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Oral history interview with David Breneman, May 10, 1991

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Creator:Breneman, David W.
Creator:Link, William A.
Creator:Southern Oral History Program
Title:Oral history interview with David Breneman, May 10, 1991
Date:1991 May 10

Economist David Breneman worked briefly for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) under President Jimmy Carter. In this interview, Breneman reflects on his ninety days of service as the aide to HEW General Counsel, Peter Libassi, in 1977, and his role in HEW's establishment of desegregation criteria for southern universities and colleges. Breneman begins the interview with a discussion of his role in the drafting of those criteria following the Adams v. Califano decision in 1977. In addition to outlining his own role in the process, Breneman discusses the work of Secretary of Education Joe Califano, Arlene Pact, and Libassi. Although Breneman's focus is on HEW throughout the interview, he also mentions the role of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the establishment of a federal desegregation policy, and discusses the leadership of director David Tatel. After briefly outlining how HEW worked to establish the criteria for desegregation, Breneman turns to a discussion of the role of southern states in determining and following the criteria, focusing specifically on North Carolina. Breneman offers an assessment of HEW's meeting with the president of the University of North Carolina system, William Friday, and other UNC officials in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. According to Breneman, HEW was especially concerned about finding ways to work with Friday in the process, which he describes as both "cordial" and "adversarial." According to Breneman, claims that North Carolina was unfairly targeted during the desegregation process are unfounded, although he does acknowledge that members of the OCR thought education officials in North Carolina were not interested in implementing federal policies. In addition to outlining the unique negotiation process in North Carolina, Breneman also identifies HEW's emphasis on eradicating duplicate programs at historically white and historically African American universities and colleges as an impediment to desegregation. Breneman concludes the interview with a brief discussion of his work on the American Council on Education (ACE) later on in the 1980s.

The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the aggregation and enhancement of partner metadata.

Types:Transcripts | Sound recordings | Oral histories (document genres) | Text | Sound
Subjects:Breneman, David W. | United States--Officials and employees | United States. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare | College integration--Government policy--North Carolina | University of North Carolina (System) | Higher education and state--North Carolina | United States, North Carolina, 35.759573, -79.0193
Collection:Oral Histories of the American South: The Civil Rights Movement
Institution:Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Contributors:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Documenting the American South (Project)
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Forms part of Oral histories of the American South collection.

Persistent Link to Item:http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/L-0122/menu.html