Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Charles Harris, June 3, 2002

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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HARRIS: See, I wouldn't remember, you got to raise the ----------(??).

ADAMS: Oh yeah, I couldn't do that. Yeah, yeah, sort of, uh, deviate and you know demand quite as much. Uh, this is an oral history interview with Dr. Charles W. Harris for the University of Kentucky Library, Library APSA Oral History Project. The interview is being conducted by Dr. Russell Adams and Dr. Sheila Ards on June 3rd, 1992 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Harris, I must ask you an obvious question. What is your full name? What is the W for, by the way?

HARRIS: Uh, my full name is Charles Wesley Harris.

ADAMS: And, uh, the next question, uh, has to do with when and where were you born?

HARRIS: I was born in Auburn, Alabama, and was born September 12, 1927.

ADAMS: As I said before, informally, that we would never be able 00:01:00to guess that, uh, from any, uh, vision we have or pictures or any conversation with you. Nineteen twenty-seven was three years before the Depression. What, uh, kind of, uh, a town was it, uh, in the twenties and thirties in Auburn?

HARRIS: Well Aub--

ADAMS: Especially for African-Americans.

HARRIS: Right, Auburn is, uh, there's just the university there. Even today, it's just Auburn University. At that time, it was Ala-, Alabama Polytechnic Institute and the town was just, uh, the institute. Uh, I would roughly estimate that, uh, of the population, the population was about three thousand, or was three thousand, at the census that I can remember. About 15 percent Afro-American, uh, you know, make up the population of Auburn.

ADAMS: Now, in terms of, uh, economics and livelihood, well, how 00:02:00would you characterize the, uh, town? Especially the Afro-American population, what did they do for a living?

HARRIS: Well, most everybody worked for the university or worked in some activity connected with the university. Uh, the economy is closely interwoven with, uh, the university even today. I visit back there, you know, at least once or twice a year and it's still very much a university town. Uh, once you get away from Auburn, well the next city, Opelika, which is seven miles away, twin city, get into textile miles, and into hinterland, of course, there was a lot of farming when I was growing up in that area.

ARDS: What was the racial atmosphere like?

ADAMS: Good question.

ARDS: In Auburn?


ADAMS: Are we talking about the thirties?

ARDS: Right.

HARRIS: Yeah. Yeah. Comparatively, then I would say for the state of 00:03:00Alabama, Auburn was somewhat like an oasis because so many people came from all over the United States to work at the university so they were not native Alabamians. There were not that many native Alabamians who were on the faculty at, uh, Auburn University--Alabama Polytechnic Institute at that time, so I cannot remember any nasty racial incidents there, you know, during my growing up years there in, in Auburn. Uh, there was a very hostile sheriff in Opelika, but he would not have been tolerated in Auburn 'cause it was mainly an academic community in Auburn, and they prized their interaction with Tuskegee Institute 'cause both, both of those institutions were similar in terms of their emphasis. So the racial, uh--black people basically stayed in their 00:04:00place, of course, but the racial climate and the atmosphere was, uh, I think, comparatively good for the state of Alabama.

ADAMS: Isn't it interesting how, I suspect, common that pattern was, that if there was a university, uh, located in a place, the locals were not as abrasive on let's call it social relations at, uh, places without that kind of presence. Um, yeah, I think of University of Georgia at Athens, uh, Florida State at Gainesville, uh, I think--

HARRIS: Yeah, I, I think there were briefly an ex-, part of the explanation is the fact that most of the northerners that we interacted with 'cause we sold produce, uh, to, uh, uh, the faculty members at the university, the persons who were in charge of the frat houses, and they tended to pride themselves even in talking with us, meaning my parents, 00:05:00where they were from, and what race relations were like where they came from. And they tried to maintain that same type of posture in terms of their dealings with black people. So it was not a case where the white who came from places in the Midwest wanted to change and be like Alabamians; they seem to have taken pride in showing how they were different from the Alabamians and all of that, all in the direction of a more positive type of atmosphere in the, uh, town of Auburn.

ADAMS: Well, Dr. Harris, you mentioned that, uh, your folks sold produce to people in Auburn and around Auburn. Now I take it then that your folks were in agriculture in one way or another?

HARRIS: Right. My, my--the main economic activity was farming. My, uh, uh, parents owned a plantation which cotton was the main, uh, money 00:06:00crop so to speak. This activity was supplemented, uh, with the truck farming which gave them, uh, ready cash, uh, on a continual basis.

ADAMS: Between--

ARDS: What is truck farming?

ADAMS: (laughs) Explain to Miss Ards, Dr. Ards, the younger one in this field--

HARRIS: Well, uh, truck farming is--

ADAMS: You don't raise trucks for sale. (Harris laughs)

HARRIS: --growing, uh, uh, vegetables and pro-, what you would call produce in the grocery st-, in the supermarket. You know, like fruit, vegetables. We sold butter, eggs, milk, uh, all kinds of vegetables, uh, uh, to, uh, fresh vegetables. So that's, that's truck farming.

ADAMS: I thought--for the benefit of ----------(??) the ones, the term truck was applied to the farming in that you trucked away from the farm 00:07:00your produce for the market. And so, uh, hence, hence the term truck farming. So, you were saying that, uh, of course, that's a source of ready cash?

HARRIS: Right as a supplement.

ADAMS: 'Cause cotton was a one-time-a-year--

HARRIS: Right. Yeah, it was a fall harvested crop.

ADAMS: That's right, harvested in the fall.

HARRIS: And, uh, that's when your kind of big money came in, but you had to have something to, uh, you know, survive on during the year, and that was truck farming.

ADAMS: Now what was, uh, the, uh, public--and I presume it's the public school system that you, uh, attended during your pre-collegiate years. What was that like? Uh, this is the pre-Brown v. Board years obviously.

HARRIS: Right. Right. Right. Well I--elementary school was just a one- room rural school that I went to for three years. Uh, and then we went to the high school in Auburn, which was the Lee County Training School.

ADAMS: Do you remember the name of the one-roomer?

HARRIS: (laughs) Longwood. Longwood, uh, Elementary School.

ADAMS: Um, remember how many people were probably there?


HARRIS: Uh, yes, I would--see, there were six grades, all taught by just one teacher. She was a good teacher, too. She kept good discipline, uh, because, uh, they didn't tolerate noise and kids acting up at that time. Uh, the one thing I remember, though, it sticks out in my memory about Longwood, we walked to Longwood. It was in the community, uh, is that the school burned down and we didn't even have running water right on the premises. You went to the spring to get water, and when the--

ADAMS: You know what a spring is, Dr. Ards?

ARDS: Yes, I know what a spring is. (Harris laughs)

ADAMS: ----------(??) beauty rest. (laughs)

HARRIS: But when the, when the, uh, school building caught on fire, the larger fellows--I was somewhat smaller fellow. I went there three years that broke, uh, pine branches from the trees to try to beat out the fire and as a little kid, I, you know, I'd be standing 00:09:00there, you know, seeing our school building burn down, you know, and it was helpless 'cause the larger fellows were doing all they could, but they couldn't stop the fire. And, uh, to conclude on this, the school burned down, okay. My, my dad was one of the members of the parent group that went to see the superintendent to try to get funds to rebuild and they couldn't get any money that year. And the next year started, so the parents in the community pooled their own personal money and rebuilt the school. And that I do remember.

ADAMS: That's powerful, very powerful.

HARRIS: Yeah, they had to pay for the rebuilding of the school. Now I'm not saying that the county would not have eventually rebuilt, but it wasn't doing it fast enough.

ADAMS: It had been a county-sponsored, uh, uh, supported--


ADAMS: --school district?

HARRIS: The ground belonged to the county, but, uh, the parents, uh, uh, raised money and put up--it was a small building, but they put up 00:10:00a school that was--the next year they could start school. They built it themselves.

ADAMS: I ----------(??) believe that but it makes me think of my own first years in South Georgia. We went to, uh, a one-room school too. Morningside Baptist Church on Sunday, and the county, uh, gave the church a state stipend for the use of it five days a week during the, uh, season. And we had two teachers up to the fourth grade. And the two people in fifth came when they could, but it was basically, uh, on this wall first grade; on that wall, second grade; and on that wall, third grade; and fourth grade over here; and fifth when they showed. Uh, interesting. Now in terms of high school and so on, um--

HARRIS: Yeah, well high school, there, there was--

ADAMS: You said it was the, what county?

HARRIS: Lee County.

ADAMS: Lee County Training School.

HARRIS: That was the only school in the county that went through the twelfth grade for, uh, blacks or minorities at that time. Opelika did 00:11:00not have--they only had ten grades, so everybody in the whole county, you know, among the black population had to go Auburn to finish high school.

ADAMS: You must have had a large senior class.

HARRIS: (laughs) On the contrary, because when I graduated, there were only three in my senior class. Uh, and I think two young ladies and I, and all the rest of the fellows were going to the service. And I was there only because I was not old enough to--

ADAMS: Do you remember anything about the curriculum, uh, in high school? Nowadays we talk about a vocational, uh, it was a training school. Was it a vocational type? You had a lot of shop or agriculture? Or did you have a mixture of that and social studies as we now call it? Do you recall the character of the curriculum?

HARRIS: It was a fairly well balanced curriculum including, as you mentioned, the, uh, shop. Uh, it was called something--industrial 00:12:00arts, I think is what it was called. But it was, you know, basically shop. And home economics for the girls, young ladies, uh, uh, but we also had units in English, in social studies, in algebra, trigonometry. You know, the math requirements. So we were prepared to go to college. It was kind of a, uh, you know, what I would call a curriculum that would prepare you for college, but also give you some, uh, uh, training that would be useful in homemaking and the shop work, some of the fellows left it and became carpenters' helpers and apprenticeships and jobs of that kind as well.

ADAMS: Well, explain to us how you managed to have a high school, if you will, uh, where it was a feeder from the tenth grade school presumably in the area, and you had three people in your graduating class.

HARRIS: Well, I guess, uh--(laughs)--

ADAMS: You talked about--


HARRIS: I mentioned that, that the males, see at that time, most kids, students were somewhat behind. In other words, by the time you got to the tenth grade, you may have been eighteen years of age. And most of the, uh, you take my two sisters who are older than I. Now, they had- -my oldest sister had maybe twelve or fifteen in her graduating class, but most kids dropped out on the way because either they were behind age-wise. They were maybe eighteen years old in the tenth grade, they'd drop out for a full-time job.

ADAMS: Yes. Yes.

HARRIS: And, uh, that is one of the explanations. Another of course is that the war was going on and some were drafted. The class would have been larger if the war had not been going on. Uh, and the other explanation is that kids did not have any way to get to the school. See, white kids had buses, but black kids did not.


ADAMS: How did you get back-and-forth to high school?

HARRIS: Well, my parents purchased, uh, ----------(??) they purchased a 1936 Chevrolet, new Chevrolet and my sister--

ADAMS: Brand new?

HARRIS: Brand new.

ADAMS: Rare in those days.

HARRIS: And my sixteen-year-old sister drove it. She'd been going to boarding school in Columbus, Georgia, but my next sister had then reached the seventh grade, had finished this rural school. So even though I had not finished, we all then went in the car, drove the car to school. So the sixteen year old, the next one was maybe a fourteen year old, and I was about I think nine years old.

ADAMS: Were there others driving to school, uh?

HARRIS: There was one other family that also drove a car to school. Most of the other kids who lived far away had to room with families, and I, I thought of that, you know, many, many years, many times, ever since then. But these kids, fifteen and sixteen years of age, away, you know, cooking for themselves, rooming, uh, you know, we wouldn't even 00:15:00think of our children nowadays having to ----------(??) for themselves.

ADAMS: That early.

HARRIS: Yeah, that early.

ARDS: So how far did you live from the school?

HARRIS: Uh, uh, about three miles. We could have--there were many children who walked the distance, but my parents didn't want, particularly my dad didn't want the girls walking that distance. When the girls finished, I rode a bicycle 'cause it was only three miles away ----------(??).

ARDS: You mentioned your sisters. How many were in your family?

HARRIS: A total of, well, four of us that we, there were really six. Two died at childbirth that I never, you know, knew or saw. So there were really four of us, two girls who were the oldest children, and two boys. I have a brother that's younger than myself. I'm the third one of the four.

ADAMS: Now you said both of your sisters, uh, had careers as public school teachers?

HARRIS: Two, right. Yes. One of them, uh, went to Alabama A & M 00:16:00University at Huntsville, and the other one went to Alabama State at Montgomery. And one is an English teacher and the other one's -------- --(??) teacher.

ARDS: What about your brother?

HARRIS: My brother did not choose college. Uh, he had, uh, an outstanding career with U.S. Steel in Chicago. There's always been that, uh, migration line I guess you'd call it--(laughs)--from the part of Alabama where I'm from and Indiana.

ADAMS: Yes. Yes.

HARRIS: U.S. Steel is, uh, the recipient of so many migrants from that part of the state. We have relatives in Gary, and so my brother went there after he finished high school. And he's had a very, you know, successful career, working up to foreman at U.S. Steel.

ARDS: Charles, now you were the oldest son. Was there any pressure in your family to work then on the farm?

HARRIS: Yes. Yes. Uh, right today, my father, who is deceased, if 00:17:00he could stand up and, uh, give his say, he would have wanted me to stay on the farm and, uh, farm. It was my mother who really wanted to stress the education. Uh, my father liked education for girls, because his sisters were teachers. But he thought a boy ought to be out working and--

ADAMS: (laughs) I laugh because my dad was exactly the same way.

HARRIS: He didn't have much patience with sitting up in school for a boy. But for the girls this was, but my mother was able to, you know, kind of sway him and I got so much encouragement from Sunday school teachers, from teachers at school about how well I was doing until it was almost like a community thing. If he had stopped me, I think he would have had to face a lot of flak--

ADAMS: Yes. Yes.

HARRIS: --from all the, uh, community people. My father was really for, you know, my having a farm for a career.


ADAMS: Yeah, I know, I went through a similar thing in South Georgia, and this probably would have been a puzzlement had I not been encouraged to, uh, go on to--beyond high school. Uh, this was in those communities where, uh, organic, as we would say in sociology, where people took responsibility to make a statement about whether or not a child's ----------(??) goes to the field or goes to the, uh, university or to college. And that takes me down to, uh, us down to the next, next page. How did you manage to move, then, from the training school to Morehouse College?

HARRIS: Okay. Well, there were three or four colleges--there was a lot of emphasis on our going to Tuskegee because Tuskegee was, uh, very nearby and I'd gone down there. We played them in basketball, sports--

ADAMS: You did do sports or were you a farm fellow?

HARRIS: Oh yes.

ADAMS: Yeah, that, uh, game was it?


HARRIS: Basketball. I have my letter at home right now.

ADAMS: All right. A scholarly athlete.

HARRIS: So, uh, uh, Tuskegee was, uh, certainly the choice of a lot of my, uh, relatives, but I was--I remember making this analogy of, uh, our agriculture teacher who was from Tuskegee and the principal of the high school, who had gone to Alabama State and had followed more or less what you'd call a liberal arts type of background. And I could see saying well if I had to choose between being the industrial arts teacher and being the principal, I'd rather be the principal, so that was a big factor in my leaning toward Talladega and Morehouse and my mother had known all these, uh, fellows who had gone to Morehouse back when she was a young lady. Talked about what an impression they made, so she, you know, uh, had spoken to the director of Morehouse. So it 00:20:00finally was narrowed down to those two. Uh, uh, Talladega, Morehouse, and, uh, Morehouse won out.

ADAMS: Now in terms of the financing of, uh, getting into Morehouse, how did that work? Uh, was this a result of the truck farm cash money? Uh, what, what, how'd you pull your money together?

HARRIS: Well it was a combination, because the financial aspect was very difficult because the sister who was next to me was in college. I think she was, uh, uh, maybe a junior in college when I was entering college. So it meant that my family--

ADAMS: Now what school was she attending?

HARRIS: She was attending Alabama State.

ADAMS: Okay.

HARRIS: It was Alabama State College then; it's Alabama State University now, in Montgomery. So it was a matter of how would I, you know, uh, get to college in terms of the finance, and I worked after finishing high school. My dad let me off--I usually worked on the farm during 00:21:00the summer. I didn't work the summer I finished high school. I worked at Auburn University at, uh, Auburn Extension Service in the mail room. Because they had, you had to go pick up the mail two times a day, and deliver mail several times a day. And, uh, I just--

ADAMS: How'd you manage to get that job as a farm boy?

HARRIS: Well, uh, in a little place like Auburn, it seems as though you were related to everybody there, and it was one of my distant cousins who worked at the college and was well-known, well respected and I had applied for a job. They had--Auburn had--the university had a farm of its own because it was part of teaching agriculture. So you could work over there just as a physical laborer. And I was gonna over there, 'cause you could just walk up and they would hire you.

ADAMS: (laughs) You need some help.


HARRIS: Yeah, they only paid two dollars a day. Uh, and my distant cousin saw me and he said, "Charlie, you don't have any business working over there; you come on, go with me."

ADAMS: How long were you over there, right before--

HARRIS: No, I didn't work at all. I was going over there to apply.

ADAMS: Okay, and he heard about it?

HARRIS: Yes, yes he heard about, and he said, "You come on. I can get you a job where I'm working." So he took me to the college, to the extension aspect of the college and, uh, he arranged it for me. All I know is that, I, after I trained under him for about two weeks, he took his vacation, which was maybe six weeks or something--

ADAMS: He'd been there a while obviously.

HARRIS: Right. So I was his replacement and it was a, it was a difficult job, so I had to learn all of these buildings where I had to go and there were certain places I had to pick up mail. Certain places to deliver mail. And he gave me, you know, a chart and all these building names but the first few days, it was, you know, really 00:23:00difficult. And then, you know, you learn. So that was--I worked that summer. I got a job at Morehouse, working in the dining hall, Chivers (??) Hall. And I had a scholarship. So to use today's terminology that was my financial aid package.

ADAMS: All right. Now when you got to Morehouse, how did you come to, uh, select your major and minor? Uh--

HARRIS: Well, uh, I really majored in political science. That was not the major that I started with. Uh, I went a year and a half as a chemistry major. Was doing well in chemistry, got through quantitative and qualitative analysis--

ADAMS: Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! (laughs)

HARRIS: --and I went to the service and it was while I was in service that I more or less decided I would change my major from chemistry 00:24:00because I was in chemistry for med-, for medicine. And again, because of the financial situation, I didn't see how I would get through the long trail of medical school without, uh, you know, stable financial support. And it looked like I might be on the job market sooner if I would go in some other direction that would not take so long to graduate. So I came back, changed the major to political science without really a clear vision or idea as to what I would do with political science. I consid-, thought about that maybe I would go to law school, but that's a long trail too. So I really was majoring in it without being very clear as to what I would do with it. And while I was--my senior year, we had, uh, the outstanding professor, Robert Brisbane, newly minted Ph.D. from Harvard, who joined the faculty at 00:25:00Morehouse and it was--

ADAMS: He was still wearing his zoot suit from the, uh, forties, early forties it might be called.

HARRIS: He was mistaken for a student.

ADAMS: We gave him a hard time, especially in front of Graves Hall. Sam McKinnon and the rest said, "Come here, boy."

HARRIS: Yes. Yes. 'Cause they were veterans too and larger physically than, than Brisbane. But go ahead. Please.

HARRIS: Yeah, he was mistaken for a student.

ADAMS: Many times that first year.

HARRIS: Yeah, I didn't realize how young he was until I realized he was still working and my career was winding on, you know, and Brisbane was still--you know, he just retired a few years ago, did you?

ADAMS: Yes. Yes.

HARRIS: So I realized that, yeah, I don't know. You see one of your teachers, sometimes, they, uh, they are young, but they seem mature to you, you know, as a student, and I didn't realize, you know, really how young he was when he came to, anyway, that was about then that he came to Morehouse as a political scientist. 'Cause he guided me 00:26:00and my classmates. Uh, gave us direction in terms of things we could consider doing with political science. Next step, as to what steps we would take after we left, uh, Morehouse. Jobs for very scarce at that time. Uh, uh, there were no government jobs that you could have any assurance of getting, and very few jobs of any kind. Uh, I was almost at loose ends as to what I would do.

ADAMS: And what did you minor in?

HARRIS: Minored in education because I always had the thought that, well, maybe I ought to teach. That was the most prevalent kind of work that, uh, black people, professionals got into at that time. So, uh, I, I think the minor was offered mainly at Spelman, so that was kind of interesting going over there to take these courses with all the young ladies over at Spelman.

ADAMS: After Morehouse, Spelman is a place to go. (laughs)


HARRIS: So that was, that was my, uh, uh, education.

ADAMS: Now, can you think of any events or personalities at Morehouse in those years whose thoughts or sayings or speeches or actions--do you remember with great vividness in terms of influence?

HARRIS: Well, I would say, uh, at the top of the list, of course, was, uh, the president, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, and, uh, this just recently that in my teaching here at Howard, I teach American Theory, and we spend a lot of time on transcendentalism. Well I--even though Martin Luther King and I were contemporaries at Morehouse, I was not aware that, uh, when we were students that he had gone. He was so impressed with Henry David Thoreau when, when Martin Luther King encountered him 00:28:00in one of his classes, he went to see, uh, Dr. Mays and, we students, uh, called him, uh, Dr. Benny. (laughs)

ADAMS: Yes. I knew him at Atlanta.

HARRIS: So he, he ----------(??)'cause he was so impressed with transcendentalism and Henry David Thoreau and so he went to share with Dr. Mays this theory about civil disobedience which is what, you know, Henry David Thoreau is, uh, and in teaching my students, uh, uh, I teach that course every year, I always share with them how this early influence on--we call Martin Luther King, Jr., M.L.--(laughs)-- that's, he was a contemporary. That's how we all, but I share with my students today how Thoreau's influence on M.L. as an undergraduate at Morehouse certainly must have had an impact on his later, uh, you know, 00:29:00leadership role because he in effect himself was, uh, an engineer of civil disobedience. Uh--

ADAMS: And in those days, when you sought out the president of the college, you were--it would great urgency trying to get something done, uh, to do, to interrupt the great president of uh.

HARRIS: Yeah, and I did not know that. It's only in later years that I learned that he was so impressed with Thoreau's philosophy and M.L. was a theology major. We took, uh, philosophy courses together but he was not a political science major. But, uh, when he encountered Thoreau, he was, uh, moved at an early age to share that with, uh, Dr. Mays. To get back to the question, Dr. Mays was in his sermons, at he would preach maybe three times a year, he was always away a lot raising money. That's when the endowment at Morehouse went up, uh, 00:30:00significantly. But, uh, when he was there, he would generally deliver the sermon on Sundays. And every living soul was present whenever he talked.

ADAMS: Including the young majors of Spelman.

HARRIS: Yes. Yes. Yes.

ADAMS: It fell on his, uh, and some, some occasions in my time, his e-, his formal outfit, the coat and tails on occasions.

HARRIS: Yeah, occasionally.

ADAMS: And he had his Steve Canyon streak of gray and so on, and was, was quite a, quite a figure in terms of just visuals, in addition to the rest. Anything about him that you recall that you found useful then and now? Uh, certainly then. Dr. Mays, that is.

HARRIS: Well, I remember, you know, some of his, uh, sermons. There was one sermon on those who walk the high road and those who walk the low road. And, uh, part of that, maybe it was the same sermon. It may have been a different one, is the sermon about, uh, students who were 00:31:00guilty of plagiarizing and cheating on exams. He didn't like the idea that Morehouse students would consider things like cheating on exams and there was a sermon about, uh, how you cannot hide. That even if no one else finds out but yourself, it will plague you the rest of your life because you will always remember that this grade was not earned. And that you cannot hide from yourself. So his, his sermons and of course there was Dean Brazeal who was--

ADAMS: A goodly number of your men was ----------(??).

HARRIS: It was the, the, uh, the eminent counselor, you know. When he was, he was sort of planned all of us. And I never will forget when I graduated from Morehouse, people were there and on the program, commencement program, everybody who was graduating with honors, their 00:32:00name had an asterisk. And when I got the program, we were lining up. I opened it up and there no asterisk by my name, I almost collapsed, and I went to see the registrar 'cause I figured he was the one. Well that was, uh, Mr. Whitaker .

ADAMS: Mr. Whitaker--(laughs)--I think you got.

HARRIS: Well, Whitaker was a disgruntled type, and he didn't have much patience, so he just brushed me off and said, that well, you know, you just, you know, he could not have made an error, you know, because he had figured out that. So I had to live through commencement which was not a very pleasant, 'cause I had told my parents I was graduating with honors and the others, oh everybody graduating with honors were asked to stand, and I was not there. When commencement was over, I went straight to see Dean Brazeal. And I can't recall him ----------(??), I believe, but anyway, he was very upset about that. He went directly to the registrar's office and got Whitaker and we went over my transcript and he told me over and over again, "I wish you'd come to me. I would 00:33:00have done something about it." And he told Whitaker that, "You should have checked it out." And of course he said, "Well now what I will do, I will put on your transcript--and that line is on my transcript right now, which is not on the average transcript, graduated cum laude.

ADAMS: Good. Good.

HARRIS: So Dean Brazeal was your friend.


HARRIS: At Morehouse.


ARDS: Can you tell me something about the political science curriculum?

HARRIS: Uh, well, political science at Morehouse was mainly a two-man department, I guess. There was Professor Brisbane that I've mentioned and Professor Curry. Curry taught the basic American government course on law maybe. But, uh, it was, uh, somewhat limited. Uh, we maybe --well we had no chance maybe to specialize this stage in our 00:34:00concentration. There was no one, no range of concentration that we have now at Howard. But I remember courses like Comparative Politics, uh, Political Theory, Legislative Process, uh, maybe Parties--

ADAMS: Political, uh, Parties, yeah Political Parties and ----------(??).

HARRIS: Those were some of the courses. Most everybody took the same, uh, you know, rotation of courses, uh, certain courses were offered first semester, and a different course the next semester. There was just this one, uh, well, two teachers who taught, you know, all of these--

ADAMS: My parents, you know, I, I have--must say, uh, this about the curriculum and that is Brisbane's choice of text for me were so good that I used both Sabine working on my master's at Chicago and the same notes and, uh, V.O. Key's Southern Politics in State and Nation. Uh, 00:35:00those two, uh, had been standbys for Brisbane's work at Morehouse and, uh, Charles Harding and others at Chicago were using that same text and going with the same questions, so I simply would underline my, uh, old notes when I saw the part that I'd seen at Morehouse. It was that kind of quality that I, uh, and not because the course--I didn't necessarily mean it's quality, but it certainly meant that, uh, we were--you have to call it mainstreaming in those days.

HARRIS: Right, well, I prefer ----------(??) at Penn, I used Sabine too. Sabine, we used Sabine and Coker as a book of reading.

ADAMS: Yeah, Francis Coker. Yes.

HARRIS: And I use those same books, uh, uh, at, at Penn. As a matter of fact, when I went home to Wisconsin to do my doctorate, I think I was still using Sabine and, and Coker. Uh, so, yes--

ADAMS: And Herman Finer. Did you have Herman Finer?

HARRIS: Yes, yes.

ADAMS: Yes, okay, we had Herman Finer at Morehouse. I had Herman, Herman Finer was at Chicago when I got there.


HARRIS: Yeah. He, he was at Chicago.

ADAMS: And, uh, it's a good question about the quality of the, the curriculum. And I think of it as a question because it does put in the record what a place like Morehouse was doing, uh, in political science, uh, in the forties when neither of us saw, outside of law school, uh, and perhaps a government job other than the post office, saw any, any vocational character to, to the major.

ADAMS: Um, so upon leaving Morehouse, where did you head, Dr. Harris?

HARRIS: Well--

ADAMS: What, what happened? In so many words?

HARRIS: Uh, well, as I mentioned earlier, I was a little unsure as to just what I would do. I knew I needed to, uh, uh, get into the job market, but a bachelor's degree at that time did not prepare you very well for the job market. So, uh, with Brisbane's encouragement, I went 00:37:00on to graduate school that fall at the University of Pennsylvania, uh, in political science. And of course--

ADAMS: Now that was the M.A. program?

HARRIS: M.A., M.A. program in political science and, uh, he had, uh, encouraged all the political science majors that that, uh, we could have, uh, very rewarding careers in political science, uh, uh, working for the government, teaching. Uh, sometimes I think maybe even Brisbane was overly optimistic but it was good for us as youngsters that he was optimistic, uh, and because we went on with the graduate training, with the idea and belief because he said we'd be able to get a job.

ADAMS: Yes. Yes.

ARDS: How many of your classmates did go on to graduate school?

HARRIS: Uh, I would, uh, es-, roughly estimate that, uh, between eight 00:38:00and twelve maybe. Maybe more of them went on to Atlanta University because there, there's a graduate program certainly at the master's level. I don't think they had a Ph.D. program at that time. They had a master's level program. Uh, some went on to law school, but between eight and a dozen of my classmates--

ADAMS: Out of what size class?

HARRIS: --uh, you mean the senior class ----------(??)?

ADAMS: Yeah. Yeah, the one--

HARRIS: The entire class numbered around ninety-three the year I graduated. Uh, maybe fifteen may have been political science majors.

ADAMS: That was pretty good for the variety of majors offered to you, sociology, psychology, math, and so on.

HARRIS: But, uh, we were all encouraged, see ------------(??) good that 00:39:00Russ is here, because we can ----------(??). We were always encouraged to reach high, to go on, to develop your talents and, uh, uh, even though I considered teaching, I did not--that would have meant teaching at, uh, say, the secondary level. I did not relish the idea of doing that 'cause that's not what Morehouse trained us to do and, uh, it was not, you know, really a first choice kind of work. So, I wanted to work as soon as I could, but I still wanted to do something which was in line with what my professor had emphasized, and, uh, that meant going on for further study.

ADAMS: I, uh, I think that was, uh, and still is the part of the Morehouse, uh, some call is mystique.

HARRIS: Yes. Yes, that's just the word I was thinking in my mind.

ADAMS: Yeah. Where one, uh, is told to, uh, aspire to, um, what it in 00:40:00your mind, whether society is ready for it or not.

HARRIS: Um-hm.

ADAMS: And another thing they used to tell us at Morehouse or ----- -----(??) is that do not take too many education courses because you will use--they may slow your ambitions down. That it was a security blanket too soon in life. Even though the up--flip side of all of that was that you could always go to Morehouse, I mean to the Atlanta post office, and ask for a hundred voice choir of Morehouse men and get it. (laughs)

HARRIS: Um-hm.

ADAMS: On the other hand. But the ----------(??) was enough, which I think Dr. Harris is so right in that. That certainly fits my memory and memory of people subsequent to both of us.

HARRIS: Yes. Yes.

ADAMS: Um, so how long did it take you to do the work at Penn State?

HARRIS: Uh, University of Pennsylvania.

ADAMS: I mean the University of Pennsylvania, and excuse me the difference. (laughs)

HARRIS: Yes. You probably ----------(??)--(Adams laughs)--it happens to me a lot. (Adams laughs)----------(??) you know because the names are 00:41:00so similar. But I'm quick on that trigger. Uh, partly because of this financial, uh, uh, limitation that I mentioned earlier, I was motivated to finish as soon as I could. Finish my master's. So I finished it in nine months. I graduated in March and the commencement in June the following year.

ADAMS: You entered in September --

HARRIS: Entered in September.

ADAMS: --and you were out in June the following year.

HARRIS: Right. Right.

ADAMS: It must have been a busy agenda.

HARRIS: Extremely so. The graduate courses at Penn carried two credits. Meet once a week, two credit hours. And, uh, twenty-four credits, uh, I believe it was twenty-four--yes, it required two graduate, so it meant six two-hour courses each semester and, uh, there's--I assure you, there's more work involved in twelve hours divided into six courses as 00:42:00there, uh, uh, compared with twelve credits in four three-hour courses. So there's a lot of work, uh, involved. Uh, there was no formal thesis, so that was, uh, you know, obviously the ----------(??)--

ADAMS: Well what sort of writing, what did they call the writing there?

HARRIS: We had to prepare what was called a non-thesis option paper, which was defended, uh, uh, as a part of your graduation requirements. Uh, most all of the graduate courses, most of them were seminars required a paper. So you had a fairly good grounding in research, uh ----------(??).

ADAMS: Do you remember any professors there, uh, with any particular vividness?

HARRIS: Well I, I remember, uh, Professor Robert Strausz-Hupe who was my professor in international relations. Uh, Professor Norman Palmer who taught, uh, uh, uh, diplomacy. I believe that's what his course--


ADAMS: I presume then you, uh, made this the focus, internat-, international relations?

HARRIS: International relations was my area of concentration, uh, so there was, uh, uh, Professor Jacobs whose first name I don't recall but, uh, was my professor of international law and organization. Professor, uh, Palmer who taught, uh, uh, I'll call it diplomacy for lack of the full name of the course, and Professor Strausz-Hupe who taught international relations. It's a general international relations course.

ARDS: Dr. Harris, why would a farm boy from Alabama be interested in international relations? And political, concentrate in political science?

HARRIS: Well I, I suppose there's something to this, uh, element about being attracted to something that's different from your past or from 00:44:00your, uh, uh, kind of sociological orbit and I was interested in Penn because I wanted to go to another region of the country, different from the region where I grew up. Uh, as I was in the political science, I had, uh, images of going overseas and doing something, uh, with the government, so international relations attracted me because, uh, it kind of expanded my world. I learned, uh, a lot about the world. My, my father was in World War I, was in Europe and he talked about Europe so much--(Adams laughs)--there was always the interest in studying and learning a little more 'cause he was always interested in discussing, you know, what I wanted to talk about as far as Europe. So that was, 00:45:00uh, the international side was, uh, you know, very, very--

ADAMS: Was the United Nations very fresh in those days? We're talking 1945, '46?

HARRIS: Well it was just being formed at that time.

ADAMS: ----------(??).

HARRIS: The league, the League of Nations had failed--

ADAMS: Yeah.

HARRIS: --it had lost out, and the U.N. was just, uh--

ADAMS: It was just, the, the San Francisco Conference was 1945. Do you have many discussions, uh, in, uh, Strausz-Hupe's class or Palmer?

HARRIS: Well, we covered that. I don't recall a great deal of, uh, emphasis. I remember--I think I remember much more emphasis on that at this conference, and you know because Penn had a fairly elaborate or large Department of Political Science and the courses that I took by no means covered the spectrum of courses, uh, so I'm sure--

ADAMS: Well, you had nine, nine months to do the whole thing. Um-hm.

HARRIS: Yeah. Because they had a very strong doctoral program at that 00:46:00time. So I don't recall that, uh, we spent--what I do remember the Dumbarton Oaks Conference and--

ADAMS: Okay. (laughs) The Texas ----------(??)--

HARRIS: Yeah. But it was ---------(??), um, one of my professors, in fact my doctoral advisor, uh, Professor Llewellyn Pfankuchen was something like, uh, uh, you know, a staff person at the San Francisco Conference--

ADAMS: Okay. Okay.

HARRIS: --so we spent a lot of time in his class--

ADAMS: Tell about his days in Frisco.

HARRIS: Yes, and, uh, his book was used a lot. He had, he had authored a book called--

[Pause in recording.]

ADAMS: Yes, ------------(??) and I don't. But, uh, we are on the, continuing on side B of the interview with Dr. Charles Harris. Uh, we 00:47:00have you, Dr. Harris, at the University of Pennsylvania, uh, working on your major writing--what's, what's the name of that, uh, what, what did you call it? The paper you had to write?

HARRIS: The non-thesis--

ADAMS: The non-thesis option.

HARRIS: --paper.

ADAMS: What, how, what, what did you write on and how did you come to make a choice of, of topics on the non-thesis option paper?

HARRIS: Well, the way that worked is that you could take one of your course papers and develop it further into the non-thesis option paper and defend it, uh, in terms of meeting your M.A. requirement. And I, I remember doing a paper that, uh, dealt with, uh, the Japanese Constitution because it's patterned after the United States Constitution. I don't remember the exact wording of the title, but I know that's what it, uh, dealt with. And it was a paper that I had 00:48:00done in one of my courses which I developed further and defended it before Professor Norman Palmer--

ADAMS: So you had to defend these non-thesis options?

HARRIS: You had to defend them. And, uh, that, uh, you know, defense, was--the defense also involved--it was, uh, there was an oral comp, defense of the paper and then there was an oral comprehensive, uh, and today, I would rather have a written comprehensive anytime than have an oral comprehensive. But, uh, that was, that was the oral comprehensive which you, uh, studied for ----------(??), and, uh, so, uh, those were, you know, ----------(??).

ADAMS: Now in terms of other African-American students at that time at the University of Pennsylvania, what were the numbers like?


HARRIS: Well, just, just myself and one other student, Charles Rag (??) who was a graduate of Morgan State University. Uh, we were, we both entered at the same time. There may have been another student around but, uh, this student had run into some problems and there were just two of us really in the, in the program at that time.

ARDS: And how many--out of how many students?

HARRIS: Uh, would, uh, estimate that the total number, including full- time and part-time students was probably around a hundred.

ADAMS: So you were probably around 2 percent? (laughs)

HARRIS: Yeah, right. Yes, two percent. Uh, there were a lot of students in the Penn graduate program, and notice I said that's approximate, uh, you know, I don't remember the exact number. A lot of graduate students who studied part-time, uh, doing the work, they, 00:50:00they were officials in the city government some of them, with, uh, corporations and foundations in Philadelphia, and so there was a large percentage of part-time students. And most, as I recall--

ADAMS: (laughs) What was your age then?

HARRIS: Well, uh, I was rather young. Let me see, I have to, uh, do a little calculation here. Uh, was twenty, yeah, about twenty-one or twenty-two I think.

ADAMS: Okay, you're done Morehouse, done a year and a half in the service and you're now doing the M.A--

HARRIS: M.A. Yeah.

ADAMS: --and, uh, you were not really old enough, maybe twenty-two?


ADAMS: Just old enough to vote. (laughs) Okay.

HARRIS: Yeah, there's an interesting little story I'll share with you about, uh, voting. When I--after turning twenty-one, I went back home that summer. So, I got my sister, my youngest sister and, uh, you know, we talked about the climate. You asked me about the racial climate 00:51:00in Auburn? So we went to Opelika which is the county seat to register. Now it was somewhat rare for black people to be registered at that time. So my sister and I were, you know, you know, when you're twenty- two and twenty-three like that, you look many times younger than you are. We were not allowed really to, the clerk, see there was just some clerk. They were courteous but they did not register us. Okay, when we got back home, my father, uh, we told him about it and he called--I won't say called 'cause we didn't have phones at that time, but he got in touch with the county agent, Mr. Kitchen. Well, the way black people got registered then was that ----------(??) influential blacks would have to carry you in. That was the way it was in Lee County.

ADAMS: Vouch for you.

HARRIS: Yes. Yes. So, we went back with Mr. Kitchen and of course we 00:52:00got registered at that time. The story in Lee County is very different from Macon County. You may have read about--

ADAMS: Oh, Macon has--

HARRIS: ----------(??). Yeah

ADAMS: --I think it was, yeah--

HARRIS: Well, not as bad as Macon County. We, we were registered. When we went up there just on our own, we were not registered. Uh, and this was as soon --I did this as soon as I turned twenty-one. It was the first summer that I was back home after twenty-one. 'Cause you'd been studying, you know, in the books about how you could register and vote and all, so we went up. But, uh, that's what we ran into. There were very few blacks registered. You, you just, you know, it wasn't quite the thing to do if you were black, to go and get, uh, registered. And we were doing, you know, kind of the unprecedented thing in particular, and we were kind of viewed as children, really. The older people, my, you know, most black people ----------(??) white people in the city. The only people that would have known that we didn't, we just met some 00:53:00clerks when we went to register. We didn't really, you know, encounter the people in charge. But I think it would have been the same, you know, results if we had--

ADAMS: Because, you know, this was about two or three years before Smith v. Allright in '48, that decided that the white primary was unconstitutional and so on.

HARRIS: Right. Right. Yeah. Yeah, it was early days for, you know, registration. So that was just a side thing.

ADAMS: No, I think it's significant in that it, in that, it, uh, as you stated, throughout the continuation of your theoretical interests, if you had studied political science at the master's level, uh, and, uh, the next step would be at least to become a voting citizen and not simply a citizen by virtue of, uh, physical survival. So--

HARRIS: And, and--

ADAMS: --there's your lab work, your first lab work so to speak. (laughs)

HARRIS: Right. Right. And then--

ADAMS: ----------(??)

HARRIS: ------------(??) facing reality because until we went and was 00:54:00rejected, I did not believe they would have not registered us. Now the, the whites that I had dealt with, they, you know, the relation had been so positive and so good, and so I did not really--that was a revelation; the fact that we were really, you know, rejected. I would have, I went there with my sister and I both went with the every notion, oh yeah, that we were registering.

ADAMS: No problem.

HARRIS: We figured that the reason why blacks did not register, because they had not tried. We wanted to try, you know. So that was a revelation, you know, a, a revelation, you know, in reality.

ADAMS: Do you recall when, uh, Mr., was it Kitchens?

HARRIS: Right, Kitchen was the county agent.

ADAMS: --when Mr. Kitchens, uh, accompanied you back, whether anything special was said, other than his presence? Or I'd like to register these--have you all registered? Do you recall anything about the difference between, uh, what, uh, happened and--

HARRIS: I do remember he made some prefacing statement that was, uh, you 00:55:00know, kind of an entree statement about who we were, you know--


HARRIS: -- so they had been--he kind of, you know, presented us as someone of, you know, of, of not quite typical so to speak, you know. So it was, you know, the kind of, of, uh, entree that should not have been, you know, necessary.

ADAMS: Necessary, yeah.

HARRIS: But as I remember, he did, you know, give some prefacing statement and of course, I think he did that because he must have known to get somebody else who was in charge and, uh,that person seeing Mr. Kitchen there, recognizing him, and it was very amicable in terms of, you know, then allowing us to, you know, to register. But I would imagine the number of black people registered in Lee County at that time must have been infinitesimally small, you know. Because, because, 00:56:00uh, uh, you just didn't do that.

ADAMS: And what you said on that--I want you to answer that question about Kitchen is that this pattern of, uh, having a, an acceptable intermediary, uh, was, uh, southside so to speak ----------(??) wide. Uh, a similar thing happened in, again, uh, the town where, uh, I grew up where, when you had, they used to call them garzee (??)--

HARRIS: Yes. (laughs) Yeah, I've heard that word for years.

ADAMS: A garzee means guardian.

ARDS: Oh, thank you. I never heard that word.

ADAMS: Someone who, uh, is regarded as responsible. And would accept the moral and practical responsibility if trouble followed that. So Kitchens was one of many, many such, uh, we now call them intermediaries 00:57:00who, uh, whose perception and ----------(??) was such that the system is not gonna be disturbed because this fella's ----------(??).

HARRIS: Right. Yeah.

ADAMS: And so on, um--

ARDS: Is that kind of like the Uncle Tom ----------(??)?

ADAMS: No, not quite. Not quite. Uh, that's a good question, though. Um, well, I know, in a course like philosophy, and this is ---------- (??), uh, where we constantly find what is meant by that, and that deals with motivation, situation, and definitions of necessity. And the Tom part says none of the above was necessary but it did happen, and it happened at a cost to some of the values of the group. An unnecessary concession that is costly to the group, and, and, and here the trade- off was these young folks wanted to, uh, get registered; they were 00:58:00rejected. Uh, Kitchens had built up some racial capital--now you see, you were not allowed to run around those counties as the county agent, uh, as a responsible, independent person anyway. And don't get me going--(laughs)--because we could do the course here on the sociology of, uh, survival in those days. That's why I said, you know--

HARRIS: Kitchen was a Tuskegee Institute graduate, and Tuskegee Institute was lifted to--the Auburn people felt Tuskegee was, you know, the height of, uh, of the, uh, uh, black people in terms of education--

ADAMS: Best that could be done.

HARRIS: --yeah, professionals, yeah.

ADAMS: Now F. D. Patterson was probably president at that time. Uh, was it somebody before then?

HARRIS: I, I think it was Patterson. Moton was the president before, but I think Patterson was president.

ADAMS: Moton, Patterson, yeah.

HARRIS: I, I never--I can't remember who went every year to the ------ 00:59:00----(??) conference ----------(??) but I think it was Patterson, F.D., uh, Patterson.

ADAMS: But Tuskegee was, was, I'd say south of Richmond, it's Tuskegee, uh, Morehouse is fascinating but if you're talking vocation, it's Tuskegee.

HARRIS: Oh yeah. Yeah.

ADAMS: Yeah. Um, let us get you out of Pennsylvania to the next stage. Uh, did you go, after leaving Penn, uh, you said that you, what, what, what was your next move?

HARRIS: Well, I went into the job market. I--that's when I, as I mentioned to, uh, Sheila, I worked at Texas College, that was my first job, in Tyler, Texas. By that time, with a master's degree in political science, you could get a job teaching, you know, at the college level, and that was my first job. Um, I taught--(laughs)--some political science, some history. You know, you, you, you kind of taught across the board--

ADAMS: Now was there a political science department at Tyler? Or was it 01:00:00a history department?

HARRIS: No, it was a social science--

ADAMS: Social science, that's part of the board. (laughs)

HARRIS: Yeah, right. And you were expected to teach, you know, in that general area. I taught, uh, history as I remember. I know American History and European History was in, uh, I may have taught one. I stayed there, I think, two years. I may have taught one course, one U.S. master's level--

ADAMS: How large was that department? To you recollection?

HARRIS: Uh, you mean students? Students, or?

ADAMS: Uh, ----------(??) faculty?

HARRIS: The Social Science Department maybe had, uh, about four people in it I'd say. See, Texas College was not really a large college. I don't--I suspect it had maybe about fourteen hundred students. As you may know, it's a church-related, uh, college. Still doing very, very well, uh, it's affiliated with, uh, I think, it's either, I think 01:01:00it's the AME, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, uh, or CME one of the other Methodist (??) Church. But at, uh, uh, at Texas College, we taught in the social sciences and the four of us taught, uh, world history, the ------------(??) political science was mainly just U.S. national government and local, just those two courses. The economics, the sociology, and of course ----------(??) was, you know, taught--

ADAMS: How'd you find out about, uh, how'd you end up there, in terms of the ------------(??)?

HARRIS: Well, that's an interesting question. Uh, Penn, the University of Pennsylvania has a placement--I'll call it that for lack of a better name. And way before I graduated, 'cause I knew I was going to the job market, I made my way over to, uh, and I was in Pennsylvania-- 01:02:00Philadelphia about three or four weeks ago, and visited all of these places. I have such fond memories of Penn. Uh, that was just--it's not a placement service now. But, the building where it was, I was there just two or three weeks ago--you registered, and they would send your file to, you know, various colleges. Uh, I think you could give them the names of places to send it, uh, and I think they may have received inquiries otherwise. I don't remember exactly, but that's how I got in touch with, uh, Texas College. They may have, uh, uh, sent some kind of inquiry to Penn or something. I'm not sure. But I know it was through the placement service because we didn't have to sent out letters of recommendation. The whole file, just ship off the package whenever, you know, you wanted to ----------(??) and I, uh, started-- 01:03:00somebody resigned or someone didn't return. You know how teachers often don't--(laughs)--and they had this vacancy at the last minute, so I -- it was --you know, down in September before I, you know, got down there because this teacher did not come back that they expected to come back. And I was hired to replace that, uh, person, and I didn't have a job, so you can imagine how happy I was.

ADAMS: Well, two questions on this one. Um, how do you--do you think that your exposure in poli sci, uh, how helpful was that as a background for a general social studies or social science department? Do you feel that you'd been prepped for what you were faced with, uh, once you got to--

HARRIS: Well, I, I, to be honest, I, I felt a little deficient from the standpoint that I was assigned to teach these history courses--

ADAMS: I was thinking--

HARRIS: --yes, had I been given the--see, I wasn't even teaching the, the 01:04:00one political science course. There was someone else who was already teaching that. So I, I really did feel a little deficient in terms of what I was assigned to teach. Maybe the second year I was there I did teach the one section of U.S. national government today. Helped ----- -----(??) the thing, so, so to answer your question, I did not feel, you know, well qualified for what I was teaching at, uh, Texas College.

ADAMS: And what was the money like?

HARRIS: Well, it would be ----------(??) as I remember so well. I received three hundred dollars a month, that was my contract. So, uh--

ADAMS: We're talking nine months?

HARRIS: That's right. So, that was my total--

ADAMS: Twenty-seven hundred.


ADAMS: You know, Dr. Mays was hiring them for twenty-two--


ADAMS: --when I was there.

HARRIS: Oh, is that right?

ADAMS: In English, for example. But then you could eat on the premises 01:05:00and, uh--

HARRIS: Yes. Yes, you could live on the premises. I stayed with a family, but I could have stayed on campus. But if this is the only job offer you have, you don't equivocate over whether you take it or not.

ADAMS: (laughs) That's true. That's true. And you said an enrollment about fourteen hundred.

HARRIS: Fourteen--

ADAMS: Church-related and, uh, you were in that department. Um, you were there two years. Uh, what was happening in year three, then?

HARRIS: Uh, I went back to work on my doctorate. I, I was somewhat in a dilemma. I, I--somehow, the way I read the situation at Penn, 'cause I was probably the youngest graduate student at Penn. You know, that's just my feeling. And when I looked at the people who were doing Ph.D.s just to see how much more mature they were, somehow I did not, uh, didn't quite picture myself, uh, making the kind of progress I would 01:06:00have wanted to make in this. And there was another more importantly-- the University of Pennsylvania department at that time in political terms was somewhat conservative, and I--after I got there, found out that, in my view, now this is obviously my, just my personal opinion, uh, I did not--it was fine for my master's, but I did not want to continue with my doctorate because, uh, that obviously has some impact on how things were taught and the way they're presented and so forth. At that time, it was, uh, you know--you know how graduate students are. It's very important to us. You discuss who was a member of the Republican Party and who was a member of the Democratic Party, so we knew that for every 01:07:00professor there, you know. (laughs) That was all a part of--

ADAMS: Pedigree straight.

HARRIS: Yeah, and, uh, and the Republican Party did very well in the Penn, in the Penn ----------(??) department, so, uh, it made me feel like political science at that particular time, you know, chronologically, I, I was not, uh, you know, desirous of continuing there after my master's. And as I mentioned, then, there was this maturity factor, too. And I had, I had a friend that was out at Wisconsin, you know ----------(??)--


HARRIS: --and--

ADAMS: Progressives.

HARRIS: Yeah, it's such a progressive place and here again, you know, this wanderlust, you know, as always--(laughs)--I wanted to find out and see for myself. Well, this friend of mine, who, a young lady that finished there in sociology, and she talked so much about how liberal it was at Wisconsin. The atmosphere there, you know, reflected it in so many ways. And uh, I, you know, it sounds like the ideal place to 01:08:00study politics because I really--if you're black and you're studying politics, you certainly want to be in a liberal--

ADAMS: (laughs) At the least --

HARRIS: --yeah, at the least.

ADAMS: At the least.

HARRIS: So I, uh, after these two years, I knew I was going off to Wisconsin. In the two years at Penn, and some at Harvard, I'd kept ----------(??) for a summer and, uh, I'm not sure--

ADAMS: (laughs) And how were you financing this? Out of your twenty- seven hundred?

HARRIS: Twenty-seven ------------(??)--(Adams laughs)--twenty-seven hundred dollars. I bought a new car, you know, so it was all out of the twenty-seven hundred dollars. And the money would go a long way, you know--

ADAMS: Yes, yes.

HARRIS: --uh, so I thought it was time for me--I'd done a summer, one summer working at Florida A & M, uh, while I was at Texas College. Uh, it was time for me to go back to school to try, you know, to work on my doctorate and of course Wisconsin, you know, was ----------(??).

ARDS: So wasn't it kind of like unusual, though, to have--I guess I'm 01:09:00really thinking about how many black Ph.D.s in political science were there at the time, and were you, you know, treading new ground here? Were, were you thinking of treading new ground or?

HARRIS: Uh, well, to take the first part of your question. True, the, the number was very small. I knew every Ph.D. personally. Uh, you know, at that time, we had Ph.D. ----------(??). And that remained true up for a few years afterward. I still knew every, you know, obviously the number now, I would be very lucky if someone like Maurice Willard, you know----------(??)--

ADAMS: Got the chalk, right?

HARRIS: Yeah. (laughs) Uh, the number was small. Uh, I would not maybe want to hazard even an estimate, uh, but we still had this Morehouse legacy that says you must go on and get a, you know a--


ADAMS: Doctorate--

HARRIS: --Ph.D., yeah, in the field of political, I was not, uh, taught to, I think my graduate minor at Wisconsin was geography; geography's very strong at Wisconsin. Mainly because of where it's located. There's a lot of iron ----------(??), iron ore in the South Bend area, so they stressed geology and geography. So I took a minor in geography and I had a great love, still have a great love for geography. Uh, so there was the Morehouse legacy at that point, uh, kind of urging me along to get a Ph.D. I was in, uh, you know, political science, bachelor's and master's, so I was more or less at this point committed to a teaching career 'cause I'd taught, you know, for two years and a summer and, uh, so now I was on my way to a Ph.D. to teach political 01:11:00science because I had now had that kind of experience, uh, behind me. Still, with some thoughts of working for the government, but as it is today, they have no guarantee way of getting into the government. Man, you can apply because our students who graduate now, uh, uh, many of them end up working for the government. They kind of gravitated to it. It's not like, you know, you graduate and you just go right on and, and get a job. So I had interest in government work, uh, but it was a Ph.D. for teaching and it was a matter of trying to, uh, develop your talent, you know. I remember there was Rodney Higgins at Southern, who was a Ph.D. in political science, and not long after Jewel Prestage was there. She was a very young person with a Ph.D., course there was Brisbane at Morehouse. Uh, there was--

ADAMS: There's Gill over at Morgan.


HARRIS: Morgan, yes, yes. That's right. And there's another, I forget, there's another Ph.D. up there. I think Dr. Walker from New Orleans (??). And there's Dr. McIntosh at Grambling, where I went--

ADAMS: But he's going over the early list, you understand?

ARDS: All right.

HARRIS: Yeah, that was very--that's right. There wasn't that many. So, it was--yes, it was unprecedented somewhat, but, uh, if you're gonna get a Ph.D. and that, that was kind of my--I wanted to get a doctorate. So, you work for it, you, you, you--

ADAMS: Now what I think is also striking in Dr. Harris' case, and this is for the record, he is probably one of the few ex-farm persons who, uh, made that route that early. If you think of some of the other persons, they were either out of urban families of teachers and preachers and letter carriers and so on. Uh, take Dr., uh, Vincent Browne. He was out of a family of nurses on the, uh, female side. Two 01:13:00aunts who were, assisted. Uh, take Dr. Martin, um, his father was basically, I believe it could be seen ----------(??), um, I think he was ----------(??). And, uh, in other words, to make the shift, and I don't think it's fully appreciated as it could be. From a rural, non- political setting to an academic bureaucracy, uh, both at the college at Morehouse and the rest, uh, that early with that kind of constituency, uh, is, uh, is rare. Uh, if somebody did, uh, sort of a, sort of a kind of analysis of the trail, in terms of origins and destination. Uh, you'd find that the rural distance is like three or four times 01:14:00psychologically, whether you feel it at time or not. And my own case is similar to yours. I look back at Chi-, Chicago and wonder how in the world--'cause I was there at age twenty-two for the M.A. And, uh, you know, had never owned a car, hadn't even driven a car. And had grown up, uh, in Quitman, Georgia. And I think in retrospect, we, we ask these kinds of questions, but sociologically it's fascinating to do, uh, a comparison of, uh, points of departure and port (??).

ARDS: Piggybacking on that, uh, question, how did your family--did they know what political science was? How did, was--they're very supportive of that kind of discipline and--

ADAMS: Did you get the call that, you're now making money, uh, is it beginning to pay off? I got that kind of pressure incidentally.

HARRIS: Yeah, well okay, take the first part of the question. That's 01:15:00very--well, uh, I'm not sure my father took the time to really, you know, uh, learn about and, say, school himself on what political science was. But my mother took so much pride in what I was doing until that became a full-time--(laughs)--for her, you know, ---------- (??) she could tell anybody what I was majoring in and what I was doing and she knew all the details of it. She knew all about my preliminary examinations and everything.

ADAMS: Tremendous. Tremendous.

HARRIS: Yeah, so she, you know, that was her mission to learn about it. Uh, obviously before I, you know, went into a field of research like that. And you had raised the related question, I think, about--

ADAMS: Well, no, I was just basically dealing with--I think it's basically the same question about the kind of--now, her question was about how did this impact on the family seeing this unusual thing. And the related question was, um, how rare it was for a person from 01:16:00a farming background in the Deep South to go into studying the nature of, uh, political organization in the nation and on the international scene, so to speak. And I've made the point that, that it was unusual and that this had not been suf-, that has not, in my judgment, been sufficiently appreciated, uh, by any of us really in the field. In other words, they, uh, sociological dimensions of mobility.

HARRIS: Right.

ADAMS: And the kind of psychic energy and other kinds of persistent behaviors that you used the term, I want to see this and I want to see that. Uh, but you--between talent I'm sure and, uh, uh, persistence, you did see these things. But a lot of folks would have the I want, you know, the, the, ----------(??) someplace else. And, uh, you were 01:17:00able to realize these wishes and many, many ways. Otherwise we would not be interviewing you, uh, for the enrichment of our understanding of, of the sociology of political science. I think that's a fair way to describe these interviews. Uh, as to who is doing--how did they get to where they are, and what, uh, made them, influence in that regard. Uh, do you have an additional?

ARDS: Well, about this, this ------------(??) work on the Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, just looking at your ----------(??) chronology, you were at--in Tyler. Then you went to the University of Wisconsin. Uh, but I also notice that you were teaching at Tuskegee Institute.

HARRIS: Oh yeah, I almost forgot that. I did teach, uh, well, I went to Wisconsin, then there's an interruption, there's a break. And that's 01:18:00when I taught at Tuskegee, I believe. Yeah, I think it was after, uh, I know some of it was after I went to Wisconsin. There was a break, see, I went to Wisconsin I think, in '54 I believe. And I was there for one year, then I came away and I--it was almost a matter of earning some money, then going back--(laughs)--you know, back? So, yes, Tuskegee was in, uh, I think was around two years that I taught there.

ADAMS: Now what was, uh, the department--what department were you in at Tuskegee?

HARRIS: Uh, well, Tuskegee had a basic college called general studies, and I taught, uh, government and history again, ----------(??) college 01:19:00at Tuskegee because, uh, they only had, you know, just some social science. This would be comparable to our general studies type courses more often, divisional studies--

ADAMS: Okay.

HARRIS: ----------(??). Yeah, I taught, you know, those basic, uh, courses. Western Civilization, U.S. National Government. I had, had two sections of each one.

ADAMS: And that's, that's the first time you could teach, uh, in political science--

HARRIS: Yes, political science, yes.

ADAMS: --without in a sense, uh, being ----------(??).


ADAMS: Uh, how large was that, uh, uh, department, the social studies, political science to your general recollection?

HARRIS: Uh, I remember, yes, uh, maybe about three full-time persons and the head of general studies was also in social--an historian --------- -(??)----------. Three full-time teachers and the director taught part- time, so it was a ----------(??). But I do remember the undergraduate students at Tuskegee at that time were very good. They were good students. Even though they were not political science majors or history 01:20:00majors, they were, you know, very, uh, uh, good students to work with in terms of their overall aptitude, interest in the, you know, study of political science and they could ask challenging questions. Tuskegee was still growing, I think, a fairly good student ----------(??) at that period of time. Maybe still today, you know, I don't know.

ADAMS: Was Gomillion at that time still on the scene?

HARRIS: Yeah. Yeah. He was very active in the community. He was dealing with the voting situation in Macon County.

ADAMS: Okay. That was the gerrymander came in, Gomillion v. Lightfoot.

HARRIS: Yeah. Right. Yeah, he was head of the civic association.

ADAMS: Um-hm. Now was there student and, uh, social science participation in some of that, one way or another?

HARRIS: There were. There were. I'm not sure there was that much, uh, student involvement because Gomillion worked out of the town of 01:21:00Tuskegee. And see, Tuskegee Institute is an incorporated community of its own. You know, a little ----------(??) separation between the town. So most of the members of the civic association were connected with the institute, as with the V.A. hospital, of course you know it's a large V.A. hospital that is, at that time, was staffed almost entirely by blacks and minorities. It was the one V.A. hospital in the whole United States--'cause I remember my next-door neighbor, I lived in an apartment complex called Simmons Garden. My next-door neighbor was a psychiatrist and my next-door neighbor on the other side was a Ph.D. in psychology, so it was pretty quiet, a professional community there. You put the institute beside all those professionals at the hospital, the medical people and so forth, it's, it's a very, you know, unique kind of community.

ADAMS: And I expect ----------(??) Dorothy Hall, is it?


HARRIS: Oh yes. That's the same place that Governor Eugene Talmadge when I was in the seventh grade, there was some white students from the University of Georgia who went to Tuskegee. Just out of curiosity. They wanted to see it vividly. Okay, they stayed in Dorothy Hall, which was the guest house and maybe, maybe now, notice I said maybe Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt stayed there in ----------(??). But what I was about to bring up is that these white students from the University of Georgia visited Tuskegee and they were put up in Dorothy Hall. Okay, Eugene Talmadge, when you're a Georgian, you know, was an arch- segregationist. And I remember his classic statement about the white students who visited Tuskegee, lived in Dorothy Hall. He said, "There are fine, white, young women have stayed in that rat hole, Dorothy 01:23:00Hall." (Adams laughs) That's how--Dorothy Hall was a guest house--

ADAMS: And is pretty nice.

HARRIS: Oh yes. You know, all the celebrities who visited Tuskegee--

ADAMS: ----------(??) celebrities as far as stayed there.

HARRIS: They stayed at Dorothy Hall. And when I go there now, I always wanna see it.

ADAMS: Yeah. This, uh, and on vacation my view of it, I was with the New Farmers of America in high school--

HARRIS: Oh yeah, I remember that in high school, too. One of my favorites.

ADAMS: Yeah, NFA, and so on. That's another story that's not really for the tape, but I remember Dorothy Hall so vividly.

HARRIS: I may have drifted off, but we--

ADAMS: No, no. No, we didn't drift all that far because it was useful to give a ------------(??), a touch of what your return to Tuskegee was like. And before we do that completely, this must have been rather interesting in terms of the family in that you guys were not all that far from home--you were not all that far from home now. In contrast 01:24:00to--

HARRIS: When I was working at Tuskegee?

ADAMS: Yeah.

HARRIS: Right, yeah, so you know, I had a lot of relatives that lived in Tuskegee and, as I said, uh--

ADAMS: Fulfilling the promise. There he is, teaching--

ARDS: ----------(??).

HARRIS: When I was in high school, I used to couch girls down there, so it was kind of like home.

ADAMS: Yeah, it must have been an interesting return.

HARRIS: Yeah. Yeah.

ADAMS: And be paid.

HARRIS: My family, even my first cousins who worked there at the hospital, took a great deal of pride in the fact that I was there, you know, working with Tuskegee. But Tuskegee briefly, the interesting little places, some similarities interestingly enough between Tuskegee and Washington D.C., even though it's a much larger city. And the parallel is this, very few people at Tuskegee are from Tuskegee. Everybody there is from somewhere else. It's a highly professional place. People who work at the institute or the V.A. hospital. And you have to be, you know, have degrees to work those two places. And a place where you don't have a very large indigenous population, it's 01:25:00a place that has a lot of status of teaching. How great I was where I came from, Minnesota, maybe, you know. There's a lot of pushing for status. I find here in Washington, it's--I only have one friend in my circle of friends who's a native Washingtonian. Almost everybody that I know here in Washington is from somewhere else. And that kind of place, you--has a certain unique aspect to it. You know, for years, I lived in Baltimore.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

HARRIS: And there's a dis-, distinct difference between Baltimore and Washington because most of the people I knew in Baltimore were from Baltimore--

ADAMS: Natives?

HARRIS: Yes, yes. Uh, the main thing at Tuskegee, though, even though I, you know, go home to Auburn and didn't spend a whole lot of time down there, there was a great deal of emphasis on status around Tuskegee.

ADAMS: And you know, that dates back to, uh, Booker's staffing of the place, uh, where he, uh, well essentially he got folks from other 01:26:00places to, uh, staff the place. And this is how most--this is a digression--uh, most vocal, uh, industrial ----------(??), the place is a liberal arts college.

HARRIS: Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

ADAMS: Uh, DuBois was thinking seriously of going to work there until he realized that he and Booker would clash as they eventually did, and he got, uh, the wiz, of course, Carver who had all kinds of options from the black schools, to finally come there. And somebody made the point that Oberlin staff ----------(??), uh, because, uh, at the turn of the century, it was Oberlin that, uh, mainly, comparatively speaking, blacks went, and, and managed. So it was staffed with a liberal arts faculty ironically, even though the fellows didn't--vocational, voc ed are the ones who supervised the building of the bricks and the making of things, the brick-laying and the building and so on. Uh, but they were local, put it that way. But the folks who, uh, did the 01:27:00construction were from out of town.

HARRIS: Yeah, it better be local people.

ADAMS: But now we got to get you back up to the next stage. Okay, you've, uh, done Tuskegee. What does the list show, Sheila, as to what we must ask him about ----------(??)? Now he's back to Wisconsin, right?

ARDS: After Wisconsin--

ADAMS: After Ph.D.

HARRIS: My final stage, 'cause I, I didn't leave anymore until after I, I had my degree when I left.

ADAMS: Okay. Now, when you got to Wisconsin, what, uh, aspect of political science did you, uh, had you decided then what sub-field to focus on at that time? What was the curriculum like at Wisconsin, in so many words?

HARRIS: Well there, there were several sub-fields in the department at Wisconsin, and I'm not sure I had decided before I arrived, but after being there, you began taking courses, and you work with your advisor. Uh, everybody had to offer political theory at Wisconsin at that time, 01:28:00so--

ADAMS: You would have to take, not had to offer?

HARRIS: Had to take and offer. And--well, there was no--

ADAMS: ----------(??) for your orals?

HARRIS: Yeah, for your orals. Freelance, right.

ADAMS: Free-lance, right.

HARRIS: And because you had to, to offer, you obviously would take it because that's the way--

ADAMS: ----------(??).

HARRIS: Yeah. So we had to, uh, uh, we were examined in four fields, so one of them was chosen for you, political theory. Everybody had to take theory ----------(??). So there were three fields to choose from, and like most other graduate students, it's, it's a mystery. When you get there and you learn the faculty--(Adams laughs)--and you choose, you wanna work under certain professors, it's a combination of your interest subject matter-wise, and your assessment of the professors, you know. So that's my, my four fields, in addition to 01:29:00theory, turned out to be public administration, uh, international relations, and international law. Those were my--and I kind of liked the professors in the international area. You know, I liked working with them. Pfankuchen I mentioned before, the man who worked for the Dumbarton Oaks project. Uh, but it was continuing what I had started at Penn, with the international relations, the emphasis--'cause I had dreams of working then at the U.N., of joining the foreign service. Uh, that was--I thought I was grooming myself, you know, for that, uh, direction. Uh, and it meant taking, you know, foreign, foreign courses. Uh, working in a foreign area. Uh, but you were encouraged to take, uh, courses in areas to at least sample, there must have been around seven fields, ----------(??) politics and public policy. At the 01:30:00time, I think he--I don't know whether the professor, Nathaniel Tillman was on the faculty when you were there or not.

ADAMS: Um, Old Man Tillman? He was down at AU.


ADAMS: ----------(??), right.

HARRIS: Right. He was--but his son was at Wisconsin. We were, yeah, between--

ADAMS: Okay.

HARRIS: Yeah. There may have been other blacks at the M.A. level, but I know we were the only two at the Ph.D. level when I was there. Tick Tillman, his father, taught me, even though he was on the faculty at Tulane University. He taught courses at Morehouse, because I remember I took a language ----------(??) under him.

ADAMS: ----------(??).

HARRIS: So, so Tillman was in the department, but to be honest, I was--I had an interest in international relations, but I liked the professors who taught in that area, so I was in part--I'm being very candid, very honest, in cho-, in part, I was choosing the professors, you know, who 01:31:00taught in this area, as much as I was choosing a field. Uh, I did not, you know, have an interest in, uh, I think you called it politics and public policy. But I didn't like the professors in that area, so I would not, you know, want to--

ADAMS: So now these professors that you did, quote unquote like, uh, you mentioned, uh, Pfankuchen?

HARRIS: Pfankuchen. P-f-a-n-p-u-c-h-e-n. Pfanpuchen. Uh, Llewellyn was his first name, and he was my advisor.

ADAMS: Okay. Advisor.

HARRIS: And then there was Bill Young, who was chair of the department. Bill Young was the, uh, the editor, I guess you would call him the editor of Ogg and Ray.

ADAMS: Oh, yes, yes.


HARRIS: But see, Ogg and Ray, we, we had seminars at this table. We sat--about this size, to dedicated to William ----------(??). You know, uh, there's a plate on the table, and that, that was our seminar where we met for--

ADAMS: That's right. Young picked it up after Ogg and Ray ---------- (??) so to speak.

HARRIS: Right. Right. So, Young mainly, that was his main, you know, involvement, in addition to being chair of the department, was to revise Ogg and Ray. And he--

ADAMS: Do you know about Ogg and Ray, Sheila?

HARRIS: That's right. At that time--

ADAMS: That was the bible.

HARRIS: The classic, yes, in the Introduction to American Government.

ADAMS: The bible, uh, like the ----------(??) fourteen or fifteen editions.

HARRIS: ----------(??).

ADAMS: Yeah, it was almost like Franklin, but, uh, what's his name, -- --------(??) freedom, except far more--and of course the nature of the audience, far more readers. Uh--

HARRIS: So he was a key--Young was a key professor. He taught me political theory.


ADAMS: Okay. Um, you got those two. Number three, we want your big three. Uh, in terms of key people that you feel were critical in shaping your graduate years.


ADAMS: Uh, Pfanpkuchen, uh, Bill Young, is there is a third one that you say, hey, if I have to do three, what would be that third one?

HARRIS: Oh my. I cannot leave him out because he was so--

ADAMS: What field?

HARRIS: He taught public administration. It was not Henry Hart ------- ---(??), Henry Hart. I hope there'll be some chance for me to fill this in--

ADAMS: Yeah.

HARRIS: ------------(??) later.

ADAMS: Do you remember--

HARRIS: ----------(??) yeah, but that--he would have been the, the, the third one. Let me--

ADAMS: But you did p.a., international relations, international, you said, law?

HARRIS: Uh, international law and organization.


ADAMS: And org, yeah.

HARRIS: International law and organization. That was Pfanpkuchen, he was more or less my--as I said, was my advisor. He was international relations key person. Young, now, really, we all had to take theory under Young. So other than the fact that Young was the person offered me a teaching assistant--

[Pause in recording.]

ARDS: Thirty minutes.

ADAMS: Okay, well we're gonna get him out of school and into some honest work--(laughs)--before we leave.

HARRIS: There are a few points that need to be made about this, about my career, man. But I, will you allow me to fill in maybe two of professors.

ADAMS: Yeah. Sure.

ARDS: That was two black students out of how many--for how many students full-time Ph.D.?

HARRIS: Oh, this is a very rough guess, Sheila, but I'd say sixty ------ ----(??) Ph.D. now.


HARRIS: Yeah, ----------(??) working on Ph.D. ----------(??).


ADAMS: ----------(??). Ask him something else. I'm ----------(??) over here. (laughs) We, we were looking for, okay, how would you characterize the Political Science Department at Wisconsin in those days? Was it as, quote, unquote, progressive and, uh, liberal as you anticipated?

HARRIS: Very much so. Very much so. I, I felt, you know, very well about my choice of departments to go and study political science. The professors were nice to you. You know, at Penn, you were more or less on your own. You were just, you were given a reading list. You had to really just vouch for yourself. At Wisconsin, the attitude, you know, it was more of a teaching type situation and they, uh, you know, were interested in working with you, advising you, bringing you along. They'd see on the street, on the campus, and stop to chat.

ADAMS: Okay.

HARRIS: Uh, it was, you know, uh, uh, the city of Madison was also 01:36:00a very nice, you know, city. The race relations were very good in Madison. So the whole Wisconsin experience was, you know, very good.

ADAMS: And what was the sciences departments say in contrast to, uh, Penn? Uh, in comparison?

HARRIS: Uh, you're talking about faculty?

ADAMS: Yeah, faculty.

HARRIS: I don't think, I don't think there was more than about fifteen members on the faculty. May have been even less because I really believe I took at least one course under almost everybody, almost everybody there during my, you know, years of working on my doctorate. Having shifted universities, that is from Penn to Wisconsin, I--it's left up to you when you want to take your prelims. It's just like many of our doctoral students here. Some of them take courses too long, you know. They do that.

ADAMS: (laughs) Yeah.

HARRIS: And then I was shifted there, I waited until they get comfortable with all the professors to I took courses on the law, took 01:37:00more courses than I needed to take. But it was, it was larger than Penn. And they viewed Penn as a small department when I got there. Uh, I don't remember exactly if, if there were fifteen at Wisconsin, there was probably not more than eight or nine at Penn back then.

ADAMS: Now was that, that question was raised in the context, I guess, of institutional differences, in terms of, uh, um, style, in terms of faculty-student relations, and, and for lack of a better word, institutional personality.

HARRIS: Right. Uh, there were more younger graduate students at Wisconsin, which made me feel more comfortable than I felt at Penn.

ADAMS: Okay. And you were older, probably, by that ----------(??).

HARRIS: Yeah, a little. Yeah. Yeah. I was older.

ADAMS: And so--

HARRIS: But I still I think would have helped the junior under the people at Penn even, you know, after--

ADAMS: After passing for years. Um, so, how long, how long was your 01:38:00study period, uh, after the return to Wisconsin? How long were you there?

HARRIS: I took, see, I took several, I think, '56, I took courses, my prelims, completed, you know, all the exams and course work by June of '58. And then I stayed here and just worked on my dissertation full- time and I marched in '59.

ADAMS: That's efficient.

HARRIS: Yeah, well I was lucky I had gotten married. My wife was, uh, she was working on her master's there. But she finished her master's before I finished my doctorate, so she was, uh, working and I may have- -I don't know what I had in ----------(??) or not. Well, I was, uh, ----------(??) rather, resident or manager of a small house. You got 01:39:00free, you know, uh, uh, room there, and uh, it was a co-op as a matter of fact. So, in that I was over the co-op, we were over the co-op, it meant that we could stay there fairly reasonable, so--

ADAMS: But I'm sure it made a difference to be moving out--were you ever I guess at some point to be, would be during your time there, were you ever a teaching assistant or graduate assistant--

HARRIS: ----------(??) teaching assistant there--

ADAMS: ------------(??).

HARRIS: --late fifty, yeah '57, '58 I believe it was. I was also a teaching assistant. They didn't have many teaching assistantships at that time. But, uh, uh, I was, uh, my last year of courses, I was, uh, teaching. And in Wisconsin, you teach the course; you're fully in charge of your course. They pride themselves or they pride themselves on their graduate students have experience of ----------(??) their own sections fully. You did link with a professor, but, uh, you could 01:40:00choose--you and your professor could choose your type of course. They had many sections of U.S. ----------(??). We didn't all use the same text. And you can imagine how ----------(??), so it was almost like being a full-time teacher ----------(??).

ADAMS: Well, at this time, uh, well, put it another way. Were there any unusual circumstances regarding your last year? You have any trouble with the prelims, for example, uh, ----------(??) on your way out? Any, any unusual plus or minus, uh, things that you might recall?

HARRIS: Uh, no, I, I, uh, the group that took prelims before myself, I think out of about five or six only one passed. So that was enough to frighten the daylights out of us.

ADAMS: Just before your time?

HARRIS: Just before my time. (laughs) Well, I was scared to death when 01:41:00I went to mine, but, uh, at Wisconsin, you have to take all four of 'em at the same time. You can't, you know, stagger--

ADAMS: Stagger --

HARRIS: --them --

ADAMS: At Chicago.

HARRIS: You'd have to take all four of 'em at the same time.

ADAMS: Like two-day period?

HARRIS: ----------(??).

ADAMS: Two-week period. Um-hm.

HARRIS: So I got through them. You know, if you pass three and fail one, then you can retake that, but if you fail more than two, then you cannot take them at all. So I passed all four of mine--

ADAMS: Those are the ----------(??) things at Chicago.

HARRIS: Yeah. Yeah, we had--one of my key professors, Leon Epstein, was from Chicago.

ADAMS: Um-hm. Epstein.

HARRIS: So he was president of the American Political Science Association, ----------(??)--

ADAMS: Here. Promote it?

HARRIS: Yes, right. He was from Chicago, so he did know a certain amount about the Chicago, uh, system. See, he was one of my kind of close professors, Leon Epstein.

ADAMS: Okay. At Wisconsin?

HARRIS: Yes, at Wisconsin.

ADAMS: Okay.

HARRIS: That would be one of the names that I would put in.


ADAMS: He's got a profile, I understand.

HARRIS: Yeah. But I had no problems with the pre-, with the prelims. That is, after, you know, I was trying to be prepared.

ADAMS: And your dissertation topic?

HARRIS: Dissertation topic was, uh, the return of confiscated German property during World War II. "International Relations: The Confiscation and Return of German Property Seized During World War II."

ADAMS: All right. All right. That's fascinating. Fascinating. How'd you get into that?

HARRIS: Well, I was walking a chalk line because Wisconsin does not encourage anyone to do a dissertation on a subject on which you cannot work primarily, uh--

ADAMS: ----------(??), yeah.

HARRIS: So I did not, you know, I wasn't really excited about that 01:43:00when I went there. But I didn't learn until, you know, pretty late in my career--most, they encouraged most of their people to do their dissertations on state and local government. The state capital was right there, you know.

ADAMS: That's true. That's true.

HARRIS: And if, and if you don't have funds to go and, you know, do your dissertation on some local, you know, topic--so it, I was way into the program before I learned this, oh wow, yeah I'm in international relations.

ADAMS: How was your German, by the way? (laughs)

HARRIS: Well, that was not one of the languages that I--

ADAMS: ----------(??), huh? (laughs)

HARRIS: But, uh, the way I held that--working response to that, uh, uh, all of the hearings were mainly world court cases--

ADAMS: Okay.

HARRIS: --on the confiscation of German property, and it was a long story about Eastman Kodak, you know, ----------(??)--

ADAMS: Yes, yes.

HARRIS: --that's how he, he came about it, uh, about all his kids went to the world court, uh, not all, but many of them did, and, uh, there 01:44:00were court hearings, and of course, that's primary, you know, source material, the Interhandel case was the biggest one that I dealt with and, uh, there were kind of a lot of major cases, but, uh, the United States, the Foreign Relations Committee held hearings also dealing with the confiscation of German property, so I was able to use mainly, uh, congressional committee hearings, court reports, and U.N. materials.

ADAMS: Well, you had those as primary materials.


ADAMS: That saved you, I guess.

HARRIS: Yeah, that was, that was my thing. 'Cause I didn't have the funds to really do any travel. And my dissertation was so well received by the German community in the United States until, uh, well, if it's published, uh, part of it, the main part of it was published in 01:45:00the Journal of Politics. And, uh--

ADAMS: All right. On your way out.

HARRIS: So the Ger-, I, I must have a stack of letters this thick from German, you know, people of German descent who read the article in the ----------(??) you know, the confiscation of their property and the return of it, what happened to it. Had a stack of letters, you know, from German people in the United States about my, uh, as far as they know, it's just an article in the Journal of Politics, but it came out of my dissertation. Uh, so I didn't, you know, I was able to do it, you know, that was all I did for that one year, work on my dissertation. I'd get up early in the morning and head over to the library, the historical society library, and work on my dissertation. There's an interesting little angle to it. At that time, see we 01:46:00didn't know, at least I didn't know about caffeine, but you know about caffeine? And there was a group of us that was ----------(??) historic, history, you know, historians ----------(??). We all studied, not in the main library, in the historical society library. Which is very big, you know, in terms of its size at Wisconsin. So we'd all meet in the student union at ten o'clock for coffee, and I always knew that when I got back from the coffee break, my ideas just would flow. I could write. (Adams laughs). Before I went over there, I'd say, I'd say well, what's the matter with me? My mind, you know, something's --- -------(??). As far as I was concerned, it was just late in the morning that my mind--

ADAMS: Circadian rhythm.

HARRIS: It was only way years later that I realized it was the caffeine. I'd had coffee. (laughs) 'Cause I didn't even know anything about decaf coffee --

ADAMS: Uncon-, uncontrolled substance. (laughs)

HARRIS: There was a major difference between what I could do after ten o'clock and that coffee break, and I was there at eight o'clock. I had 01:47:00put in two hours.

ADAMS: But you struggled until coffee break? (laughs)

HARRIS: ----------(??).

ADAMS: (laughs) That's an interesting sidelight.

ARDS: But I wanna get back to the, to your article in, in the Journal of Politics.

ADAMS: Good. Good, good.

ARDS: Were you the first African-American to publish?

HARRIS: I've been told that I was. I don't really know for sure. But I have been told that I was. 'Cause Jewel Prestage, when she was president of the Southern Association, her presidential address was on the record of certain journals in terms of publishing blacks. And during that stage (??), she carried out a survey. I've been told that I was. But I'm, I, I don't know. My article came out in 1961, I think. Yeah, I believe it was nine-, 'cause I was at Grambling at the time that came out. 'Cause I finished in '59--it came out, yeah, it was '61. So if, if I wasn't the first, I was, you know, one of the early, you know, very early persons to--


ADAMS: Good question. Now, okay, we've got you published now early in '61, but you mentioned Grambling.


ADAMS: Now, after completing Wisconsin, uh, was it Grambling as your next stop?

HARRIS: Yes, Grambling was, uh, my, you know, first job after my doctorate. That's where I met, uh, uh, Dr. McIntosh, Phil (??) McIntosh, was his first name. He was chairman of the Social Sciences Division. Had a Social Science Division. But they had at least four or five political scientists, that's the late Dr. ----------(??) was there.

ADAMS: Yes, okay.

HARRIS: In political science. And Alvin McNeal was a political scientist from Denver. Uh, Wilbur Lemelle was there in political science.

ADAMS: Okay.

HARRIS: Tilden was also there. Tilden is president now of UTC. Was there. But he was teaching English. Tilden--that was before --------- -(??), in fact, I wrote Wilbur's recommendation to be admitted to Denver 01:49:00'cause he had a master's. He didn't have a doctorate at that time. Uh, but he was in the department, so we had four or five, you know, they were all very good. You know, ----------(??)Wilbur and McNeal, Adair, McIntosh, and we had political science majors I believe. Even in the Social Science Department, I think we were able to get a major concentration.

ADAMS: I would imagine because if you have, you mentioned about five names. And--

HARRIS: Yeah, about five.

ADAMS: --and about how many people were in the Department of Social Sciences?

HARRIS: Uh, may, may have been fifteen.

ADAMS: Okay. So you're about a third of the personnel--

HARRIS: Yeah, fifteen at least ----------(??). See, Grambling was, uh, just had enrollment around three thousand maybe at that time. It was pretty large, and we had a goodly number of majors in political science. Some of them were, you know, quite good, went on to graduate 01:50:00school. Most people associate Grambling with football --

ADAMS: Yeah.

HARRIS: But any time I, I often point out to my students now that any time you have a group of five thousand people competing for the tough ones are good. I noticed by these large high schools, if you, if you graduate the top of your class--just like my niece graduated from, uh, Wheaton High School. I think the graduating class was seven hundred some. Well, she was, you know, pretty high up number. That means a whole lot--

ADAMS: Sure, sure.

HARRIS: If you can compete in that kind of company. So Grambling was fairly large and the top students at Grambling were really good. They could compete anywhere.

ADAMS: And how long were you at Grambling?

HARRIS: I was at Grambling for two years, uh, 1959 to 1961, and I came 01:51:00to Coppin in Baltimore. And--

ADAMS: Okay. Now how do the two compare? Did the two compare in terms of enrollment? Uh, Coppin is about fifteen hundred or so?

HARRIS: Well, Coppin was smaller at that time. It was, maybe, I'd say about six, seven hundred.

ADAMS: Oh, six or seven hundred, okay.

HARRIS: It was smaller, it was mainly a teachers college. It became, you know--

ADAMS: But you were working your way back to Washington where political science is practiced, you know.

HARRIS: Yeah, because I had come to Washington the year that I was at Grambling. That is, I was there two years, so that summer. I came to Washington to, uh, that's when I did an article, um, -it's amazing how these years roll, but, uh, I did an article on what appeared in a British journal on the trial of enemy agents in hearing --------- 01:52:00---(??) to you know, during the war. And I was, since I had dealt in German confiscation of German property, this would deal with many of these German aliens who were tried to see if they were ------------(??) and so forth.

ADAMS: Yes, and especially the Midwest-located people, yeah Cincinnati.

HARRIS: Right. So I came to--I wrote my congressman and got his permission, I wanted to see the hearing. See aliens were tried by hearing boards, not by regular courts. But there were records of all these hearings, and through my congressman, I was able to go to the justice department, had a guest there waiting for me and I watched. And I went through all of these hearings, and the result of that research and I'm sure it's on my resume there, was this article that appeared in the comparative law division, comparative law journal--

ARDS: British Journal of International Comparative Law.

HARRIS: Okay. Okay. Yeah, yeah, so I did that while I was at Grambling. Some of it between those two years. But my first child 01:53:00was, uh, well, she was on the way in Wisconsin, but she was born in, in Grambling in Louisiana. Well, she was born in Texas 'cause my wife was in Texas. And, uh, ----------(??) children and all. Uh, I didn't look favorably upon Grambling as a good place for school, you know, for kids and all, so--then I was trying--I had come to Washington to do this research, but how many times would I be ----------(??) my own expense that summer, you know.

ADAMS: I was about to ask what was the nature of research ---------- (??)--

HARRIS: It was the same thing, the research, the research. So then, you know, working my way back to Washington. Two motivating factors, there was one of, you know, trying to do research, because at that stage, when you're really eager to get some research done, and there was also the matter of the kid who was then, uh, well she, she wasn't quite one year old, really when we left, and really moved from down there. 01:54:00But the idea was that, you know, get located, switch schools. But Grambling was a good experience for me. They elevated me to the acting chairman of the Social Sciences Division while I was there.

ADAMS: Really? Wisconsin Ph.D.

HARRIS: Yeah, they were very nice to me. They made me feel so guilty leaving, you know?

ADAMS: Yeah.

HARRIS: I'm telling you, really, really. 'Cause they, you know, they seemed to been so proud of what I was doing, you know, and they gave me all kinds of opportunities to, uh, ----------(??), uh, programs, you know, assembly programs and--on the UN and various topics. But, uh, these factors I mentioned, you know, are strong factors, you know, your children and this research, you know.

ADAMS: So, uh, you got the offer--

HARRIS: To Coppin, yeah.

ADAMS: Coppin.

HARRIS: Came to Coppin, and Coppin was not where Grambling in terms of emphasis on political science. It was just back to a general social 01:55:00sciences division and teaching, you know, some--I taught a course in sociology and just general social sciences classes.

ADAMS: Wow. ----------(??)?

ARDS: I don't know. How long?

ADAMS: Yeah, and, uh, and the, uh, experience at Coppin lasted how long? In terms of--

HARRIS: Uh, a very good while. From '61 to '67 and then I went on leave, I believe in '67, then I was ----------(??) for a few months and then ----------(??). But I was there until the spring of sev-, I did 01:56:00not resign until the spring of '70. I resigned in '70.

ADAMS: Okay. Now, what was the social--were you in the social science unit continuously? Uh, did, did you continue in social science, uh, what was it like at Coppin?

HARRIS: Yeah, Coppin--that was all they had. In the political science, the history, the economics, the anthropology--

ADAMS: --was all in--

HARRIS: --was all in the social sciences. And I did not have a full load in political science. I had to teach some social, you know, introduction to sociology, you know, as one of my courses. Uh, but I found, you know, late, in the later years that I became chairman of the division so then I didn't teach as much.

ADAMS: Administrative responsibilities?

HARRIS: Yeah. Right. But I began in sixty, uh, sixty, '67, that's when I went to Xerox for--this was really just a summer and part, they let me stay late, I stayed for about four months up there during the summer. That was, you know, a good opportunity.


ADAMS: What was the topic of the--

HARRIS: Well, at Xerox, I was doing a project in political education for their employees. And, uh, uh, also carried out research on their social contributions, you know, their giving. What they gave to, uh, help them to try to set up a balanced portfolio of giving. And to carry out a survey on the political participation of Xerox employees and to help another worker, another staff member in terms of holding seminars to try to promote higher consciousness about, uh, political issues, but you know, Xerox I guess is still a very successful corporation. It certainly was at that time. They gave me an opportunity to rise in the Xerox world, you know--

ADAMS: Okay.

HARRIS: --and, uh, it was a very, you know, rich experience for me there. Uh, shortly--I think that following year, through the Ford 01:58:00Foundation, I, I had a full year of research. I was off from Coppin, a full year on a Ford grant. They had, you know, these programs similar to what they've had in recent years, these scholarships were earmarked for minorities like, uh, for Samuel DuBois Cook.

ADAMS: Um-hm. Nice.

HARRIS: Samuel DuBois Cook.

ADAMS: --Samuel DuBois Cook--

HARRIS: Yeah, yes, he was on the boar-, well, I don't know whether he was on the board, but anyway, he called me up.

ADAMS: Right before--was he a program officer at that time?

HARRIS: Yeah, I think he was, I think so.

ADAMS: Yeah. Yeah.

HARRIS: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But anyway, see Sam and I were at Morehouse College at the same time. So he called me up to let me know that competition was gonna be coming up, so I was, you know--(laughs)-- alerted to the fact. And I sent in a proposal on councils of government. That's what I wanted to study. They had just, you know, become, uh, they very early, just being developed. So I was supposedly getting in on the ground floor doing some research. And Ford, of course, uh, 01:59:00funded my proposal, so I went on leave from Grambling--I mean from--

ADAMS: Coppin.

HARRIS: --Coppin full-time. Uh, it's on my resume, I think it was '67, '68. May have been '66, '67, but, uh, that--I got a monograph out of that published by the Metropolitan Fund in Detroit on the councils, the study of all of existing Councils of Government at that time. And it was one of the early studies being done at, at that time. .

ADAMS: Okay. We have you now, uh, to the Council of Governments publication, uh--

HARRIS: Which, uh, comes out, uh, well, my later years at Coppin. ----- -----(??) at Coppin in terms of--

ADAMS: Now, um, you left Coppin in '67 or sixty--

HARRIS: Went on leave from Coppin.


ADAMS: The leave was in '67. When was the left--(laughs)--so to speak?

HARRIS: When did I leave?


HARRIS: I, I did not resign until 1970. But I had another year off which I was, uh, at the U.S. Civil Service Commission as, uh, associate director of, uh, Executive Institutes. The Executive Institutes was a part of the Civil Service Commission which was responsible for super grade training for freshman for ----------(??). That was, you know, doing Lyndon Johnson's administration, so you had the beginning of the great society years and so forth, and so I was--as far as the Civil Service Commission was concerned, I was, you know, hired as a permanent employee. I just did not resign my position--


ADAMS: (laughs) Okay.

HARRIS: --as far as Coppin was concerned, I was on leave.

ADAMS: You signed no resignation but you took a permanent, uh--

HARRIS: Yeah, I told the Civil Service people about it. They had no problems with it, you know, ----------(??). Uh, so I was, I was hired as associate director of the Executive Institute. And that's when I got into, into government relations.

ADAMS: Yeah, that's, that was, uh, a high profile appointment, and, uh, ----------(??) as I vaguely recall.

HARRIS: Yeah, that was, that was a very rich experience.

ADAMS: Yeah, and I, I think the PR on it was, was, uh, among poli sci folks--excuse me, uh, virtually national. I would hear about it. At that time, in '67, I was at North Carolina Central.


ADAMS: But I was aware, very much aware, of it. And I would see, uh, C.W. Harris but that didn't ring as it now rings in terms of, uh--

HARRIS: Yeah, yeah, you came in too, too late.

ADAMS: Yeah, yeah, I was--it was down that way, too, you know, in that sense. But you were there for the '66, '67, uh, and, uh--

HARRIS: That's when I got into intergovernmental relations.


ADAMS: And, yeah. Tell us about, about, about that, uh, what did the program do, uh?

HARRIS: Well, Executive Institute--the Civil Service Commission, as you may know--well, now, of course, OPM. But essentially--

ADAMS: They're not real--

HARRIS: --it's just a change in name for the organization; OPM does what the Civil Service Commission did when it was in existence. As you may know, that organization is not only responsible for recruiting and, uh, uh, hiring or helping coordinate the hiring. But it's also responsible for the training, the in-service training that goes on. Now, true, that kind of training goes on in all of the various departments, but it's coordinated by OPM. Uh, uh, the Bureau of Standards' policy on standards, in terms of the classification of the grades and all, 02:03:00all handled by OPM. So I was in the Bureau of Training at the Civil Service Commission. Associate Director of the Executive Institute. Executive Institute was responsible for all of, uh, in-service with freshman and training for the super grades. Super grades means, yes, fifteens, sixteen-, fifteen through eighteen.

ADAMS: That's super.

HARRIS: And, uh, I handled the plan and handled institutes on--in intergovernment relations, and was responsible for--the intergovernmental relations institute course was designed to help coordinate a program, say, in agriculture, in labor. And, uh, a 02:04:00----------(??) was in it as well, and, uh, and it was HEW at that time. All the people-oriented departments were, uh, their employees attended my seminars in an attempt to bring these people together. Okay, you're working in housing problems maybe in HUD. Somebody else in labor is working with lower income, you know, groups. And somebody in agriculture is also--and this is to bring the people together who work in these similar kinds--

ADAMS: Let me pause--

[Pause in recording.]

ADAMS: Um, okay, so when you were at the Civil Service Commission, running the, uh, assisting with the in-service of the super grades and so on, um, did you have any thoughts, uh, recollections about, uh, the role of the Civil Service Commission in, uh, promoting diversity, uh, at the upper grades, in terms of the agencies and, uh, departments.


HARRIS: Yes, well, the commission, which is the, uh, kind of the umbrella agency for personnel and human resources, uh, was more or less in charge of creating the framework, helping to create the framework, setting the tone for bringing in a greater diversity of persons within, uh, the service. The commission during my days there was like some other agencies. Uh, uh, OMD, for example. Department of Agriculture. Uh, and I'm digressing just for a quick moment to say that, uh, because the Civil Service Commission was in charge of setting the standards for, uh, qualifications of people in the government, many 02:06:00there felt that it had to maintain, it had to be a living example of what represented the right standards and qualifications. Now, uh, if you buy into that theory to any extent, then that may help to explain why the commission itself did not show as much diversity as, you know, one would, especially during my time. But to get to your question, basically, the framework which, uh, was being set, say for agencies like HUD which had an outstanding record in terms of minority diversity and so forth, HEW, another good example. The framework which allowed this to be done was set by the Civil Service Commission. So it played 02:07:00that kind of role.

ADAMS: So you--let me see if I can paraphrase. You're saying that, that in terms of the commission itself the representative of what it was doing was not as representative as its work?

HARRIS: Right. Right. Exactly. That's right.

ADAMS: Okay. Um, how long were you there? Uh, now we, using the term 1966, '67. You have one, uh--

HARRIS: Just one calendar year.

ADAMS: One calendar year.

HARRIS: Yeah. Right. Right.

ADAMS: And after leaving the commission, uh, and the associate directorship of the institute, you went back to--

HARRIS: Back to Coppin.

ADAMS: --Coppin.

HARRIS: Yes. 'Cause I was really--as I mentioned, I was just really on, as far as Coppin was concerned, I was on leave.

ADAMS: On leave for that year.

HARRIS: Yeah. Uh, they, they, you know, obviously I was very interested to stay on at the commission with a promotion and so forth, uh.

ADAMS: About what, uh, U.S. level? Presumably you were--

HARRIS: Uh, I was a thirteen.

ADAMS: Okay.

HARRIS: Just medium, you know, grade level position, and I was offered a 02:08:00fourteen to, uh, you know, uh, if I'd, you know, stayed on for another year. But, uh, just--I had not resigned my position and I'd taken a one-year's leave and I enjoyed the work but it was not the kind of position I would have wanted on a permanent basis. So that's why I did not--

ADAMS: So it was a good year?

HARRIS: Yeah, right. A good year.

ADAMS: And then you go back to, uh, Coppin and, uh, out of that experience, uh, did you find any of it usable at Coppin?

HARRIS: Yeah, to some extent. See when I went back to Coppin, I think that was the first year that I was the director, I went into strictly administrative position I went back to, which was the director of that graduate division. It had not developed into a school at that time. 02:09:00Uh, so it was, uh, it was useful to me, not as useful as it would have been had I been teaching political science, uh, but when I went back, the president appointed me as director of graduate studies. That's what--and that was really the graduate school of Coppin at that time. But, uh, you know, the next year, I, you know, came over to Howard and that's when I began teaching intergovernmental relations and the experience at the commission was--

ADAMS: That should be 1970?

HARRIS: Nineteen seventy, the fall of '70, that's when I came to Howard as, uh, uh, became the acting chair of political science. And I arrived that fall. And I also taught, and that's when I--I think they already had the course in intergovernmental relations but there was nobody, you know, committed to it as a teacher, and that was ideal 02:10:00because I wanted to teach intergovernmental relations.

ADAMS: Oh, okay. Was that uncovered in your eyes, virtually?

HARRIS: Right, yeah. Yeah, as I remember, there was nobody who was committed to teaching that course.

ADAMS: Now how large was the department at Howard when you became the acting chair?

HARRIS: I think, uh, we had a faculty of about thirteen members. But, uh, this will surprise you, five hundred undergraduate majors.

ADAMS: Five hundred majors? You're talking 1970.

HARRIS: Nineteen seventy. Five hundred undergraduate--it was the largest department in the College of Arts & Sciences.

ADAMS: That is a surprising statistic, uh, especially in light of the recent survey of service and so on, and in light of the size.

HARRIS: We had one--

ADAMS: What was being accounted for that? Was it, uh, carryover from the sixties, uh, activism, uh?

HARRIS: That was a part of it, but, uh, you know, black, uh, people, black students have been attracted to medicine and law.


HARRIS: Those are the two fields that, uh, you know, have always carried 02:11:00a large number. And political science, it was seen as the field to major in if you were applying to law school. So, I mean, all of our undergraduates were planning, you know, to go to law school. Uh, that has changed somewhat because, uh, there's people, you know, here at the university I think who made an effort to try to dispel that, uh, idea about saying, you know, you can major in this field, that field. Uh, I still tell my students that, well, I know you feel that because I'm in political science that I've taken a parochial position. I said, "But, uh, I would ask you to just, uh, make a survey if you could of the lawyers in the United States, and you'd find the overwhelming majority of them majored in political science, you know."

ADAMS: Yeah. Yeah, that's very true. Very true.

HARRIS: It's, it's, it's, uh, it's the logical preparation for it. So to get back to my point, there in 1970, that was the field for 02:12:00law school, and that's how I explained it. I mean, as you mentioned there was the activism and politics, uh, uh, among students that would be a field that would be a vent to their concern, their interest in involving themselves. We had students going to Mississippi to register voters, you know.

ADAMS: Was this the HUMP project?

HARRIS: Uh, yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: The Howard University Mississippi Project?

HARRIS: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, right. That--there were several different, uh, trips down there. They went to Alabama, Mississippi. They had the Shaw Project going on here in the city where--these were student-run projects when I came in, during my early years here. But they were, you know, doing outreach activities, strictly on their own. These bus trips were organized and were, uh, you know, carried out by students. There were no faculty members who were going, and the students were, you know, just fully into, you know, uh, these projects and excursions 02:13:00and trips. So all of that was in the political science department. And, uh, it was, you know, a very, very, uh, you know, attractive department to, to students then.

ADAMS: Now in terms of--you had thirteen faculty. Was there another African-American historically black institution with, uh, that large a number?

HARRIS: Oh no. Uh, at least I don't think so. You know I haven't, you know, didn't carry out a formal survey of any kind, but, uh, I, you know, I think our undergraduate department with five hundred, it would be somewhat, uh, on a par with any of these very large universities. (laughs)

ADAMS: Yes, I would think so. And so in that sense, the five hundred, the student enrollment was disproportionate to the size?


ADAMS: Because if we're thinking of the college at that time having enrollment of perhaps twenty-two or three hundred, then--

HARRIS: Well, there's more, there's more than that.


ADAMS: Say, closer to three thousand.

HARRIS: It was in the threes.

ADAMS: (laughs) Okay, you're right. All right. But that was still, that was still one out of six, if you put five hundred into three thousand, you get one out of six probably was a political science, uh, major.

HARRIS: Right. We were the largest department.

ADAMS: How, um, I guess ----------(??)--now if you broke those numbers down into grad and undergrad--undergrad and graduate, how large was the graduate, uh, numbers--

HARRIS: Well, when I came to Howard--

ADAMS: --say, '70, '71?

HARRIS: --as, as its chair, I had ninety-five graduate students when I came.

ADAMS: And those were in master's--

HARRIS: Master's and Ph.D.

ADAMS: --and Ph.D. Ninety-five?

HARRIS: Yeah. Many of them were part-time. They were not all full- time. That was--then, soon as we had over a hundred and fifty. I mean, you went on up fairly high, with the Ford Foundation grant--


ADAMS: Yes. Yes.

HARRIS: --it just gave the department such a shot in the arm, and, uh, our first group of real fellowships, you know, with stipends and so forth. So the department was, uh, it was, uh, a large and, uh, uh, for lack of a better word, uh, it was a department that was delivering, uh, a multi-faceted type of service program. We have projects going for students who wanted to be active in the community. We had, uh, uh, a variety of sub-fields for our graduate students--

ADAMS: Any examples that you recall?

HARRIS: Uh, well, right now I think we are up to eight sub-fields. At that time, we probably were around six sub-fields. Uh, uh, 02:16:00political theory, that's, that was just getting started, qualitative mathematical we had that, we dropped as a sub-field, but we had it as a sub-field then. Public administration, uh, politics and public policy, international relations, comparative politics. That's probably five of the six ----------(??). But, uh, to use a colloquial term, it was a swinging department. Yeah, we had, you know, we soon brought in people like the late Professor Archie Singham. Uh, Professor Ellis.

ADAMS: William Ellis.

HARRIS: Uh, uh, uh, let's see. We had, uh, Bernard Fall, the late Bernard Fall was of course, I think he was killed in a plane crash. He was a Far Eastern, a well-known Far Eastern--

ADAMS: Stepped on a mine.

HARRIS: How's that?

ADAMS: He stepped on a mine, a ----------(??) mine.


HARRIS: Is that right?

ADAMS: Yeah.

HARRIS: Yeah, I guess I got mixed up there. I know he got killed some way. Uh, and of course, uh, had people like Dimitrios Kousoulas who was the erstwhile advisor to the Greek constitution, you know. He was kind of controversial in our department, but you know, he was well published and, uh, of course--

ADAMS: And he had a textbook, American Government--

HARRIS: Yeah, right. On Government as it was called.

ADAMS: On Government.

HARRIS: Yeah, just was a basic text used in our course, Introduction to Political Science. So we had a, you know, a, a, a very live department and, uh, I remember very well that first year I was here, uh, there were thirty Phi Beta Kappas in the senior class. And ten of them were from political science.

ADAMS: Impressive.


ADAMS: Impressive. Now you mentioned the Ford Foundation support, uh, 02:18:00giving you, giving the department a boost.

HARRIS: Right.

ADAMS: And that you could offer graduate fellowships and so on.

HARRIS: Right.

ADAMS: Uh, what about faculty impact? In terms of the funding? Were you able to increase faculty numbers and, uh, depth, in terms of coverage?

HARRIS: Oh yes. See, the Ford grant was a two million dollar grant over a two-year period and the Ford officials met with HEW, through the department where our budget was lo-, located at that time, about continuing that. They contin-, they agreed to continue. Otherwise, you really can't hire people because you have to have permanent money to hire--well, you need to have it, otherwise you're just hiring for a year or two, then you gotta go.

ADAMS: Sure, sure.

HARRIS: So they agreed to continue the funding so we were, you know, really in business and we increased the number of slots out of that money to twenty-some odd. Right now, I, well, at the high mark, we had 02:19:00twenty-six positions in political science. Now I think the number has been cut, maybe, maybe doing well if they're twenty or twenty-one in the department now. But we went up, I don't mean we went out instantly now to twenty-six, but the money was granted to the university in the spring--well in, let us say in 1971. And we began to hire in the fall of '71 and we continued for the next two or three years--

ADAMS: To bring it up to the twenty, twenty-six.

HARRIS: Yeah, right. But it had a great impact on the faculty, uh, uh, in terms of the quality of the people you were able to hire, uh, and, uh, it, uh, bringing in the new blood, of course, meant, uh, sort of reorganizations in the department, improving the graduate program and 02:20:00most importantly, we had, uh, I believe it was ten graduate fellowships with a stipend--

[Pause in recording.]

ADAMS: --impact it had on research support? Uh, was there any visible change in, in the rate and level of publication by faculty members?

HARRIS: Oh yes. Yes. Uh, uh, many of the faculty members that we hired came with, uh, uh, research, uh, portfolios so to speak. You take Professors Ellis and Singham were tenured professors at the University of Michigan, so they had, you know, uh, significant research, you know, behind them and they continued their research when they came to the university. Uh, some of the Ford money was, uh, earmarked for research 02:21:00so that we could, uh, support, I think, not a lot but, uh, uh, ten thousand was the, was the minimum amount we had each year for research in the department. You know, you know, seed money for people to get started with their projects. Uh, so the, the research increased, uh, significantly. Uh, for example, during my chairmanship, we organized, we chartered a plane--the chairman of the department, Art Ford (??) and I.

ADAMS: Oh yes. Yes.

HARRIS: You probably remember Art.

ADAMS: I remember, I know of his plane, but, but he ----------(??) poli sci and the plane. (laughs)

HARRIS: We chartered a plane each year to visit, uh, a number of colleges and we would release the teacher--sometimes I would teach --- 02:22:00-------(??) professor's class, and two of our professors would go on the tour. And we set up, I set up, you know, meetings at, say, Southern University, Texas Southern, just a complete circuit. And that's how we, we got some top graduate students, 'cause each department at that time handled its own recruiting. And Art and I would charter a plane, set up the trips, and they would have, you know, we'd have groups of students would be waiting at each of these colleges, you know, throughout. And these trips, you know, really netted us outstanding graduate--

ADAMS: Great, great.

HARRIS: --students.

ADAMS: I guess many of them were, I guess on arriving, you would tell them, hey, you flew in, in their own thing, and they're gonna fly back and so on. To impress them that you're big time, I suppose. Um--

HARRIS: Yeah, we were serious about, you know, improving the department. The Ford Foundation, they gave, they gave us that money. One of the officers said, "Well, some question as to whether, you know, you all 02:23:00know how to spend this kind of money. That's, that's a big grant." And we were out to show that we, you know, were going to, uh, uh, use the money wisely and make it productive and, uh, really have its --------- -(??).

ADAMS: Now, um, how would you assess the evolution of the department awards, awarding terminal degrees? Um, had they been doing this--how long had, to your recollection, when did they start doing, uh, Ph.D.s?

HARRIS: Well, I knew it started, uh, Russ under--I think when Dr. Bunche was the chairperson. I don't know in terms of exact year. When I came to Howard, they were already--

ADAMS: It was already--

HARRIS: --a Ph.D.--

ADAMS: --offered?


ADAMS: Um, the Ford support, I suppose, facilitated that 'cause you 02:24:00could take somebody past the master's towards the, the other.

HARRIS: Yeah, the Ford support was just invaluable to the department because we could then compete for outstanding graduate students to study on a full-time basis. See, before, when I came to Howard, that first year, because I came in as the chair, I got a chance to learn about all of the operations of the department, and yet all of our students were part-time. That's why all of our courses were offered in the evenings--

ADAMS: Now this is why you mentioned part-time earlier. Uh, now these would be folks employed, uh, and would, uh--

HARRIS: Right. 'Cause we had no money. We weren't, we didn't have any fellowships--

ADAMS: Um-hm.

HARRIS: --to give them, so we could not compete for top graduate students. And the Ford Foundation's objective, uh, Dr. Cheek, president of the university, explained in very clear terms that ---- ------(??) that we could not compete with the Ohio States and with the Illinois', with the University of Illinois and these other universities 02:25:00in terms of trying to attract black students because we had no money to offer them.

ADAMS: Um-hm. Um-hm.

HARRIS: And we were missing out on the top faculty in our department as well as students. So Ford's objective was to make our--competitive in the two poli sci-, political science in those two departments. To compete with--and wanted to ask us, "Okay, what do you need?" and that's when we got all the staff members in, in political science. I was able--I just left the government, so I was able to tell 'em that we need ----------(??).


HARRIS: The systems.

ADAMS: The ----------(??).

HARRIS: So I told 'em we needed an administrative assistant, a GS-9, a chairman's secretary GS-8, and the other secretary is a GS-7. They gave us what we said we needed and we told them we needed some research money, we needed faculty positions. So that's, that's how that, uh, so they just gave, you know, tremendous, uh, we got undergraduates from 02:26:00Columbia University.

ADAMS: Transferred, uh, ----------(??)--

HARRIS: Well, no these were--

ADAMS: Undergrad, grad--

HARRIS: --graduates, the undergraduate idea--

ADAMS: --it may be--

HARRIS: Well, you know, that was not happening before the Ford Grant.

ADAMS: Yes. Yes, 'cause you could then offer them competitively, uh, in addition. Um, what kinds of dissertation orientations do you recall the department supporting? Was it across the spectrum of what was offered in the sub-fields of the department, or what? Uh, I guess I'm asking how many of the dissertations as an impression, uh, were ethnically centered? How many were, uh, non-ethnically centered? Uh, focused? Was it ----------(??), uh, how ecumenical was the coverage of , uh, dissertation work? Um, I'm, I'm often been curious about that. Just an impression whether a third of 'em may have been, uh, in one category or three in another and so on. I know I read out of the years 02:27:00the tell us in some detail--


ADAMS: As chair, and watching a cluster of Ph.D.s come up, uh, do you have any recollections as to, uh, what kinds of things your committees, uh, ----------(??) to work with.

HARRIS: Yeah, I'm, I'm, uh--

ADAMS: I was thinking that you would be in international relations virtually all the way.

HARRIS: Right. Yeah, my, my own, you my own--

ADAMS: Yeah, in your personal case. German confiscation issues, uh, Japanese constitution.

HARRIS: I, I am just trying to recollect and to hazard some kind of, you know, estimation or approximation. I--certainly after the Ford money, we expanded our faculty. See, we went up to around twenty faculty members in about three years time.

ADAMS: Okay, up from thirteen?

HARRIS: Yeah, right. Right. Right.

ADAMS: That's, that's the third increase.

HARRIS: Yes, right. We brought in some top, uh, minority, black 02:28:00professors. And we, you know, expanded the course offerings. That's when we began the subfield of black politics and so forth. So, uh, not immediately, but within about a two-year span of time, I would say that certainly the majority of the dissertations were dealing with minority related topics, uh, for instance. Uh, at the time that I came here, our Ph.D.s , well, was very feeble. You know, it trickled, you know, we'd get one--

ADAMS: One or two.

HARRIS: Yeah. Right. You know, part-time. You know how slow that is.

ADAMS: Yeah. Yeah.

HARRIS: But after about three or four years, we, you know, with these ten fellowships. We had ten full-time students, you know, really working and, uh, progressing. Uh, the dissertation, I would say 02:29:00from that time on, we're talking about from 1974 up to the present, the majority of our dissertations have been dealing with issues, uh, problems, in the black com-, are related to the black community. 'Cause I, I do remember very well how I used to meet the graduate students and I met with, uh, uh, Walter Fauntroy, Congressman Fauntroy. We generated a list of topics on which they needed research 'cause my idea was that there ought to be some dovetailing between, uh, ------- ---(??) stress applied research. But the needs of the black community, maybe our M.A. and Ph.D. students their research can dovetail with some of the needs. So we generated, we started off, along with them. 02:30:00We generated a list of topics on which, you know, research was needed. So that did not develop quite as I anticipated 'cause I'm not sure that many students picked topics. But at least it put us in touch with, you know, the congressional office and the topics that they, you know, viewed as topics on which research was needed. And some of the students did pick, you know, topics that had been on this list. So there was--I, I bring that up because you asked the ecumenical and the, you know, relationships ----------(??). So there was a conscious effort to have some of the research serve the needs of the congressional members of the Black Caucus.

ADAMS: I was about to ask that question about the relationship between the departments and groups like the Black Caucus.

HARRIS: Yeah. Yeah.

ADAMS: Um, what, uh, in your judgment, has been the connection between the department and the Center for, uh, Policy Studies?


HARRIS: You mean Eddie Williams' institute?

ADAMS: Eddie Williams' institute. The Joint Center for Political Studies.

HARRIS: Joint Center for Political Studies. Well, you know, that was a part of Howard University when it got started. I, I was here on the faculty, was in all of the, in the meetings. And it remained a part of the university, of the university for about five, eight years, I guess.

ADAMS: Now ----------(??) the department and that was a part of the university, and also related to the political science department--

HARRIS: Yeah, there was a relationship, we, we changed the name of the institute into Joint Center. And I was a part of the discussions when it separated from the university, uh, which was mainly over our accounting procedures. It was just too slow in terms of, you know, what the Joint Center needed to do and Eddie had become very successful in raising funds, and the funds all had come to the university, and then in order to access those funds, well you, as a department chair, 02:32:00you worked it.

ADAMS: Amen. Amen.

HARRIS: You are familiar, yeah--so it was just too slow for him, and he of course, went to his board, I guess, Ford and, uh, asked to, you know, have a different arrangement.

ADAMS: Uh, you know, the political science department here at Howard, unlike those in other predominantly black schools, is located, of course, by definition, in the nation's capital. To what extent, in your judgment, has, uh, the department beyond the things you've described benefited from this proximity to Congress? To the executive branch, or to the judicial branch at the national level? Uh, do you see any, uh, pluses, uh, things that could be better regarding--

HARRIS: Well, yes, that's a very vociferous yes. I see there are positive, uh, results, positive, uh, benefits of all kinds from that. 02:33:00You see, when we produce our flyer, our brochure that we send across the country, we start out with the fact that, uh, to study political science in the nation's capital is a special, you know, there's a special dimension, you know, that comes from studying political science in the nation's capital. We advertise our department on that basis. Okay, uh, in terms of things that really, uh, go on in the way of aspects, uh, uh, they've always kept an active internship program going back to the time of the Joint Center. You know, I mentioned ---------- (??)--

ADAMS: Yeah.

HARRIS: --many of these interns, of course, are placed, uh, in congressional offices and committee offices and ----------(??) branch offices.

ADAMS: With the caucus? Anybody--


HARRIS: With the caucus, right. Uh, uh, tell this little quick story. Uh, in our M.A. program, M.A. in public policy, we place one of our all of those students have to do a full semester in ---------- (??) to get all these credits. We placed this young woman with the Congressional Black Caucus, and this is when they began the Black Caucus dinner, the weekend ----------(??).

ADAMS: Yes. Yes.

HARRIS: She was put in charge of it, and did such an outstanding job, they hired her full-time and I'm not sure--her last name was Prichard. I can't think of her first name. I'm not sure that she has ever returned to, you know, defend her--(laughs)--you know, thesis and get her degree.

ADAMS: But, uh, they brought her away, uh, but in other words, she's a full-time field-worker? (laughs)

HARRIS: Right. Yeah, she went on, she was soon, you know, 'cause they 02:35:00have--she was soon comparable to a thirteen down there. But she went down as an intern, and they kind of turned over, that was the first Black Caucus, uh, let's call it weekend, I don't think it's called a weekend at that time. It was a community-sponsored dinner.

ADAMS: Yeah.

HARRIS: But I remember so well that that dinner, which was, uh, may have been--I don't know ----------(??), but it netted eighty thousand dollars profit. Now that's how the Black Caucus staff was hired.

ADAMS: Okay. Okay.

HARRIS: That was the money to hire that staff. So that was the beginning of them having their own staff, uh, from the dinner, and of course the dinner's been extended to a weekend. But this M.A. student of ours, who completed all of her course work, and was doing her intern--we placed her with the Black Caucus. That was, you know, interns are almost free labor. And they put her in charge of, uh, you know, organizing the dinner, you know. Working with their staff people, but that was her assignment. But she was so outstanding for 02:36:00it, so they offered her a full-time job with the money that came in.

ADAMS: That is an interesting story.

HARRIS: But to stay on line with your question now, uh, uh, students in our department just really watched the ----------(??). That's also a learning experience which, uh, I, I think if you're going to an Arizona and Vermont, you may not read it here, you know, on a daily basis. That's a part of their education, of course, and, uh, the visibility of what goes on in the Congress and the White House is just so vividly before them. So we feel that our students', uh, training and overall education is enriched, uh, uh, significantly--

ADAMS: By the location?

HARRIS: --by the location of our, of our department.

ADAMS: Okay. Another question is the--what, in your judgment, has the, 02:37:00uh, level of interaction between faculty, professors in other words, and, um, various congressional, uh, committees in terms of public issues? Uh, is there much interface between Howard say, an issue comes up that might be a part of the curriculum in terms of thematic focus. Uh, to what extent is there traffic between the hilltop where Howard is located and Capitol Hill in that kind of a context?

HARRIS: Well--

ADAMS: If there is a housing, uh, bill making the rounds, uh, and they want hearings, I guess I'm asking what service, uh, level in your judgment, has, uh, the Howard Political Science Department reached with regard to, uh, responding to public calls? Uh, any impressions?


HARRIS: Yeah, well, let me preface what I'm gonna say by pointing out that I've been out of the department for five years, and I may not be fully up-to-date on, you know, some of the things that are going on, so I'm speaking partly about the time--

ADAMS: The time you were on the scene?

HARRIS: Yeah. Uh, there's a certain amount of, uh, interaction with, you know, the hill. Maybe it was not as much as we would have liked or desired, but we, certainly the members of the caucus, every year they're out here for one, you know, to give a lecture or to give a presentation. There's that kind of inter-, interaction--

ADAMS: ----------(??) expert, expert witness requests from any agency?


HARRIS: Yes, some of our faculty have served as, as--certainly Dr. Ron Walters, the present chair of the department has served in that capacity. Ex-chairman Phil Goins-Watson also. I know he testified extensively on some Caribbean question that was up. Uh, uh, ------ ----(??) also testified, so that, uh, we have been of service to the Congress in the, you know, capacity that you mentioned. And, uh, we do--I suppose the most active traffic between us is the length in which our stu-, yeah, political science students who are down working with their congressmen that we don't even know. There's so many of 'em 02:40:00who do that, we don't even know and keep up with all of 'em, they are working down there. So that aspect probably is the most active part. Uh, some testimony as we've indicated, certain ----------(??), but that's an area we'd like to increase even more.

ADAMS: I would that, you know, some, uh, historically black colleges, are in, that affect state capitals, the, uh, kind of continuous education of faculty and students by this location is, uh, uh, facilitated by the fact that we are in Washington, D.C. and, and are regarded, uh, service as a two-way street. Uh, say, a faculty member works with the caucus, with a, as a witness, gives testimony. Gives testimony, uh, and is able to share that appropriately with regard to teaching and so on. That, there is an edge. Which leads me to ask, 02:41:00in your judgment, how would you rank the Howard University Political Science Department, uh, on the national scene? Uh, I don't know whether this is a fair question, and of course, all of these interviewers are impressionistic, uh, via recorders.

HARRIS: Yes, well, you've put me on the spot somewhat, uh, when you ask, you know, a question of that kind. There have been some, you know, studies conducted by some of the magazines and newspapers, and, uh, we've got, you know, I think a fairly decent rating as a research university as a whole. Uh, uh, I, I feel that we have a strong political science department. Uh, we have, uh, you see, one of the things that make for a very strong department, I would rate, uh, you 02:42:00know, the quality of your faculty and, uh, I could, you know, list the names of full professors in our department that I think would be full professors anywhere, you know, certainly. This may not be true of every, you know, professor obviously, but I, but I see, I mean, of our full professors, there's a certain number that I would believe would be a full professor anywhere--(laughs)--you know, they just choose to be here. Uh, the quality of your faculty, the quality of your students, you know, that you can get. Uh, we try to maintain a fairly good, uh, standard ----------(??) which I set up in our department for ---------- (??), but we require a B average--

ADAMS: In the major?

HARRIS: Yeah. In, in the major at least. Uh, and it may have been, uh, it may have been that we shoot for a B average overall--

ADAMS: Overall B--

HARRIS: --then we, if you give some ground, if you, you must have it 02:43:00in your major, of course. But that's, you know what I remember when I was there. Okay. Then the quality of the library. Now on that score, uh, we probably would not get high marks in terms of our own collection here on campus, but there again, the Washington area, you see, with all the other libraries and the consortium library and the Library of Congress, uh, we feel that our students are able to, uh, carry out quality research with the, you know, resources that are available here in the city. So, okay, quality of the faculty, and see we don't have, have great continuity in our faculty. ----------(??)---------- you don't have a great deal of turnover. Uh, faculty, quality of the 02:44:00students, uh, you just need more money to, uh, bring in more ---------- (??) students full-time.

ADAMS: Back to students. Uh, the, the, in terms of where they go as undergrads, what percentage, in your judgment, uh, ----------(??) went into, say, various areas? You mentioned, uh, currently--well you had five hundred when you came--

HARRIS: Yeah. Right.

ADAMS: --in '70. Um, roughly, ballpark figure, would you say, how many would go into, say, law school? Uh, how many would go into, say, public service or--as multiple say of political science. (laughs)

HARRIS: Yeah. Yeah. Well, let me hit the graduate study part, 'cause this is where we've been very disappointed, uh, even with our twenty- six faculty members, and you know, that's a lot of people talking to 02:45:00students, trying to influence--

ADAMS: Yes, yes.

HARRIS: --we have not made a dent in terms of getting our students to go into graduate studies and seek careers in political science. Almost all of them aspire to law school, to become lawyers, the legal profession.

ADAMS: Now you're speaking of grad schools?

HARRIS: Uh, I'm speaking of our undergraduates.

ADAMS: Oh, I--

HARRIS: Oh but now your, your question was maybe--

ADAMS: Uh, well, I started out with undergrads and you said, "Let me start with the grads."

HARRIS: Oh, well I meant start with the number--

ADAMS: The, the graduates from--


ADAMS: --the graduates. Yeah. Okay. From the undergrad program.

HARRIS: Yeah. Yeah.

ADAMS: Okay. I got it.

HARRIS: Yeah, so very few of them go into graduate political science of ours. Those undergraduates finish our department, very few of them go on to graduate school in political science. I would say that, uh, certainly the large majority, over, maybe half go to law--most all of 02:46:00them aspire to law school, but some of them just don't get in, don't have the money, so they go to the job market. I would say you're talking about, you know, maybe 40 or 50 percent going to law school either immediately or sometime later on. The others going into the job market and--

ADAMS: That being what? Public sector or mix? Uh, how is that--

HARRIS: I'd say it's a mixture. Some in the public service type jobs. Uh, others, uh, going and getting into, uh, uh, well I forgot to mention public service, too. Uh, there may be other areas. I'm just really not, uh ----------(??).

ADAMS: We have two short categories of questions before we both wind 02:47:00down for the day.


ADAMS: Um, what, in your judgment, uh, is the, uh, let's say role of the political scientist, has been the role of the Political Science Association in, uh, including the African-American dimension, both as members and as, uh, let's say, being concerned about, uh, diversity issues involving African-Americans? Any sense of--

HARRIS: Wait a minute.

ADAMS: I'll rephrase the question?

HARRIS: Yes, please.

ADAMS: Yeah. Uh, want to know your impression of the relationship between the African-American political scientist as a social question and the professional organization of political scientists? Of 02:48:00course, the national being the APSA, uh, in a sense of a lot of the professional associations have had caucuses. Some have had a lot of PR on good things and a lot of PR on things that are not so good. Uh, what's your estimate of the relationship between the black scholar in the community, and political science, and the, uh, national scholarly community? Uh, as a way of thinking about--I see a, a double thing, and that is, one is a member of this particular community, and one is a member of the larger one in terms of association or affiliation. You're talking about historically black institutions and the growth of professionalism in political science. Political science as science, and political science as, uh, uh, a new area of professionalism for 02:49:00African-Americans and I was concerned about your thoughts on the, uh, relationship between the black political science community, if you can use that term, and I think we can, and, uh, the larger association, in terms of, uh, the track record of relationships.

HARRIS: Um-hm. Yeah. Yeah, I understand the question. Uh, but as you probably know, there had been fluctuations, you know, over the years in terms of, uh, of, uh, the relationship, uh, between the minority political science--I mean the black political science and the major association. And, you know, a few minutes ago I guess we were talking about how NCOBPS got started.



HARRIS: The APSA, you know, played a role in that. Now it's my impression that, uh, NCOBPS obviously plays a very important role and whereas I'm not aware of any on the surface friction at this time between the black political scientists and the, uh, major association of ----------(??) association, uh, I do think that, uh, uh, that of, that for those political scienc-, it's kind of a, a backward situation from this standpoint, the black political scientist from the predominantly black institutions, I think, find NCOBPS to be a 02:51:00very, you know, useful organization and they're involved in it. As well as the Southern Political Science Association ----------(??). I think those black political scientists who work at predominantly white institutions may be, uh, I was out, you know, in San Francisco delivering a paper out there and it just so happened that even though the meeting was in Washington the last time, it was there for a short run, but I got the impression that the relationship may be stronger between those blacks who teach at predominantly white institutions and the American Political Science Association than the relationship between those blacks who teach at predominantly black institutions. As I say, this is just an impression. I don't know whether, you know, there's anything--but as far as I know, uh, you know, we have the 02:52:00Committee on the Status of Blacks, and we have someone like Professor Woodard who's so well respected, you know, around the country--

ADAMS: Yeah.

HARRIS: --who's helped to keep ----------(??) I think interaction--

ADAMS: ----------(??).

HARRIS: Yes, right, between the two groups. But I, I think in summary, what I'm saying is that NCOBPS serves a very important, you know, role. And, uh, I, I think that, uh, certainly we need black involvement in the APSA. Uh, you need NCOBPS, uh, they seem to be serving, you know, both are very important roles. But we're away from those days when ----------(??) many years ago, the black members were ready to walk out of the meeting. You don't--

ADAMS: I remember those days. I chaired the Status Committee for a 02:53:00long time. And I think Paul ----------(??) was finished and I followed him, and this is when they came up, of course, with the appropriation and the role that Woodard now has as, as liaison. Um, in terms of the association's support of programs and, uh, African-American scholars, there was a program there they supported for a long time, the fellowship, uh, APSA black fellowship program. Uh, did Howard, uh, get many, uh, persons, uh, on that kind of support? Uh, do you recollect?


ADAMS: --uh, scholarships, yeah--

HARRIS: --unless they were ----------(??) and we would try to get those students to come here to study? Is that what--

ADAMS: Yeah.

HARRIS: We got the list 'cause Dr. Woodard always, you know, saw that we got the list, and we would write letters to those students. I don't know how--

ADAMS: The pattern?


HARRIS: Yeah, but we got some 'cause I remember one boy specifically that we got through that, you know, system. So we did, yeah. We profited from that, uh, you know, program. Yeah. Yeah.

ADAMS: Uh, now let's say something about your, uh, as we near the end-- and this is not the obituary part--


ADAMS: --Dr. Harris, but if you had to identify writings of yours, publications and so on, that you would say--if you have to remember two or three things about what I had put on paper, what would those writings be, in your judgment?

HARRIS: Okay. Well, there would be two. Uh, one was written a long, you know, a good while ago. Uh, well, maybe three. Let me go on with the first one. Was a study I did on councils of government which was, 02:55:00uh, you know, when the councils of government was just getting started and this was a study I did with the Ford money and I visited all the way to California. The Bay Area Council of Government. Started with the Washington COG here in Washington and I visited all of the COGs of the major cities: St. Louis, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, uh, Atlanta. Uh, comparing, you know, in terms of how they were organized, kind of issues that they addressed and, uh, the person that I--was very helpful to me was a professor at Berkeley. Professor Jones (??), you know, I'm not calling up his first name ----------(??) right now. But, uh, he's a well known political scientist. He was my contact person in California. And then I remember I had a very good relationship with the COG in Dayton, Ohio. You know, some of these medium size cities 02:56:00that we visited. And that, that study on council of government was, uh, published as kind of a blue ribbon study of the metropolitan COG in Chicago, I would consider a study that I think, you know, made some contribution. Uh--

ADAMS: Let me interrupt. I was wondering as you mentioned that, with the return to some sensitivity about urban and metropolitan conditions, uh, there might be some additional mileage out of that study as we, uh, look at the revival of discussions of the enterprise zones and such. I'm thinking of, of the metropolitan area here where you have three or four governments, uh, with the COG arrangement. And, uh, the kinds of conversations I've had with some people, especially in the area of education, public education, is that, uh, increasingly folks 02:57:00are looking at public education and some of the things on a regional metropolitan functional basis. Not just sewage. (laughs)

HARRIS: Right. Right.

ADAMS: And so on. Uh, I suspect that study may have some, some, some, some value in it, it was some time ago, but some of the problems I suspect have not changed that much.

HARRIS: ----------(??).

ADAMS: And maybe have become aggravated at the funding level changes, uh, especially federal support having gone the other way for such a while.

HARRIS: Unfor-, unfortunately, these problems don't go away. They, they, they tend to stay--

ADAMS: Old man river.

HARRIS: But it wouldn't be hard to tempt me back into, you know, uh, doing some more work with, on COG.

ADAMS: I remember attending a session, uh, and I remember a sess-,--in case you have a question before we conclude, uh, where ----------(??) when he was running for public office, there was some meeting downtown, uh, of, uh, black leaders from the metropolitan region, and we met 02:58:00at one of the hotels there. Not that I was a leader, I was in the audience. But, uh, they underscored that for this region, the fact that the jurisdictions are so close, uh, that a problem that looks like it's a district problem becomes an area problem, that it spills.

HARRIS: Right. Right.

ADAMS: Whether it's education, whether it's, uh, whatever they call ------------(??).

HARRIS: Yeah, I mean, how you gonna deal with the air? You know, stopping at the D.C. boundary? I mean, it's, it's, you know, ridiculous.

ADAMS: And so, um, you say you had three.

HARRIS: Oh yeah, that's right.

ADAMS: --sorry to--

HARRIS: I mentioned the other one about the study of the, uh, -------- --(??), you remember my dissertation that got published. You know, the one on the confiscation of German property. That I consider to be, you know, one of my studies that I think made a contribution. And the, uh, the last one is some work I completed just recently, uh, on D.C. and 02:59:00Congress. Uh, a study of, I think I called it, uh, the, called it, Federal and Local Interests in the Nation's Capital.

ADAMS: Okay. I see you, I see you on the cover there.



HARRIS: Uh, that was, some of it, I have in the Capital Law Review some of it's published in the Capital Law Review, some in Public Budgeting and Finance. That's the one I just listed up here. Now that study deals with how the United States Congress uses appropriations deal to make policy for D.C. and this is out of line with the spirit of home rule, and really violates, uh, Congress' own rules because, uh, an 03:00:00appropriation deal is not supposed to be used to make general public policy.

ADAMS: Sure. Sure. Sure.

HARRIS: So that's--

ADAMS: That is interesting. Congress should be very hot, as, as an issue. 'Cause appropriation bills are used for what I call mini-serial bills. Uh, that is, they support a policy-determined objective.

HARRIS: Right.

ADAMS: Rather than determining the objectives of policy and so on.

HARRIS: Right. Right. Right.

ADAMS: Um, any summary thoughts about your career from Auburn, Alabama to the office of, uh, Associate Dean for Administration of the College of Liberal Arts, with the stops in between?

HARRIS: Yes, I, I want to--I don't know if this is zeroing in directly on your question, but I want to get this in. Uh, through my career, I've seen some; you know, major changes as far as, uh, life for black 03:01:00people in the United States, uh, uh--

ADAMS: I'm thinking of when you and your sister went to vote, you couldn't do it. About having someone.

HARRIS: Right. Right. There are two or three very important benchmarks I'll call it for lack of a better word, in terms of some of the changes that are taking place. And these--I'm talking about positive kinds of changes. Uh, obviously the Civil Rights Movement was a key development. Civil Rights, you all know, contributed to the country as a whole, not just to black people.

ADAMS: Sure.

HARRIS: We have to make the United States constitution more meaningful. Uh, now see, I studied political science before the Civil Rights Movement and, you know, I was in it before, and I was in it after. The big difference, before and after, was the fact that black people 03:02:00began to feel more a part of the political process beginning with the Civil Rights Movement. Before the Civil Rights Movement, you studied it as an academic subject, but as you mentioned, we couldn't register to vote in so many places. They couldn't, you know, hope to work in the government, you know. And so the Civil Rights Movement helped to--people during the time felt that, that's why many students left school during that. 'Cause they felt they were doing something which made them more a citizen of this country. Helping to improve the civic and citizenship, you know, posture of the country. Now that, to me, uh, made a major difference in terms of black students studying 03:03:00political science during and after the Civil Rights Movement, and one who studied, as I did, before the Civil Rights Movement. The next important benchmark is, of course, the Voting Rights Act. After the passage of the Voting Rights Act, then we began to make major impact on the, who got elected. The Joint Center began to, you know, try to follow what was going on, and the field of black politics became, you know, a living field and, uh, black students in political science now are able to study, you know, politics and to, uh, uh, look forward to a career, look forward to involvement in the political process. Uh, now 03:04:00those are, those are two major, you know, changes in my lifetime.

ADAMS: And mine. We both studied political science by fate.

HARRIS: Yeah, well, you know, you, you came on since I did, so you can't quite--(laughs)--say ditto to everything I say.

ADAMS: Right. That's true too.

HARRIS: Yeah. So I, I do see, those, you know, I'm glad that I lived to see those changes take place, and it has made a great difference in terms of studying political science. Now, you, a field like mathematics? I'd say that, you know, you could do with it early on what you could maybe do with it now, you know. But political science has changed in terms of opening up so many more channels and doorways and, uh, to make it a field where black students would be very much attracted to studying and working and having that as a, as a career.


ADAMS: I think that's a major point. If you have some more thoughts, I got time for it. Um, I think it's one of the key points of, of this--the fact that it's changed, to say that a discipline that has been around since the 1880s in terms of American higher ed now have benefited from, uh, these changes.

HARRIS: You know, the situation of change has been so significant until now I sometimes wonder why would a black person have chosen political science back when I was, you know-- (laughs)--in other words, the job opportunities and the participation in the process was so limited--

ADAMS: A Ralph Bunche, a Brisbane, a Robert Martin, a Vince Browne, or yourself.

HARRIS: Yeah, right. I guess we had a very optimistic group of people to, uh, you know.

ADAMS: ----------(??) our fate, I suppose.



ADAMS: Uh, as--this, this is my, my thought on this. I know I chose poli sci in the fifties out of curiosity--

HARRIS: Um-hm. Yeah, well--

ADAMS: Uh, it was Brisbane, again, after your time sparking that curiosity. I thought of law, but I didn't really think of law. Uh, I found the study of public power and policy, uh, engrossing and it came out of--

[Pause in recording.]

ADAMS: --we have come to the end of a fascinating and, for me and I hope for the readers, uh, a rewarding session in looking at your experiences and your reactions to a very active career in the field of political science. Uh, have you any final thoughts about, uh, the, uh, process 03:07:00by which we have moved this afternoon, and, uh, if so, what are your thoughts?

HARRIS: Um-hm. Well--

ADAMS: What has it made you think of in terms of process and experience?

HARRIS: Well, I certainly want to say that I think this entire project is a very worthwhile and unique dimension in terms of bringing in a type of, uh, uh, political sci-, a record of political science which is, as I said, somewhat unique. And I, uh, find that in your interrogated you have to respond to questions with a range, have 03:08:00to respond to, it makes me think of certain aspects of what your experiences were that, uh, normally certainly would not get into my research. Would not get into anyone else's research 'cause they don't know about it. So I view this is a very, you know, unique, uh, uh, type of project and, uh, one that I think brings a special kind of dimension to the annals of, uh, political science and the field. And I would, uh, certainly want to commend, uh, the association that makes this possible, the American Political Science Association.

ADAMS: Yes it is.

HARRIS: Okay. (laughs) For having thought of this project and, uh, uh, obviously yours truly was humbled by, you know, being asked to respond to these questions.


ADAMS: Well, thank you very much. And I must also say that this of the two previous ones, this is the first, uh, extended interview that we have been able to do in one sitting.

HARRIS: Oh, one sitting.

ADAMS: And, uh, I think it's probably extreme efficiency as well as the concision with which you have responded to a long series of questions. I wanna thank you very much, Dr. Harris, for giving us this time and this opportunity. I trust that the association will benefit. I know that they do appreciate what you've done. Thank you again.

HARRIS: Thank you.


[End of interview.]