Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Character attacks on Hugo Black

In the tumult of the 1930s, southern politicians who sided with the New Deal faced increasing amounts of opposition from their constituency. Durr describes the censure her brother-in-law Hugo Black experienced when he supported the Wages and Hours Act and describes her sister's response.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-2. 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

Because you see, the southerners were always voting against anything that benefited the unions. And my Lord, my brother-in-law, Hugo Black, you know the tremendous fight that he put up for the 30 hour week, what was it?
CLIFFORD DURR:
The 30 hour week, which finally became the Wages and Hours Act. I think that the minimum wage to start out with was something like 30¢ an hour.
VIRGINIA FOSTER DURR:
Oh, all the southerners fought that. I was down with my sister at Point Clear, we spent one summerthere outside of Mobile on the coast, you see, Hugo was going to run for the Senate. This was '37. The summer of '37, when he got put on the Court. And my sister and I had a house down near Mobile and he was going to come down and begin his campaign in Alabama. Of course, he got tied up in the Senate by the wages and hour legislation, so he never did get there. Then, he got put on the Court. But the people around us at Point Clear were big turpentine and lumber people and they were paying 10¢ an hour and good God, the way that they treated us, you would have thought that we had smallpox. The children would come in from the beach and say that all these people had said that Uncle Hugo was a crook and a thief and a liar and no good. Of course, they were only paying 10¢ an hour. Sister was insulted in Mobile once and then he got put on the Supreme Court and immediately, she went up and joined him and they went to England on a trip and I was left with the children and had to close the house up. I came on back to Washington, that was the end of the summer of '37 and when we got back to Washington, (Cliff had come down and spent a little time with us,) the whole Ku Klux Klan thing broke