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Oral history interview with Herman Talmadge, 1985 September 24

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Creator:Talmadge, Herman E. (Herman Eugene), 1913-2002
Creator:Steely, Mel
Creator:Wagner, Don
Creator:University of West Georgia. Georgia Political Papers and Oral History Program
Title:Oral history interview with Herman Talmadge, 1985 September 24
Date:1985 Sept. 24

Herman Eugene Talmadge (1913-2002), son of former governor Eugene Talmadge, was born on August 9, 1913 in the small Telfair County town of McRae, Georgia. He earned his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1936, and practiced law for several years before joining the U.S. Navy during World War II, where he saw extensive combat in the South Pacific. In 1946, Talmadge ran his father's successful Democratic race for governor, though the elder Talmadge died before he could take office. The state legislature elected Herman to take his father's place, but the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled the move unconstitutional.Talmadge vacated the governor's mansion, but came back to win a special election in 1948, and a full four years as governor in 1950. As was common at the time, he was an ardent segregationist, but implemented the first state sales tax as a way to improve public schools. In 1956, Talmadge was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he concentrated on agricultural issues and sponsored the creation of a food-stamp program. In 1980, he lost his seat to Republican Mack Mattingly. Talmadge retired to his home in Hampton, Georgia where he died on March 21, 2002.; This interview took place at West Georgia College with Dr. Mel Steely and Don Wagner on September 24, 1985.; The interview is set to discuss the Talmadge campaigns of 1946, 1948, and 1950. In the discussion of his early years, Talmadge talks about his involvement in the "Two-Governor Crisis" that took place after his father's death. He talks about the fundamentals of the black and white primaries, as well as the development of the "Talmadge Faction" and the "Talmadge Machine." He discusses the differences between himself and his father in regards to his interaction with business leaders and social clubs of Georgia. He traces the shift to the liberal left began with FDR and the later issues of civil rights and segregation. Talmadge talks about the law that shot down the white primaries as well as the idea of "judicial realism." In the final portion of the interview, Talmadge talks about his 1950 campaign and his relationship with up-and-coming Georgia politicians like Maynard Jackson and Carl Sanders. He concludes by talking about the general reaction to his views on Communism in the University system.

Types:oral histories (literary works) | moving images | MovingImage
Subjects:Talmadge, Herman E. (Herman Eugene), 1913-2002--Interviews | Talmadge, Herman E. (Herman Eugene), 1913-2002 | Arnall, Ellis Gibbs, 1907-1992 | Carmichael, James Vinson, 1910-1972 | Collins, M. D. (Mauney Douglass), 1885- | Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969 | Griffin, Marvin, 1907-1982 | Harris, Roy Vincent, 1895-1985 | Jackson, Maynard, 1938-2003 | McGowan, John | Rivers, Eurith Dickinson, 1895-1967 | Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 | Russell, Richard B. (Richard Brevard), 1897-1971 | Sanders, Carl Edward, 1925- | Sizemore, Carl | Talmadge, Eugene, 1884-1946 | Thompson, M. E. (Melvin Ernest), 1903-1980 | Thurmond, Strom, 1902-2003 | Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972 | Vandiver, S. Ernest (Samuel Ernest), 1918-2005 | Watson, Thomas E. (Thomas Edward), 1856-1922 | Georgia--Politics and government--1865-1950 | Georgia--Politics and government--1951- | Governors--Georgia--Interviews | Legislators--Georgia--Interviews | Political campaigns--Georgia--History | Primaries--Georgia--History | Governors--Elections | Liberalism--Georgia--History | Civil rights--Georgia--History | Segregation--Georgia--History | Communism and education--Georgia | World War, 1939-1945 | United States, Georgia, 32.75042, -83.50018
Collection:Georgia Political Papers and Oral History Program
Institution:University of West Georgia Special Collections
Contributors:University of West Georgia. Special Collections
Original Material:

Georgia Political Papers and Oral History Program oral history interviews. Annie Belle Weaver Special Collections, Irvine Sullivan Ingram Library, State University of West Georgia

Carrollton, Ga. : University of West Georgia Special Collections in association with the Digital Library of Georgia

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Cite as: [interview title], Georgia Political Papers and Oral History Program oral history interviews. Annie Belle Weaver Special Collections, Irvine Sullivan Ingram Library, University of West Georgia

Persistent Link to Item:http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/uwg/phc/do:talmadge19850924