Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Emmett W. Bashful, June 8, 1990

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00

PRESTAGE: Does this thing go by seconds or what?

BASHFUL: Um, I really don't know it just--

PRESTAGE: You, you want to cut it off right there for a class--

[Pause in recording.]

BARKER: We won't, we won't need nearly that long. We right now. All right, all right.

[Pause in recording.]

BARKER: Testing, testing, one, two.

BASHFUL: Testing, one, two. Testing, one, two.

BARKER: This is, this is what I did, just, just went through and picked up.

[Pause in recording.]

BARKER: This is an interview for the American Political Science Oral History Project with Dr. Emmett W. Bashful, Chancellor Emeritus and 00:01:00Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Southern University in New Orleans. This interview is being conducted on the Southern University, New Orleans Campus on June 8th, 1990 by Professors Jewel Prestage of Prairie View University and Twiley W. Barker of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The interviewers and the interviewee have known each other professionally for a very long number of years. And have at times, been fellow students, colleagues in the political science department at Southern University in Baton Rouge. Uh, Emmett, what is your full name?

BASHFUL: Emmett Wilford Bashful.

BARKER: Uh, where and when were you born?

BASHFUL: I was born March the 12th, 1917 in, uh, Pointe Coupee Parish in 00:02:00a little town of Oscar. Oscar, Louisiana.

BARKER: Okay. Who were your parents?

BASHFUL: My parents. My father is Charles H. Bashful and my mother Mary W. Bashful.

BARKER: What was her maiden name, the W?

BASHFUL: Walker.

BARKER: Walker.

BASHFUL: Mary Walker.

BARKER: Um, what did they do for a living? What was their occupational pursuit?

BASHFUL: Uh, bot-, both of them were just laborers. My father worked in, in the, with Standard Oil for a while, but, uh, basically a laborer and my mother as well. Uh, the one, in terms of education, she, uh, had finished the elementary school. He had some high school work.

00:03:00

PRESTAGE: Dr. Bashful, you mentioned that your father worked for Standard Oil in Baton Rouge. Would you say something to us about the significance of Standard Oil in the economy of Baton Rouge at that time?

BASHFUL: Well, the Standard Oil was the primary employment, uh, solely for people who made any money in Baton Rouge. As a matter of fact, I'd say people who, uh, in the upper or middle income bracket, uh, worked at Standard Oil, were--comprised at least 60 percent of the people in that bracket.

PRESTAGE: And as I recall, Standard Oil's refinery in Baton Rouge was at the time the largest such facility in the United States, if not the world?

BASHFUL: That is correct.

BARKER: Emmett, um, Alex Haley made much of our roots several years 00:04:00ago, and I imagine that there's some interesting stories about your grandparents that you might want to share with us.

BASHFUL: Not so much about my grandparents and yet I do about my grandfather on my mother's side. Uh, he was a, a, uh, Baptist minister among other things. And, uh, when you were at his house you had to behave according to Baptist tenants. He made sure of that. Whether you were Catholic, Methodist or whatever, you behaved according to his beliefs. He was that kind of person. I did not know my grandparents on my father's side. Uh, they both died, uh, before I was born or before I was old enough to know them.

BARKER: Um-hm. Did your parents, uh, talk to you much about the, uh, 00:05:00educational experience that they had when they were coming up, it was, uh, undoubtedly a long time ago in the, uh, late 19th, early 20th century. Did they talk to you much--

BASHFUL: Yes.

BARKER: --about that?

BASHFUL: Yes. Uh, my--start with my mother. She received an early education in the Pointe Coupee Parish and, uh, Mrs, uh, Mrs. Jackson, who taught in the Baton Rouge School, Emma Jackson, taught her in place of second grade, and at that time, one or two teachers taught all the grades. And, uh, she talked at length about that. And when I went to school, Mrs. Jackson taught me, and she reminded me that she taught my mother and that I'd better behave myself or she would see me. Now my father, of course, in addition to his education in the public schools 00:06:00in Pointe Coupee Parish, also, attended Baton Rouge College. And incidentally, the president of Baton Rouge College at that time was Dr. J.S. Clark. And, uh, I was reminded of that, too, when I went to Southern later on that my, uh, father had not only gone to Baton Rouge College, but had worked for Clark during his, uh, matriculation there. And Baton Rouge College, as you know, was a small school that, uh, the Fourth District Baptist Association, uh, maintained in Baton Rouge. It was just a high school, of course.

BARKER: Now, Emmett, you had a sister Amelia as I recall, right, were there others--

BASHFUL: Yes.

BARKER: --in your family?

BASHFUL: Yes. I had an, an older brother, uh, Earnest Bashful, a sister Lucy Bashful, uh, another sister Dorothy Bashful, another sister Leanne 00:07:00(??) Bashful and, uh, uh, Amelia Bashful, the one you mentioned, who is the baby.

BARKER: I see.

PRESTAGE: You made reference to Dr. J.S. Clark of Baton Rouge College where your father had, uh, matriculated and later worked. Dr. J.S. Clark was the founding president of Southern University at Baton Rouge, uh, when the university moved there in 1914. And, uh, a major force in, uh, Louisiana higher education. It's interesting to note that he moved from Baton Rouge College to Southern University, uh, and then you came along and, uh, went to Southern University as an undergraduate.

BASHFUL: Yeah. That, that is very interesting. Plus the fact that many 00:08:00of the people who were schoolmates of my father at, uh, Baton Rouge College later became officials of Southern University, or of, uh, East Baton Rouge Parish and the, and the public school system now. Uh, but Ida Nance Given (??), uh, uh, case in point, Mrs. T.D. Jordan, and there were others as well.

BARKER: Now, Emmett, you did your high school work at McKinley in Baton Rouge as I recall.

BASHFUL: Can--

BARKER: Want--tell us something about the nature of, uh, the high school experience provided for black youngsters in Baton Rouge at that time.

BASHFUL: At that time McKinley High School was the only public high school in East Baton Rouge Parish. You know there was a laboratory school at Southern but you had to pay some money to go there, although Southern was a, a public institution. Uh, the, uh, it was not 00:09:00considered a public school in the sense of a free school. And, uh, even in the surrounding parishes there were not high schools for blacks so many of the students from the surrounding parishes came to McKinley High School. Uh, it was--and interesting the principal of McKinley High School was the supervising principal of all of the other black schools, elementary and whatever in the parish of East Baton Rouge.

BARKER: Um, what was the curriculum like at high school for the so- called separate but equal high school at that time?

BASHFUL: It--

BARKER: Was it a college prep curriculum you had? Okay--

BASHFUL: It was a college prep, prep curriculum. The principal that I referred to while ago was Mr. J.M. Frazier, Sr. He had attended 00:10:00Leland College, uh, primarily when it was in, uh, New Orleans. And it was strictly college prep. For instance, we had to have four years of math, four years of English. Uh, we had to take Latin, at least two years of Latin. Uh, we had to have the things that people are talking about now that students ought to have. We had to have all of that. That was required. Anybody who attended that school and graduated had to have all of these classes.

BARKER: Were there any memorable teachers other than Professor Frazier who, uh, had a significant influence on you in high school?

BASHFUL: Quite a number of them. Start with, uh, Dr., uh, I mean Mr. J.D. Young in mathematics. Mr., uh, Yates, Earl Yates, who incidentally is the grandfather of the present Congressman, uh, Bill 00:11:00Gray. And, uh, there was a professor E.L. Laguard, and he taught me civics, which was my first introduction in anything related to political science. Uh, there, there was Mrs. Young, who was an English teacher, and quite a number of others. I--

PRESTAGE: Incidentally at McKinley, were there students with you who later achieved in the area of higher education, medicine or law? Can you think of any of your student colleagues who, um, who were high achievers?

BASHFUL: Oh, I can think of some of them. You know, uh, Dr. Alvin Williams in Baton Rouge there, and Dr. William Yates and there were, uh, there was a Dr. Willie Davis who is a psychiatrist in New York 00:12:00and, uh, quite a number of others. But, uh, those are the three cases in point.

PRESTAGE: I'd be interested in knowing if there were any females who later achieved high status--

BASHFUL: There were--

PRESTAGE: --in any field.

BASHFUL: --there were several females, one, one of whom lives here in the city, I believe, it was, Clea Augustus Gants. And she was actually the ranking student in the class. I was the number two student in the class. She was the ranking student. And, uh, but she went into teaching and did an excellent job and was one of the best teachers in the New Orleans School System.

BARKER: Emmett, when you graduated from high school at McKinley, uh, was the push from Mom and Dad to go on to college?

BASHFUL: Yes, and now, discuss-, uh, discussions with, with us. Uh, 00:13:00money was scarce, but they always talked to us about the value of an education, and a higher education was a part of that continuum. And, uh, so that the seeds were planted in all of us to go and all of us did not go. All of their children did not go. But, I was the first one of the group to go. I was a serious child, really, the second child in terms of my mother. The other child was from a previous marriage.

BARKER: Now this was in the heyday of the separate, but I sometimes call it separate and unequal higher education system in Louisiana.

BASHFUL: Correct.

BARKER: Um, and was there any question to a possible alternative to Southern University, uh, facing you when you got out of high school?

BASHFUL: Well, when I went--my first year out of, out of high school I went to Leland, Leland College. And, uh, that was primarily because 00:14:00the president of Leland College was a pastor at Mount Zion Baptist Church, Dr. J. Bakers. And I was a member of Mount Zion. And I went there for one year.

BARKER: Went there for one year. What was your experience there? Did you find that the foundation as a freshman was a, was a very good one?

BASHFUL: Yes, uh, I, uh, had some good teachers, in, in, in, my, my high school background, I thought, had adequately prepared me. And because of small classes we, we were well instructed. And we, we got a lot out of class.

BARKER: And the decision to transfer after the freshman year to Southern University, is that right?

BASHFUL: Yeah. Leland was having some financial problems, it was obvious to even students, and, uh, I decided that maybe I should move because of those problems.

PRESTAGE: Dr. Bashful, another political scientist whose career 00:15:00paralleled yours somewhat was, uh, the late Professor James Protho of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Both of you were from Pointe Coupee Parish. Both of you spent a good portion--goodly portion of your professional career in Tallahassee, Florida. And prior to his death, Professor Protho shared some things with me about his own upbringing in Pointe Coupee Parish. I'm wondering if the two of you ever had a chance to talk and compare your experiences?

BASHFUL: Yes, uh, Jim Protho and I had talked at length, and, uh, it was always a source of amusement that he was one side of the tracks, of course, when he was coming up and I was on the other side. Of course, I left, uh, Pointe Coupee Parish when I was four years old and didn't remember too much about it. But, uh, I've gone back and I knew about 00:16:00some of the things later after I had gotten to be a certain age. Uh, he, uh, came from a, not a wealthy family, a fairly well-to-do family and, uh, we talked about that. When we got to, uh, Tallahassee and found out that each one was there, we got to be rather close and we talked about a number of things. And we were of, uh, assistance to each other in things that he wanted to do in terms of his, uh, scholarly work and he was very, uh, supportive of some things I was doing.

BARKER: Bashful, a number of students go to college not quite sure what major to pursue. At what stage in your undergraduate career at Southern did you decide on a major and what was it?

BASHFUL: Well, when I came to Southern in 1937, uh, I, uh, went into 00:17:00education as a matter of fact, in science education. I was interested in mathematics and science and so I, uh, went into, uh, to education with the majors in the science and mathematics area. That's, that's because of the background I had at Leland and at, and at McKinley.

BARKER: Now, you undoubtedly had to take some social science courses as, uh, a part of your general education sequences that most people in the College of Arts and Sciences had to take.

BASHFUL: Yes.

BARKER: Do you recall any of those courses and any of the teachers at Southern, uh, in those social sciences?

BASHFUL: Yes. Uh, the one, of course, was a Dr. William Fontaine who was one of the premier, uh, teachers on the campus then. He was 00:18:00a philosopher, had a doctorate in philosophy, from the University of Pennsylvania. And he, uh, asked me to work with him. As a matter of fact, I was like a student assistant. So I learned a lot from him and began to, and I began to, uh, take some courses from him. And he stimulated the thinking of any student who came to him, an excellent teacher. Uh, because I was in math too, there was a Mr. Leroy Posey who was just a terrific mathematician, and, uh, I took every mathematics course that you could take at Southern. Every last one of them that you could take.

BARKER: It occurs to me that you would have been at home in quantitative political science when you went to college with that kind of math--when you went to graduate school--

BASHFUL: Yeah.

BARKER: --with that kind of math background.

BASHFUL: I would imagine so. I, uh, just parenthetically I was able to become an ----------(??) because I had that background and maybe 00:19:00we can get to that later on. And then there was a, there was another person, and this was close to political science and that was a, a Dr. Elsie Lewis who taught me the--what would be comparable to American government. And, uh, she stimulated my interest in the field at that point.

BARKER: What title did she give the course, do you recall?

BASHFUL: I don't recall. It, it might have been, uh, called a, a history, history course, but they just--the explanation of the course was about government.

PRESTAGE: I recall that Dr. Elsie Lewis went on to Howard University where she had a distinguished career, career as a professor and chair of the Department of History. In fact, we discovered recently, in an effort to do some research on Scotlandville, social development 00:20:00and economic development in Scotlandville, the community adjacent to Southern University that she had, uh, about the time that you were in her class, done a very interesting study of the Scotlandville community. And it was a first-class, uh, piece of research.

BASHFUL: She was a scholar par excellence, no question about it. And, uh, as I indicated, she stimulated the interest of a lot of people. Matter of a fact, the first election--we didn't have a president of SDA, but, at a mock election for governor of the state of Louisiana, and I was one of the candidates in that election and this was all done under her auspices.

BARKER: So this is very interesting. Your, uh, initial exposure into systematic political science was really through a historian?

BASHFUL: That's right.

BARKER: Uh, and this was in the period between '37 and '40 at Southern.

BASHFUL: That's right.

00:21:00

BARKER: So there were no formal political science courses being offered at that time? But a historian who had a great deal of interest and in politics generally took it upon herself to provide that kind of an experience for her students?

BASHFUL: Yes, interestingly, uh, Dr. Lewis visited me here on the campus, too, while she was at Howard University.

PRESTAGE: And while you were chancellor--

BASHFUL: While I was chancellor--

PRESTAGE: --at Southern University--

BASHFUL: Yes.

PRESTAGE: --in New Orleans.

BASHFUL: Yes, right.

BARKER: Emmett, let's move on. You graduated from Southern in 1940, is that right?

BASHFUL: Right.

BARKER: And I understand you're about to celebrate fifty years, uh, soon--

BASHFUL: Yeah. This is, this is my fiftieth, uh, anniversary of my graduation. We're having a reunion of our class during the homecoming game on November the 2nd and 3rd.

BARKER: Now, what did you do initially upon completion of your undergraduate work?

BASHFUL: I, uh, went to work at Allen Parish at Elizabeth, Louisiana.

00:22:00

BARKER: Elizabeth, Louisiana.

PRESTAGE: That's a very famous time. You know the actress Faye Emerson was born there.

BASHFUL: That's right.

PRESTAGE: The California superintendent of instruction Wilson Riles--

BARKER: --Wilson Riles--

PRESTAGE: --spent his, uh--

BASHFUL: --that's right--

PRESTAGE: --youth there, and it also has a rather infamous place in the history of the labor movement in the United States as one of the major strikes and confrontation series between labor and management occurred in Elizabeth, Louisiana.

BASHFUL: Yeah. Yeah. Sawmill town. It's a big sawmill town.

PRESTAGE: Is that is--

BASHFUL: That's where the, uh, it's--they have the facility for keeping, uh, persons, uh, they, they, the boatlift and the Cuban boatlift and these--

PRESTAGE: Oh, that's right.

BASHFUL: --other refugees.

PRESTAGE: It's between Oakdale and Elizabeth.

BASHFUL: Between Oakdale and Elizabeth in the Allen Parish.

PRESTAGE: Yes.

BARKER: Were you teaching--

PRESTAGE: Was Mr. Augustine, was Mr. Felix Augustine a principal there 00:23:00during your--

BASHFUL: Yeah--

PRESTAGE: --during your time?

BASHFUL: --yeah, he was the principal during my time.

PRESTAGE: Yes, he's a--

BASHFUL: Now, he's--

PRESTAGE: --distinguished educator.

BASHFUL: --yeah, his, his, uh, nephew is a judge in--

PRESTAGE: Judge Israel Augustine--

BASHFUL: --yeah, Judge Israel Augustine--

PRESTAGE: --in New Orleans.

BASHFUL: --Judge Israel Augustine in New Orleans--

PRESTAGE: Yes. Yes. I have, uh, I had the pleasure of having them as my neighbor until his death--

BASHFUL: Yeah.

PRESTAGE: --and his wife's death. And I learned quite a bit about Elizabeth, Louisiana--

BASHFUL: Yes. You know, of course,--

PRESTAGE: --Elizabeth--

BASHFUL: --that his wife was the, uh, sister of the late, uh--

PRESTAGE: Ruby Henton.

BASHFUL: And, and J.W. Fisher, who was the head of the Department of Agriculture at Southern in years past, while I was there, while I was a student at Southern.

PRESTAGE: That is correct. That is correct.

BASHFUL: And, uh, that, uh, his daughter, Mr. Augustine's daughter, Flourice, taught at Southern. Probably still is teaching there.

PRESTAGE: She, she does, and she also has made quite a name as a 00:24:00choreographer--

BASHFUL: Yes.

PRESTAGE: --there in Baton Rouge--

BASHFUL: Yes.

PRESTAGE: --uh, with the Baton Rouge Opera as well as at Southern University. And in, uh, her own individual dance group and studio.

BASHFUL: She was just a little girl when I taught up at Elizabeth, just a little girl.

BARKER: Emmett, just about that time World War II clouds were rolling over, and you did not work in Elizabeth very long before you had to meet your military responsibility.

BASHFUL: One year, then I--another year in business and then I went--

BARKER: And then you went into--

BASHFUL: --went into the Army.

BARKER: Yeah. Could you tell us a little something about, uh, your service in the US Army with, uh, its division between black troops and white troops.

BASHFUL: Yeah. Well, I went into the Army in the 16th, on the 16th, rather the 8th of August of 1942. And, uh, I was assigned to Fort 00:25:00Sill, Oklahoma, for my basic training and, of course, this was the segregated army at that time. We--I took the basic training, and then, uh, because of the scores I had made on the test, they sent me to what they call prep school. This was a prep school for OCS, Officer Candidate School. I went to this prep school, and after that I was assigned to the, uh, Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

PRESTAGE: Pardon me, Dr. Bashful, but was the prep school in Oklahoma, or was it--

BASHFUL: It was--

PRESTAGE: --outside of the South?

BASHFUL: --no, it was in Oklahoma on the Fort Sill, uh, uh--

PRESTAGE: Base?

BASHFUL: --base, yeah. Then I went to OCS. Now, OCS was integrated. The Officer Candidate School was integrated. Everything else around 00:26:00there was not, but the OCS was integrated.

PRESTAGE: Was that in Oklahoma as well?

BASHFUL: That was in Oklahoma.

PRESTAGE: At Fort Sill?

BASHFUL: At Fort Sill. Fort Sill is the really the headquarters of the Field Artillery School. And so, uh, we were assigned to six-man huts. And, uh, of course, I, I think we had of them maybe, uh, two or three hundred students in each, in this class in which I was. Uh, there were maybe four blacks in the class. And, uh, I, uh, didn't have any real trouble. But I had one experience, and this would be--and this is instructive. I had to leave because my wife became ill and I had to go back--come back to Louisiana. And, uh, so I moved up a class. 'Cause the classes, there's a new class every week. When I was getting ready to leave or maybe when I returned to get my, my things 00:27:00from the class where I was to move to the next class, one of the young men from North Carolina, and he was an older fellow, he was older than I was, he said this to me and I never will forget it. He said, "I'm so sorry that you can't be in the class with us because I really," he said, "Now, I'll have to tell you the truth. When I came in here, I was very concerned that I had to be in a cabin with a black." He said, "But I saw something that really turned me around. In addition to knowing you and liking you, every night before you got in bed, you got on your knees and said a pray." Said, "I'm not a religious person, but I have a lot of respect for religious people." And he said that just changed altogether. And he said, "I was so concerned when you had to go home and couldn't graduate with us." And, uh, he said, "I'm a North Carolinian. I have had that background. It's not my fault, but I 00:28:00am what I am." And he said, "This was teaching me to, to, to look at people as people and, uh, not what I think they ought to be because of they're, they're a certain race."

BARKER: Now Bashful, at about that time your first child was born somewhere, wasn't it?

BASHFUL: Yes, while I was, while I was--just before going to Officer Candidate School. I was, I was, uh, uh, just about to go to Officer Candidate School. And, uh, she was born in, matter of fact, on December the 1st, nineteen, uh, forty, '42, I think, yeah.

BARKER: Now, I know you're very proud of what she has done. Can we kind of focus on that for just a few minutes before we move you on into a command position in the, in the military after getting out of OCS?

BASHFUL: Well, my daughter, as I said, was born at that time. And then she, of course, went to the grade schools in Baton Rouge and to the, 00:29:00uh, she went to the Southern Laboratory School and, and graduated from there. Went to Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama for two years. And she's a Seventh-day Adventist by the way. And then she went to Loma Linda University in California--

BARKER: California.

BASHFUL: --which is the principal, uh, uh, I should say, should say, medical college of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It's, uh, it's called a College of Medical Evangelist. She went there, graduated, took a degree in nursing. And she has been in the, in the health program, advanced programs in Los Angeles County and she is now a school nurse with the, uh, the, uh, uh, school system there, Los Angeles School System.

PRESTAGE: I do know, uh, Dr. Barker, if you remember ----------(??), but I certainly do. And it's, uh, really, uh, always was a lovely, 00:30:00uh, young lady who seemed to think that the world revolved around her father. And, uh, I'm sure that, uh, she's equally proud of her father as he is of her.

BARKER: Bashful, we're going to take you back to Officer Candidate School and the military and get you finishing this war, and we're going to get you into graduate school.

PRESTAGE: I want to ask one question about the Officer's Candidate School. I know, uh, now we see in the newspaper and on television reunions of different kinds of groups, uh, from World War II. I'm wondering if you have stayed in touch with the three or four other, uh, blacks who were in Officer's Candidate School with you?

BASHFUL: Well, yes. Not only those three or four, but other persons as 00:31:00well, uh, because we were assigned to a unit, uh, especially. First, I was in the first group of blacks that was assigned to the unit, black officers. And, uh, the 350th--it was the 46th Field Artillery. It was 350th Field Artillery, uh, Battalion and, uh, the 350th Regiment too. And we have a reunion each year. We--as a matter of fact last year we met here in New Orleans and we will meet in Las Vegas this year. So we, we stay in touch.

PRESTAGE: I see that you like to meet in non-fun towns. (laughs)

BASHFUL: Yes, we do. (laughs)

BARKER: Upon completion of your military service, what did you do?

BASHFUL: After I got out of the service I went to Chicago and lived there for a while in, uh, preparatory to going to one of the universities, 00:32:00and I finally, uh, uh, decided on the University of Illinois.

BARKER: Now, what drove you there?

BASHFUL: Uh, it was a state school and it cost less money.

BARKER: Cost less money.

BASHFUL: And the other alternative was the University of Chicago, and the money was just--the cost just horrific. And I just--we couldn't afford it.

BARKER: Now Emmett, you had a baccalaureate degree in science education and you had taken this one course which you found fascinating from Dr. Elsie Lewis other than your high school experience in civics that you mentioned. Now, when you decided to enter the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, you decided to move into the Department of Political Science.

BASHFUL: Right.

BARKER: And, uh, was there any misgiving about not having had more political science as an undergraduate before you went in, or you decided that, uh, you had sufficient, uh, social science background to 00:33:00go ahead and make that move?

BASHFUL: Uh, there might have been some misgivings, but I had had other social sciences. And--I mentioned, Dr. Fontaine, I took a number of courses from him as a philosopher. He was a political theorist by, by all means in these courses were evaluated by the professors and they said, "Well, this goes here. We can accept this, this and this." And some of the history courses, other history courses I had under, uh, with Dr. Lewis and, uh, Mr. Murray (??), who was teaching history then. And, uh, other social science courses that--

PRESTAGE: ----------(??).

BASHFUL: Yes. Other social sciences courses that I thought would meet the, uh, political science, uh, requirements. When the people in the 00:34:00Department of Political Science looked at my transcript, they admitted me unconditionally.

BARKER: Now, who did you encounter upon your first visit to Urbana in the Department of Political Science?

BASHFUL: Uh, Dr. Clarence Berdahl.

BARKER: Dr. Clarence Berdahl. Very--

BASHFUL: He was chairman of the--

BARKER: --very interesting.

BASHFUL: --department at that time.

BARKER: Now, Dr. Berdahl died just recently, and he was ninety-nine years old as I understand.

BASHFUL: That's right. Would go into this office every day, every day. Just amazing that he'd go to his office every day.

BARKER: That was in nineteen?

BASHFUL: I went there in 1946.

BARKER: Forty-six, okay. All right. And--

[Pause in recording.]

BARKER: Emmett, in 1946, who was some of the professors you encountered 00:35:00other than Professor Berdahl?

BASHFUL: Well, quite a number of, uh, persons. There was Dr. Francis G. Wilson, who was the political--man in political theory. And he was an interesting person and we might have a chance to talk some about him. And there was a, uh, Clyde Kneier, Dr. Clyde--

BARKER: Charles.

PRESTAGE: Charles Kneier.

BASHFUL: Charles Kneier and Clyde Snider.

PRESTAGE: Right.

BASHFUL: Valentine Jobst and there's, uh, and Charlie Hagan and, uh, quite a number of others. But that was not--well, I should also mention, uh, J.M. Mathews, but he was the man who kind of stimulated my interest in, in constitutional law, and I'll come back to that later 00:36:00on.

BARKER: Uh, what was your first course structure in the first semester you were there? What specific courses did you take, do you recall them?

BASHFUL: No, I don't really recall. But, uh, they were of the general political science, uh, background. Uh, uh, they, uh, I'm sure that I took a course in political theory. Uh, I'm sure, and, I took, I know I took a course in constitutional law, and, uh, I took a course in state and local government. Because I took a course from--

PRESTAGE: Was that from Charles Snider?

BASHFUL: --Snider.

PRESTAGE: --from Snider.

BASHFUL: Snider, yes. Uh, I remember that much.

BARKER: Yes, okay. Uh, you did a thesis for the master's degree?

BASHFUL: Uh, yes, and--

BARKER: And do you--

BASHFUL: --incidentally did it--

BARKER: --recall--

BASHFUL: --did it under, uh, Francis G. Wilson.

00:37:00

BARKER: Do you recall, is this right? This is very interesting. Did it under Francis G. Wilson, do you recall specific, I'm sure you do, uh, what was the decisive factor in choosing a topic?

BASHFUL: Well, just discuss-, discussions with various people, and they assigned me to Wilson. And I said, "I'd like to," he was a political theorist and incidentally I did--I had a course with him, too. And I said, "You know, I'd like to look at the theories of Booker Washington and, uh, W. E. B DuBois." At the time they had this situation. And I know that Dr. Wilson was a Texan and, uh, I imagine there were some questions in his mind about my going into a subject of that kind. But, uh, he agreed to be my thesis advisor and, and for the most part accepted most of my findings, although I don't think they were, uh, uh, 00:38:00consistent with his own thinking. But I think that he learned a lot by, uh, supervising my thesis.

BARKER: I was going to ask you, was he familiar with that philosophical debate between two black, uh, academics?

BASHFUL: I think only superficially.

PRESTAGE: It's very--

BASHFUL: He, he got it. He was able to get into it with me.

BARKER: All right.

PRESTAGE: It's very interesting that one of your students, Mack Jones, later went to the University of Illinois and took several political theory courses with Professor Wilson, and I believe that, uh, Mack was one of those students who got all A's as a political science graduate student at Illinois including the several courses that he took with Francis Wilson.

BASHFUL: Right. I've heard about Mack's record and how he did.

BARKER: Now, Bashful, when you completed the master's degree at 00:39:00Illinois, what was your next step?

BASHFUL: Uh, when I completed the master's degree at Illinois I spent another year there.

BARKER: Okay.

BASHFUL: Another year and two summers as a matter of fact. And then, then I went to Florida A & M University. Dr. William Gray, who was the father of the present Congressman Gray, was the president of Florida A & M University. And they prevailed on me to come down there, and it's interesting that all the courses they had there were history. And that's what--in many universities that's the way it was. The political science courses were, uh--

BARKER: So then you had--

BASHFUL: --described as history courses.

BARKER: --an opportunity to really start offering political sciences at a major black institution of higher learning, uh--

BASHFUL: That's, that's right.

BARKER: --in the South.

BASHFUL: That's right. We had the curriculum committee to change the courses from history to political science, and, uh, to start a program of political science there.

00:40:00

BARKER: How many courses were you able to offer the first year?

BASHFUL: The first year, uh, there were, no, I was the only one there because Mr. Bonds was on leave. So we, we only, we had to teach five courses then. I don't know.

BARKER: You mentioned Mr. Bonds. Uh, he had become a political scientist from where, do you recall?

BASHFUL: Yeah. He, he came to Florida A & M from Southern. He had been at Southern. He had taught at Southern.

BARKER: Do you recall where his, his--

BASHFUL: Oh, out of the University of Iowa.

BARKER: University of Iowa.

BASHFUL: Yeah. All of his work, graduate--his undergraduate and graduate work was at the University of Iowa.

BARKER: Were you able to attract, uh, a sizable number of students to your courses initially?

BASHFUL: Oh, yes. The, the American government courses were required. And we, we began to offer a course in state and local government. We--production of program, it took us about two or three years to get any major. And we finally got a major in, and Mr. Bonds came back the 00:41:00following year after I went down there. And then we brought in some other people, a Dr. William Howard and some other folks.

PRESTAGE: Dr. Howard has a degree from the University of Amsterdam.

BASHFUL: Yes.

PRESTAGE: And I believe if he did not retire in the last couple of years that he's still there.

BASHFUL: Yes, he's still there.

BARKER: Now at what stage did you determine to go back to Urbana and, uh, complete that which you had started before you took the job at Florida A & M?

BASHFUL: Yeah. I went to Florida A & M in '48 and I began to go back to Urbana in the summer of '51, '51, '52, '53 and to get those languages out of the way. Now, you were there around that time, you recall.

BARKER: Yeah.

BASHFUL: And, uh, I, uh, I was able to pass the German and the French which is required at Illinois, and, uh, then during--in '54, '55 I 00:42:00decided to take off the whole year. And, uh, luckily I received a Ford Foundation Fellowship which paid all my salary and gave me traveling money and tuition and all that sort of thing. And although I was a G.I., member, on the G.I. Bill which also paid for the tuition. Uh, this was a major fellowship as far as I was concerned.

PRESTAGE: Dr. Bashful how did you find out about that fellowship and how was it operated?

BASHFUL: Well, I, I was, I, I applied everywhere you could apply. Uh, every fellowship, and I, I went to the library and looked up various fellowships. Incidentally, I might say that I received, prior to the Ford Foundation, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fellowship. That was fifteen hundred dollars. Uh, when I, when I found out I received the Ford 00:43:00Fellowship, I turned down the Alpha Fellowship so somebody else could get it because I didn't want to be too greedy about it. So I, I did not keep the Alpha Fellowship after that.

PRESTAGE: At that time, many southern states had an out-of-state aid program. In--under the, this program they provided--the states provided a stipend for black students to go to other states for graduate programs since they were denied admission to those programs in the state. Did you receive any out-of-state aid from Louisiana or from Florida?

BASHFUL: From Louisiana when I first went to Illinois in 1946, uh, '46, '47, '48 when I was there. I did not receive it during the, the doctoral, uh, program, the last part of the doctoral program in 00:44:00'54,'55. And, uh, so I, uh, in '54,'55 I, uh, of course, took the preliminary examination, which is the qualifying examination, at the University of Illinois.

BARKER: Could you tell us what fields, uh, were covered then and who were the people on your doctoral committee administering that exam?

BASHFUL: Uh, the, uh, the fields were--I was primarily in at that time in the doctoral program, I had gone into the, uh, the field in political science of constitutional law. And, uh, of course, the, uh, Mr. Mathews, Dr. Peltason--

BARKER: Who had just come to Urbana about that time.

BASHFUL: Yeah. He had just come to Urbana.

PRESTAGE: That is Jack Peltason, I assume?

BASHFUL: Yeah. Dr. Jack Peltason. That's interestingly, interestingly, he was my thesis advisor, yet I had never had a course 00:45:00from him. He was the key man in constitutional law at--almost and--

BARKER: Professor Mathews was moving towards retirement as--

BASHFUL: Yes, he had moved--

BARKER: --I recall.

BASHFUL: --toward retirement. I think in '54, '55 he--

BARKER: Yeah.

BASHFUL: --probably had retired.

BARKER: Yeah. Retired.

BASHFUL: Yes. And, uh, of course, there was a Professor Charlie Hagan who was also in constitutional law, but he, he was in a special branch off constitutional law. He was a--

BARKER: More administrative?

BASHFUL: Uh, yeah. Well, he--

BARKER: Governmental operations?

BASHFUL: --he taught these courses in--

BARKER: Government in-, --

BASHFUL: --constitution, and, and, and, and, uh, industrial relations.

BARKER: Okay.

BASHFUL: He tied it in and he was--I took all kinds--a, a number of courses from him. And many of the lawyers took their courses from him. Uh, lawyers who had had their degree in law, and they'd leave the law school and come over and get masters in political science and they would take more of their courses from him because they wanted to go into labor law and that sort of thing.

00:46:00

BARKER: Do you recall any of the classic works that were most influential at that time in your development. Uh, Hagan was a Bentlian as I recall?

BASHFUL: Um-hm. Yeah.

PRESTAGE: Went on later to develop his own theory of group politics.

BARKER: That's right. Yeah. But he stressed, as I recall, which I remember going through, and, I think, you might have been looking at that. We were there about the same time.

BASHFUL: Yeah.

BARKER: Uh, The Process of Government. Arthur M. Goodman's The Process of Government--.

BASHFUL: Yes. Yes.

BARKER: --which guided a lot of, uh, of research effort, as I recall it at that time.

BASHFUL: Yeah. And, let, let me go back to Mathews in this--

BARKER: Okay. Sure.

BASHFUL: --Mathews had gone to, to John Hopkins University. And he had, uh, he was a strict, uh, I want to say, I want to say a strict constructionist. But he adhered to the constitution almost like a strict constructionist. And if you read his books, that was one of his principle concerns. And he and I would tie it up in the class sometime 00:47:00and it was a good interplay. Because I--he was pricking my mind and I was pricking his. So it was very interesting. Uh, he was, uh, I'm sure he was right at sixty-five years old then, if not seventy. And, uh, he was well set in his ways, but he liked, uh, new ideas. And he liked to debate new ideas and he was so well informed it was hard to, uh, to, uh, impeach his position. But you could bring some ideas that he hadn't even thought about, and he admitted that that some of these ideas were interesting in their thought.

BARKER: Emmett, this was about the time when the, uh, behavioralist and the quantitative study of politics started to come into the philosophical debate in our--

BASHFUL: Right.

BARKER: --discipline.

BASHFUL: Right.

BARKER: Did any of that show up in the period you were there in the, in 00:48:00the political science department at, at Urbana?

BASHFUL: Not, not in the classroom but in the--if you remember at, uh, at Urbana at the university there, there was a seminar every week at which all graduate students--

BARKER: Thursdays.

BASHFUL: --and all faculty people attended. And there were people like, uh, Mulford Sibley and so many others who would get into one of these big philosophical arguments, and we were sitting there spellbound as graduate students listening to the, listening to them. And we didn't take part in those, of course, we simply listened because it was--these professors held very, uh, serious views about this sort of thing. And we were, we were just concerned and interested in, in the discussions. They had people like, uh, Dr. Berdahl, uh, and Professor Kneier, who 00:49:00was not only a political scientist but a lawyer, too. And this was, this was, this was quite interesting too to hear the philosophical view of the behavioralists and the other schools at that time.

BARKER: Now, you did your doctoral dissertation under the supervision of Jack Peltason, and a lot of graduate students at Urbana during that time were, uh, very, uh, significantly helped by a professor named Phillip Monypenny.

BASHFUL: Yes. Yes. Yes.

BARKER: And you did, did you get a chance--

BASHFUL: I, I--

BARKER: --to take any of his courses?

BASHFUL: --I took one of his courses, but I knew him well and we became good friends, uh, Phillip Monypenny. He was not there when I went there, and, uh, he--I think when I went back in the, in '51 or '52 he was there. And I got--I met him then and I finally took a course from 00:50:00him and enjoyed it immensely.

BARKER: Now, getting back to your doctoral dissertation, uh, with the help of Professor Peltason, you focused on a study of the Florida Supreme Court. And as I recall Peltason was one of those who had become interested in the Supreme Court as a political institution, uh, that, uh, courts make decisions that have political implications. And, uh, I assume some of that was reflected in your Florida Supreme Court study.

BASHFUL: Well, actually--

PRESTAGE: What was the title--

BASHFUL: --actually--

PRESTAGE: --of your dissertation? I'm not--

BASHFUL: Yeah.

PRESTAGE: --as familiar with it.

BASHFUL: Yes. "The Florida Supreme Court: A Study in Judicial Selection." What the emphasis of the study was to look at the juries and how they got on the court rather than substantive decisions that they gave. And that was the most interesting, uh, thing to--first of 00:51:00all, this was the first time anything was done in terms of studying the Florida Supreme Court in any fashion.

PRESTAGE: I see a document here that I've just picked up from the table. And it seems to be a resolution by the Supreme Court of Florida, uh, actually, um, congratulating you on the fine service which you did for the state of Florida in undertaking a dissertation focusing on the Supreme Court.

BARKER: I'd like to follow that up. Uh, this is unusual. What was the reaction of the chief justice and the associate justices down there to a black student coming into their lair, so to speak, to gather 00:52:00data and to look at their pathways to the Supreme Court? What kind of experiences did you, uh, have in, in trying to get data from these august, uh, judicial figures in Florida?

BASHFUL: Well, initially, after I selected the, the topic, and started looking at the newspapers as a, as a first source of data, it became apparent to me that I was going to have problems, that the newspapers just didn't have enough information. And, uh, I spent two years just looking at newspapers in the, in the library. And I, and I found out through some interviews with people that maybe the only, uh, source of information would be the actual, uh, files in the justices' office. So 00:53:00I went to one of them. And, this is, uh, uh, uh, Justice Terrell.

BARKER: Did you have any knowledge of him before? Uh, had there been any interaction as a professor at Florida A & M, for example, which allowed you to have access to, uh, uh, Judge Terrell?

BASHFUL: Not, not on a one-to-one basis, but I had taken my classes to the Supreme Court for a year, or cases order. And I knew the justices by name, all of them. But I did not know them on a one-to-one basis. And, and so when I went to see him--and incidentally, his son is president of the University of Washington, I think, and he's a political scientist.

BARKER: We have, we have a very interesting, uh--

BASHFUL: Yeah.

BARKER: --our paths crossed in a sense there. His son was the chief academic officer at the new University of Illinois at Chicago--

BASHFUL: That's right.

BARKER: --back in the early sixties.

00:54:00

BASHFUL: Absolutely. I, I remember that, and I've had a chance to talk with him and he told me about his daddy, had told him about me. Uh, and he said, uh, when I went to see him, "Oh, yes, you can. Anything I've got in my, in my files." And he called his secretary and he said, "This Professor Bashful," as he called me, "wants anything, open the files for him." And I went to the other six justices of the court and each one said that. I got some materials, but when I went to Illinois in '54 and I did a first draft of the dissertation, Dr. Peltason, said, "No, you got to do it. Uh, you gotta," and he told me what I think--what he thought I ought to do. And you need to do a little more research down there. So Christmas of 1940--1954, I went on down to Florida during the Christmas holiday. Remained down there about, 00:55:00I guess, thirty to forty-five days. And, uh, I went through every file for each one of them dealing with these campaigns and sort of thing. And I ended up using about eight or ten other judges in the state. And, uh, when I went back I was loaded. I had all kind of information. And I was able to go on and finish the dissertation.

BARKER: Okay. And--

BASHFUL: And when I did, they asked for a copy of it. They said, "Whatever you do, let us have a copy of it." And, uh, when I sent the copy, uh, Guyte McCord, who was the, the clerk of the court of the Florida Supreme Court, sent me a letter saying he was circulating them, circulating it among the justices. And when I went down to Tallahassee to teach, I guess, about October, uh, they, uh, I received a big 00:56:00package in the mail and it was a resolution which the court had adopted that commended me on the, uh, writing of the dissertation. I have a copy of it here. They sent a lot of things. I don't know whether you want to read this or not.

PRESTAGE: Would you like to have me--I'll just read it into the interview.

BASHFUL: Yes, please.

PRESTAGE: "Emmett W. Bashful, a member of the faculty of Florida A & M Mechanical University and alumnus of University of Illinois has lately been awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by his alma mater. He chose as a subject for his dissertation for this degree "The Florida Supreme Court: A Study in Judicial Selection." The justices of the court have been privileged to examine a copy of this dissertation with must interest and profit. It evidences much exhausted and capable research on a subject not before undertaken, and is a most valuable 00:57:00contribution to the political history of our state. So valuable in fact and so expertly done that a copy of it should be made and deposited in the court library as a permanent reference work. Therefore, be it resolved that the justices of the court warmly congratulate Dr. Bashful on the completion of a task expertly done. And be it resolved further that a request be made to Dr. Bashful for a volume copy of his dissertation if available for the court library. And that if a copy is not available that one be made by the court staff for such use. And be it resolved further that a copy of this resolution be forwarded by the clerk of this court to Dr. Emmett W. Bashful as a token of the court's 00:58:00appreciation for the fine service he has done for the state of Florida, and that a copy be spread upon the minutes of the court. The above resolution unanimously adopted by the justices of the court, October 17th, 1955." A true copy and, it, uh, is over, over the signature of Guyte P. McCord, clerk of the Supreme Court.

BARKER: Very interesting indeed. I'm sure, Emmett, you must keep this among your treasured possessions.

BASHFUL: Yes. Uh, interestingly after this, Florida State University published it, and, uh, that was one of the first times that a southern state university had done that.

BARKER: That's a very interesting thing. Did you decide to--that full study was published by FSU. Did you decide to look at any 00:59:00other dimensions of the Florida Supreme Court? I know that was a very difficult thing to do with running a department and teaching twelve to fifteen hours a week. But were there other dimensions of the Florida Supreme Court that were fascinating that you thought about--

BASHFUL: Well, yes.

BARKER: --looking at?

BASHFUL: Yes. And I, I had it all laid out but never got around to it because right around that time, if you recall, shortly after that we had this civil rights struggle in Tallahassee, the bus situation.

BARKER: Yeah.

BASHFUL: And I was very, uh, uh, actively involved with that. And I, and my, I was and my students were also.

BARKER: Uh, you remained at Florida A & M, uh, and developed that department into a very viable one for a number of years. But you decided to move back to your alma mater somewhere in the 1950s, as--

BASHFUL: Nineteen fifty-eight.

01:00:00

BARKER: --I recall.

BASHFUL: But before that--

PRESTAGE: --but before--

BASHFUL: --I would want--

PRESTAGE: --but before he moves to his--

BASHFUL: --to mention one other thing.

PRESTAGE: --alma mater.

BASHFUL: Okay.

PRESTAGE: I'd like to ask him a little bit about the, uh, work at Florida A & M University.

BASHFUL: Yeah. I--

PRESTAGE: Who were some of the faculty members who were there, and some of the students that you taught at Florida A & M?

BASHFUL: Yes, I wanted to mention that, too. The, uh, of course, I mentioned--we mentioned a while ago that, uh, Mr. Bonds, uh, was on the faculty there, um, Mr., um, a Dr. Howard, Dr. William Howard was on the faculty and I think he still is. And, uh, we had other persons who stayed a few years. As a matter of fact, um, Lucius Barker came down one summer and, uh, one other fellow who's a lawyer, was a judge in Florida, now, was down there for a while, too, a, a, uh, Judge Riddick.

01:01:00

PRESTAGE: Betty Hunter. Wasn't that Betty Hunter?

BASHFUL: R-i-d-d-i-c-k. Um, they, the students were the most interesting thing. Uh, right on this campus now at Southern University of New Orleans is a Dr. Addison Carey who is one of the graduates of that department. Uh, there is a doctor, they're two brothers, uh, Bailey, Ronald Bailey and Harry Bailey. Both--one is, is a professor of political science and former chairman of the department at Temple University. And Dr. Ronald Bailey, I think, I don't know whether he's still at the University of Florida, but he's moved around quite a bit. But he took his doctorate at Illinois as well. Uh, Harry took his doctorate at, uh--

PRESTAGE: Kansas.

BASHFUL: --at Kansas. Uh, Addison Carey took his doctorate at Tulane. 01:02:00But, uh, my specialty area was constitutional law and that's where I trained a lot of the lawyers and judges. And one of the judges is a judge of the United States Court of Appeals of the Eleventh Circuit sitting in Atlanta, and that's Judge Joseph Hatchett. And the interesting thing about that is that he was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court by the governor of the state of Florida prior to going on the, uh, US Court of Appeals. And, uh, when he was, uh, the investiture of the, at the court, the court invited me to come down for it and he did, too. So I did go down for the, for his swearing in. And, uh, it was very interesting to see when one of my students is being sworn in on a court, uh, where I had done a dissertation about that court, and 01:03:00where that court had had some opinions that would blow your mind and then he was the first black in modern times to sit on it. And he--

PRESTAGE: That, uh--

BASHFUL: --he said the first time he went into the court as a villain, a villain, when I took him there as a student. Took the students down there in my con law class, and, uh, the years of kids is ---------- (??). And, uh, incidentally, uh, this, that, that would be too much to talk about this, but the Virgil Hawkins Case. Virgil Hawkins sued the University of Florida for admission to the law school. And, uh, of course, he was never admitted, but subsequently he went out of state, got a, got a, a law degree and he came back. They wouldn't admit him because the law school was unaccredited, but, uh, subsequently to that, subsequently to that a white person did the same thing and they admitted him. So at the time not the petition of the Supreme 01:04:00Court again to admit Virgil Hawkins, uh, uh, Joseph Hatchett was on the Florida Supreme Court. And they were not going to admit him, but he, he raised so much sand on the court and talked about it so much, they, uh, signed, they decided to admit Virgil Hawkins and assigned the opinion to, uh, Joseph Hatchett. And he wrote the opinion admitting Virgil Hawkins to the court. So that's--what goes around, comes around. And this was about a twenty, twenty-five year, uh, span from the time Virgil Hawkins filed the suit until he was admitted to the, to the, to practice in the state of Florida.

BARKER: Before you left you had attracted a large number of majors, I take it.

BASHFUL: Yes.

BARKER: Uh, the department of--

BASHFUL: The president--

BARKER: --of political science--

BASHFUL: --the president of the national bar for two, two different occasions. Uh, Willie George Allen, who, incidentally, was the first, uh, uh, black to graduate from the University of Florida Law School. 01:05:00I, I, I recommended him to a group to go, to go there and he went and graduated at, at the University of Florida.

BARKER: Now, you mentioned at least three people who I recall who left your department and went on to take, uh, doctoral degrees and are teaching in political science departments at--

BASHFUL: Right.

BARKER: --major universities.

BASHFUL: Correct.

BARKER: That says a lot for at least trying to get black students who formally had not been interested in the discipline to move on and become academic political scientists, and I--

BASHFUL: Right. Right.

BARKER: --assume that process is continuing.

BASHFUL: Right. And I think it's another--one other thing and I'll try to make this as brief as possible, but, uh, uh, many of these students went to law school. I had a group a large--with each, each year out of the class at least half of them went to law school. And, uh, they, they had briefed cases like that, and they were very good at it because 01:06:00I used the case method as I guess you do also.

BARKER: That's right.

BASHFUL: And, uh, when they went to Howard or Seton Hall--one went to Seton Hall and is a judge up at Seton Hall now. And a bunch of them are judges in Florida and lawyers in Florida. They, uh, the professors began to teach them in the law school on how to brief cases, and they said and, "Tell them how," and he said, "What are you gonna, do we not do that?"And we went up and they showed the students how to brief cases. So the professor called them in after the session and they said, "Where did you learn that?" Said, "Learned it at Florida A & M University." And they never paid another nickel after the first semester. It was either fellowship or scholarship the rest of that time in law school for most of those fellows that went up there. They are practicing in Florida now.

PRESTAGE: Also of interest, uh, is the extent to which you stimulated interest in politics as a activity for students at the University of 01:07:00Florida generally. In my research on women in politics, the woman who is now the acting mayor of Miami attributes her interest in politics to you.

BASHFUL: Yes.

PRESTAGE: That is Dr. Barbara Carey who is not--

BASHFUL: Yeah.

PRESTAGE: --a political scientist but who is quite a politician--

BASHFUL: Yes.

PRESTAGE: --in, uh, in Dade County in the City of Miami.

BASHFUL: Yes. Yes. Yes.

PRESTAGE: I--that brings me to, uh, another question which I'm sure you probably anticipate from me. Uh, to what extent did you attract female students to the political science, uh, discipline while you were at Florida A & M?

BASHFUL: We had some good students who came there who would be, who were females, uh, some from out of state, some from in state. Many of them did not major in political science but they took every course that they could get in that I was teaching. And, uh, I was very gratified 01:08:00by that. As a matter of fact, we had some men did the same thing. But, uh, I can think of a number of, of female students who said, uh, went to their major professors and said, "I'd like to minor in political science. I'd like to take some courses in political science as electives." And they did it. And it worked out very well. And, uh, I can, I can think of quite a number of them.

BARKER: There are two areas--

PRESTAGE: A second--

[Pause in recording.]

BASHFUL: --simply because the gal's coming. So anyway, I went to all of the, uh, meetings but, and, and, one of the things for which I had paid was the, uh, was the luncheon. And as I was going into the luncheon, had a ticket--they stopped me. I was stopped at the door by a hotel employee who said I couldn't come in, that they didn't serve blacks 01:09:00and that sort of thing. Well, now, that created quite a stir and, uh, uh, they did not, they still did not admit me. And I, and some of the other people wanted to walk out and I asked them not to. Said, "Go ahead, that's fine. We'd try to wait on them." So the next year the meeting was held in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in the Great Smokies. And that is a resort area. About three months before the meeting I decided to write a letter to Professor Swisher of John Hopkins University who was president of the Southern Political Science Association. And, uh, I brought this to his attention that if this situation obtaining it at, uh, Gatlinburg I could not stay in the hotel or I could not, uh, be a part of the--that, uh, uh, all parts of the, uh, uh, convention 01:10:00that I wouldn't come. You remem-, you recall that mountain, the, uh, at Gatlinburg, Tennessee there's a Mountain View Inn which is a very beautiful facility. So I, I sent that letter to Dr. Swisher and sent a copy of it to Manning Dauer who was the secretary of the Southern Political Science Association. And he was at the University of Florida. Well he immediately became very incensed and, uh, he evidently got on the phone and, and, uh, to other officers of the Southern Political Science Association, and they came to the conclusion that if I could not stay in the main building at, at the Mountain View Hotel or Mountain View Inn, that they would not, they would stay wherever I stayed. And there were some cabins around. They said they would stay in the cabin rather than in, rather than, uh, staying in the main building. So this was in process, and they told me, "Come on 01:11:00to the meeting. Don't stay away." They would--we'd, we'd work it out. When I got, uh, Mr. Bonds and myself went to the meeting, when we got to the Mountain View Inn, uh, went into the--where you registered for the hotel, we--they had rooms for us in the main building. So that ended the segregation in the Southern Political Science Association.

PRESTAGE: It is, uh, interesting, though, that the association met at Gatlinburg every year until such time as hotels elsewhere in the South were willing to accommodate blacks.

BASHFUL: That is correct.

PRESTAGE: Uh, in attendance, at least at all of the functions of the Southern Political Science Association.

BASHFUL: And you, you became president of the Southern Political Science 01:12:00Association.

PRESTAGE: That is correct. That is correct.

BASHFUL: And so did Dr.--

PRESTAGE: Samuel Cook.

BASHFUL: Sam Cook.

PRESTAGE: Yes.

BASHFUL: So, this was an interesting follow-up to some of those things. And, you've got to give the, the political scientists, the Southern Political Science Association credit that they met this issue head on as it was brought to their attention.

PRESTAGE: And, that they agreed to go to Gatlinburg with you.

BASHFUL: That's right.

PRESTAGE: Which is not exactly an easy trip. It's a beautiful trip, but it's not exactly an easy trip.

BASHFUL: No.

BARKER: That says something for the commitment of our fellow political scientists in dealing with that problem.

BASHFUL: That's right.

PRESTAGE: As I indicated in my presidential address to the Southern, that was a decision of some moment.

BASHFUL: Oh you did that.

PRESTAGE: Yes.

BASHFUL: Yeah, that's right.

BARKER: Bashful, not only were you involved in the Southern Political Science Association, but I recall fondly that we took an automobile trip to New York once to attend a meeting of the American Political 01:13:00Science Association.

BASHFUL: Yes. I think it was in Washington, wasn't it? It was in Washington, and we went on to New York after that.

BARKER: We went on to New York after that. And so your, uh, interaction and involvement with professional organizations went beyond the Southern to the American Political Science Association.

BASHFUL: Yes. I think I'll say something about that too. Now, after I became and, you bring this out later on, but after I became, uh, the chief executive officer of the New Orleans campus, and we had political scientists on the faculty, and we had--didn't have a lot of money, I did not go because I wanted them to go, and so I made the money available to them to go to meetings, and, and, and for-, would forego the opportunity to attend a meeting myself.

PRESTAGE: I think it's also, uh, important to point out that there were 01:14:00viable organizations of African-American social scientists at that time.

BASHFUL: Yes.

PRESTAGE: And, if my memory serves me correctly, you were also very active in the Association of Social Science Teachers.

BASHFUL: That's right.

PRESTAGE: And, I think I remember you and Professor Barker attending that meeting, a meeting of that organization during the year that you were at Southern University in Baton Rouge.

BASHFUL: Right. Right. And, while I was in Florida, matter of fact, I did an article for them for their journal. And, uh--

BARKER: That was a journal which was edited by T. E. McKinney as I recall.

BASHFUL: Yes. Yes.

PRESTAGE: T.E. McKinney, Sr.

BARKER: Senior, that's right.

PRESTAGE: Yes, and J. Erroll Miller.

BASHFUL: Yeah.

PRESTAGE: A political scientist was the executive secretary.

BASHFUL: Of, uh--

PRESTAGE: The late J. Erroll Miller, yeah, was the secretary, executive secretary.

BASHFUL: Yes. Right.

BARKER: Well, Bashful, could we move on to your decision to leave Florida A & M and return to your alma mater in the late 1950s.

BASHFUL: Yeah, 1950 I--

01:15:00

BARKER: Nineteen fifty-eight.

BASHFUL: I came back--

BARKER: And joined the department in which you found me, and who else was there?

BASHFUL: Well, I think there's a young lady who, Dr. Jewel Prestage, you probably know that young lady, she was there, some, some other folk were there, Dr. Rodney Higgins, and, uh, we-- I stayed there one year, only one year. This campus, the New Orleans campus, had been in process for a long time, and finally the board of education decided that they had to open the campus, and Dr. F. G. Clark, who was a president of Southern University at that time, decided that, uh, he wanted me to come down, and the interesting thing, that he made the decision, and he hadn't, he didn't discuss it with me prior to the time. And, he made the decision to come down and, uh, for me to come down, and, uh, had 01:16:00Dr. Elton Harrison to call me and advise me of it. So, I didn't even know I was coming down here until the board of education approved it before I even knew about it. And, I came down in 1959, and, uh, when I got to New Orleans to look over the situation, there was one building on the campus which was still being built, I met, uh, uh, the, some rattlesnakes and moccasins out in front of the building, long as my outstretched arm, uh, they'd been killed, but, uh, the, the rest of the campus was really underwater, ----------(??) and this whole area was an area of some, uh, of, of, uh, water, sort of a semi---

PRESTAGE: Swamp.

BASHFUL: --swamp. Yeah. And, uh, so I, uh, looked it over, and we set 01:17:00up an office in the, in the church, and finally, uh, got started in, uh, on, on September the 21st, 1959 when we had registration.

BARKER: Um-hm.

BASHFUL: Finally able to get in this building. And, uh, we started with 158 students. Now, there are more than four thousand students here, they are ten buildings here, the teachers are well prepared, the, uh, they're about 60 percent, sixty, 65 percent of the teachers here with their earned doctorate, and, uh, they, uh--

PRESTAGE: The university is fully accredited to, huh?

BASHFUL: Fully accredited by all agencies in the, the, the--we have one, uh, program, uh, uh, graduate program, uh, social work and it is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Incidentally, we talked about women, the dean of that school is the, uh, is a woman, 01:18:00that's been in charge, a very able person, and a very famous person, nationally. The dean of the school here at the Southern U at New Orleans is the, the, uh, the college of, uh, of, uh, the evening and weekend college is, um, was Raoula, uh, ----------(??) King.

PRESTAGE: King.

BASHFUL: And, um, let me see, the, the, well, the former dean of education was, uh, a Dr. Marilyn Reine (??). She is no longer dean. She's a matter of fact, uh, she's, but she's still professor of education, but she, for a long time, uh, was dean, and then we had a dean of the, uh, at that time, humanities, uh, Dr. Gloria Adams, uh, she's no longer dean. And then the, of course the dean of the students is a woman Dr. Andrea Jefferson.

01:19:00

PRESTAGE: Very good. I'm very pleased to, uh, learn about these women who are holding administrative positions.

BASHFUL: And, and, I, I think you ought to mention, another thing, the administrative assistant to the chancellor, uh, for a long time was Dr. Ruby Jackson. And that's a very important position and a very lucrative position, too.

BARKER: Bashful, you've joined a number of political scientists who turned to administration. Some were in their careers and I assume you found political science a very useful discipline as you dealt with all kinds of problems in the administrative arena, particularly those associated with the development of a brand new campus.

BASHFUL: Yes, I certainly did, and especially working, trying to work with the, uh, state officials, and the Southern University officials, that was a, that was a, you need a lot of political science to do 01:20:00that. Uh, we were able to get here, uh, building nine, building nine, building nine, finally got ten, and we have one in process now that they haven't started building on, but they-- building it, but they will start, hopefully during the next twelve months. Uh, the plans have all been drawn, of course, I'm just on the outside looking in, but this pro-, this, all of this has been in process for the last six or more years, you know how long it takes to get these things done.

PRESTAGE: Your tenure as the CEO of Southern University of New Orleans began when Southern University of New Orleans began in 1959.

BASHFUL: That's right. 1959.

PRESTAGE: So, you are the founding CEO.

BASHFUL: That's right.

PRESTAGE: And though the title has changed for that particular role, it's a role that you have played under all of the rubrics that, uh, 01:21:00have emerged.

BASHFUL: Yeah.

PRESTAGE: And, you retired on what date?

BASHFUL: On June the 30th, 1987 after twenty-eight years of being the chief administrative officer of this campus.

PRESTAGE: During the course of those twenty-eight years, what was the most rewarding experience that you had as the university administrator, and what was probably the, uh, most disconcerting experience that you had during that tenure.

BASHFUL: The most rewarding, uh, experience is always that of seeing your students doing well. And, we've had so many top students lead this institution, uh, and distinguish themselves, and a legislature now for, uh, graduates of this institution, one state senator, and three members of the legislature, and incidentally, of those three, one is a woman. 01:22:00(laughs) Irma, Irma Dixon, and she's a very able person. And, um--

BARKER: Were they political science graduates?

BASHFUL: Uh, most of them, because one was a, one was a lawyer, he's a political science graduate, Irma Dixon wasn't. Alexander, uh, Avery Alexander was a political science graduate, so two of the four were, uh, Jon Johnson was in business, he had an MBA too, and, uh, it's an interesting thing that, um, uh, and that is the--those are the most rewarding things, and, uh, the largest CPA firm in the state, yes--is, is, uh, headed by a Southern University of New Orleans graduate, and I could go on and on, uh, you probably read in, uh, US News & World Report about one of the top men in the substance abuse fields, uh, Vernon Shorty, who's head of the ----------(??), uh, uh, 01:23:00program in, in, uh, substance abuse. Uh, and, I could go on and on with students now in state government, and, uh, one of the, one of the persons that's heading the state department is a, is a Southern University of New Orleans graduate and a woman too. And, same thing in, in city government. We, we have them all over city government, as a matter of fact, I'm supposed to see one this afternoon, who is head of the research staff of a city councilor here. And, you know, it's an interesting thing, uh, that he's, he's doing that here. The most disconcerting, of course, and yet I, I understood it, because it happened during a period of demonstrations all over the country, were, were the demonstrations in 1969 and 1972. But, it is a part of a process, and I, and I understood that. And uh, but, it, it, uh, was 01:24:00something that was disconcerting, nevertheless.

BARKER: Demonstrations directed at what?

BASHFUL: Well, they were directed at, of course, uh, change. But, they were aimed at all times, not only here but everywhere, at the chief administrative officer. He, he was a visible target. And, although they were talking about segregation and discrimination, they were, they, they have to make the chief administrative officer on the campus the target. Al-, although the real target was the establishment.

BARKER: That was a time when, I think LSU New Orleans was established fairly close here.

BASHFUL: One year before.

BARKER: One year, yeah. And, there was a time when there was some concern about two state institutions being so close together.

BASHFUL: Yeah.

BARKER: Uh, and, they were both conceived in the determination of the 01:25:00legislature to promote separate but equal facilities.

BASHFUL: Absolutely, but what we did, we ant-, we knew what they were doing. First of all, we developed the program here in such a way that, uh, it did not crack the program at, uh, LSU and over at the University of New Orleans now. They were interested in being a research institution principally. And they are interested now. We, we were interested in making this a top flight undergraduate institution--the only thing that we have at the graduate program is the school of social work. We also, uh, began to have cross enrollment, and we have that now and so there's about three or four, maybe five hundred, you know, students come to school here daily, and, and almost the same number from here who go to UNO, and we have a shuttle bus to take them from 01:26:00one campus to the other. And, uh--

PRESTAGE: You also have some faculty exchange, as I understand.

BASHFUL: Faculty exchanges, yes. We have, it, it and the same thing with Delgado. We do the same thing with Delgado, we have done the same thing--

PRESTAGE: --and Delgado is the community college--

BASHFUL: --with Tulane and with--

PRESTAGE: --Delgado is the community--

BASHFUL: Delgado is the two-year community college. And, uh, uh, the Univ-, uh, Loyola University and Tulane University also have had--same thing.

PRESTAGE: I understand that in at least one instance, the leader of one of the demonstrations that, uh, you refer to in 1969 or '71.

BASHFUL: Seventy-two.

PRESTAGE: Seventy-two, uh, became a political scientist.

BASHFUL: Right, he was in political science here.

PRESTAGE: He was in political science, he now has a Ph.D. in political science, and is himself an outstanding political scientist--

BASHFUL: And very--

PRESTAGE: --who thinks very highly of you.

BASHFUL: And married one of my students, uh, you, believe you knew, whom 01:27:00I got a fellowship at the University of Massachusetts, through Lauren Beth (??).

PRESTAGE: That is correct.

BASHFUL: A very eminent political scientist.

PRESTAGE: That is correct, and I understand that, uh, there are now very good relations between you and that political scientist.

BASHFUL: Oh yeah. Yeah, well I think she, she, uh, uh, I mean, his wife, she was able to explain to him some things that he didn't understand. And, uh, I think, as he got older, as most students who get older, they, they let their thinking change just a little bit.

PRESTAGE: I happen to know that political scientist and I went to Zimbabwe at a time when he was the director of a project there, and his association with Southern University New Orleans was, uh, advertised with great pride.

BASHFUL: Yes. Yes, I--he's a very able young man, no question about it. 01:28:00He had a good mind. Absolutely.

PRESTAGE: Uh, reflecting on your distinguished career as a political science teacher, researcher, university administrator, what impact would you say that race played in your career? I know it's been referred to throughout this interview in various ways, even from elementary and high school, but if you had to generalize about race as a factor, how would you generalize?

BASHFUL: It was always there. Uh, sometimes it was, uh, a, an element that prevented you from moving forward as you should have, it was, a, an impediment, at other times, it may not have been an impediment, it 01:29:00might have paved the way for some things, but it was always present, uh, unfortunately, uh, uh, because we have a racist soc-, society, and race is always present. But, if I had to generalize, I'd say in spite of, uh, racial connotations, it looks like the gods were kind.

PRESTAGE: Also, Dr. Bashful, you have had a very distinguished, uh, career in voluntary, volunteerism, and philanthropy of the spirit and the heart, as well as, uh, financially. Could you, um, say something about the impotence for that altruistic, uh, strain? Is it racial? Racially, um, generated? Or, is it a more universal kind of, um, 01:30:00commitment?

BASHFUL: It's universal. I've always been interested in the community. I always say you ought to pay your community rent by, uh, rendering some services, service to the community. So, I've been active in the community, I'm on the board of about fifteen agencies, and as a matter of fact, as soon as I get through here, I'll go down to a meeting there, one of 'em. Uh, I am, uh, I've been, uh, I'm vice president, for instance, of the, uh, Boy Scout, local Boy Scout organization. I'm past president of the, uh, another one, I'm, uh, I'm only, I'm secretary of a statewide organization, and, uh, I'm on the road of, and I've been on the board, the national board of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, for instance, and a number of others as well.

PRESTAGE: I see too that you were a member of the board of trustees for 01:31:00United Way of Greater New Orleans.

BASHFUL: United Way. Two terms, and I'm on the board, uh, uh, of the, uh, Greater New Orleans Foundation, and I'm chairman of their grants committee, which--and we give away about four hundred thousand dollars a year.

PRESTAGE: And I see that in connection with that, you have also been the recipient of a special award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

BASHFUL: Yeah, that--

PRESTAGE: As well as from the Juvenile Diabetes Association, and, uh, from, uh, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, from the Institute for Human Understanding--how did you find time to do all of that, and serve for almost three decades as the CEO of, uh, a developing academic 01:32:00institution?

BASHFUL: I've asked myself the same question. And, the, uh, the National Conference of Christians and Jews gave the Weiss Awards for Contribution to Human Relations, the, uh, Living and Giving Award of the Juvenile Diabetes Association given for--what it, what it actually indicates is living and giving, uh, in the community. The, uh, the, uh, Institute for Human Understanding, they select ten outstanding citizens. And I--one year, one year I was elected, and again, uh, my-- Alpha Phi Alpha has given a number of awards, and I've been the recipient of those awards, so I've been, uh, fortunate to receive these various awards from these, uh, agencies, and I, uh, am very appreciative that they saw fit to do it, but I would have done it, uh, without the awards 01:33:00because that wasn't what I had in mind that I was--I sort of need to render some service, and I went on and tried to render the service.

BARKER: In short, Emmett, you have really not retired, you've retired from academic administration, but you have become a very visible and active participant in the affairs of the metropolitan area of New Orleans, and I'm certain that, uh, last night, as we ate dinner, and all of the people, uh, stopping by the table, uh, uh, indicate that your service is certainly well recognized and valued by citizens of New Orleans, and it is a kind of crowning, uh, part of one's long career, both as an aca-, academician and, uh, as a citizen of the world, we 01:34:00can say, certainly, uh, uh, a very active one in the Chic-, in the New Orleans metropolitan area.

BASHFUL: I've been very gratified by all that I, and I, uh, just hope that I've made some contributions.

PRESTAGE: I would think, uh, that would be, that is an unequivocal conclusion that we can reach, as a result of this interview, as a result of our own personal knowledge of your activities as a political scientist, as a citizen, and as a human being. My initial encounter with you occurred when I was an undergraduate student at Southern University, and you came to address the student convocation to talk about the responsibilities of citizenship.

PRESTAGE: Yeah.

BASHFUL: And, uh, as I have watched you as a colleague in the 01:35:00profession, as a colleague on the Southern University faculty, as a fellow administrator in the Southern University system, and, uh, have been able to observe, not only your expertise as a teacher and scholar, but your generosity as a human being, whether we have reference to support for your colleagues and students, as they attempted to forage their own academic careers, or the ways in which you have been active in the Boy Scouts, and all of the other kinds of civic institutions. I think that, uh, I'm willing to say that if every political scientist in America did just 50 percent of what you've done, the profession would be in good hands.

PRESTAGE: Thank you very much, I appreciate your statement.

BARKER: This concludes the interview with Dr. Emmett W. Bashful, 01:36:00President Emeritus of Southern University of New Orleans, and Professor Emeritus of Political Science.

BASHFUL: Chancellor Emeritus.

BARKER: I'm sorry, Chancellor Emeritus. I want to make you president. (laughs)

PRESTAGE: Oh Twiley--(laughs)--and Emmett, it's been very good to be involved in this interview with you.

BASHFUL: Thank you very much.

BARKER: Okay.

[End of interview.]