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00:00:01 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is Professor Charles P. Roland, the History Department of the University of Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Professor Roland introduces his interview subject, Barry Bingham, Sr., of Louisville, Kentucky. Roland is interviewing Bingham to gather information for a biography of former Kentucky governor and baseball commissioner Albert B. "Happy" Chandler.

Keywords: Biographies; Interviews; Introductions; Radio hosts

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Louisville (Ky.)

00:00:31 - Initial support of "Happy" Chandler

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Bingham, would you tell me, uh, generally, what your, uh, association and, uh, relationship and knowledge of Governor Chandler has been?

Segment Synopsis: Bingham talks about becoming interested in Chandler while working at his family's radio and newspaper company in Louisville, Kentucky. He says that he supported Chandler because of the freshness, efficiency, and focus of his first administration.

Keywords: Bipartisan rings; Efficiency; Families; Fathers; Kentucky Democrats; Louisville newspapers; Louisville radio stations; Political support; Radio hosts; Radio stations; Reorganization Act; Young politicians

Subjects: Administrative agencies--Reorganization; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky--Politics and government; Kentucky. General Assembly. Senate; Kentucky. Governor (1935-1939 : Chandler); Politicians--Kentucky

00:04:15 - Retraction of support for Chandler's first administration, 1935-1939

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Partial Transcript: Do you, uh, have any, uh, idea or opinion as to what, uh, what this breaking point was, or what caused the change of pace on his part?

Segment Synopsis: Bingham says Chandler was too focused on advancing his personal political career in national politics to keep the momentum of the first half of his administration. Bingham believes Chandler's ambition caused his first administration to weaken during its second half as he became more concerned with becoming a U.S. Senator. Bingham discusses Chandler being defeated by Barkley during his campaign for U.S. Senate and its effects on his gubernatorial administration. Bingham discusses how Barkley and Chandler may have used somewhat nefarious means to get votes, including Barkley getting votes from the WPA and Chandler being poisoned by a water pitcher near the end of the race.

Keywords: Ambition in politics; Defeat; Democrats; Gubernatorial administrations; Political ambitions; Political oppositions; Political strategies; Political support; Republicans; Senatorial campaigns; Votes

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Elections; Elections -- Corrupt practices; Governors--Kentucky; Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945; State governments--Officials and employees; United States. Congress. Senate.; United States. Work Projects Administration.

00:10:50 - Chandler in the U.S. Senate, 1939-1945

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Partial Transcript: Well, in the long run, uh, his, his optimism, I suppose, uh, bore some truth because he did get to the United States Senate.

Segment Synopsis: Bingham comments on various actions of Chandler during his tenure as a U.S. Senator from 1939-1945. He particularly comments on Chandler's isolationist attitudes and his support of the Asia First strategy, which he supported possibly because it was a popular view in Kentucky. He discusses the political divide between Americans before Germany declared war on the U.S. and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, between those who supported the Allied forces and those who supported isolationism.

Keywords: American war strategies; Asia First; Centrism; Conservatism; Democratic senators; Democrats; Isolationist; Kentucky senators; Liberalism; National senators; Political opposition; Senators; Swimming pool campaign; World War 2; World War II

Subjects: Allied Forces; Asia--Foreign economic relations--Congresses.; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Ideology; Isolationism--United States.; Political corruption; United States. Congress. Senate.; World War, 1939-1945

00:18:02 - Chandler as baseball commissioner, 1945-1951

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Partial Transcript: Well, then, uh, to move on a little farther, uh, with, with his career. In 1945, he, uh, he became interested in something else and left the United States Senate.

Segment Synopsis: Bingham discusses Chandler's career as the commissioner of Major League Baseball, including his role in the desegregation of the league.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Achievements; Careers in sports; Desegregation of baseball; Integration; Kentuckians; MLB; New careers; Private careers; Professional baseball; Public careers

Subjects: Baseball commissioners; Career changes; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Major League Baseball (Organization); Politicians--Kentucky; Robinson, Jackie, 1919-1972

00:24:20 - Chandler's return to Kentucky politics

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Partial Transcript: So, he returned to Kentucky--

Segment Synopsis: Bingham discusses how Chandler's outgoing personality and personal appeal assisted his return to Kentucky politics after his tenure as baseball commissioner. He talks about Chandler's nickname, "Happy", and how it might have further assisted his popularity and political career. He cites a strong "cult of personality" for Chandler's continued success and how unusual it was in Kentucky politics to be re-elected to the governorship.

Keywords: Careers; Charisma; Cult of personality; Democratic politicians; Kentucky politicians; Nicknames; Outgoing personalities; Political careers; Political talents; Popularity; Return to politics

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Elections; Kentucky--Politics and government.; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Press and politics

00:27:32 - Chandler and taxes during his second administration, 1955-1959

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Partial Transcript: Now one issue, uh, uh, to, to get away from the cult of personality for just a moment. One constant issue of his was opposition to a sales tax.

Segment Synopsis: Bingham talks about how Kentucky fell behind neighboring states in terms of public services, including highway construction, due to Chandler's opposition to a sales tax. He also discusses the severance tax's reputation and reception in Kentucky compared to other southern American states. The severance tax was highly opposed by the coal industry, but boosted the coal industry when it was put into effect. He talks about how he disagrees with Chandler's statement that he did not raise taxes while in office, explaining his position with some examples.

Keywords: Coal industries; Kentucky coal; Kentucky public services; Kentucky revenue; Kentucky taxes; Opposition to taxes; Severance taxes; State services; Tax benefits

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Coal miners; Express highways; Roads--Kentucky; Sales tax--Law and legislation--Kentucky; Taxation--Law and legislation--Kentucky

00:36:42 - Chandler's impact on Kentucky highways and schools

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Partial Transcript: In this second administration, Chandler, Chandler takes pride in what he did for Kentucky highways and Kentucky schools.

Segment Synopsis: Bingham disagrees with Chandler's conviction that he assisted Kentucky highways and schools a great deal during his second administration. He cites Chandler's "pay as you go" policy as a reason why Kentucky highways were not build during his administration, which caused Kentucky to fall behind many other southern states who borrowed money. He discusses the negative impact he believes this policy had on the industrialization of Kentucky. Bingham also believes Chandler did not have a positive impact on Kentucky schools, besides enforcing desegregation, because of the lack of tax revenue due to his opposition of the sales tax.

Keywords: Impacts; Kentucky highways; Kentucky revenue; Kentucky roads; Kentucky taxes; Political impacts; Public schools; State revenue

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Education--Kentucky; Express highways; Governors--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Roads--Kentucky; Sales tax; Sales tax--Law and legislation--Kentucky

00:39:56 - The Chandler Medical Center

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Partial Transcript: Now, he did do one thing in education that he is immensely proud of, and that was the Medical Center.

Segment Synopsis: Bingham talks about why he believes the Chandler Medical School should have been placed in Louisville and not in Lexington, for a variety of reasons. He also discusses why Chandler should not have named the center after himself, in order to avoid the center being seen as a vanity project. Bingham talks about how the medical school serves central Kentucky as well as eastern Kentucky, which is why it needed to be built, as eastern Kentucky did not have access to regular medical care.

Keywords: Chandler Medical Center; Combs administration; Dominate; Funding; Interference; Kentucky colleges; Kentucky medical centers; Kentucky medical schools; Kentucky universities; Medical centers; Motives; Namesakes; Political appointments; Political influences; Politics; Relationships; Roles; Sports; State funds; State medical schools; University of Kentucky Board of Trustees; University presidents; Vanity

Subjects: Academic medical centers--Kentucky--Lexington; Academic medical centers--Kentucky--Lexington--Planning; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Elections--Corrupt practices; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Leadership--Political aspects; Loyalty.; Medical care--Appalachian Region; Political ethics; Political leadership; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Politics, Practical; State governments; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Medical Center--History; University of Louisville

00:45:51 - Chandler's attitude about organized labor

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Partial Transcript: Another, another aspect of his career that, uh, that has interested me is his relationship with labor, with organized labor in the state.

Segment Synopsis: Bingham discusses Chandler's sympathy toward organized labor and its leaders while simultaneously not often helping them politically.

Keywords: Attitudes; Friends; Leaders; Organized labor; Philosophy; Relationships; Right to work laws; Supporters; Sympathy

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Labor unions--Kentucky; Labor unions--Organizing; Leadership--Political aspects; Loyalty.; Political leadership; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Politics, Practical; State governments

00:48:50 - Accusations of cronyism in Chandler's second administration

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Partial Transcript: Do you feel, uh, Mr. Bingham, that Chandler's second administration was, uh, uh--well, let me rephrase this.

Segment Synopsis: Bingham discusses accusations of favoritism and corruption during Chandler's second gubernatorial administration.

Keywords: Attitudes; Changes; Charges; Contracts; Corruption; Cronyism; Favoritism; Kickbacks; Newspapers; Power

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Leadership--Political aspects; Loyalty.; Political corruption--Kentucky; Political ethics; Political leadership; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Politics, Practical; State governments

00:50:35 - Chandler's conflicting support of both desegregation and the Dixiecrat Party

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Partial Transcript: He had one other, he had one other, uh, occasion, uh, to, to play a role in, uh, in one of the great issues of, of the last quarter century: the civil rights issue.

Segment Synopsis: Bingham discusses Chandler's role in the desegregation of public schools in Kentucky, and his simultaneous personal support of the Dixiecrat Party, mainly through his wife Mildred Chandler. He talks about how Chandler's status as a Southerner may have helped him make the idea of desegregation palatable in Kentucky.

Keywords: African American voters; Ancestry; Attitudes; Black voters; Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka; Civil rights; Confederate; Desegregation; Dixiecrat Party; Dixiecrats; Endorsement; Enforcement; George Wallace; Laws; Major League Baseball (MLB); Mildred Chandler; Mrs. Chandler; Political courage; Popularity; Reactions; Relationships; Roles; Southern; State police; Strom Thurmond; Support; Unofficial

Subjects: African Americans--Civil rights; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Integration; Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Leadership--Political aspects; Loyalty.; Political leadership; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Politics, Practical; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; School integration--Kentucky; Segregation in education--Kentucky; State governments

00:59:11 - Evaluation of Chandler's impact on Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Bingham, I don't, uh--we, we've about come down to the end of, uh, of Governor Chandler's, uh, last, uh, major public, uh, office.

Segment Synopsis: Bingham evaluates whether Chandler helped or harmed the state of Kentucky.

Keywords: Assets; Attitudes; Beneficial; Harmful; National figures; Political careers; Public figures; Reputations; Roles; Sentiment; Value

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Leadership--Political aspects; Loyalty.; Political leadership; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Politics, Practical; State governments

01:03:59 - Chandler's unsuccessful 1963 campaign

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Partial Transcript: I think the later campaigns he made were really quite unfortunate because he was running down as a political figure...

Segment Synopsis: Bingham discusses Chandler's deteriorating political career, resulting in his loss in the 1963 gubernatorial election. He talks about how technology changed Chandler's effectiveness as a public speaker.

Keywords: 1963; Audience; Beneficial; Communication; Face-to-face; In person; Live audience; Media; Political base; Public speakers; Public speaking; Radio; Reputations; Technology; Television

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Leadership--Political aspects; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Political leadership; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Politics, Practical; State governments

01:08:09 - Chandler's health

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Partial Transcript: I keep on saying "was" and I don't mean to say this.

Segment Synopsis: Bingham discusses Chandler's health as of the time of the interview, and talks about his abstaining from drinking and smoking.

Keywords: Active; Aging; Alcohol; Attitudes; Drinking; Habits; Health; Mellowed; Smoking; Tobacco

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Political leadership; Politicians--Kentucky

01:10:57 - Parallels between Chandler and Huey Long

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Bingham are there any other things?

Segment Synopsis: Bingham and the interviewer discuss the similarities and differences between Chandler and Louisiana politician Huey Long.

Keywords: "The Kingfish"; African Americans; Huey Long; Kentucky politics; Louisiana; Medical schools; Parallels; Personalities; Personality; Sales tax; Severance tax

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Leadership--Political aspects; Long, Huey Pierce, 1893-1935; Political leadership; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Politics, Practical; State governments