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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Anne Queen, November 22, 1976. Interview G-0049-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Reflections on the political landscape in 1976

Queen offers her thought on the state of national politics in 1976, at the time the interview was conducted. In particular, Queen briefly ruminates about the impact of Lyndon Johnson's presidency and its implications for the nation, and she reflects on the meaning of Jimmy Carter's recent election. Of particular interest is her emphasis on the importance of the election of Andrew Young, an African American from Georgia, to Congress as indicative of the changing political landscape.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Anne Queen, November 22, 1976. Interview G-0049-2. 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

JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
… I can't think of anything else to say after that. There's been a lot of talk, of course, about how the South is finally, after a century, rejoining the union in Carter's election. What do you think about that?
ANNE QUEEN:
I don't know whether I'd put it in those terms or not, but I think there's been a kind of reconciliation. I like to think of it in theological terms.
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
A lot was made of that back in 1912 when Wilson was elected. Even though he wasn't elected from one of the Southern states in which he lived, there was a lot of talk about how Southerners had returned to their fathers' house up in Washington.
ANNE QUEEN:
I like to think of it more as an opportunity for reconciliation. But I think one of the things that we must guard against—and I really hope that everyone who really cares about this whole country will guard against it—we must not become arrogant and smug and self-righteous, but continue, I think, to look at ourselves in a critical way. And I think one of the people who can really help us with this is Congressman Andrew Young, who, I think, has helped Carter arrive. He is in Washington today looking over the White House now, getting ready to move in, and …
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
I think Governor Carter has said as much, that the person most responsible for his nomination, and I suppose for his election, is Andrew Young. And he's of course said many times that the Voting Rights Act is the most important recent piece of federal legislation.
ANNE QUEEN:
And I agree with him. Did you see Congressman Young on "Issues and Answers" a week ago Sunday? He was asked about the Plains Baptist Church incident, and he said that the most segregated hour in American society is still eleven o'clock on Sunday morning. But he thinks the real issue of the Plains church is not whether or not blacks can go there to the eleven o'clock service, but whether or not the church will minister to the mentally ill, and Clennon King is really ill, and that he's ill because of all that he suffered in Mississippi when he was trying to help desegregate the University of Mississippi. So I think Andrew Young is a great leavening influence in this country today, and I'm glad that he'll be as close to the seat of power in this country. I don't know of anyone I would rather see close to the seat of power than Andrew Young.
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
Now I should think that one great difference between Woodrow Wilson moving into the White House in 1912 or even Lyndon Johnson moving in thirteen years ago today, so to speak, is that Andrew Young and Barbara Jordan weren't there to help them move in.
ANNE QUEEN:
And of course, in spite of all that we may criticize Johnson for, Johnson was a member of this company that I talked about. Because he as a Southerner really pushed the Voting Rights Act. And here again, what many people looked on as the excesses of the sixties pushed him. And I think, going back to this question about the excesses, I think it's the excesses of the young and of some adults that push us to the point where we have to support change.