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0:00 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: I'm here today with Dr. Pfaff

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer introduces the interviewee and begins the introduction

0:12 - Personal and teaching background

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Partial Transcript: Where were you born?

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff talks about where he was born and how he got into teaching

1:37 - Coming to North Carolina

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Partial Transcript: That's the saga

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff talks about how he ended up in North Carolina

3:16 - Administration and faculty

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Partial Transcript: When you came to Women's College. Tell me a little

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff talks about the administration and faculty of Women's College when he first arrived at the university.

6:34 - Student background

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Partial Transcript: Were most of the young women from North Carolina

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff recalls the demographics of the student population

7:21 - Administration and faculty part 2

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Partial Transcript: Did you regret not going to Chapel Hill eventually?

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff talks more about the faculty and administration during his time at the university

9:59 - Four-hour plan

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Partial Transcript: How did you determine to have the four-hour plan?

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff describes his own four hour plan, a component of some of the history courses

12:16 - Women's education

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Partial Transcript: It's not that I resent fashion designing, but there are more important things in the world

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff talks about the nature of women's education

13:14 - Protest on campus

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Partial Transcript: As far as I can tell we never had that tremendous student protest here

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff recalls the political atmosphere of the college in a time of national political unrest

17:56 - Staying at Woman's College

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Partial Transcript: About when did you start eating lunch together

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff reflects on the qualities of Woman's College that kept him coming back to the school

21:21 - Students and student life

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Partial Transcript: And the students were from here or from all over other places?

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff talks about students and student life as he observed it from his faculty position

25:07 - Teaching and traveling

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Partial Transcript: Was there something special in one lecture that you said that

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff reflects on his teaching experiences and the traveling that he has done

29:06 - Personal reflections

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Partial Transcript: That's probably sound advice you gave her

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff just reflects on his own personal opinions and perspectives

31:20 - Students after integration

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Partial Transcript: So the economic situation certainly became quite different over the years

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff describes the campus post-integration

33:54 - Racial issues

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Partial Transcript: And so some of them were receptive to that idea

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff recalls racial issues he observed on campus as a teacher

36:34 - Experiences with students

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Partial Transcript: Supreme compliment I'm sure
Well, I took it as such

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff remembers experiences he had with his students

38:39 - Politics

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Partial Transcript: When I came here to teach, we were required

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff talks about his own personal political beliefs and how politics affected his work on cmapus

45:28 - Men at UNCG

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Partial Transcript: So you do feel the college did change, somewhat

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff recalls the introduction of men to the campus and how that changed the atmosphere of the campus

50:45 - Administration and teaching at UNCG

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Partial Transcript: I don't think- as I said I wouldn't want a president

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff describes how the administration affected the ways that he could teach students

54:28 - Liberal arts and liberal thought

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Partial Transcript: So the whole struggle of liberal arts is still with us

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff talks about the struggle for liberal arts education and what that struggle meant when he was a teacher. He also talks about liberal thought and conservative thought in Greensboro

60:44 - Greensboro politics

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Partial Transcript: Tell me a little bit more about your involvement in that campaign

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff discusses his involvement with Greensboro politics

63:09 - Black students at UNCG

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Partial Transcript: I just saw that sticker in Raleigh. Well, talking

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff remembers the integration of the university and his experiences with black students

67:14 - Textile industry

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Partial Transcript: What about Greensboro? I mean, and what about

Segment Synopsis: Pfaff discusses the era of the textile industry in Greensboro and how that affected the city and the people, directly mentioning the way the owners of the mills treated their workers

72:32 - Interview conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Well, We've covered the bases

Segment Synopsis: The interviewee shares some final thoughts and the interviewer ends the interview


AP: I'm here today with Dr. Pfaff [unclear] want to test it out, just to see?

EP: Yes, I'll be - can you hear me?

AP: Where were you born?

EP: I was born in Pfafftown, North Carolina, which was a little Moravian village -

AP: - and after school there, went on to [The University of North Carolina at] Chapel Hill. And then from Chapel Hill -

EP: I graduated from Chapel Hill in three years, 1930. And then I went to teaching, and I taught three years in the public schools. First year was a village called Pleasant, Mount Pleasant, which is near Salisbury [North Carolina]. And I taught there for a year, and then I went to [unclear] Wilson in the eastern part of the state and taught two years. All that time I spent my summers at Chapel Hill doing graduate work. Then I got a fellowship at Chapel Hill to continue my graduate work, that was '33, '34, and finished up an MA. I'd 1:00had two years of graduate work. And then I got a fellowship to Cornell University [Ithaca, New York]. I wanted to go there because two of the leading historians in this country, Carl Becker and Godwin Smith would be my professors there. So I went there, and when I finished two years there, I got a PhD in 1936, summer. And then I was twenty-three years old, and I came to Greensboro as an instructor. So that's the story. [laughs]

AP: That's the saga. So you had - did you come back home because you were a native of North Carolina?

EP: Partly. I had an offer of a job in Mississippi. And I rather preferred North Carolina to Mississippi, especially since the man who offered me the letter said, "We would like our history taught Mississippi style."

AP: Oh my. Do you have any idea what he meant by that?

EP: I have a number of fears. This helped me decide to come home. [laughs]


AP: I see. [laughs]

EP: But I was so weary of the snow and the ice in the North after two years of it. You realize that it got down to 26 below zero, and can you imagine a North Carolina boy - I mean, you know, I was frozen most of the year. [laughs]

AP: Yes, Carolina would be a good bit milder than that. So did you - when you came here, did North Carolina seem that progressive to you or did we seem in the Dark Ages then?

EP: I wouldn't say Dark Ages. I mean, you know, after all, I grew up in this area myself and to call it Dark Ages is kind of insulting. No, I thought we had a long distance to go, I'll put it that way. And I felt - I feel, and I still feel that way to this day, I was somewhat on the conservative side of things, which explains the kind of people they send to Washington [DC] these days.

AP: I see. We can cut this tape off at any time. [laughs]


EP: [laughs] That's all right, I don't really mind. I have been a Democratic Party precinct chairman in my day, and I know a little bit about the people that are running, trying to get the vote.

AP: When you came to Woman's College [of the University of North Carolina] - tell me a little bit about the administration and about the faculty here.

EP: Administration was [Chancellor] W. C. Jackson [unclear]. When the university consolidated three institutions - [North Carolina] State [University], Woman's College, and Chapel Hill - this happened just before I came; I've forgotten the exact year but it had been maybe two years. And Jackson's title was the first dean of administration. And then they finally got up to calling him president. Now Dr. Jackson was a famous teacher of American history, extremely popular here for years because he was, well, as I said, a very popular teacher. Women flocked to his classes. And our - perhaps 4:00outstanding figure was a woman named Harriet Elliott who was the dean of women. She taught some political science too. But she was, I think, a major force at that time. Later was to go to Washington and be on the war commission under President [Franklin D.] Roosevelt. You know about her. She has a rather - a distinguished career. But she and Jackson were, I felt, the keys

AP: What made her so special, spectacular?

EP: Well, she was one of the leaders in women's emancipation, I mean in getting women the vote and in organizing the women. And she was strong enough in that, that Eleanor Roosevelt [wife of President Franklin Roosevelt] came to know her, and that's how she got appointed to a war commission.

[recording paused]

AP: - saying about Dean [Harriet] Elliott and, Dr. Jackson and Dean Elliott.

EP: Well I wanted to talk about [Dr. Benjamin] Kendrick, because he was the 5:00dominant historian then and the best known historian. In fact, he taught at Columbia University, you know. And to have a man like that come down to a small, southern women's college was, you know, unusual. But he was a native of Georgia, and he wanted to go come home too. But I think he had a daughter that he wanted to educate here. But he was a very well known and a decent man to work for. I guess that's why I stayed. I might just tell you, personally, that after I'd been here about a week, Chapel Hill called up and said they wanted me to come over there. So, you know, but they didn't let me go. And I didn't really ask to go. They told me about it afterwards. We had a baby in the hospital who died in October, seven months old. And we - I wasn't thinking much about moving, and wasn't particularly interested anyway. I would say that the girls were nice. I 6:00never had rudeness from them. And they might not, sometimes, always listen, but they didn't create any disturbance. And after three years of teaching public schools and having helped with some classes at Cornell, I realized that not everywhere did you have such a pleasant and courteous student body. And that's a big factor in my staying here. I was very happy with the students. I don't - I mean, they - you asked them to read something, most of them did it.

AP: Were most of the young women from North Carolina, just from this area?

EP: Well, not just from North Carolina. I would say that - no, we had a number of girls from the North. I would say maybe 85 percent North Carolina. But we had some of the Yale professors' daughters, Columbia University professors' daughters. We had some - I had one, you know [unclear] that Bingham family [owned several media outlets], over to Louisville, Kentucky? One of their daughters came here. I mean, these were not people who were - they could have 7:00gone most anywhere. But it was a very solid education, I think their parents felt - and also not as expensive as, say, north of the border. But, from my point of view, you know, as a professor, why, I found them very pleasant to work with.

AP: Did you regret not going to Chapel Hill eventually?

EP: Yes and no. Of course, Chapel Hill was my home, but I became satisfied here. Later I went to Chapel Hill twice to teach as a visiting professor. That was later on, in the 1960s. And then I was at Chapel Hill two years during the war. I did some teaching there, too.

AP: So when you came here in '36 and then liked it and stayed here, and you were pleased with the administration or at least felt that it was strong - and what happened then after, well after that - Dr. Jackson then?


EP: Dr. Jackson retired in 1950 after the war and everything. And we had [Chancellor] Edward [Kidder] Graham [Jr.], whom I had known at Chapel Hill. He was the cousin [actually nephew] of Frank [Porter] Graham [first president of the Consolidated University of North Carolina]. And he was here for a number of years, developed into a lot of controversy over the curriculum, and which eventually he resigned and was succeeded by several temporary people who'd come and stay a year or two.

AP: How did you perceive the controversy with Dr. Graham, and what was the nature of the controversy?

EP: Well, it had to do with changing the curriculum, and this stepped on a lot of vested-interest toes. I had been chairman of the curriculum committee in an earlier period, and I knew what the situation was. I'd been through it once myself. And so I wasn't on the committee this time, didn't want to be. But it turned into a rather - well, academic dogfight. And that's, I think, that's why he left eventually. My own opinion was that we could - anything that was 9:00multi-disciplinary, cross disciplines, and get a more, really unified approach to the students - was going to be an improvement. And that was part of the process. Now some people, of course, would be horrified to be asked to know something about literature or philosophy or science while you're teaching history, you know. This is a very difficult problem, and still with us. I assume you know about western civilization, which is taught that way. I understand they have the same problems with fusion we're talking about. When I came here, we had a four-hour-a-week basic course on modern history, and that lasted several years. And then there was resentment on the part of the faculty groups that we had four hours required and no one else had more than three. And, you know, so that was dropped off - back to three.

AP: How did you determine to have the four-hour plan?


EP: That was already established when I came.

AP: Oh it was?

EP: It had derived from Columbia University's general education program, which Kendrick was familiar with. And it had been built upon that. It had been going a couple of years when I came on the scene. And that changed back to simply modern European history after, I don't know, four or five years. And later, in the 1970s, I joined Warren Ashby [philosophy professor] in helping to set up a truly interdisciplinary institution called the Residential College. And I worked in that for the remainder of my - I must have been in there, I don't know, twelve years or so. No, not twelve years. I retired in '77. But I worked in there a number of years. I was one of the founding fathers, if you want to put it that way. And I think we did some good things about breaking down boundaries. It was tough going because I had to read some William Faulkner, for example, and bring 11:00that into an understanding. But you know, for a person trained as a historian - now the philosophy part didn't bother me so much because I'd had political philosophy at Cornell. That was one of my minors. You know, on that I could fly with what I had. But - well, there's the perennial problem of how do you keep people from being narrow minded, you know. There's a phrase for that - I used it once, I think - vocational provincialism. One of my students came in, well, just a couple of years ago. She called me up at commencement time. She hadn't been back in twenty years - and asked me to come by and see her. And I went down to - and we just sat there in the dormitory lounge, and she said, "Well, when I came to Woman's College, I was going to be a fashion designer," which was mainly in Washington, D.C. "But I took your freshman history course, and it changed my life completely. And I went on and I became a lawyer, and I've served in the Peace Corps and I'm now sitting on the city council of Seattle, Washington. And 12:00I've won some tough elections up there." And she said, "I came back here because you helped shape my life." Now I'm bragging, but I'm very proud of a thing like that.

AP: That's a wonderful story.

EP: It's not that I resent fashion designing, but there are more important things in the world.

AP: And for women, now, perhaps that would have been - what year? I mean, that would have been unusual, perhaps -

EP: Yes, there were no - that was not coed then. And for a woman to go out and then make her course - well, she was an intelligent girl. I mean her energy could have been directed just as well down the length of hemlines or whatever.

AP: About what year - do you remember when she came through and made those decisions?

EP: Well, she was a friend of one of my daughters. Let's see - Diane was born in 1941 just after [the Japanese attack on] Pearl Harbor. We were in New York that year. And this girl was her contemporary. Now Diane was born in 1941, and 13:00she graduated, I think, a year earlier, so she'd have been - about 1962? Along, early sixties.

AP: But even so, that would have been early for a woman to make that certain decision -

EP: Yes, we didn't have that. [tape stops] As far as I can tell, we never had that tremendous student protest here. This issue was fairly mild. I think there was one time they surrounded the chancellor's house, and he had the police on tap. But that was over something about the black workers in the cafeteria.

AP: I see. So how would you account for, perhaps, the lack of protest?

EP: Well, we were Southern, we were female, we were, in that sense, sort of isolated in the mainstream. Women then just didn't go out and do - they didn't march. That's all I can tell you. That doesn't mean that some of them weren't leaders and that some of them became very prominent people afterwards. It's just 14:00we were spared at least burnings of buildings, you know, that kind of thing - well, along with Chicago, Columbia, those places. Of course those students also were reinforced by dissatisfied minorities and other people that came up out of the slums and helped them. And I can't visualize that happening in Greensboro, at least at that time.

AP: Yeah, although it is true that some of the Woman's College students, a few of them went to participate in - to help out with [North Carolina] A&T [State University], the strike - the [Greensboro] Sit-ins.

EP: The sit-downs, yes, that's right.

AP: How did you perceive that situation?

EP: Well, I was just happy that they didn't get hurt. That was my main concern about that. And as a matter of fact, one of my daughters led marches uptown on campus.

AP: Were you frightened?

EP: Well, I was hoping, you know, [unclear], but no, and I [unclear]. And I had already stated my position publicly for years. I can remember being asked to 15:00come out and talk to A&T in an assembly - the whole student body there, and afterwards they said, somebody asked me, "Yeah, are you willing to have a black man live beside you?" And I said, "Yes, if he's a decent enough guy. I have seen black men I'd rather have than some white men." And the audience cheered and said, "Here is a man after my own heart." This was way back in the thirties, early forties. I can remember offering my seat to a pregnant black woman on the bus [unclear]. So I'm not bragging about being brave, but my position was already clear. And the students that I taught really understood that too. Well, I was not a great mediator. I think Warren Ashby - he's now dead - helped to mediate that [unclear] when they were about to call in the police. He was very 16:00good at that kind of thing. He was a minister, you know. [unclear] He was one of my better - one of my best friends, I would say.

AP: It sounds as if you all certainly did complement each other and you had - you were of one mind.

EP: There was a group here that I would say I would call enlightened, liberal, emancipated and - but they were, after all, a minority. There were a good number of members of the faculty that said, "My job is to teach them that two plus two is four and nothing else." And so we really had what someone once called the invisible college, the college within a college - a handful of people who were 17:00interested in crossing disciplines, lines, and who were liberal in their political philosophy. And we used to meet back in those days. They had a cafeteria in the home ec[onomics] building, and we used to meet there and have lunch in a separate room and share our views. And one of the members of that who went - later went to - well, first he became secretary for Phi Beta Kappa organizations nationwide. Then he became an editor for Random House and wrote a number of books. An interesting man named Hiram Haydn [English faculty, later president of Case Western Reserve University]. He and others like that. He devised the name for our group. He called it, because we had lunch every day, he called it - and because we told tales, the "Pails and Tales" - P-A-I-L-S and T-A-L-E-S, you know. It was very appropriate, I thought. So that went on for a number of years.

AP: About when did you start eating lunch together, or dinner together?


EP: I had known Hiram Haydn in New York. We lived in the same apartment house in 1941 and '42 [unclear] in the late forties, a lot of that period. And then we just got broken up by, well, the usual things. People move on to something else. And I had a few opportunities to move myself, but I did not go. I suppose timidity or roots in the South. One of the jobs was in New York City at the New School for Social Research, the graduate faculty. And I would have been there with a number of these rather famous European scholars and I felt - and then the other thing was I had at that time eight people in my family, seven people in my family at that time. And taking seven people to a place like New York City is no simple enterprise - finding housing. I went and found a house over in New Jersey, but I would have had to commute by bus, by subway, and by foot and 19:00[unclear] and it just seemed too much. Well, I went to [University of] Florida for a year to try out the sunshine as a visiting professor there. I taught at Duke [University], and I taught at Chapel Hill twice. And I took a tour once with the Association of American Colleges and spoke with their colleges in Ohio and West Virginia - that area. And I suppose I ought to tell you since I'm on it, I was away about twelve years out of my time here on leave, two - one year at Harvard [University], a year at Columbia, two years traveling the South for Nelson Rockefeller and the Carnegie [families, foundations worked closely] people. I guess that's about it.

AP: But you kept getting drawn back to Woman's College, you kept coming back.

EP: I kept coming back. Well, I had five children, my mother, and my wife. We 20:00settled right there on McIver Street where the parking lot for the Science [Building] now is. The Curry School was right up here; our whole lives were right there. May I - you know, mind you, in 1942, which is when we moved there, you got four gallons of gas per month. I lived in - I lived originally in Irving Park, which is a nice area. But commuting down there would have been - some days I would have had to walk ten miles, so we didn't do that. We sold our home down there. There was something else. I spent another year traveling around the world with sixteen other students and three other professors. And we went to seventeen countries the whole year, spending, say, a month in Japan, Poland, you name it.

AP: How did that trip come about? Why and how?

EP: I had known the man rather well, rather well-known [unclear] Max Renner [professor and naturalist, University of Munich] [unclear]. And Max Renner was invited to go on this trip, and he could not [unclear] and he put my name in 21:00instead. So one night I got a phone call from [unclear] saying "How would you like to spend a year traveling around the world? We don't know what your salary is, but whatever it is we'll pay it and your expenses." It wasn't too hard to say -

AP: It's hard to resist. [laughs]

EP: The only opportunity I would ever get to do that kind of traveling.

AP: And the students were from here or from other places?

EP: No, they were from all other places. One of them was a Turkish student. Her mother was the first woman judge from Turkey, and her mother condemned men to be hanged in public. The girl had lived in this country, [unclear] you know, sort of cosmopolitan. But the others were all American kids. But they were from California, Michigan, Massachusetts, Texas - all over.

AP: Well, so you knew about students in other places, but you also had a very comprehensive view of students here, and you've already talked about how one might compare the students.


EP: Yeah, I taught at Florida. I had a number of people I called the sunshine worshippers who wanted to sit in the back row and sleep. I had not been accustomed to that. And I awakened these people rather forcibly and said, "If you want to go to sleep, you go somewhere else." But that turned me off because I thought this kind of rudeness and no desire to be educated was alien, really, to me. The girls here might not have been so intellectual but they were serious. They would do the work. Oh, it sounds like I'm just interested in teaching women. I have taught men too, but there was something special about the Woman's College. And I said I knew of some really able people in New York and New Jersey who deliberately sent there daughters down here to this particular place. And I must say at that time, no woman could go to Chapel Hill until she was a junior, [unclear]. There was an earlier period when a woman could only go to Chapel Hill 23:00if she was a graduate student. I can remember back when I was their age - one former [unclear] football player [unclear] was my image of what this institution was. I found out years later - you know, I passed by here going from Pfafftown to Chapel Hill and had never stopped. I had no idea what was inside those brick walls. It sort of looked like a jail. But when I got there, I found out that weren't quite prisoners but, in fact, pretty nice people.

AP: So you got inside the gates?

EP: Yeah, they were nice people. Of course, back in those days if you had a little party, you had to put on a black tie and shirt and everything. And the girls wore long dresses a lot of times. I was a kind of usher, I thought, having to dress up in my monkey suit. And we went to the dances where you had to be dressed formally, too. Things have become much, much less formal.

AP: So the campus life was something to be reckoned with?


EP: Yes. You know, the people who were running the show, student wise, they were girls. This was not true of Chapel Hill. It still isn't true a lot of places. You know, the women have not broken through completely. No, I came to appreciate women much more than I ever had before because I'd never really seen that side of life. I suppose I was maybe one of those belated feminists - that's what it amounts to - but I came to understand, and it gratified me to have students who then went out in the world and did something kind of significant.

AP: I see [unclear] as the woman who called you and told about her story, - how she - how you influenced her.

EP: That was an exceptional one, and just recently. But I've had some other testimonials over the years about women going ahead and doing something. One girl was running a horse ranch out in the Midwest that I taught. She was very 25:00kind to me about what I meant to her.

AP: Was there something special in one lecture that you said that - ?

EP: Yeah, well, one girl who was an editor at one of the big publishing houses, she wrote to me about something. She said, "I will always remember vividly those days in which you brought the French Revolution to us." I happen to know a good deal about the French Revolution since my thesis and dissertation research had been in that field. And that's why I - that's my first - is because of that the French Revolution in Belgium, and I got sent to Belgium in 1937 after I'd been here a year. I was over there for five months.

AP: What was that like?

EP: Well, I lived in the dormitory there at the University of Brussels, and you could get your individual meal and so forth. I had a nice room. The dormitory had been built by American money at the end of World War I, you know, Herbert 26:00Hoover and all that. The meals there were inexpensive. The people I met were very intelligent people. I went out to the castle, really a small castle, of a man who had written the best book on the French Revolution in Belgium. And then I knocked around a little bit too. I was there, oh, maybe five months. The summer of '36, no the summer of '37 and into the fall. I didn't come back until the end of October. And my wife, who taught off and on at UNCG [The University of North Carolina at Greensboro] - see, she taught my classes until I got here. For a number of years until, I would say, up --til - she taught one or two or three classes a year at UNCG in that basic course. We had been together as students since Chapel Hill and gotten married and finally got together.


AP: Where was she from, her hometown?

EP: She was born at - in Richmond County down near Rockingham. Then her mother died, I mean her father died, her mother and father - no her mother died, and she was farmed out to various relatives who lived around in the Hartsville, Bennettsville, South Carolina area. And she went to college and graduated from Guilford College. And then she was teaching, and she came to summer school at Chapel Hill. And you know, when the teachers come in in the summer and those unattached males were there, well, we got together and got married. She got her MRS degree first; later she got her MA. And then for five years we lived apart. I taught, I went to school, and she taught, and finally I got a PhD and we got together.

AP: I see. Well, that was a bit unusual for men and women to sort of go their separate ways in those times. So you both - ?

EP: Both teaching. Of course, she taught in South Carolina, and during one of 28:00those years, they did not pay the teachers one single penny. She spent the whole year without any income at all. I had a little, and her father had a little and together we made it. But that's one of the reasons I taught three years in high schools. Not that I was too happy about it because you had these people who didn't want to learn. You know, nothing drives me up the wall quicker than somebody who just doesn't belong there, not interested in learning. In college you can at least say this is what we're going to do, and you have a week in which to drop out. If you don't want to do this work, drop. And so I never had that problem here. Some did drop. I can remember a girl asking me one time, well, why did you come here. I think it was opening day. One girl said, "I came here to learn poise." And I said, "You know, that's not what education's about. You may be poised, but you base on something else." I said, "You probably belong in one of these finishing schools up the road. You come here to be educated, you 29:00go up there to be finished." And she dropped the course. [laughs] I'm sorry.

AP: That's probably sound advice you gave her.

EP: Well, I think so. I'm a little, sometimes I guess I sound a little harsh. But as I said, I take education seriously. That's - I always have. In fact, my life's been spent in school. That's right, I've been in school all my life until just the last twelve years now.

AP: What changes from the time - you've already talked about, some of those from the time you came, if you had to characterize each decade, and I'm not sure that you can or want do to that. But -

EP: It's hard. I mean, you know - I have some difficulty in some of the decades, they lap over. But there was - we were coming out of the Depression when I came here. Generous enough that although standard instructors' salary was fifteen hundred dollars a year, because I had a wife and a baby, I was given sixteen hundred dollars a year. And I can remember going to the grocery store, my wife and I with the little one, right along there where the Mossman Building 30:00is now, there was a grocery store there, the A&P [Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company]. We'd go and buy a week's groceries, usually was about five dollars. We lived in a house which is still standing there on Spring Garden [Street], which had been cut up into apartments and run by a lady whose husband had once been head of Curry School [practice school located on campus]. She was a principal in the schools here. We lived there, and our rent was twenty-five dollars a month, utilities included. So my generous salary of sixteen hundred dollars fed a family of three. We even had an old car. Now in later years things certainly were not like that. The president of the whole university [UNC System], Frank [Porter] Graham, made ten thousand dollars then. The current president makes one hundred and fifty thousand, which tells you something about that - fifteen times. I don't know what beginning instructors make over there now, but I'm sure it's a lot more than sixteen hundred dollars. Well, you know, these are rubber 31:00dollars - don't forget now. That's one of the striking things about it is that how many rubber dollars you have to pile up even, you know, to get a coca cola. Well, you have to have sixty-five cents instead of a nickel. This is very hard to take, all right.

AP: So the economic situation certainly became quite different over the years.

EP: I also have the impression - you see, I was teaching there after we integrated and after we became coed, both. My own impression is that we got people less well prepared for college than we did back in the good old days. It's easy to romanticize something in the past but it's still - I can tell from answers to questions I've got people who cannot write a complete sentence, and I had not had that experience before.

AP: How do you account for that?

EP: Well, I think we have got students who are less well prepared. Now whatever that means about their homes or their schools. I think in some ways when the 32:00boys came, the focus was more on sports and less on academics. And I think in the case of the black students a lot of the number we had were simply not well prepared. We take them because we had a quota. I had two teachers who taught in the city schools in Winston-Salem and had master's degrees from Columbia University; neither one could write a correct sentence. That was on a Saturday class. On Saturdays we taught the teachers. And I did that for a number of years because you can imagine on a salary of two thousand dollars a year that you needed to work. And I - many times I'd drive to someplace like here to Mount Airy and teach from four to six in a group of students or teachers [unclear] and then I'd jump in my car eating a banana and drive down to Winston-Salem where I taught another group of teachers, I'm going to say seven to nine. Now that was the most strenuous one, but I did a lot of this commuting for a number of years 33:00there, which meant I worked on Saturdays and nights too. And what did I try to do? I taught historical biography, and in that I tried to take certain lives that were significant. I remember I had to take the life - I deliberately took the life of this George Washington Carver who was the black scientist and pointed out that here was a black man who did very significant work. Of course, I did other people too. And then I taught another course called Comparative Cultures in which I would have them think about our American culture and compare it to a fuzzy wuzzy who lived in the South Pacific. I must tell you that sometimes the fuzzy wuzzy looked better than we did. I had a feeling that - well, I was told by some people that I was doing something that the teachers needed.

AP: And so some of them were receptive to that idea, perhaps some were not?

EP: You mean the body of the blacks?

AP: Well, yes.


EP: Oh yes. I remember a woman jumping in and saying, "My sister was raped by a nigger. Now you expect me to be able to teach them? " And I just said, "Well, honey, the war has changed that. World War II changed all of this, for the blacks are now in that. You don't have them this year, but a few years you're going to have black students so you better try to understand something about them," which was my answer. Of course, there were people who resented it. I mean I'd been aware of that. But I never had anything serious happen to me. It was a period when one of my daughters picked up the phone, and someone would say, "Is Comrade Gene there?" which was their way of saying I was a dirty communist. Beyond that I never had a cross burned in my yard or anything like that. There's so much "I" in all of this, but -

AP: Well, no, I'm wanting to hear that. I'm needing to hear that.

EP: No, I'm not saying anything that I wouldn't be willing to say to anybody so it's all right. But I really didn't want to sound like I was the pioneer in the civil rights and so forth. But there was a group of us who met at the YMCA 35:00[Young Men's Christian Association], both black and white professors, for a number of years.

AP: Beginning about what year, do you think?

EP: The time I'm particularly thinking of was around '46, right after the war. Warren Ashby was one of those. There was another man named Marc Friedlaender who was in English. And we would take out little brown bags and sit there once a week. And there'd be our equivalents from A&T [North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University] embedded around, and I think that did some good.

AP: So there was a dialogue and this -

EP: Yeah, prepared - and I think we prepared some teachers and some students for integration. Now I have no illusions about the inadequacy of a lot of black students. But I think that you just have to face that situation that they - a lot of black and white come from homes where there are no books, where there are no newspapers or magazines, where there's never any discussion beyond some sort of beer and bread. And now to suddenly take these people and begin to say, "Now 36:00here's the Renaissance. And what does it mean, you know?" This is quite a leap.

AP: It does take a leap of faith, more than faith.

EP: I'm sorry, but to put it clear, that was a problem. I know I had a number of black students who dropped my courses, but then I had a number of white students that dropped them too. The general - I was told, he would say, " [unclear] osmosis. Pfaff is hard as nails but you'll get something out of this course." I think that's what they said.

AP: Supreme compliment, I'm sure.

EP: Well, I took it as such, yeah. I mean, you know, I had plenty of Ds and Fs, people repeating courses, and so on. But I never - I remember only one student in all my years, a girl who got nasty - didn't receive high enough grades, only one. I thought, how lucky I am. Can I tell you about another one? I taught a fellow, he seemed to like me and I liked him. And suddenly I got a call one day 37:00from the McIver Building to my home and said, "There's a man up here, and he's been shouting in the halls; he's been beating on the doors. He's looking for you, and the girls are all frightened to death. They're hiding. He's coming to your house." So I walked out of my house there on McIver Street, and he was coming down the street to me. I didn't know whether this man was going to kill me or not. I told him my wife and baby's here in the house, and he was just coming. He came up to me and said, "You know my father died last week. The Russians got him." And he said, "The Russians are all around us." And he beat on my car while he was talking, "The Russians are right in there." And I tried to persuade him that maybe we could work things out. In the meantime, somebody called the campus cops, and they come out and got him and dragged him away. They sent him to Butner [John Umstead Mental Hospital, Butner, NC]. Some months later they released him from Butner. And he was driving a car, and it smashed into one of these big concrete abutments on I-40 and killed himself. I remember that rather vividly. It's like, you know, it's not that I'm brave, but I wasn't going 38:00to let the guy get inside my house with my children. So when it comes down to it - I mean teachers sometimes have their moments of danger, too. It's not the safe, professional way [unclear] but I remember that rather vividly.

AP: [unclear] liberal almost entirely.

EP: When I came here to teach, we required every freshman student in history to read a magazine, and the magazine that we picked was The New Republic. The New Republic in those days was quite a liberal magazine. And we had these students who had never seen anything like that reading The New Republic and then talking about it. You know, when you have to teach it, you yourself have got to know it. So I read The New Republic and several magazines from cover to cover. In other 39:00words, you know, I was a "New Dealer [a supporter of the economic policies in the United States known as the New Deal]." Well, after all, I went from six hundred dollars a year, which is my salary as a teacher to sixteen hundred dollars a year. And FDR [Franklin Delano Roosevelt] was president all of the time. How could I be anything else but? I mean, there you are - that tangible. I sound so mercenary about that. It is a big job. Then, of the people that I associated - the invisible college group I associated with, they were pretty liberal people. All of them were at least New Dealers, I would say more than that. Social Democrats [movement to reform capitalism to align it with the ethical ideals of social justice] a lot of us were, which is probably the label I'd applied to myself. But never a communist. Although I went to meetings of the Southern Conferences of Human Welfare, who was presided over by Frank Graham, Eleanor Roosevelt [wife of President Franklin Roosevelt] was there, Donald Lewis' [actually John Lewis, president of United Mine Workers Association] daughter [unclear]. These were people definitely on the left in those days. This would have been around 1939 or '40. I remember Harriett Elliott saying, "I 40:00wouldn't go there. I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole." And one other professor here, one [unclear] liberal blacks. You realize we were meeting black and white in the same building and this was in Birmingham, Alabama. Can you imagine that? Wonder we didn't get lynched.

AP: About what year on that one?

EP: Nineteen forty, approximately. I remember later about what FBI was [unclear]. I remember one of my colleagues' wives saying, "When he came to me, I couldn't possibly [unclear]." But I found out later, I was teaching at Duke 41:00[University] then too, and he went down there - an investigator went down there and asked what I did at Duke. "Well, he taught these courses." He said, "But what did he do after class?" In Durham. [laughs]

AP: What did they tell him, or what did you do?

EP: I got the appointment, that was all I know.

AP: What did you do after class in Durham?

EP: Well, I really went to my room and studied, or I came home and ate dinner. And that was one summer. But they had gone back that far. This was a couple of years later. It always amused me about security check up. But I passed, that's all I know, so I guess I am not on some list of subversives, although I'd done the kind of thing that [unclear]. You know, some of the people that went there were communists. I know they were, and later I presided some meetings for the Citizens Council down at the court house. The woman that had set all of this up was a woman named Mary Price [1931 UNC Chapel graduate, go-between for US government employees who were members of the Communist Party of the United States, head of NC's Progressive Party, first woman to appear on NC gubernatorial ticket], but - I bet she graduated over here. But she had been 42:00tied in with the Alger Hiss [American lawyer accused of being a Soviet spy and convicted of perjury] case way back. A Reidsville girl had gone to the big city and got in with extreme left groups, so I could very easily have been tarred with that brush. [Professor Richard] Dick Bardolph told me one time that he had been rejected by - I guess some kind of government appointment because of the FBI check up, somewhere he had been or something. So you know how those days were. Part of this was the McCarthy era [Period in 1940s and 1950s where unfounded accusations of disloyalty to the United States without proper regard for evidence took place. Senator Joseph McCarthy held congressional hearings]. [unclear] You asked me how I became a liberal. I think I'm just - I just think I'm a middle-of-the-road person. Some things I am very conservative about, and others I try to say that I'm liberal of people but conservative about money. Well, I'm a child of the Depression and twenty-five cents was enough for a meal. The idea sort of goes on here, dropping twenty-five cent pieces that doesn't even bother to pick them up, is an abomination to me. I dare say your parents gave up this too. No one was liberal during the Depression unless they were 43:00Rockefeller [wealthy businessman John D. Rockefeller] or something, was untouched.

AP: Do you think that perhaps your rural North Carolina leanings or perhaps background made a difference also?

EP: People on the soil tend to be conservative. I think that's true. Who are these Moravians? They were yeoman farmers, something like that. [unclear] I could remember there were a few people around even in a small village who claimed to sell services, if you will. There were a number who didn't approve of our entering WWI, which was a little bit hazardous. But you know, Germanic tradition even been two hundred years, and what business we got over there, fooling in there? But I was sort of an isolationist too for a while. But I was in Europe in 1937 when [Adolf] Hitler was just over the border meeting [Benito] Mussolini. And on the ship I was with Jewish refugees, and they told me about 44:00how they'd been harassed, the New Republic and all of that. The fact that it came to me where there was a difference of opinions about our interest problems How did they [unclear] in our history department, having to do with isolation. [unclear] The same thing happened at Chapel Hill. It tended to be professors of European history thought we ought to intervene and professors of American history thought we ought to stay out. I think that's, what do you call it, vocational bias. [unclear] I don't know anything about African history but I have dabbed a little bit in Far Eastern and even Latin America. So, as I said, I had a horror of being the man who knows all about when the iron plow was introduced into Catawba County. Somehow or other that doesn't excite me. I don't think that's a good dissertation topic. But you have people like that. Somebody 45:00put it, [unclear] or somebody with dry old bones over there. I must say I'm probably not a very good professional historian. I think I was a good teacher. I'll put it that way. And I think that I stirred some minds. What more can you do? That's my theory.

AP: So you do feel the college did change, somewhat certainly - think about the issues of the men coming to the Woman's College or UNCG.

EP: Well, I was glad to see it. I mean, I thought it would be a probably more wholesome atmosphere than having to go jump on the bus and run to Chapel Hill. So I can remember teaching class - we had classes on Saturday. I had a class on Saturday that ran from twelve [o'clock] to one [o'clock]. Then we'd go to one of the football games. They had everything, make up and everything on, their dress up there on the bus. Am I going to make that bus? I thought there was something 46:00a little bit wrong about that. Even though Saturday classes, they got what they paid for. Now I'm told that the weekend begins on Thursday and ends on Monday or Tuesday. I really think we do not have - this is my impression - people who read as much. I think TV is - all of these are TV kids; they really don't know how to read.

AP: - quality may have varied somewhat [laughs] the background that - who made the decision that men would come and why?

EP: Oh, the legislature. I don't know their motivation exactly. I'll be frank about it. The legislature, definitely. I suppose part of it was the fact that - 47:00I think they first began to let men come to some evening functions, sort of like that. Then someone said, "This is silly, restricting the men to night work." [unclear] And after all, they are human beings, and they are fellow citizens and they ought to have the same thing. I'm not knocking it. In fact, I was for going coed. But I just said that in our anxiety to get some men - first, you know, it's just like the blacks, maybe one here and one there. I think they took in some people that could have done better somewhere else, let me put it that way. Whether that's true or not now, I don't know. You probably know that Chapel Hill there is some trustee that is very anxious to cut down on the number of women there and up the number of men because they think that it's terrible that it has become sixty percent female.

AP: [unclear]

EP: That's right. That's an effort. They're moving on to do something about that. They're making it more difficult for a girl to get into Chapel Hill than for a boy. This lets [unclear] Christians about what is right and just. I 48:00[pause] - I remember some expert from one of these foundations coming here once; he was talking to a couple of us and said, "Girls you get here are ones from the working class families, aren't they?" And I said, "I think that's a mistake. A lot of them are from small towns, but they aren't tenant farmers, small farmers. They're successful businessmen of one kind or another." And I said that some of them are the daughters of true intellectuals. I said I've known some of them. And they're not all poor, either. Now we had a large number of poor girls, but you just can't make a generalization like that. We had all kinds. I think they were more literate than they are now. That's my impression. You realize for 49:00twelve years, all that I know about UNCG is talking with somebody who has been teaching there. Some person who is teaching there now said to me, "I think that the faculty morale is bad here." Their objective is that they think UNCG is trying to go into big-time sports. And when you do that, you neglect the academics. And they deplore that shift of emphasis. They would rather have more scholarships and bring worthy kids here and less sports stuff. From that point, I couldn't agree with them more. With all the corruption that goes with big-time sports, you pay a terrible price. And one of the blessings here was that we never had - I never had to worry. When I taught at [University of] Florida, they came every week and checked up on whether I had one football player in my class. He was doing all right. He was an All-Southern halfback, and they couldn't afford to loose him. So they spent money on him and indirectly were putting pressure on me with every week with, "How's he doing?" It happened I was a 50:00visiting professor, so I could say the heck with you. But if I'd been there permanently, this would have been a pressure I did not like. I never had that at Chapel Hill when I taught there in the winter and the summer. I had some football players one summer, but they must have had some coaching because they made at least Cs. Well, there is a big problem about sports and academics now. I would say that's one of the major problems facing the university. The other one is a broader approach, a cross-disciplinary approach, so that you can prepare people for a world which demands that kind of thing.

PA: And very complex.

EP: I don't think - as I said I wouldn't want a president who couldn't cross ditches. I don't think I'd want a president of my company, if I owned a company, that couldn't think in those terms. I think that I'm not the only person who believes this. There was some that years ago, I think Harvard Medical School, 51:00said, "We do not want science majors in our medical school. We want arts majors, and we'll teach them the chemistry and the physics and so forth right here." I don't know whether this is still true, but I thought it was a highly intelligent attitude that sort of indicates my orientation to it. I would like to give somebody a basic four-year liberal education and then let them do professional training on top of it.

AP: And you feel that certainly for most all those years - am I stretching the point to say that most of the years when you were here that Woman's College did provide that?

EP: I think that it did, pretty well.

AP: Or to what degree?

EP: Often hard to measure. I just knew a number of the professors, and I knew the kind of things they were doing. But a student pops up in your class for a comment, and you recognize where she heard that, or him. You see, we had the sort of situation, I knew you got that from X, and I've heard them say that too. And I said, "Oh, yes, I heard that over there." In other words, we had a unity, a coherence, at least professors of English and economics and history. I'm 52:00trying to think of a few else. We were - in other words, we taught to cross disciplines, we taught across. I deliberately devised some courses which were multi-. When I taught 19th and 20th Century intellectual history of Europe, I talked about [Sigmund] Freud, [Albert] Einstein, and taught - in other words, there was a kind of course in philosophy at the same time. It wasn't just the historical events. But what does this mean? I mean, what is socialism? What is communism? Before [Karl] Marx and that type of thing. How have we accepted social Darwinism when you see it all around you? When one of the local textile mill owners even said, "I don't want the people to get too much education. I'm not in favor of paying the teachers any more." Said, "I provide these people 53:00with jobs, I want them to be like my slaves." That was one of the men who runs things here in Greensboro. That's what you are up against. But now it's simply on a more sophisticated level. What I suspect today is - we want you out there to train some people to come up here and handle our computers. Philosophy bakes no bread. They don't give a damn about foreign language. Really all we need to do is somebody who can punch the right buttons. But we've got to have somebody who can do that - maybe has to read the instructions so he won't cut his head off. I think that's what we are up against partly. And I deplore the fact that I - and also what they want is a winning team of some kind. I think the boys on our board of trustees here want a winning team of big time stuff in Greensboro - not have to go all the way to Chapel Hill or Winston [-Salem]. But I think that they're the ones who are now making the decisions.

AP: Who are now making the decisions?

EP: Yeah, that is my impression. The president of the Consolidated University is a former construction man [C.D. Spangler]. The professor - the head man here 54:00is a professor of business administration [Chancellor William Moran]. I don't know about other people, but on the surface it looks like, okay, we've picked some "practical people." Don't have any of those dull historians, you know. I'm sorry, but that's my impression from the outside. But I have it confirmed by some people who work in there right now.

AP: So the whole struggle of liberal arts is still with us? EP: Yes, I think so.

AP: And the liberal imagination, the liberal mind?

EP: Oh yes.

AP: And what happens to society.

EP: Sure. Oh, I can remember when I was working for "Frank Graham for Senate" campaign. I asked some of my follow professors to go to a meeting with me. A couple of them said, "Oh, no, I couldn't do that. The businessmen downtown would do me in." And I - "Oh, you damned cowards." I understood his position, and we had that all in all. They're the timid ones. I guess, I don't know whether - we 55:00never had a lynching here of a subversive professor, I think. If so, it was done sub rosa. I don't know how often that happens. All you got to do is not give a guy his raise, and he is going on off somewhere. A guy came here same time I did, taught philosophy down - . And the head of the First Presbyterian Church, the pastor, came to see him, and in the process he discovered the man was an atheist. And he went back downtown to announce it, and said, "You've got an atheist out here." So you're under that gun too. And that guy, by the way, left. He didn't want to leave, but he had to go.

AP: The professor or the minister?

EP: The professor. No, the minister stayed on there, and his son became head of Burlington Industries, which is about the ultimate. This man's name was Myers, and Charlie Myers became head of Burlington Industries.

AP: I understand that First Presbyterian Church in the time of civil rights 56:00missed some chances to take a stand.

EP: I expect so, that's my general impression.

AP: Who went there to church?

EP: Who, the First Presbyterian Church? Well, rich people mostly. When I came here, somebody joked at me and said, "No don't go dropping a quarter in the collection plate up there, the money has to rustle," - which is a joke but they meant it. And it is - it was the church of the rich people mostly. Presbyterian churches are conservative. I don't know if we had any liberal ministers here, none that I can think of. The guy in Raleigh, Finlator, W. W. Finlator [longtime pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church], who was very liberal. His wife went to school here [Mary Purvis Finlator, Class of 1939].

AP: Oh, is that right? I'm familiar with Dr. Bryan's biography of him. Dr. [George McLeod, Wake Forest University professor] Jim Bryan wrote a book about Finlator.

EP: He did? I didn't know that. AP: Yeah, just a biography -

EP: Well, then, you know a lot more than I do.

AP: Yeah, well, I guess I've known Dr. Bryan. But the question is, "What sort 57:00of liberal thought was here or who were the people?"

EP: You mean here in Greensboro?

AP: Yeah.

EP: Well, they were a group of colleges, A&T, Bennett [College], UNC, Guilford [College]. I know of no liberals from High Point. If they were there, they had their heads kind of low. But these four institutions, and then there were some ministers - I guess some that might fall to that category.

AP: You might have to look hard for them.

EP: Yeah. I'm not as familiar with ministers as I ought to be. Be candid with you, I rarely go to a church. I've been going recently to the Unitarians, and they seem to be a fairly liberal group. But they nearly always are. That is where the left boys go to church. No, I can't remember any particular minister.

AP: Well, speaking of churches and liberal thought in North Carolina, or lack of, whatever - did the young women who came here - did Woman's College women go 58:00to churches? I mean, how much were they influenced by -

EP: A certain number of them went to church because church buses used to pull up on Sunday morning. I wouldn't really be down there, but I'd see the buses, so a certain number of them - I would not know the answer to that. Of course, there was always a sort of YWCA [Young Women's Christian Association] worker around. The Quakers had a woman in it, you know. There was some influence to that. I think mostly - my own conviction would be that they got more impact at the university, college, than they did at the church.

AP: Well, I was going to say you might have provided healthy corrective to what the churches were doing in those days.

EP: I hope so. I think there was a liberal, fairly liberal catholic priest here. He once spoke to me. And I said, "Well, I try to give you guys a fair shake when I deal with the Reformation, but it's pretty hard for me to do sometimes."


AP: What did he say?

EP: He laughed and said, "Oh no, you're doing fine. My students tell me that you're very fair about it." Because you know that you can make the Catholic church out the devil in the Reformation if you want do. Yeah, I think the churches were pretty fair-minded. I want to give you a view. A man who was a judge in Charlotte, federal judge - he was nominated to the Supreme Court, and then the liberals knocked it in. But he was a friend of Frank Graham. And I went into his office one time, and he said, "You know," we were talking about the war now and peace, pacifism. He said, "These preachers aren't doing a damned thing." And I figured he ought to know. That's my general impression. We had a couple of fellows that I knew - Warren Ashby and another guy, who runs this University of Maryland thing, all overseas. Because it used to be [unclear]. And he had a 60:00church that was - he was pastor to. He and - Warren Ashby had also been a pastor, who were two liberal ministers. But that's a very small proportion. I wish I knew more about that. But all I remember is that when we were working to get Frank Graham elected, somebody said, "Oh, we've raised this one thousand dollars, and we'll give it to so-and-such black preacher down there and he'd deliver the votes." They came right out with buying votes, it seemed to me. But you know the guy who said that was the guy who later became mayor of Greensboro, so I figured he ought to know something about it.

AP: Tell me a little bit more about your involvement in that campaign.

EP: Well, I was chairman of what's called Citizens for Graham, and we raised some money and arranged for some kind of parade over in High Point, wherever he went. A group of people were sort of around him, a sort of unofficial bodyguard. 61:00One man spat upon him. It could have been a nasty situation. But Frank Graham was a Christ-like person. I mean, he would say, "Spit again," you know. And I was awfully afraid for his wife if somebody would insult her. I mean that was my horror. And little kids run around the street saying, "I ain't going to go to school with no nigger." So you can see why it didn't work [unclear]. Well, the politicians say that he lost that election east of Raleigh. If I'd have had a few more votes for him, he could have won. It was a heartbreaker, all right. It was awful how it goes. You know, they chose this kind of terrible right wing in his place. He's the best shot we ever had in Washington [DC]. You don't get that very often.

AP: No. So the climate in North Carolina, which is -

EP: At that time, it was a conservative state. Every now and then there's been 62:00some freak breakthrough - you get a guy like Frank Graham, past president of the University [of North Carolina at Chapel Hill]. In fact, there was a fight between the trustees over that - that he was too liberal. He had associated with blacks, and he had gone to labor union meetings and he was a dangerous radical. There was a fight, but he came out on top of that because he had this incredibly saint-like character. I mean, you just cannot beat a man down like that. This is a spirited body. Oh, they'd fake pictures, photographs of him dancing with a black woman. Of course one, he didn't dance, and he certainly he didn't dance with black people. But someone had conjured up, you know - I think had taken two photographs and meld them - that kind of dirty stuff. It was just awful. And one of the nastiest guys in the whole process was a Raleigh newspaperman named Jesse Helms [became five-term Republican United States Senator from North Carolina]. I mean, I've known he was a skunk for forty years. Then they wind up with people in North Carolina saying [unclear] that I'm sorry. But that tells you something.


AP: Have you seen the bumper sticker, "I'm from North Carolina and I didn't vote for Jesse Helms"?

EP: Yes.

AP: I just saw that sticker in Raleigh. Well, talking - I guess thinking about the race relations or at least the decision for black people to come here to Woman's College, how did that work out?

EP: Well, I can remember the first one or two or three, and I had some of them in my classes. And like I said, several of them were not prepared for college. Some of them were, particularly at the residential college. If I ever had a little room there, maybe there would be ten students around, and we were very open and candid about everything, you know. You know, one of the black girls would say, "Well, hey, you talk about western civilization. No, I don't want to study western civilization. I come out of the Afro-American civilization." That was popping up even back then. But of course, more, you know than now. In fact, Stanford [University] has just said in their western civ[ilization] course - 64:00they've got to bring in some black authors and so forth. Well, I'm all for it. As I've told you, I taught a course called contemporary cultures, comparative cultures. Of course, you've got to do that. But so far, nobody has found very much of the civilization in Africa. I mean, you don't have much in there in the way. At least the case of Greece and Rome we have some written records and so forth. But Africa there is nothing because what they had was oral tradition, and I just don't know how you - I don't know what goes on in a course called African studies. I can't quite imagine about the content. In fact, my impression is like - let's have a course in Baptist culture, or reverse it, Scottish culture. I mean, you just can't do that. Well -

AP: Well, when the blacks came here to school, how were they received? And I know that we - I don't want you to generalize it.

EP: I was not close enough to it. I didn't live on campus and that probably was the time, you know, the university confiscated my house and drove me out here. 65:00And after that, I sort of went to my classes and, you know, I didn't get that feeling. There was a loss of sense of community. And I think that's part of the price of going big. From twenty-five hundred to eleven thousand makes a difference. I think that - there was a time when I knew everybody on the faculty and had some idea about them one way or another. Towards the end, why, I might know only half or less. So you pay that price. Somebody else would know better about that. I think the blacks were having some things they felt discriminated against, but never to pop up in any of my classes. I occasionally would see some black guy sprawled out on a bench there in the hall of the McIver Building, which I thought, "This is not what it's all about. He shouldn't be lying around here like this." But I didn't go up to him and say, "Get your lazy self up." That kind of turned me off. But then I would have been equally turned off if I'd of seen a white guy lying across there. It wasn't a matter of the color of skin. 66:00That's what I was trying to say. I'd a lot rather have a decent black neighbor living next to me than some people I do. So it's not that. And that was and is my approach. It's just too damn sad about the lack of background that most blacks have. And all that I know is you go in there and do all the remedial work you can. Whatever you call it, Head Start, where you start with the two-year-olds. That's the only hope - really get down there and do it at the basic level.

AP: Or before they are born.

EP: Or, yeah, if you can, prenatal, that's right. That's a tough one. I don't know any answer for it. You just, you know. A man's a man for all of that. We're all citizens, so if you want it to be in Christian terms, we're all children of God. All those things come out of the same place to me. You just treat people decent irregardless [sic]. I don't think we had - I'm sure we didn't have here 67:00the same kind of harassment that you got some other places. I never heard of a black's being harassed.

AP: You mean at the university as opposed to -

EP: Yeah.

AP: What about Greensboro? I mean, and what about town and gown? We haven't really talked about that much.

EP: Well, I've been in some meetings with the guys who own the Cones [Cone Mills] and people like that. I would have to say that some of them particularly - Mrs. Laura [Weill] Cone [Class of 1910 and wife of Julius Cone] was a pretty enlightened woman. But she had Ceasar [Cone II, president of Cone Mills], who was the kind of the horses' behind, if you want to be frank about it. Somebody said, "Well he's so bad that they don't even want him in the Temple downtown." I don't know if it's true or not. But he's the one, by the way, that said he considered his workers as slaves. I mean, you're talking about the 1980s now.

AP: Well, I was going to ask you what year, what time?

EP: It was a couple of year ago, before he died. He left seventy-five million dollars, which meant somebody worked pretty hard. Herman Cone, I can remember his brother who was chairman first at a meeting, luncheon meeting. I forgot the 68:00year of that chapter or whether he was still in college. And I said, "Well, you know, we want to work these relations out, and what you need is some working people sitting on your board of trustees." And he said, "Yeah." But they never did. You know, at one time they had machine guns on the factories here - before I came here because of the strikers, which tells you something.

AP: Tell me about that.

EP: That goes back to the Depression - where was it, About the time, do you remember when we were - Gaston [Loray Mill strike] - there was some strikers got shot and a woman was killed.

AP: [Nineteen] twenty-nine, yeah.

EP: Yeah, it was around that same period. They were threatening some strikes here in textiles. They called in the National Guard and set up machine guns and all of that, which I thought was not an enlightened attitude towards the workers. That's my impression now, you know. There may be some guys who were - 69:00and if so I didn't know. This friend of mine, knew him pretty well, socialized with him, Friedlaender. They were Jewish. He said, "You know, they have a plan down there at Cone Mills. If they have a big strike, they're going to work through the press; they're going to work through the police; they're going to neutralize the university group. They've got it all laid out." There are some lawyers in town which are labor union busters, and they were hired by these people. So I knew if it came showdown, we would probably be like West Virginia. It never happened while I was here. I did have a student who went with the labor unions after school, and she was out at the factory gate passing out propaganda, you know. And the workers - a number of them insulted her, saying, "What's your price, girl?" and stuff like that. A little rough, but she stayed with it and she became somebody in the labor field. Her parents were fairly well to do. She 70:00was from Boston, the one I'm thinking about. And then there's another one whose father was a physician to Cone Mills that lived down out on Summit Avenue in a big mansion - when they were mansions. And she went into the labor movement. The last I heard of her she was in South America, labor attach-- at one of our embassies. Her name was Knight, K-N-I-G-H-T. So there are some people that came out of this university environment that went out and did some things in a liberal point, political way. Some of the people - I can remember this, "All you birds over there in history are all socialists," which is sort of halfway true. [laughs] I thought that there were a number of things that would be better off if they were socially owned. I still do. This business of having - I say we start a free market in everything, I think this is chaos, which would be my guess as what this problem is in Eastern Europe now. How in the hell can they 71:00work out a free market? They cannot do it. They're bound to remain partly communist people just to make the wheels go around. And I'm just wondering how much the disappointment's going to do, you know, whether they'll kick out this Russian guy [Mikhail] Gorbachev [last head of state of the Russia], what our policy will be. I'm not one of those very happy about having an ex-CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] man sitting in the White House [President George H.W. Bush], if I may say so, because I know a little about the CIA environment. I used to read their reports when I was in Egypt, and they're a pretty sneaky bunch. And that whole field - I just don't know how you expect a CIA man not to lie to you because that's been his whole training process. Well, I suppose [unclear] But it doesn't really matter anymore. I don't have a job [unclear].


AP: And that might [unclear]

EP: So [unclear]

AP: Well, we've covered bases. We haven't covered all of the bases.

EP: No. I'm sorry I've talked too much.

AP: Well, the Moravians had such - would it be a generalization that they did have very strong feeling toward education and the liberal mind?


EP: I think so, yes. Salem College was set up in 1776. They sent the missionaries out too, and I think that they still are. [unclear] twelve million Baptists or so. The Moravians hardly know what they are, but I like their emphasis on music. As I said, I think their education and their missionary approach is [unclear]. I have to admire them. And I know [unclear] I can still see where they had the [unclear] When they first came here, it was pretty damned hard [unclear] log cabin and finally got to clapboard and then to brick houses. But you could see right there in the architecture that - as I've said, look at those wolf pits. I realize what some of those [unclear] when they went down to the spring to get some water. I think about that every now and then.


AP: We were talking about the Moravians, especially some of the Moravians around Pfafftown, northwest of Winston-Salem.