I've got to tell you my position, and I want you to know that I'm going to back this decision of the court because I think it's right. And I'm going to call on you and every good man that we've got in the church to be loyal to the Methodist Church and to the courts of our land." He said, "You can count on me." And that was a great start right there because he had tremendous influence. I think a lot of people missed an opportunity to call in key people. Oh well, I think about [inaudible]
DONALD MATHEWS:
But that's important though. I forget right off hand the name of the man but he was a Baptist preacher from Lynchburg who taught at Yale while I was there. And he was saying that white ministers who have already made clear their position on race relations were in a far better position to take a stand for integration after the Supreme Court decision than other people were. He said you had to have established your credibility

Page 36
beforehand.
You mentioned something about the difference between Methodists and Baptists in terms of integration crises. In terms of looking back over a life that spans a lot of changes, 1920s and the integration of the '60s and '70s, has the ministry and has Methodism changed, do you think, considerably over this long period of time. Or are we pretty much where we were back in the '30s?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
No, I think we changed. I think for one thing we have a greater percentage of graduates who have had post-graduate and have had wide exposure to angles of thought that permeate the atmosphere as well as the school room and the classroom and the church. Yes, I think we've changed. I don't think we've come all the way by any means. I don't think that. But I think we have changed and are continuing to change.
DONALD MATHEWS:
In terms of preaching and in terms of Bible preaching, do Methodist preachers preach the same way that Baptist preachers preach?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
By and large, no. Baptist preachers are more informal, more, I started to say, ardent, but I don't mean that in the word, the definition of ardent, but shall I say, enthusiastic. Now, you've got a few Baptist preachers that are just fine. They're great. My idol when I was coming along was S. Parks Cadmen, Harry Emerson Fosdick, and people of that type. I didn't care whether they were Baptist or what they were. I wanted to be that type of person who could lead people in a way that we thought we ought to go. But Baptist people, of course, one thing, there's the old saying, you know, that there are more

Page 37
Baptists than people. And I think that's part of it, because a thing that big and sprawled out cannot possibly be as well educated on the mass level as somebody else who's not quite that way. Because you know when they have a fight, they don't lose Baptist members, they just spawn and start another church.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Why are they getting bigger and why is Methodism getting smaller?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, for one thing I think our Methodist preachers are better educated but poorer salesmen. Bill Stedger wrote a book once called Advertising Jesus and Other Sermons. The point he was making was that we've got the best product in the world, Jesus Christ, the Christian religion, but he said we're the poorest salesmen he's ever seen. And I think he's got a point. I think that most people, well, when we had got robed and vested choirs and all that. I love it. I think it's just great. But if you don't get out and scurry around, you don't invite people to come. . . . I opened the doors of the church every Sunday morning and night at Birmingham. One day a man came down and wanted to be baptized and join the church. And I said, "You've been baptized before, haven't you?" He said, "Yes sir, I've been baptized before." I said, "Do you want to really be baptized again?" "Yes sir, I want to start from scratch. I want to be baptized." I said, "All right." I knew him. He'd been coming to church steadily. So I had the baptismal font there. I kept one ready, and I read the service and he knelt. And I put my hand on his head and I said, "Michael Patrick O'Malley." Somebody over here on the side said, "Rome lost one that time."

Page 38
[Laughter] He was coming to us from the Roman Catholic Church. He had been coming to my church for I guess a year or two, regularly. And he made a good Methodist. He came in and he made a good Methodist. But you don't see much of that anymore. What you've got to do now, you've got to go out and drum up a crowd. You'll be with us on Sunday, such and such a date. We're going to receive new members. And it's a very formal thing and they do it in a dignified way. That's fine. I'm not criticizing it except that it doesn't stir up must evangelistic enthusiasm. It's sort of a routine thing, mechanically done. Now, I'm not trying to knock that out, don't misunderstand me. But I just like to see a preacher, every once and a while, we get through with a good sermon and just say, "I feel like I want to give somebody in here a chance to come down here and profess your faith and come unto the church." I'm sorry to lose that.
DONALD MATHEWS:
The new evangelical movements, or evangelicalism, seems to be, since the early '70s, becoming stronger. There had been a lot of changes since you retired from the episcopate. Maybe you're happy that you don't have to face them. I was thinking in part of feminist theology. I just wonder what your response is to this and various other changes in the church, in theology and all this.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
And I realize that we were lacking in dignity and beauty in many instances. We were still a country church here, there, and everywhere. And I would not for a moment criticize. I had a vested choir. I had as a director of my music at Birmingham the Dean of the Birmingham School of Music, the man

Page 39
who was pianist and composed and arranged music for Shaw's chorale. I had the best. I used to tease him. I'd say, "You just hate the ‘Gather at the River' on Sunday night, don't you? [Laughter] But you've right, you've got a point there, very valid point.
DONALD MATHEWS:
No, I was just thinking about the changes that have taken place. It's been quite remarkable. But you've seen change too. I think that this change from, coming to Emory when it just started, and then to preside over the integration of the South Carolina conference. That's the difference between the 19th and the 20th century.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
That' right. And of course, no one person did it all. No two or three people did it all, but everybody combined. I still think that those meetings were held in January for three straight years prior to the merger of the annual conferences in South Carolina. That those meetings were very valuable.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Yes. Sounded like it was an old testimony meeting.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
It pretty much was. And then some of the blacks came in there and preached marvelous sermons and some of the whites were inspired to do better themselves, I think. [Laughter] Sometimes I get the feeling that we're losing something by not just going ahead and being natural. I feel that sometimes there's a lack of naturalness in what we say and do. I guess I'm just getting old.
DONALD MATHEWS:
We're all getting old. You're just further along than I am. You have more wisdom than I do.

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PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Every once in a while it shocks me to realize that we're now almost at the end of the 20th century. And I have lived all but three years of it. I was born in 1903. It's been wonderful, a wonderful experience, the things I've seen. I went out to a country church out here on the river, called Horseshoe, North Carolina. It's on the French Broad River, and I preached out there at that little church. And the preacher introduced me and said, "I don't think Bishop Hardin has ever been to Horseshoe before." When I got up, I said, "Your preacher's wrong. I've been here before. I was here in 1916." I said, "Of course, I didn't come in a car. I came in a canoe. There were thirty boys in ten canoes, and we stopped here because we saw a little grocery store up on the bank up here, and we were hungry. We went up and spent about twenty minutes and some money, and when we left, there wasn't a sardine or a cracker in that store." And they were just dumbfounded. This guy here, he was here before some of us were here. There's some advantages about living a long time, if you just don't get dumb.
DONALD MATHEWS:
Who were your role models as a leader?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Well, I told you I loved the preaching of S. Parks Cadmen and people of that type. Bishop Edward D. Mozand was the most intelligent, progressive bishops of the Southern Methodist Church that I knew in my lifetime. He was a South Carolinian. Elected a bishop from Texas, and he was my first bishop. I joined the conference under him, and I'll have to tell you a story on John Bransombe. John and I were in school together at the seminary, and one day Bishop Mozand was speaking to the

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seminary students there. He stood up there first and just folded back a pliable Bible and just stood there looking at us until he got absolute quiet. John leaned over to me and said, "Look it him, Paul, he's on first base before he opens his mouth. He's a little runt like you and me. We're going to have to lay down a bunt and run like hell." [Laughter] Well, that was the way he impressed you. But he could preach. I tell you, in joining the Western North Carolina Conference or South Carolina, I was judging between Bishop Candler in Georgia and Edward D. Mozand in western North Carolina, and it didn't take me but just a couple of minutes to make up my mind. Bishop Candler was a wonderful person, smart, intelligent, but he wasn't, well, for one time he thought a man ought to be out in a country church or a country circuit for at least twenty years before he was able to handle a little village church, you know, a station. And I was in debt. I couldn't do that. I had to have a living. And so I came up here for two reasons. I felt like I wanted to be with Mozand, and. . . .
DONALD MATHEWS:
I just thought of something, you were a minister and had been one for quite some time when the church united in '39.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes, and I stood up and voted for it, and my chief layman from Wadesboro, right across the aisle from me, voted against it. That was the funniest thing I've ever been in. When the vote was taken, first we stood, those who were for it. I stood. Then those who were against it. Here came my chief layman, right across the aisle! But I think he had me for dinner the following Sunday.

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DONALD MATHEWS:
Wadesboro, what were they opposed to?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Getting back with the Yankees. [Laughter] That was mostly it.
DONALD MATHEWS:
I guess it was, wasn't it? Candler was opposed to it.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Oh yes.
DONALD MATHEWS:
What were your greatest challenges as president of the Council of Bishops?
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
I was called by the New York papers, what I thought about, what's his name, Khrushev, pounding his shoe on the desk at the United Nations [Laughter] .
DONALD MATHEWS:
I can't believe it.
PAUL HARDIN JR.:
Yes, they called me. "What do you, as president of Council of Bishops, think of that?" And I just laughed, and I said, "It beats fighting." That's all I said, "It beats fighting."
DONALD MATHEWS:
That's a great response.
END OF INTERVIEW