Partial Transcript: Dr. Clark, when did you first meet Earle Clements, and what were your impressions of him, how close were you to him during the 40's, through the 60's and how involved were you in state Democratic politics in these years?
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Clark talks about his early acquaintance with Earle Clements when he was in the legislature. He recalls that Clements played football at the University of Kentucky and had the nickname "Foots." He talks about the rivalry between Governor Chandler and Clements that was both political and personal. He relates an anecdote in which rationed tires during World War II became a political issue between Clements and Chandler.
Keywords: Democrats; Earle Clements; Flem D. Sampson; Governors; Happy Chandler; Highway department; John Young Brown, Sr.; Rationing; Sheriff; State archives; Tires; University archives; William J. Fields
Subjects: Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Democratic Party (Ky.)
Partial Transcript: A second, uh, time around that I knew about Clements was in the constitutional convention. And you'll have to check me on this, uh, Clements was campaigning for the--
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Clark talks about a campaign to call a state constitutional convention in 1947 and the part Clements played. He talks about the need to diversify Kentucky's economy from strictly agrarian to a mix with industry. He talks about the limitations to development built into the Kentucky constitution and the changes needed to the constitution. He attributes popular opposition to a constitutional revision to ignorance.
Keywords: Alben Barkley; Civil service salaries; Coal miners; Coal mines; Constitution; Earle Clements; Governor; Great Depression; Greenville (Ky.); J. Lyter Donaldson; Keen Johnson; Republican Party; Ruby Laffoon; Tax system; Tobacco; University of Kentucky; Utilities; Western Kentucky
Subjects: Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Kentucky--Politics and government
Partial Transcript: Well, we started a campaign. Just a small, internal campaign in the university.
Segment Synopsis: Clark talks about the campaign to amend the Kentucky state constitution in 1947, and lists several people who participated. He states that it was necessary for the campaign committee to be chaired by someone other than a professor, so he recruited the president of Ashland Oil to take the chair. He says Earle Clements supported the constitutional convention campaign privately, but he would not support it openly while running for governor in 1947. He talks about Clements' efforts to ratify the "Five-Thousand Dollar Amendment" which lifted the cap on state salaries. He talks about the opposition by average Kentuckians to lifting the salary cap.
Keywords: Ashland Oil Company; Frazee Hall; Fred Wilke; Howard Henderson; Jack Reeve; Kentucky On the March; Lyle Baker; Paul Blazer; Prentice O'Lear; Russell Baker; Tom Graham
Subjects: Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Kentucky--Politics and government
Partial Transcript: The other one was the, uh, matter of the state debt. Then in my opinion, Clements did two tremendously important things.
Segment Synopsis: Clark talks about Clements' work to reform of public school financing in Kentucky with the tax equalization policy which reduced corruption and improved quality. He says that although the reform took place over several administrations, Clements took the brunt of opposition as teachers marched on Frankfort. He talks about Clements' work on the Farm to Market rural road bill. Clark says that Clements understood the politics and economics of building roads, but doubts he understood the sociological aspects of road programs.
Keywords: Average Daily Attendance (ADA); Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC); Earle Clements; Farm to Market Road Bill; Happy Chandler; Lawrence Wetherby; State school system
Subjects: Kentucky--Politics and government
Partial Transcript: During the period that Clements was governor, the, uh, deanship was vacated here at the university.
Segment Synopsis: Clark talks about a longstanding conflict between University of Kentucky President Herman Donovan and Governor Clements. He describes the conflict as a clash of similar personalities in Donovan and Clements, and focusing on the appointment of a new dean of the College of Agriculture. He describes at least one physical altercation between Clements and Donovan. He says Donovan described Clements as a dictator in his book "Keeping the University Free and Growing." He speaks praise of Donovan's work as university president.
Keywords: Burley Tobacco; Frank Welch; Herman L. Donovan; Memorial Coliseum; Tobacco; Tobacco diseases; W. D. Valleau
Subjects: Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Donovan, Herman Lee, 1887-1964
Partial Transcript: But Clements went out of office, and, uh, Lawrence came in; Lawrence Wetherby came in. And Lawrence--I always liked Lawrence personally, uh, very much.
Segment Synopsis: Clark describes his unwitting involvement as a witness in the NAACP effort against the Day Law which segregated education. He talks about Lyman Johnson attempting to register at University of Kentucky in order to challenge the law with a federal lawsuit. He talks about other legal efforts to desegregate Kentucky education. He expresses the opinion that Earle Clements as governor put pressure on UK President Herman Donovan and other university administrators not to oppose desegregation in Kentucky because he wanted to avoid political fallout.
Keywords: Day Law; Earle Clements; Frank Peterson; John Hatch; Judge Edward C. O'Rear; Judge Hiram Church Ford; Lawrence Wetherby; Leo Chamberlain; Louisville Defender; Lyman Johnson; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Thurgood Marshall
Subjects: Race relations; Segregation
Partial Transcript: More directly, uh, how, how did your own department--history department react to the Lyman Johnson, uh, bid for integration?
Segment Synopsis: Clark says that some members of the history department faculty were conservative and opposed desegregation, but generally members of the department were in favor. He says the department generally acted professionally. He says his personal view was in favor of desegregation because of the prejudiced background from which he came. He relates anecdotes from the Johnson trial. He talks about Johnson as a graduate student in the history department.
Keywords: Bennett H. Wall; Judge Hiram Church Ford; M. B. Holifield; Thurgood Marshall
Subjects: Johnson, Lyman T., 1906-1997; Race relations
Partial Transcript: And, and, uh, as you must know being a graduate student, that, uh, a department is neither for nor against a man.
Segment Synopsis: Clark talks about the experience of graduate study in general terms. He talks about the Johnson case making an easier transition for desegregation in Kentucky.
Keywords: Alan Trout; Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka; Clay (Ky.); Day Law; Desegregation; Earle Clements; Happy Chandler; Henry Carter; Herschel Murray; Lawrence Wetherby; Lyman Johnson; Sturgis (Ky.); West Liberty (Ky.)
Subjects: Race relations
SYVERTSEN: The following is an unrehearsed interview with Thomas D. Clarkfor the University of Kentucky Libraries Earle C. Clements Oral History Project. The interview was conducted by Tom Syvertsen on December 21, 1977 in Lexington, Kentucky. Dr. Clark, when did you first meet Earle Clements and what were your impressions of him? How close were you to him during the Forties through the Sixties, and how involved were you in state Democratic politics in these years?
CLARK: I first met Earle Clements--I believe he was in thelegislature. It was prior to 1940.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. State Senate.
CLARK: Clements was very active in state politics at that time,and was getting to be well--known over the state. He had been sheriff down in--
SYVERTSEN: --Union County--
CLARK: --Union County. And they used to run a story inthe paper about him, that he was never defeated in an election. And of course, once he got into the legislature, he became a more central figure. And my impression is that he was 00:01:00a dominant figure in the state legislature.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. Floor leader.
CLARK: He was a University of Kentucky student. And thenI began to hear stories about Clements. There were some old timers here who had been in school with Clements. They called him by his nickname ------------(??) Clements. Clements had played on the football team, and they began to make a little bit of him here at the University because of that. I don't remember when I met him personally the first time. I know that it was during that period. Now, I never was involved in--I was a Democrat.
CLARK: And have always been a Democrat. But I neverwas involved in state politics. I stayed religiously out of politics. But I did--because of my interest in Kentucky history, I did 00:02:00know a lot of politicians, and made it a point to know them. I knew the--all the governors from Governor Sampson--well, from Governor Fields on down, I knew the governors, and I was in and out of the governor's office a lot of times about various things, particularly in the building of two things in this state--the building of the state archives, and the building of the university archives. And they were one and the same thing there for a time, because we were trying to preserve the state records, and did. My, this state would be very poor if we hadn't done that. Well, Clements was active in his own behalf, but he was also building up a very considerable amount of friendship among other politicians. He was building liaisons with the--the old line--up in the state. 00:03:00And the first direct knowledge that I have of Clements and his political techniques was when John Young Brown was running for the United States Senate, and Clements was managing Brown's campaign. And that, of course, brought Brown and Chandler into very sharp conflict; more than just a political rivalry.
CLARK: It almost got to be a feuding rivalry.
CLARK: Well, that was in 1941, if I remember the yearcorrectly. I'm almost certain it was 1941.
CLARK: It was after tire rationing had been instituted by thefederal government. And you couldn't get tires. I know that first hand. Because I was out in the field gathering those 00:04:00country store records which are in the University of Kentucky archives at the present time,--
CLARK: --and I had a blowout. And I had a terrifictime, had my family, had a blowout waiting for a stoplight to change in the little old town of Calhoun, Georgia, and I had a terrific time trying to find a tire to make the rest of that trip. [telephone rings] Excuse me.
[Interruption in taping.]
Well, in 1941 Chandler was governor, and they kind of had astory here that he had gone down to the highway department, that branch station at Bardstown, and had gotten a set of four tires for his car. And of course that [inaudible] make a very 00:05:00emotional issue indeed. And Clements was a fellow who threw everything at his opponent, or--he was brutal with his opponents. They decided that they would get the numbers off of the tires. And they would then be able to trace the tires back, and substantiate the fact that he'd gotten them.
CLARK: Well, that--I can't remember the boy's name. There weretwo boys. One of them was Charlie Manning's son--in--law, ------------(??) Isaacs was his name. And I've forgotten the other lad's name. They sent them over to pose at the Chandler home as insurance agents to inspect the car. Well, they went over and a kid came out and they told him that it was an insurance man inspecting cars. And they got down and got the numbers. 00:06:00But in the meantime the kid ran in the house and told Mrs. Chandler that there was some men out there looking at the car. Well, she knew immediately what that was about, and she rushed out and they ran and got in the car, and she ran and ran them all over Jessamine County, Woodford County, and maybe over into Garrard County. They were gone all day in that ground. Well, they came in over here about ten o'clock. Now, I was present when they came in and reported about this awful race they'd had with Mrs. Chandler trying to catch them. And they--she never did catch them.
CLARK: They gave her the slip somewhere and came in andreported to Clements about the tires. Now, I don't remember precisely--I don't think they got all the numbers. I think they got the numbers for some of the tires. And, of course, there 00:07:00was a great hullabaloo about these boys trying to get those numbers. But there was a bigger hullabaloo about Chandler getting the tires. Well, later, as you know, that was when materials were scarce, then they made a terrific to--do, the press and everybody else did, about the swimming pool--
CLARK: --that had been built for Chandler by that Louisville--the Louisville contractorhad put in the swimming pool. And that--of course, all you have to do is turn back in the newspapers and see what a furor that created. I remember there was a lawyer here in town, called me one Sunday, Willie Mays Townsend, and said let's go over and look at the swimming pool. And he was greatly excited about it. But later on he became a big Chandler man. I don't know what turned him around on that. 00:08:00But Clements never missed anything that--of that sort. He was a shrewd politician, well--schooled in the sheriff's office down in Union County and, of course, in the legislature. He came to the legislature well--schooled in--now, that--that I saw first hand,--
CLARK: --this tire business. No doubt they were right.
CLARK: But they, of course, never let all of the factsstand in the way of--or lack of facts stand in the way of blowing it up into major proportions. Of course, that was a--a highly emotional issue.
CLARK: You had to live through that entire shortage. Youcould have a perfect automobile, but it--and have plenty of gas, as 00:09:00far as that goes, but if you didn't have the tires, you were still afoot, and that was pretty vital--it was a very vital issue. That, as you understand, was in the day before synthetic rubber came on the market. Second time around that I knew about Clements was in the constitutional convention. And you'll have to check me on this; Clements was campaigning for the--
CLARK: --governorship at the time. And--
SYVERTSEN: Forty--six, forty--seven.
CLARK: And like all campaigners for the governorship, he was doinga lot of preliminary--
SYVERTSEN: Uh--huh. Survey--
CLARK: --surveying around. Well, he--he was very strong in westernKentucky.
CLARK: And there was some people in western Kentucky who did00:10:00and still make politics the very breath of life. And there was a young--a fairly young fellow named Martin, who was a member of that well--known Martin family down at Greenville(??). But they were out there at that little town of Graham(??). They owned land out there, they operated a store, they operated, as I recall, some coal mines, and they were in various other things. It was in--it was one of the major families in that area. Well, this boy Martin had married a girl from down in North Carolina, and my wife and I knew her family. And they invited me to come down there to speak on the constitution, right when we were trying to get the constitutional campaign underway. And I was, at that time, the state chairman for the committee. We 00:11:00got it organized here at the University. And knowing full well what the problems had been in 1931, most all of us had lived through that campaign also. So I went down to--we went down as guests of the Martin family. Well, this Martin was slightly crippled. And he had driven one of the--he'd driven old Governor Laffoon all around. He had driven Barkley around.
CLARK: He was--he knew this state pretty well from one sideto the other from having driven these politicians around. And he was definitely a Clements man. Well, Ed invited Earle Clements to speak at the club(??) at the same time. And I--we got down to the Martin home, and Earle was there. Well, we 00:12:00had a nice visit. As I told you a while ago, I was very fond of Earle Clements.
CLARK: He was a very personable man, and I felt ------------(??)straightforward. But I also felt that you pretty well knew who you were dealing with when you dealt with Earle Clements.
CLARK: Well, I told him that I was very strongly forthe constitution. I thought that it was very necessary that we get a new constitution in the state to make the progress that we had to make; because Kentucky was in a very bad way. It's true the Chandler administration had made some reforms. They had--
CLARK: --reorganized the state government. They had made a verystrong step in reorganizing the tax system, and the state budget.
CLARK: And in the organization of the educational system.00:13:00
CLARK: But they had a long way to go. Thatwas only a start. What Chandler might have done had he remained in the governorship the full four years, nobody can answer, not even Chandler himself, because it would all be speculative.
CLARK: But he had started the ball rolling. And then,of course, it had been slowed down by the fact that Keen Johnson came on as Governor, and Keen was very, very stingy.
CLARK: He was a very frugal governor indeed; that I knewfirst hand. I knew him real well. And one time I asked him--we were walking across the University campus and I said, "Keen, what kind of a governor do you think you've made?" And he said, "I've made a poor governor." He said, "I never had enough money to--to do the things that needed to be done. And the political pressures were awful. I just had 00:14:00so many pressures until I couldn't--I could hardly function." Well, then--and he told me a story or two about--one of them was a story about the kind of pressures that he was subjected to. On another occasion I was walking across the campus with him and we met a woman who was the wife of an old professor over in the college of Engineering, old Colonel Dick Johnson's wife.
CLARK: And she claimed to be a cousin of Keen's.At least she addressed him as "Cousin Keen". And that's when Elida Donaldson(??) was running for the governorship. And she said, "Cousin Keen, I heard your man make a speech last night on the radio. And I liked it." And Keen flared up and said, "I didn't--I didn't like what he said." And he said, "He's going to spend every damn cent that I saved." (Syvertsen laughs.) And he--that he gave it all away last night. Well, Keen was a very stingy, very frugal governor. Well, there were so 00:15:00many things that needed doing in Kentucky; just so many things. But World War Two caught him. We were just getting out of the Depression. Kentucky, as you can well imagine, was slow about getting out of the Depression because it had been hard hit for many reasons by the Depression. Keen's administration was--that is the second administration, because he served out that term that was Chandler's administration, was a very calm one in which the state did well just to hold together. Then came the Willis administration. The Willis administration was also a calm one. Governor Willis was a very 00:16:00good man, in my opinion. Under other circumstances, he would have made a very good governor. He made a--I think a thoroughly honest governor, and had very good administrators around him and did all that a man could have done with Kentucky in the war situation and in the immediate post--war situation. But by 1947 we had to do some things. There were some things that just had to be done if Kentucky was ever to get out of the doldrums. One was to--we had to bring some industry into the state. Had to develop some industry, and get away from the old agrarian bind(??)
CLARK: --which was already well on the rocks. The Farm SecurityAdministration had published some pretty gruesome reports about the agricultural conditions in 00:17:00Kentucky.
SYVERTSEN: I saw that.
CLARK: The second thing we had to do was get theschool system out of the doldrums. Chandler had made a start in that direction, but the Willis and Johnson administrations, by force of circumstance, largely holding operations. Then came the question of the post--war economy. There were two amme--there were two sections in the constitution that were just stifling the state, just killing the state right at the--at the ------------(??). One of them was a $5,000 salary limitation. There were all kinds of dodges to get around it. But whatever dodge you used, whatever happened, the fundamental thing was that you couldn't get around it for the broad spectrum of state salaries. 00:18:00And the state could not employ top men. And if--if they couldn't employ top men, they couldn't keep men down underneath. And it was just--it was just a granite wall. There was--they weren't going anyplace. I remember the University undertook to use the Haggin fund to supplement the administrative staff's salaries. But the more they supplemented the administrative staff, the--the broader the gap got between the professors and the administration. And that caused a--that caused a great deal of unrest. Well, we were losing professors.
CLARK: And we were right on the verge of losing otherprofessors.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. And Morehead was collapsing.
CLARK: And everybody was collapsing. If we'd gone on fivemore years, I predict the University would have sunk to about a fifth rate institution, if it had been that good. 00:19:00
CLARK: Well, they--the University was faced--and when I say the University,I'm talking about the whole university system in the state, was simply faced with the matter of not being able to hire personnel, not being able to retain personnel, not being able to do all the other things. Now, remember that I'm talking about a period when the GIs had come back to the university. And they were very demanding. The university had never had more demanding students. And I doubt the students now are as demanding as those GI students were. I--I don't want to digress here, but the internal things that we faced with the GIs. But the constitution had to be changed in another area. And that was in the 00:20:00area of the limitation on state debt. The state had to make some investments. And its tax system was not sufficient to sustain it. They'd gotten rid of the sales tax, and the--the tax system that was in operation was not sufficient to carry the state and make the investments that were necessary to further break the old agrarian bind, and develop the resources of the state. Well, there was unrest throughout Kentucky. In every field there was unrest. You go back and look at the agricultural situation, you find that the farmers were very ------------(??). The coal mines in Eastern Kentucky, or in Western Kentucky, were--the miners were restless.
SYVERTSEN: The Republican Party was split.
CLARK: The Republican Party was split. Things were in a00:21:00bad way in Kentucky. Louisville had not recovered, really, from the flood of '37. This town here was teetering between being just a country courthouse town and trying to branch out. It--it had no real base of employment. The University was the biggest--the University and the Kentucky utilities were about the--and the tobacco industry, of course, about the biggest base that they had. There was a little industry here, but it didn't amount to a whole lot. Well, we--we felt that the way to get the state on--and I still feel this, I feel this passionately, that the way to get the state on the road to making some progress in all phases of its life was in the--by revising the old constitution. Now, I'll go 00:22:00to my grave not understanding why the people of this state oppose the revision of the constitution.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. Um--hmm.
CLARK: As they do.
SYVERTSEN: Yeah. ------------(??)
CLARK: I can only be direct and frank. They're ignorant.They're just as ignorant as they can be. They haven't read anything, they don't know what the constitution is all about, they don't understand what's happening to constitutional government now. The very thing that they claim to be against is the very thing they're supporting in the cons----the principle constitutional government suffers every day that this state government operates. Well that was true in the 40's. The--getting around these blocks, not only the two that I have mentioned blocked by the state, but the--the general provisions in the constitution. For 00:23:00instance, the commerce provisions were against the organization.
CLARK: Of industry of a substantial nature. All of thatstood as a block.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. It was kind of a farmer's constitution.
CLARK: It wa----it was, and is. It--it is indeed.Well, yes. But different kind of farmers. It's the farmers of the 1840's that controlled the convention of the 1890's despite what everybody says--
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. ------------(??)
CLARK: --about the populist group. The principles of the constitutionof 1849 were carried right over. The old fears, the old debates, the old issues, poured right over into the 1890's. And I don't say that lightly. Because I have read those debates within the last 15 months, both of them. The four volume 00:24:00one of the 1890's, and the one of 1849. Well, we started a campaign. Just a small internal campaign in the University. Well we reached out and got a lot of people in the state in that--for instance, we got Tom Graham in Louisville.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. Baker.
CLARK: Who was very active, Russell Baker--or, Lyle(??) Baker, and wegot Howard Henderson for a moment--
CLARK: --went along with us. Howard was present in all--a [inaudible]attended our meetings there.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. ------------(??) there.
CLARK: A--Wilke(??)--Fred Wilke(??) was--yeah, Fred Wilke(??) was very active in it.The--all the other--
SYVERTSEN: Paul Blazer?
CLARK: The other lad who went to Indianapolis, who was--Kentucky on00:25:00the march, I'll tell you his name in just a minute. The Louisville merchant, and he was active in it. One day we said, "if we get anywhere, we've got to get out of this professor business," and this group that was meeting, "we have to--" of course, Jack Reed(??) was very active, Hamilton(??) was very active. "We've got to get away from having a professor as chairman of the state convention." Or the state committee. So we got to casting around who in the state would be a good man to head up this. Well, Mr. Paul Blazer of the Ashland Oil and refining company had been very active in state affairs, and he was a very intelligent man too, and a very knowing man. I called him on the phone. I just barely knew 00:26:00him. And talked to him a long time standing up over there in Frazee Hall, on the only phone we had. And I talked to him, and he finally consented to accept the state chairmanship of the committee and I relinquished it. I became the vice chairman and he was the chairman. So we set to work on a new ta----he was a pretty skillful campaigner himself. And we--we worked like dogs. Well, in 1947, and I've forgotten the month that--it was sometime in the summer, I think, Spring or Summer. I went down--my wife and I went down to speak to the Greenville woman's club. And Earle Clements, as I told you a while ago, was there. I talked to him privately about it. I went over and made my speech. And he was there and he made his speech. Well when it 00:27:00was over, he said, "I approve of what you said. I think you're right in what you're saying, and I think we need a new constitution. But it would be political suicide for me to come out and advocate it. It's something that should be kept out of the political campaign. The governor's campaign.
SYVERTSEN: Did he tell this to the committee? Or justto you?
CLARK: He told that to me personally.
SYVERTSEN: You personally.
CLARK: Privately. Well, I must say that I agreed withhim that it was a political liability, because it was touch and go. And the other side could use an awful lot of things against it. But it--as I recall, in the campaign, he never campaigned against it. I don't recall that Earle Clements ever said anything against the constitution.
SYVERTSEN: No, I have no remembrance of that.
CLARK: And he gave us a private, personal encouragement. Iadmired him for that. And I voted for him on the-- ------------(??) on the basis of that. But he said frankly that 00:28:00he couldn't be for it out in the open, and ------------(??) well, you'll have to go back and check my dates on there. Because I've forgotten just exactly when these things happened. The--he got the $5,000 amendment through.
CLARK: Now, that reminds me of something else. Clements knewthat was touch and go.
CLARK: Because when the $5,000 issue came up in the earlymonths, or years, [Darwin] made a terrific lot of noise about what it was doing to the University of Kentucky. And one of the jobs that he said it was hurting was the Dean of the College of Agriculture and director of the Kentucky experiment station. Dean Cooper. 00:29:00
CLARK: There was an old man down here at Lancaster, Kentuckywho wrote Donovan and said, "If Cooper can't do the job for $5,000, I can. I can do it. I'm a farmer and I know a lot about farming, and I can do that job." Well, people all over the state said the very idea of paying a man more than $100 a month was an outrage. Well, if the people of this state were opposed to lifting that $5,000 salary, because--
SYVERTSEN: Established in 1890.
CLARK: --to the average Kentuckian, $5,000 a year sounded like being inShangri--La. (Syvertsen laughs) If he had $5,000--and he could have. If he had had $5,000 he could live like royalty. But they didn't see this matter of getting talented people and holding them 00:30:00in the jobs. They didn't see the requirements of the job. They didn't--they didn't understand any of that. They knew--they were just--the country store forums, the county courthouse rings, they--they gauged everything by what happened to them locally. They did and they still do. Whatever happens to them in the courthouse, whatever happens to them in their homes, or in their little old villages, or the country post offices, that's the standard--that's the only standard they have to go by. And they used that standard. Well now, when the vote was in on the $5,000 amendment, if the vote had been counted down to a gnat's bristle, it wouldn't have passed. It would have failed. But there were two counties that held the votes, and this, I think, can be established. I think it 00:31:00can be documented. One of them was Magoffin County.
CLARK: And the other was Johnson County. I'm sure I'mright about Johnson County, and I'm almost 100% certain I'm right about Magoffin County. They held the vote until they could see how many votes they needed to put the $5,000 amendment through. Now, Clements was determined to get it through. And he got it through. And he got it through because he had the votes before they ever went to the polls in those two counties. Well, there's many an old timer around that can tell you about that. That the votes up there in those two mountain counties, where the voters fundamentally were opposed to it--
CLARK: They would have been topmost. But the managers delivered00:32:00on that, and they were the [sweet Owens] of that day, and that $5,000 amendment got through. Well, if Clements never did anything else, the removal of that $5,000 got the dog out of the creek right there. Kentucky entered a new phase of its development when that amendment was added to the constitution. The other one was the matter of the state debt. Then, in my opinion, Clements did two tremendously important things. One was the matter of the conflict, and although I have the ------------(??) of the legislature, they're down in my shed here, when they began examining, and this thing spread 00:33:00over about 3 administrations, as I recall. The three administrations were in the Lawrence Weatherby period, in the Clements period, and the Lawrence Weatherby period, and maybe into the second Chandler administration. They had this--excuse me. The state undertook to operate its school system as painlessly as possible. It had the--oh, the per capita distribution to the counties. That was based on the principal and superintendent's report of the per capita--
SYVERTSEN: --daily attendance--
CLARK: --no, it wasn't on the ADA. Average daily attendance.00:34:00It was on the per capita in the counties.
CLARK: That is if the county had children between the agesof 5 and 16, had 10,000 children, but had only 1,000 children in school, the superintendent reported on the 10,000, but he got the funds to apply for the educating of those that maintained the ADA, the average daily attendance.
CLARK: Well the--that worked against one of the principles of thestate, the compulsory school law, worked just directly against that because the school people didn't encourage attendance, because the less attendance they had, the more money they had to spend on those that they did have 00:35:00in attendance. Well, they--
I possibly shouldn't be talking about this, because I ought to havemy dates before me to know just precisely what the dates were. But Clements began a reform.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. Tax equalization fund.
CLARK: That's right, the equalization. That's quite true. Andthe--that was a major important--
CLARK: That got rid of corruption.
CLARK: In the school system.
CLARK: It also improved the quality--set the state on the roadto developing better quality physically at least.
CLARK: The school system, and it presupposed better teachers, better everythingabout the school system. Now, as I say, that spread over about three administrations.
CLARK: Bringing--the Chandler's--second Chandler administration, I believe, brought that into full00:36:00realization.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. But I think Clements got the brunt ofthat controversy on the teacher's march down at Frankfort.
CLARK: That's right.
SYVERTSEN: And early 1950.
CLARK: That's right. That's right. I mean, that wasthe--that was the thing that started it off. A revolt against this--because the teachers--well, the school teaching in Kentucky was in a bad way.
CLARK: In that period. Then the second thing that Clementsdid, and I did check this date, and the--I've forgotten it. But that rural road bill, the--the farm to market--
CLARK: --road bill. Now that's tremendously important. I don't knowwhether Clements understood all the ramifications of that or not.
CLARK: Clements is a very smart man, and I'm sure he00:37:00did understand--
SYVERTSEN: I think he does in the sense that he hasstressed to me how important he road program was to him when he was county judge in Union County during the depression years, and how he was so frugal with each dime spent on roads to ensure that the culverts were proper, the drainage was proper and so forth. And he thinks about roads an awful lot.
CLARK: What I'm saying is that I think Clements understood theeconomics of the road--I'm sure he understood the politics of the road system.
CLARK: But I'm not sure that he understood fully the sociologicalramifications of breaking the old isolation of the state. Of lifting the state spiritually.
CLARK: Out of the doldrums.
SYVERTSEN: Out of the mud(??). (laughs)
CLARK: I'm not sure that he saw--just yesterday afternoon I stoodwith a mountaineer on a hill and looked down on a road that wound down that the CCC cut basically. And I asked 00:38:00him what that road had been before the CCC came in, and he said it had been a horseback trail. That they could get down that mountain, but it was rough going. Well, the Clements farm bill took up where the CCC left off and cut that road through there. And it was just like opening a window on civilization, really. Many of these farmer market roads had little to do with farm to market per se. But had an awful lot to do with lifting the quality of lives of the people in the state. And that's why I say, I don't know whether he fully understood what it--that he was going to accomplish in that. But I consider that tremendously important in the history of this state.
CLARK: It's something that might have been forced on him.But nevertheless he-- 00:39:00
SYVERTSEN: Well, he pushed for the two cent gasoline tax, which,you know, worked also on roads.
CLARK: Quite true. Quite true.
SYVERTSEN: And which was very unpopular at the time.
CLARK: Yes, it was.
SYVERTSEN: And which nobody in the 1950 legislature--
CLARK: And if he hadn't had--
CLARK: If he hadn't had simply a strangle hold on thelegislature, and hadn't had the powerful machine out in the state he couldn't have gotten it done.
SYVERTSEN: Well he had a lot of resistance in the 1950session.
SYVERTSEN: With Waterfield, Winetraub(??), Chickla(??) some of those.
CLARK: Of course he was in the newspapers every morning.
CLARK: He was spread across the front pages of the newspaper.And Clements, he almost got the image of an ogre, a political ogre during those years. Now--
SYVERTSEN: Well, Chandler even called him a dictator.
CLARK: Yeah. Well, everybody else around was calling him adictator.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. Um--hmm.
CLARK: On this road business, I went up one time tomake a speech in West Liberty. 00:40:00
CLARK: Or up in that neighborhood. And I was, atthat time, gathering material for a--well, my Kentucky river book had already come out, but I was gathering material for what later became Kentucky: Land of Contrast. And there were a bunch of stakes lined up around the hill going into West Liberty. Well I had driven that road one solid year teaching extension courses up at Sayersville, and I asked a man up there, I said, "I've been--I saw these stakes out here coming over this hill, what are these stakes all about?" And he said, "We don't know. We're going to wait until after the election to see what the stakes are about. But we think nothing. They come in here and 00:41:00stake out a road to get rid of this bad curve, but that's all a political dodge. The stakes will come down after the election." Well I thought that was a pretty funny story, and I did repeat it in the--I believe it's in the Kentucky: Land of Contrast. The other day, I was talking to a politician who knows where all the bodies are buried. (Syvertsen laughs.) And he said, "I'm running for office." And they were on the road situation, these rural roads," and he said, "I've to go out there and stake off a road, and say that I'm going to work for this road through here." And then if he didn't have the money, why the stakes would come down. And one of the roads they staked off was right through a Baptist graveyard. Right behind the Baptist Church, and he said, "Oh, Lord, we 00:42:00never could get our road through that." So they went up to the board of deacons meeting with a proposition, and the chairman of the board of deacons made a motion that they grant the right--of--way right through the graveyard. And that put this politicians water right on the fire indeed, right there, because he felt safe, when the road went through the graveyard that they'd never in the world consent to it. (Syvertsen laughs.) And he later asked that man, "Why in the world did you agree to that?" He said, "I knew you weren't going to build a road anyway. And I was just calling your bluff, put you on the defensive right there." Well Clements did a good bit of that. And he knew what that was all about, because as County Judge and as sheriff, he knew all about this rural--but he did get something done about it. And that's important. Now the--
SYVERTSEN: Do you think he actually promised roads that weren't delivered?00:43:00 Or--
CLARK: I ------------(??). I'm sure he did in the earlyphases--I'm sure he--just in the general--on general principle he promised roads.
CLARK: And I'm sure that every politician promised roads. Thatwas, and still is an issue in a lot of places. Not as much now as it used to be. The--every politician back in the 20's--well, after 1960, after the introduction of the good road's movement in Kentucky, every politician promised roads, which he never built. Ever politician promised roads which he never built. But he always managed to build pretty good roads to his hometown. Ben Johnson did it around Bardstown. Ben never was governor, but he was a political power. Laffoon built roads down around Western Kentucky. 00:44:00Happy Chandler built a road from Frankfort to Versailles, and other roads were built around the states. That was--in one other matter, you've got the Clements administration that I think is fundamental. During the period that Clements was governor, the deanship was vacated here at the University. The deanship of the college of agriculture, and the director of the experiment station. Well, as you know, that's a very powerful job. If you're familiar with the legislation of this 00:45:00state, they check on fertilizer, they check on seeds, they check on the milk production and distribution, they check on the livestock health, all phases of that. They regulate the sale of a lot of commodities, marketing, and there's all kinds of farm produce and commodities. They--
SYVERTSEN: The pure breed's movement.
CLARK: The what?
SYVERTSEN: The pure breed's movement?
CLARK: Yeah, sure, the breeding--Yes. And at that time, itwas tremendously important, because the tobacco industry almost went under in this state. Mosaic disease and their--the other root infections and infectious diseases that beset tobacco. Eventually wiped out the burley tobacco industry. Had it not been for the work of W. D. Valot(??) and 00:46:00other sides in the experiment station, burley tobacco would have--you wouldn't have had tobacco for World War II period. Fortunately they--through their plant breeding activities introduced a disease resistant type of plant, and made tremendous headway. Well, the experiment station, the extension service, and the college of agriculture reach into the lives of every citizen of this state, whether he knows it or not. There are just so many things that he has no knowledge of. And to get control of that could get control of a tremendously important political instrument. Now I--
[End tape #1, side #1]
[Begin tape #1, side #2]
CLARK: --how strong Clements was about that. But I think hecame on pretty strong about wanting to name the dean of the 00:47:00college of agriculture and director--
CLARK: They had, in the board of trustees meeting, they hadsome very hot sessions over this subject. And I remember that it--and you should read Donovan's little book, Keeping the University Free and Growing. He's very harsh with Clements in that book. You'll--you'll see what I'm talking about. Well, in private conversations with Donovan, he just thought that Clements was a dictator. He'd just call him Hitler or Mussolini. And they were--their personalities clashed. Their personalities were somewhat alike. They were both determined men. And Donovan was a rugged little Irishman and Clements was--he was rugged. And of course, Clements always could get to Donovan. This I 00:48:00want to say off the record. Donovan never felt real easy about the mode of his appointment at the University. And the better perspective I get on that is--I think Donovan was an innocent middle--man. I think he was a middle--man. But I don't think that the move that landed him in the presidency of the University of Kentucky was of Donovan's initiation. I think he was maneuvered out of the presidency of Eastern in order to make room for O'Donnell. I think that--those stories are true. Well, at the University, Donovan had a hard time living that down. As I told you earlier, the afternoon that that appointment was announced and the University committee suffered an enormous shock. And continued to 00:49:00suffer shocks.
SYVERTSEN: He was an educator too, which I think didn't helpmatters.
CLARK: Yeah. Nobody had thought about him. The committeehad made a search for a president. And there were a few little stories in the newspapers that they had located one or two very good candidates. One from up in New England somewhere.
CLARK: When I later served on a search committee myself, Iasked a colleague of mine all the years that we were at the University, I said, "you know, you and I had offices in the same building, and we saw each other every day, and I'm on this search committee, and I'm willing to tell you everything that's going on in that committee. I think everybody should know what's happening. I want you to tell me what happened in that committee. And he never would do it. He never would tell me what happened there. Well the--and I sort of figured 00:50:00he didn't know what happened, and he didn't want me to know that he didn't know what happened. Donovan came into the University afraid of his faculty.
CLARK: And he had a terrific fight to get on topof that. World War II helped him out tremendously. Because World War II took a lot of faculty members away, who would have been [?] at the bridge on a lot of things. The second thing, it helped him to get adjusted. And he did a good job. As a matter of fact, I marvel at the job that man did here as president of the University. When he began to feel a little comfortable in the job, then that Irish nature of his came out, and he became very belligerent. And one of the things that he was determined was that he wasn't going to let politics--he wasn't going to let the politicians at Frankfort run him. And I think he did a 00:51:00reasonably good job. Well that involved him right head on with [Foots] Clements. And they got into a situation--I believe this happened when the president went, if I recall correctly, when the president went before the budget committee, or went to talk to the governor, Donovan and Clements got into a personal(??) case, and then Clements grabbed him by the lapel and shook him. I know that Clements shook him on one occasion. Which, Clements had a--a touch and go temper. He's a high tempered man. And he--I can tell you one other indiscreet thing he did. That was very indiscreet. Well then Donovan threatened to bring all hell down on his head by bringing the southern association of colleges and secondary schools in--and he actually went to Richmond, Virginia and began building that campaign. As he will tell you, I can't lay my hands on that 00:52:00book right at the moment, but I believe he'll describe for you in that book, as I recall, the fight he had with Clements. Well, Donovan won that fight. Clements backed down and they appointed Frank dean of the college of agriculture. But Donovan saw in the appointment of that dean two things. One they put a terrific political instrument in the hands of the governor. And the other, he saw just a complete surrender of the university to the political forces in the state. Now, I sit up here and act like God and express a personal opinion on it. I think Donovan over--killed. I think he overplayed the issue. I felt then he did, I feel now that he did. 00:53:00I think he over--dramatized--Donovan had a way of doing that. And I think he--I think he overemphasized that to Clements. I think that it would only be fair to Clements to say that. Now, there's a--
SYVERTSEN: What did Donovan get in return?
CLARK: He got nothing in return. Well, he had gottensome things out of Clements that saved the University. One was the--that $5,000 salary limitation. Of course, like every other person in the state, the liberalization of the state--we had to build new buildings. The extension of the University credit was enormously important.
SYVERTSEN: Memorial Coliseum, was that involved?
CLARK: Yes, the--yes, the--you're reminding me of something. I usedto hear that called Clement's palace. Yes, Clements was very strong 00:54:00for that. Quite true. That is--that--
SYVERTSEN: And that may be a swage(??) to--
CLARK: To a certain extent, yes.
CLARK: To a certain extent, yes. I'm sure it did.Without knowing--I don't make any pretense of just knowing--I think I know--there are a lot of things that you know that you don't know. And, for c----you never know what these little political compromises--personal compromises, and personal approaches result in in this state, because when they can be so bitter toward each other, and function, you know that the--that there's something that doesn't show altogether on the surface. And--but, the memorial coliseum was a--a monument to Clements. I don't think he's--I don't know what kind of football player he was. I 00:55:00don't--
SYVERTSEN: He made all--southern in ------------(??).
CLARK: Did he? Well he's better than I thought.
SYVERTSEN: As a center.
CLARK: Yeah, I--I had forgotten what kind of--
SYVERTSEN: I was told that.
CLARK: Yes. Well he--he was a big man, and strong,I'm sure he was a strong--but, Clements went out of office, and Lawrence came in. Lawrence Weatherby came in. And Lawrence--I always liked Lawrence, personally very much. Lawrence came--he was handsome, he was personally attractive, and he--he ran a quiet governorship. Although there was one thing that came up in this business that must not be passed over. And that was the matter of the [Lymon] Johnson versus the University case. Now, I--I will talk about Johnson versus the University another time. But I got caught in that as 00:56:00a--one of the actors, without knowing I was going to get caught in that thing. Johnson, who is still very active in Louisville. I had a letter--
SYVERTSEN: Won an election.
CLARK: Yeah. Who I imagine is a moderate man atthe moment. The letter I had from him was less the crusader and more the thoughtful adult. He started working on a doctorate degree in the department of history. He came up here with the NCAAP group, lawyers and newspapermen, and I think a Louisville defender or newspaperman.
SYVERTSEN: Frank Stone(??)
CLARK: Yeah. And they went out to register. Well00:57:00they knew they couldn't register. That's the reason they had those photographers with them. And they went right down and filed suit in the federal court. That's what--that's all they wanted. I always felt they would have been disappointed if the University had registered him. But the University couldn't register him because of that inferno(??) law on the books. And the--he sued in the court down here, the federal court, and we went to that thing. I just read about it in the paper. I didn't know anything--that was not the only--people had been coming out here--one time a hairdresser came out, tried to enter the university, innocently, with no--nothing ------------(??). But he didn't have the credit. Boy(??) the college of engineering on one occasion. And then of course there was that case of that law student that they set up that special law school 00:58:00for down in Frankfort.
SYVERTSEN: Yes, John(??).
CLARK: Yeah, that's right.
CLARK: And that almost became the central factor in the Johnsoncase.
CLARK: Well, I was on the jury down in--was the Fayettecircuit court. And I was foreman of the jury on this occasion, and we had one of those infernal automobile accident cases. And I was just handing up to the clerk of the court the decision of the jury and a fellow got in between me and the clerk, and it was a United States marshal, and he had a subpoena there summoning me to appear in court--appear for depositions in the Johnson case. Well I spent two solid days with Thurgood marshalling me around about--
CLARK: And there was just one question only. Just onequestion to be answered in the Johnson case. Could be answered in just one word. And that was, "Were the opportunities for 00:59:00graduate work in the Kentucky State College at Frankfort equal to the graduate work offered at the University of Kentucky?" Well, the obvious answer was no. That's all there was to the Johnson case. It was a disparity(??) of discriminatory, but we went through all that trial and that's the only question that got answered actually in the Johnson case.
SYVERTSEN: ------------(??) Ford.
CLARK: Yeah, that's right. Only fundamental question that got answered.And I remember when Judge Ford rendered that decision. But I don't want to talk about the Johnson case. Well, when that decision was handed down, I know I have a lawyer friend in town and he said--and I belong to that little club called the book thieves, and that question came up many times, President McVey and Donovan were members of this little club, and they discussed it 01:00:00many times, and this lawyer was a member and he said, "Well, I'll say this. If they ever admit negroes to the University of Kentucky, I'm going to come out there with a baseball bat and graduate them at the front gate as they come in." And I came out from court that day, tired and worn, phone rang, and it was this lawyer. And he always called me Tommy. And he said, "Hey Tommy," said, "I've just read about the Johnson decision." And he said, "I think that was the best decision Judge Ford could have rendered." And I said, "wait a minute, I'm tired, and been in court all day, and you know what that means. Let me go get a chair and sit down. I just can't stand to hear you talk like that. I just can't believe it." But generally, I think the people in the state felt that it was the best thing to do. I never heard any serious reaction against Johnson. 01:01:00I don't recall ever hearing anything much. But Donovan was exceedingly sensitive about that. He was just scared to death. He undertook-- ------------(??) he sent out instructions to heads of departments to have Negro students seated in a separate place in the classroom. Well he never had read the Oklahoma decision. He never had read what the--and I saw that old man. I was publishing a book out at the University of Oklahoma. And I saw that old man. The press director took me in and showed me that old man sitting in that little alcove they had. Well, that court, you know, threw that out in the Sipio(??) case in Oklahoma. So I refused to do it. I just said I'm not going through this tomfoolery again, they can fire me if they want to, but it'll be a rough firing on a question like that. And nobody else did. And the students accepted 01:02:00that. And they wouldn't sit in isolated places in the cafeteria and other things. That--all that went by the board. Then the board of trustees very wisely decided not to appeal that case. But--and Clements was exceedingly anxious that that case not be appealed, because he was running for re--election, running for the United States Senate. He was chairman of the board of trustees, ------------(??) governor.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. ------------(??)
CLARK: And when the board decided not to appeal that case,old judge Orair(??) who was then in the advanced 80's if not 90 years old, maybe--it was along toward the end of Judge Orair's(??) life. He was on the board of trustees. He opposed the board. He wanted to appeal the case. And he 01:03:00and Clements got in such a hot commotion I the board of trustees that Clements invited the old man out in the hall, and they'd settle it out there. Well, they calmed things down in the board of trustees, and they didn't get in--now, I wasn't present. I didn't see that. The--I was simply told by Donovan that's what happened.
[Break in tape.]
CLARK: --be my opinion.
SYVERTSEN: But you believe that Clements put significant pressure on Doctor--
CLARK: Oh, I do indeed. Yeah. I believe heput significant pressure not on Donovan alone, but I think he(??) a much broader opinion. Now, what Earle Clements from Union County might have said to himself in his innermost thoughts on the race issue 01:04:00I have no knowledge. But I am under the impression that he saw the handwriting on the wall, and he wasn't going to be cut short as a United States senator. And he wasn't going to let anybody whip him there.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. Do you know--
CLARK: And I don't blame him. I think he wasright. He was astute in that.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. Do you know of any other university administratorswho felt pressure from Clements or from the Clements ------------(??)?
CLARK: Oh, well, that question you're asking is Clements never putany direct pressure on any individual.
CLARK: I'm sure that Frank Peterson felt pressure. And I'msure that Leo Chamberlain, vice president of the University, felt the pressure. But I think that Clements might have put direct pressure on Frank. He might have stayed after Frank, because I know on 01:05:00that episode about the tires, they would look over here at this house and say--I'm now referring to my house and say, "I wonder if old Pete is looking out the window at us." And they'd make remarks about that. And I'm sure that--I'm sure that Clements never took his eye off of Frank Peterson. And I think Frank Peterson will tell you that too.
SYVERTSEN: Have you heard of any reports of pressure by theClements, or by the Clements people, on the law school directly? Or did you hear stories through the grapevine of the University?
CLARK: I believe--
SYVERTSEN: Regarding the integration of the law school.
CLARK: No, I don't know anything about that. No, Idon't know anything about that. Now, Clements might have had a hand in that. Now that's one thing--you mean getting those professors through the bell? No, my opinion on that would be, and 01:06:00this has to be an opinion, I don't believe I ever talked to one of those lawyers. And they're all dead now. I don't think any of them are living. Paul Obers(??) might know--
SYVERTSEN: Obers(??), yeah he's on my list.
CLARK: --but he's the only one--Bill Matthews might know too.
CLARK: My notion is that Clements went along with that withoutknowing fully what was involved. Neither Donovan--well, I'd say Donovan didn't see that the accreditation of the law school was being involved in all of that.
CLARK: And I'm sure Earle Clements didn't--didn't know that that wasgoing to happen.
CLARK: That's an opinion.
CLARK: Purely opinion.
SYVERTSEN: Well, directly, how did your own department, history department reactto the Johnson(??) for integration?
CLARK: Well, it reacted in this way. I had some01:07:00conservative colleagues, and they--they were--we had one member of the staff, God bless him, he was an old man and a fine scholar, but he referred to them as niggers until the time of his death. He's no longer with us. He--he would not have favored desegregation. There were other members of the department that might not have favored it. I don't know. I think I know one or two that wouldn't have favored it. They were conservative about everything, rigidly conservative. But they weren't people that made much decision in the department. Generally speaking, the department--well, without any reservations, or evasions(??), --the department approved of the Johnson decision. And there 01:08:00was no--if there was ever anybody in the department that discriminated in any way, or had any inclination to discriminate, I certainly never knew about it, and I believe I would have known. I'm positive I would have known--I'm positive I would have known. There was none. One member of the department was also subpoenaed into the case, and that was Ben Warhol(??). I don't know exactly how Ben got--Ben got caught in everything. He was just the kind of fellow that--great big bl----or, gruff fellow, that when he smoked--smoked that pipe they thought it was God speaking. Well when Thurgood Marshall asked him if he would discriminate against negroes, he said, "In teaching, I never look at the color of the skin, I'm interested in 01:09:00the subject and not in racial bias." Which was a very fine statement on his part. And I think that was the attitude of the department. I think that pretty well summed up how it--I personally can say that I favored it.
CLARK: I was just sick and tired of all these damnsoutherns messing around with the race issue. And although I come from a very prejudiced background, I come from as deep south almost as you can go, was born and raised in the hotbed of confederates in a country where lynching was practiced, and all the things that's bad about the race situation could generally be said about the state that I lived in. It was a--Vardeman(??)--I remember old Vardeman(??). 01:10:00Well, I favored the Johnsons. And there was not one--I can go to my maker with a clear conscience. There was not one bit of prejudice on my part. As a matter of fact, I worked hard not being prejudiced. [interruption--knock on door.] Yes? OTHER VOICE: Dr. Clark?
CLARK: I didn't mean to get into all the [Limon] Johnsoncase. But [Limon] was very active in his crusade. I felt that he was having the time of his life being the center of attraction. Although he almost lost it to that young negro in the law school. That young boy, I don't recall--
CLARK: Never said anything. Hatch(??). But, that case, and01:11:00the trial and the court, all morning long, that--Hatch(??) never mentioned the Johnson case. Just before the court adjourned that day, Judge Ford turned to Donovan in a moment of irritation and said, "Doctor, I want to ask you, who are all these professors of yours?" You see, what was back of that was the fact that Judge Ford was a lawyer, and the lawyer, you know, belongs to a great fraternity. They'll fight among themselves, but when you begin to injure one of them or their profession, they band together like wolves, and they'll eat you up. Well, the lawyers began to see that this disaccredition(??), which would discredit their profession, that is a--here were a great bunch of lawyers, graduate of a non--accredited law school. 01:12:00And that was pretty--that was pretty fundamental.
CLARK: And so when Judge Ford asked Donovan that question, thatridiculed Donovan. And it just caused his Irish temper to flare up like nobody's business. Well I was sitting there just--I was behaving myself, and Donovan said--and I knew both of these men, he said, "Put Tom Clark on the stand." I don't know what caused him to do that. (Syvertsen laughs.) So when we came back after lunch they called me to the stand, and the old assistant attorney general, what was his name? Holifield--
CLARK: --was bumbling and fumbling. And he was no matchfor Thurgood Marshall.
CLARK: So, Marshall asked me a question, did I think--he asked01:13:00me the question, did I think the opportunities for graduate work at Kentucky State College would be equal to the opportunities in the University of Kentucky. I never did get to answer that question. He and Judge Holifield(??) got to wrangling over a--a matter that, as I recall, was irrelevant to the question, but anyway the question had provoked it. And Thurgood Marshall turned around and said to Judge Ford, "I move that you render a bench decision in this case." And old Judge Ford by that time was fairly agitated. He leaned over the bench and said, "I believe I will." And in less than five minutes, or, in less than three minutes, actually, he rendered that bench decision. I don't think you'll find a written decision in the Johnson case. I don't--there must be 01:14:00a record of the decision in the court minutes, of course. But there's no published decision. I've never seen one, at least.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. I've asked the law school to check.I haven't heard from them yet on it.
CLARK: I don't believe--I think you have to go down tothe federal courthouse and read the minutes of the tapes, and I should do that really. Well, in that moment, Johnson ceased to be the NCAAP's man, and he became our man. He was our fellow. He--I took him out to the department of history office after the--that afternoon, and sat down, and I said, "Now, Mr. Johnson, we've gone through this trial, I've been a party to it as you've seen from two days of deposition taking and in court today. I'm glad it's over. And I'm glad you won. 01:15:00Now that's over. And we are not going to make any difference in this department, we don't care what the color of your skin is, we're not going to make any racial difference. We're not going to display any bias knowingly in dealing with you, but we are going to look at you just like we do everybody else. We're going to treat you with an even, fair hand. You're going to be, from now on, our man seriously seeking a Ph.D degree in history and we hold high standards in this department, and that's the way it's going to be. And it's not going to be very dramatic for you. Well we had very amicable--a very amicable conversation. And I never did teach him. He came in the summers, and by that time I 01:16:00had quit teaching summer school here at the University. I don't recall that I ever taught summer school again. I'd just worn myself out in that. And the boys had him, liked him, and nobody leaned over backwards, that I ever heard, and nobody, I think, had any inclination to lean over backwards. I know I've seen that he's--that in the paper that we've been a bit patronizing. And I wrote him a long letter when that story app eared in the paper, when was it? Last Spring, wasn't it? That The Courier Journal carried ------------(??). I sat down and wrote him a st--letter, and said, "I must remind you of some things." And one of the things I reminded him of is that you told me you were seriously committed to the study of history. And I did so and hope that you would carry 01:17:00out the second part of your commitment and that you would prove to every doubting Thomas in the land that a negro could stand the pressure and do the work leading to the doctorate, and you let your race down. Well I expected to get a fiery letter back from him, but I was prepared for that. But instead I got a very nice letter appreciating the fact that I had written, and saying--thanking me for the courtesies and the kindness we had extended him. And I never hear that he ever criticized us anywhere. He had no reason--he had every reason for--he--he drifted along and came to see me two or three times, and always bringing me an excuse why he couldn't get on with his graduate work. And the last time that I communicated with him, as a matter of fact, the last time I ever saw him, but 01:18:00he had a relative, I think it was an uncle, who died down in Columbia, Tennessee and he became the administrator of that estate, and that kept him from entering school again. And that--we never saw him again. But our feeling toward Lymon Johnson(??) was just the feelings toward any other graduate student. And unknown quantity. And as you must know, being a graduate student, that the department is neither for nor against a man. And it better not be either. It better take the men as they come and the--there's just one moment it can be sure about its man. There's two moments it can be sure. Number one is when he's passed that final examination--
CLARK: --turned in his dissertation, and defended it successfully. The other01:19:00moment is when he gets a job and carries out the second part of his commitment to become a historian in the truest sense. Now that, in my opinion, those are the moments when you can count on a graduate student. And I think I can say that with experience. Every graduate school, race aside, every graduate's department has this kind of an experience. When you line up a group of students in the seminar, I used to look at them and wonder, which student in this seminar is going to be a valid student. And which one looks valid, but will turn out to be just pure failure. Which ones are going to deliver the goods. And you're in a guessing game and usually 01:20:00you guess wrong. Because sometimes the shaggiest, most flea--bitten one among them will turn out to be the best. I--I very early learned--I suffered a little discrimination from my own professors on that ground. And I never forgot that lesson either. I never forgot it. That professors can be damn wrong. Bad wrong. Just because he's a professor sitting up there acting like God, is no sign that he's acting aright. And I remembered that 24 hours a day. But the Johnson case, legally was a happy case, because it got the University and the people of the state prepared for desegregation long before Brown vs. School board. That came as a soft--much softer blow than it would have been otherwise. 01:21:00If that Brown vs. School board had taken place as sharp in Kentucky as it did in Mississippi, you might have had very serious reaction in Kentucky. But by that time, the steam was gone. And Brown versus school board with Lawrence Weatherby's very sensible reaction, and later on Chandler's acting quickly and positive(??) in the Stugis and Clay's case, were very constructive moves on the part of those two men. If Lawrence Weatherby(??) doesn't have any other crown, any other star on his crown, that--that one is a big one. He--when the newspaper boys ask him what they're going to do on the night of April 17th--no, May 17, 1954, he said, "We're going to 01:22:00do whatever it takes to obey the law." And that was a very courageous statesmen--like ------------(??). I will talk later on about the day(??) law in the University and the discussion about that. In these discussions, I have only one other Clements thing to--to talk about. I positively do not know this personally. I'm repeating here a story that was told to me by Herschel Murray(??) who was a mountain politician, he was a doctor, ran the hospital at West Liberty, Kentucky, and on our numerous trips serving on special committee to find a new president for the University after Frank Dickey retired, 01:23:00well he didn't retire, he designed. (cough) Excuse me. Herschel told me this story, that there was a [right material] kitty that had been collected for campaigning in the state, and that Henry Carter, the state treasurer was the keeper of the kitty. And he had it in his house up at--where'd he come from? Prestonsburg? Or Paintsville? One of those towns in that area, I'm not sure where Henry came from, but up in that region somewhere. And he was sleeping on it. It was under his bed. He was sleeping on it. Well they didn't think that was wise, and he and Earle Clements took the kitty to Washington and rented a box in the Riggs(??) National Bank, and they had two keys. They put the kitty in the box, 01:24:00and Earle reached out and took both keys and he said, "I'll take care of these." Now that's--(laughs) I'm passing on gossip. (Syvertsen laughs.) I don't know whether Henry Carter is still alive or not.
SYVERTSEN: I'm not sure, I'll have to check on it.
CLARK: I know that you know this without my--.
[Pause in tape.]
CLARK: --that Allen [Trout] wrote pretty full political reports on the Clementsperiod, and I think they're trustworthy reports. At least he had the respect of everybody that knew him.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. Did you ever speak with Scoop Sherwood(??)?
CLARK: Well, that's a name--I'm not sure--
SYVERTSEN: He was also a newspaperman.
SYVERTSEN: And also was a very close confidant of Clements.01:25:00
CLARK: I suspect I did, but I frankly don't recall.
SYVERTSEN: He died in 1950.
SYVERTSEN: His wife, I believe, is still living.
CLARK: I knew--I know that name. In my opinion, oneof the most single--most important single acts in the advance toward desegregation in the state was the board of trustees of the University of Kentucky's refusal to appeal the Johnson case. They let it lie. And you never saw the University of Kentucky get all the publicity that the University of Georgia got, for instance, or the University of Missouri, or the University of Oklahoma. They escaped that. And they--of course they lost their moment in history by not having 01:26:00a record made, but heavens, they--they escaped the ominousness(??) of it also. So what the--the positive good in history is much more important than just being a record in history. And they did escape a formal record in the manner, except for the minutes of the court. You should turn back to the minutes of the board of trustees.
SYVERTSEN: Um--hmm. I intend to.
CLARK: I do want to say--I would like to talk aboutthese things a little further.
CLARK: And I won't do it this morning.
SYVERTSEN: Okay. Thank you very much, Dr. Clark.
[End of interview]