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Oral history interview with Herman Talmadge, 1986 April 28

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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, 1986 April 28
Date:1986 Apr. 28

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.; Interviewed by Dr. Mel Steely at West Georgia College on April 28, 1986.; In this interview, Senator Talmadge recalls the era of the Civil Rights movement as it took place in the nation as well as in the state of Georgia. He says that as a college student, he was unaware of racial tension because segregation was the expected pattern. He discusses his interactions with other races while he served in World War II, as well as how his opinions have changed over the years. Talmadge answers questions about the book he published and his original views on the NAACP as Communists and terrorists. The second half of the interview talks about press and their view on the acts done by Richard Russell. He discusses why he voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, citing it as unconstitutional. He says that he finds it difficult to reflect on his decisions in that time period because he does not know if he would have done anything differently. Talmadge concludes the interview by talking about his honorary degree from Morris Brown and his views on why public opinion on integration changed over time.

Types:oral histories (literary works) | moving images | MovingImage
Subjects:Talmadge, Herman E. (Herman Eugene), 1913-2002--Interviews | King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 | Akerman, Robert | Cook, Eugene, 1904- | Murphy, B.D. | Parks, Rosa, 1913-2005 | Plessy, Homer Adolph--Trials, litigation, etc. | Russell, Richard B. (Richard Brevard), 1897-1971 | Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972 | Vandiver, S. Ernest (Samuel Ernest), 1918- | Wallace, George C. (George Corley), 1919-1998 | Watson, Thomas E. (Thomas Edward), 1856-1922 | Georgia--Politics and government--1865-1950 | Georgia--Politics and government--1951- | Governors--Georgia--Interviews | Legislators--Georgia--Interviews | Morris Brown College | National Association for the Advancement of Colored People | Southern Christian Leadership Conference | Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka | United States.--Civil Rights Act of 1964 | Press and politics--Georgia--History | College integration--Georgia--Athens | University of Georgia--History | Segregation--Georgia--Public opinion | World War, 1939-1945--Veterans--Interviews | Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945 | Race relations--Public opinion | 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:talmadge19860428