Desegregation creates white need for black political support
In this excerpt, Thompson remembers the first time a white politician visited him in an effort to gain support from the black community. He thinks that integration forced racists to reflect on their own beliefs and for Christian racists to reflect on the disharmony between religious belief and racism.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Angus Boaz Thompson Sr., October 21, 2003. Interview U-0017. 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
MM: How did that change or shape your strategy for dealing with the problem?
AT: Well, to tell you the truth it didn’t. It has changed it a little. Right now I can tell you this, where we used to partner with the Indians there are some cases now that we might even partner with the whites, but back then we couldn’t partner with the whites. They didn’t want us. No way.
I can remember very clearly the first time a white ever came to me. It was a white running for county commissioners. This commissioner came to me asking me about how I felt about a run off. And I told this commissioner, I said, “Well, you know it’s something to know that you’ve come to me.” I said, “Never before have the white folks eyes been open enough to see that they might need black support.” We were open to them then, but they didn’t care nothing about our vote. But anyway I told this commissioner, I said, “I just had a thought.” I asked him what the commission was doing, asking me—I didn’t put it that way, but I knew what they was asking me—did I think I could help them get enough support to get in?
MM: In the run off.
AT: Yeah. From the blacks. And I just flat told him, “I don’t know. I hadn’t even thought of it.” But I did tell him, “This is something you should have been looking at in years past.” It’s made racists see themselves, all of us. It’s made racists see themselves. I really think, well, I hate to say it like this because in every race we’ve got some who we call ourselves followers of Christ. Always we follow Christ. We know His word, but yet we fail to do it. I think it’s caused all of us to look at our Christian life. I know that it has been flawed beyond measure. There’s still flaws in them. There’s still some flaws in them.