Partial Transcript: Where'd we get to?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about the Harry S. Truman campaign. Talks about his surprise to learn that Truman won the election. Talks about why he thought Truman won. Talks about Alben W. Barkley.
Keywords: Campaigns; Elections; John Moremen; Louisville (Ky.); Politics
Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Pearce, John Ed.; Presidents--Election.Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972.
Partial Transcript: But those were four good years. They--actually those were the years that I think were critical to the forward thrust of prosperity in this country.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about the "golden years" of America. Talks about soldiers taking advantage of the GI Bill. Talks about liberalism in the country. Interviewer talks about a radio program.
Keywords: Bill Clinton; Colleges; Education; GI Bills; Liberalism; Liberals; Presidential elections; Radio programs; Soldiers; Veterans; Vietnam War
Subjects: Liberalism.; Pearce, John Ed.; United States. Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944
Partial Transcript: Thinking about, uh, this period in the, uh, late 40's and early 50's, uh. As you know at UK we have Fred Vinson's papers and we have Stanley Reed's papers.
Segment Synopsis: Interviewer asks about Pearce's involvement in the civil rights movement. Pearce talks about Happy Chandler and how he felt about Chandler being Commissioner of Baseball. He talks about Happy Chandler's involvement in Jackie Robinson's playing Major League Baseball. The interviewer asks about the Bingham's interest in commercial sports in Louisville.
Keywords: Baseball; Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka; Fred Vinson; Louisville (Ky.); Richard Russell; Senators; Stanley Reed; Weldon James
Subjects: Baseball commissioners; Bingham, Barry, 1906-1988; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Civil rights movements--United States; Kentucky--Politics and government; Pearce, John Ed.; Robinson, Jackie, 1919-1972.
Partial Transcript: Well let's move back into an area then where we sort of left off last time, I think we looked at that.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about potential candidates to replace Bert T. Combs as Kentucky governor in 1963. Talks about his relationship with John B. Breckinridge. Talks about Happy Chandler's presence on television.
Keywords: Bert T. Combs; Edward T. Breathitt; John B. Breckinridge; Tom Easterly
Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: What were--uh, what did Combs want to do after he left office? Did you all sit around and talk about the future at that point?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about Bert Combs' affair with Helen Clark Rechtin and Combs' wife Mabel finding out. Talks about Combs' law partnership and keeping his relationship with Rechtin discreet. Talks about the differences between Combs and Governor Breathitt.
Keywords: Divorces; Edward T. Breathitt; Helen Clark Rechtin; Mabel Hall Combs
Subjects: Combs, Bert T., 1911-1991; Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: Now, Breathitt as governor--following Combs would be tough, I think.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about Breathitt's achievements as governor. Talks about strip mining in eastern Kentucky. Talks about a book he likes about farming in Kentucky. Interview is concluded.
Keywords: "Our Ravaged Land"; Campaigns; Edward T. Breathitt; Strip mining; Tobacco farms; William B. Sturgill
Subjects: Kentucky. Governor (1963-1967 : Breathitt); Pearce, John Ed.
PEARCE: Where did we get to?
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, we got a little bit ahead of ourselves last time, which isfine, but I want to go back and --
PEARCE: Catch up.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and pick up a few more things. Hard for me to imagine that itwas April when l--- when we last talked.
BIRDWHISTELL: And summer just flew by.
PEARCE: It sure the hell did.
BIRDWHISTELL: This is September 13th, Friday the 13th. We're not going toworry about that, so --
PEARCE: No [chuckles].
BIRDWHISTELL: You and I not being superstitious by nature. But last time wehad started out talking about political cartoonists, that was on your mind at that point, and we talked about the political cartoonists, of course, for the Courier-Journal and the Louisville Times, and then we talked some about the -- about Earle Clements and about the '59 campaign. I want to go back in time, for just a few minutes this morning, or ever how long it takes, and make sure that 00:01:00we -- that we covered some of that earlier period of -- Well, I know we talked about Wilson Wyatt and his relationship with the Courier-Journal and -- and the -- and the Bingham family, but I want to go back to that period in the -- if you don't mind, in the 1940s, that post-World War II period, and talk a little bit about -- a little bit more about the [Harry S.] Truman campaign and his choice of [Alben] Barkley as vice president. And just sort of what your recollections are of -- of that particular campaign, or anything that sort of stands out in your mind about Barkley as the choice and the type of campaign that was run in 1948. You know, Bob Dole is so far behind, apparently, in this campaign that he's calling back the -- every so often a candidate will call up the Truman campaign of '48 as, well, it happened in '48, lightning can strike [chuckle] -- 00:02:00
BIRDWHISTELL: -- again. And -- and I was just wondering, I guess to ask aspecific question in this area, how you saw Barkley's role in -- in that campaign of '48?
PEARCE: You know, Wilson thought he was going to get thevice-presidential nod.
BIRDWHISTELL: In '48?
BIRDWHISTELL: I didn't know that.
PEARCE: And he was hoping he would. But he was prevailed upon by thepowers in the Democratic Party to nominate Barkley. And he worked hard for Barkley instead. And that was always considered an example of his fidelity to the party. We thought that Barkley would help, if only because he was a great campaigner, he was tireless. Speak eight times a day, day after day after day. Travel all across the country. And furthermore, he had the aura of integrity 00:03:00about him because of his break with [Franklin D.] Roosevelt over tax matters that he opposed. And so we thought that Barkley would help, but not enough. I don't think any of us thought that Truman was really gonna win. We all worked for him. The paper was for him. I and all my friends were certainly for him, and did whatever we could, which was not much. And we thought he'd lose. And I remember that morning in November, it was a cold, rainy morning, living out in the south end, and fellow from across the way came running across the back quadrangle hollering, you know. I was eating breakfast. [He says ?], "Truman 00:04:00won." I couldn't believe it [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. I rushed down to the office and the papers had it.
BIRDWHISTELL: In your opinion, what turned the tide for Truman/Barkley?
PEARCE: [Thomas?] Dewey.
BIRDWHISTELL: Dewey self-destructed?
PEARCE: Yes, he was cocky. He was already nominating Cabinet members[chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And he was a very smug-looking guy anyhow. He was sort of prissy, arrogant [chuckle--Birdwhistell] and I think that he lost it. And then, too, there was something enormously human and American about Truman. He was a fighter, and he had -- he had a strange dignity about him, of the 00:05:00common man. He was --
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, he was --
PEARCE: -- the common man.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- he [chuckle] was common.
BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, i--- in the --
PEARCE: In the best sense --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- best sense of the word, --
PEARCE: -- of the word.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- he was a common man.
BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, there's no question about it.
PEARCE: and I think he -- his -- his -- his fight, his cocki--- h--- notcockiness, his -- his insistent fight.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: He wouldn't be discouraged, he wouldn't be defeated, he just kepton. "We're going to win," you know. We were very pleased, of course.
BIRDWHISTELL: And I guess with Barkley having been majority leader in theSenate during the time that he was and -- and then as vice president, that had to bring rewards to the state in a lot of different ways I guess.
PEARCE: We thought it would. I don't know how much we got out of it. Iguess we got the -- no, the plant -- Paducah was already in, wasn't it? 00:06:00
BIRDWHISTELL: I don't know.
PEARCE: I think --
PEARCE: -- it was. But we may have gotten things out of it, I don't know.
BIRDWHISTELL: Barkley, by the time of his death, [where he ?] makes a speech inLexington, Virginia and falls dead on the platform there, a sense of theater almost in his passing, you know, he took on a -- almost a legendary -- in Kentucky politics he became almost legendary --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- after that. Do you think that was warranted? Was he, in youropinion, one of the great Kentucky politicians of, say, the twentieth century?
PEARCE: I don't think he was a great political thinker. He was a goodpolitician, --
BIRDWHISTELL: He was a good politician.
PEARCE: -- on a state -- on a statewide basis. Incidentally, he was00:07:00asked to Washington and Lee [University] by John Moreman of Louisville, who at the time was a student at W. and L.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
PEARCE: And John escorted him to the platform and stood back and watchedhim die.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is John Moreman still in Louisville?
PEARCE: Oh yes, he's qu--- Yeah. M-O-R-E-M-A-N. His father was court ofappeals judge.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right? What does John do?
PEARCE: He's retired from [Brown-Foreman ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: Is he really?
PEARCE: Took ear---
PEARCE: He took early retirement as general counsel for Brown-Foreman.
BIRDWHISTELL: So he's an attorney -- was an attorney?
BIRDWHISTELL: He was an attorney, then.
BIRDWHISTELL: He would be an interesting guy to talk to about that.
BIRDWHISTELL: I don't know that anybody's ever -- I g--- Maybe there mighthave been s--- been some newspaper articles. I don't know that anybody's --
PEARCE: He -- he lives on Cherokee Parkway.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
PEARCE: And his number is 459-0842.00:08:00
BIRDWHISTELL: All right.
PEARCE: He has started a small press, Sulgrave Press, and they've hadseveral r--- fairly successful books, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
PEARCE: -- among them Thi--- This Place Called Kentucky, which I wroteand Dan Dry photographed.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well see, I [chuckle] didn't know -- I didn't know all thoseconnections. That's --
PEARCE: Uh-huh. And his number there is 459-9713.
PEARCE: I know because I'm in some contact with him.
BIRDWHISTELL: I guess, yeah. Well, great. I guess one of Barkley'sdisappointments was not being president. He -- The 1952 sort of trial balloon [went up ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: And, of course, [Fred] Vinson was mentioned in the same year.
PEARCE: Now, Vinson was disappointed. Whether Barkley was, I --
BIRDWHISTELL: But I thought Vinson chose not to run.
PEARCE: Yeah, I -- I think he was -- he wanted to run but was persuaded00:09:00not to. I --
BIRDWHISTELL: Who do you think persuaded him? The stories I've read, Trumanbrouht him down to the yacht and tried to talk him into running, is that right?
PEARCE: Now, you've got me.
BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. Okay.
PEARCE: But those were four good years. They -- Actually those were theyears that I think were critical to the forward thrust of prosperity in -- in this country, started the golden age, really, for '45 to '73. Those were the golden years of this country. A lot of progress made in a lot of ways. Of course, also the years of Vietnam that tore us apart, and may have started us downhill. 00:10:00
BIRDWHISTELL: And civil rights, but that's a plus if you look at it -- [Imean, ?]--
PEARCE: Oh, yeah. It was --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- I mean, [inaudible] --
PEARCE: -- a big fight, but it --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- but it was a great plus, yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. I -- I think you're -- I think that -- you know,that post-World War II through the energy crisis will have to be considered the -- one of the golden --
PEARCE: Yes, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [times ?].
PEARCE: -- I think so.
BIRDWHISTELL: Because we sure don't have 'em now [chuckle].
PEARCE: Well, we -- Things like the G.I. Bill and of course, theresurgence of industry really made a generation. Boys who went into the service from the hills and hollows and the farms and the slums came back and went to college. Huge number of men who never would have gone to college. In -- in my youth, college was not for everybody like it is today. Only the wealthy or 00:11:00those who were willing to scrap like hell for it --
BIRDWHISTELL: [That's right ?].
PEARCE: -- got to college, or got through college. And to turn out ageneration of college-educated men -- [clears throat] excuse me, I'm very hoarse this morning for some reason. I think it's this stuff in the air.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. Ragweed.
PEARCE: Ragweed, yeah. And those were interesting times, and [Joseph]McCarthy, and the backlash against liberalism. And the ultimate -- I think the ultimate victory of liberalism in the country generally. It was -- there was an improvement of the general spirit. And Vietnam did a lot, I think, to dampen that.
BIRDWHISTELL: But liberalism seems to be resilient. The news this morning that00:12:00donations to the Christian Right went down this year [chuckle].
PEARCE: I -- I suppose it depends upon your definition of liberalism.
BIRDWHISTELL: What's your definition?
PEARCE: I don't have one. Really, I think it's -- it's -- it depends on[chuckle] the details. But, when [Bill] Clinton signed the Welfare Reform Bill, so called, I think many people on the liberal left regarded that as a betrayal. And they regard it as much more integral than it may have been. But, the 00:13:00liberals do not feel that they are resurgent. Liberals feel that they have no place to go.
BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. Well, I guess there's different ways to look at it, whetherit's resurgent or stop-the-bleeding [chuckle].
PEARCE: Well, --
BIRDWHISTELL: [It's one ?] --
PEARCE: -- yes.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- thing to stop the skidding, you know, to stop the slide.
PEARCE: Well, we'll see in November, see how well we have stopped it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Y--- And you're thinking about the Congressional races, not the --
PEARCE: And the presidential.
BIRDWHISTELL: You still think that's up for grabs?
PEARCE: Yes. I don't think the presidential race is ever decided untilthe fat lady sings.
BIRDWHISTELL: You know, John Ed, on the way down here this morning -- sometimesI bring up what I listen to on the radio, and I -- I just love W -- I've always thought WHAS radio was the greatest thing.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I just -- from the history of it.
BIRDWHISTELL: And the way down here this morning, they've got a person on in00:14:00the mornings now that is a so-called "talk show", and she started out this morning right off the -- right at the get-go, trying to make up something about Bob Dole's wanting Bill Clinton's health records, does this mean he has a sexually transmitted disease. And I [chuckle] thought -- and she says, "I don't know -- I don't know this is what's going on, but is that -- could that be it?" or, you know, "Could it be that or does it show drug use?" And I thought, how low -- [chuckle] how far WHAS radio has fallen [chuckle] that they would have somebody on in the morning provoking people to think --
PEARCE: The worst of --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- the worst.
PEARCE: -- their president, umhmm.
BIRDWHISTELL: N--- And not only just to think the worst of the president, butjust to think illogically. You know, just to -- to bring up things like that. It just -- it didn't make any sense.
PEARCE: [As far as you ?]--
BIRDWHISTELL: [And I found it ?] -- You know, and you think of WHAS radio as a00:15:00informative [deal ?].
PEARCE: I never have.
BIRDWHISTELL: You never did.
PEARCE: Well, I don't listen to it.
BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, back --
PEARCE: No. I just listen to NPR --
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I --
PEARCE: -- when I'm in the car.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I guess I'm thinking back in the '20s, '30s, and '40s, youknow, when they were trying to -- I think they tried for a while, to be informative. So -- But any rate, that's what the American people are -- are --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [inaudible].
PEARCE: We've come a long way down. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I think in our previous interviews, you know, you've talkedabout news on television and sort of did a critique of the lack of -- not only the lack of substance, but the lack of any time given to even trying, you know, the -- beyond the traffic reports and the weather [chuckle].
PEARCE: I'm -- I have -- listen more to National Public Radio and those00:16:00program when I'm in the car, and that's all I'll listen to.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Thinking about this period in the late '40s and early'50s, as you know at U.K. we have Fred Vinson's papers and we have Stanley Reed's papers, scholars have come from everywhere looking at those papers, because -- not -- in -- in p--- mostly because of civil rights, because that was a crucial time on the [Supreme] Court and -- And of course, we've done oral history projects on both of those individuals. And the question that sort of hovers around those two are -- you know, relates to the Brown [vs. Board of Education] decision. Vinson, of course, wasn't on the Court -- he -- he was off the Court by the time of the Brown decision, but scholars look at his record pre--- you know, leading up to that. and I was wondering if you had thought about, or have any insight into Vinson's role on the Court as it relates to 00:17:00civil rights or --
PEARCE: I'm sorry, I'd have to go back and --
BIRDWHISTELL: You'd have to refresh --
PEARCE: -- and read.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: I don't recall it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. What about with Stanley Reed and the -- his role on theCourt during the Brown decision? You know, the -- his somewhat interesting relationship with Felix Frankfurter and -- and the fact that, as the story goes, he was the last holdout on the Brown s---
PEARCE: I'm sorry. I just --
BIRDWHISTELL: Okay [chuckle].
PEARCE: -- I just don't recall.
BIRDWHISTELL: That's fine. That's fine.
PEARCE: I was not personally very involved in the civil rights movementor in our treatment of it. Now, Weldon James was there at the time and he did all of our -- he wrote all of our editorials on civil rights and on school integration and that sort of thing. 00:18:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Let's talk then for a minute about [Albert] "Happy"Chandler went to the Senate. Did -- Do you have any impressions then of how -- how Chandler functioned as a senator for the state of Kentucky, [if you could ?]?
PEARCE: Yes. "Happy" acted -- operated as a typical conservativeDemocrat, southern Democrat. He allied himself early on with [Harry?] Bird and with -- who was from Georgia, that famous, Russell, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Russell. Dick -- Richard Russell.
PEARCE: -- Dick Russell, because they were southern gentlemen. And theymoved in social circles that "Happy" liked. And they were personal friends, and 00:19:00"Happy," I think, became possibly more conservative than he would have been otherwise, through his association with the southern Democrats. His action in Guthrie, putting down that trouble down there, show he was not necessarily a -- a -- what we call a racist.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was it Sturgis or --
PEARCE: Sturgis, --
PEARCE: -- yeah. But he was very conservative and he was not cooperativewith Roosevelt or with Democratic leadership.
BIRDWHISTELL: And of course he leaves the Senate to become baseball --
PEARCE: Then --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- commissioner.
PEARCE: Yes, and -- We never could reconcile that. It just didn't seemto us that that was a thing that a Senator would do. Now, the commissioner of 00:20:00baseball, I suppose, is a very dignified and -- post, today and then, but it seemed to us that that was just an undignified thing for a man to do. You don't quit the Senate to play baseball [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And he was not a good commissioner.
BIRDWHISTELL: You don't think?
PEARCE: Well, he -- he didn't get along with the club owners, and hedidn't get along with the press.
BIRDWHISTELL: Supposedly he's a player's commissioner.
PEARCE: Yeah. That's the way he saw himself in any event. And probablywas. He was a man of some controversy in that job. We didn't think much of that. Didn't seem to hurt him in Kentucky, where, you know, it's best to be 00:21:00batter -- basketball coach at U.K. than to be God or his son [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And when he was baseball commissioner, I guess that was better than being a Senator and a politician.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, he says he made a lot more money as baseball commissioner.
PEARCE: He -- he told [Dat Ben ?] that he would explain that decision tohim. I don't know, you'd have to talk to Ben about that, whether he ever did.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Of course, he had his office in -- he had an office inCincinnati, [inaudible] --
PEARCE: As commissioner.
BIRDWHISTELL: And what marks his time as commissioner most, I guess, is theJackie Robinson story.
BIRDWHISTELL: And that's been looked at every which way --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- to try and determine -- It's like looking at the Warren Courttrying to decide how the Brown decision breaks down. Any time you have those 00:22:00big issues, historians spend a lot of time dealing with [them ?].
PEARCE: We at the time doubted his role in that affair. And everythingthat's been written since, including [Branch Rickey's ?] recollection and the recollections of "Red" Smith and "Red" [Barber ?], and other people, say that "Happy" really had no role in it. It's -- an interesting fact is that Rickey's employment of Jackie was not his entry into white baseball. He played in Canada.
PEARCE: He played in Toronto with white team. He was outstanding.
BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Or Montreal.
PEARCE: Mont--- Which one?00:23:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Montreal maybe. But they played here in -- they played here inLouisville --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- while he was in the minor league and apparently there was anincident here in Louisville.
PEARCE: I [chuckle] don't doubt it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Thinking about baseball, y--- when -- you look at the history ofbaseball, Louisville has a place in that history. It at one time was a major league city.
PEARCE: You're getting into foreign territory. I never had any interestin baseball at all.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I don't either, but I have a question for you --
PEARCE: [Chuckle] All right.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- we -- might interest both of us. That is, did the Binghamssee professional sports as a issue for the city of Louisville, in terms of the -- big time cities now equate b--- being big time with big-time sports. Now, is that such a mo--- is that such a relatively recent phenomena that it didn't -- 00:24:00in the Binghams and their boosterism of Louisville, that wasn't part of it?
PEARCE: I don't recall that it was. You'd have to ask Barry, Jr., aboutthat. Although I doubt if he'd know either.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. [I wouldn't think so ?].
PEARCE: [I have ?] -- The Binghams were not particularly interested in --in commercial sport. I don't know that they ever went to the --
PEARCE: -- games.
BIRDWHISTELL: They'd more likely be interested in big-time arts and theater.
PEARCE: Well, they were interested in bringing tennis matches here.Contributed to it rather generously, I think. But, I -- I can't speak on that. I don't know what they thought.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Well, let's move back into an area then where we sort ofleft off last time. I think we looked at that. We were talking about the 00:25:00[Bert] Combs administration and I think in our previous interviews we talked about the major initiatives and the things that were accomplished and efforts that were made. I guess a question that comes to mind, if Bert Combs -- Bert Combs was a young man at the time he was governor, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and I suppose if he could have run for re-election that wouldhave -- that would have been something that he would have really wanted to do, if the --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- law had -- had allowed that.
BIRDWHISTELL: And of course since it didn't, then there was a lot of jockeyingwithin that faction of the Democratic Party for who would run in '63. And I was wondering if you could think back and tell me a little bit about how that played 00:26:00out. Who the pl--- who the players were, and sort of how that --
PEARCE: [How ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- how it ended up that Governor Combs give [Edward] NedBreathitt the -- the nod?
PEARCE: Earle Clements had always been a supported of Ned's. He wantedhim to run for Congress in -- back in '48 or '9, in there.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?
PEARCE: Yes, he --
BIRDWHISTELL: I'm surprised he didn't run if he [had told him ?] to.
PEARCE: Ned had other things to do then. He was just getting started.
BIRDWHISTELL: Trying to make some money, probably.
PEARCE: Yeah. And I forget who -- You're really taxing me this morning.I can't recall --
BIRDWHISTELL: [That would be ?] --
PEARCE: -- those without reference.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [all right those ?] -- there'd be Breckinridge [was one ?].
PEARCE: Yeah, John Breckinridge was one.
BIRDWHISTELL: Breathitt would want to run.
PEARCE: I don't know whether Foster Ockerman wanted to run then or not.00:27:00
BIRDWHISTELL: He would -- His name comes up [as ?] --
PEARCE: Yes, it does.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- as a possibility for that.
PEARCE: Let's see, who else? Trying to think of those around. Breck---
BIRDWHISTELL: [Well ?], [inaudible] --
PEARCE: -- Breckinridge had some backing for it. And I think the paperswere fairly cordial toward John Breckinridge.
PEARCE: But who else? I can't think of who else. But --
BIRDWHISTELL: Who did you want to run?
PEARCE: I -- I would have been happy with either Breckin--- Breckinridgeor Breathitt. I don't recall that we had anybody here at the time that was seriously considering or considered.
BIRDWHISTELL: Who would the Courier prefer? Probably Breckinridge.00:28:00
PEARCE: They would have been -- I think, the Binghams would have beenhappy with -- with Breckinridge, but they were -- They didn't believe Breathitt could win. And through much of the campaign they thought that he probably would lose.
BIRDWHISTELL: So, I'm trying to remember what I know about this, too, in termsof how the maneuvering was done. Breathitt called a news conference here in Louisville and announced --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- that he was running, and even before he told some of the other00:29:00people that needed to know.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that -- And so --
PEARCE: Well, --
BIRDWHISTELL: [And ?] [inaudible] --
PEARCE: -- who wanted to know maybe, but--
BIRDWHISTELL: Who wanted [chuckle] to know.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] Yes, [inaudible] -- that's a better word.
BIRDWHISTELL: But I think Governor Combs had told him he had to go a--- he hadto do it.
PEARCE: I'm trying to think, was that -- John Palmore also had a bee inhis bonnet --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, sounds right.
PEARCE: -- and Combs told 'em all the same thing, "Well, get out thereand get your feet wet -- "
BIRDWHISTELL: He did, yeah.
PEARCE: "-- and see how you're received." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] AndNed just got out and fought. Breckinridge made the correct calls on the correct people, in a rather dignified way, and as Combs said, "John Palmore stood around 00:30:00at gatherings" [chuckle--Birdwhistell] "looking judicial." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And that's a fact. John wanted to be governor because he looked like a governor.
BIRDWHISTELL: Central casting, right?
PEARCE: Yeah, he had a very dignified mien about him, you know. He was ahandsome, white-haired, large man with a sonorous voice [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. But he -- And I think he might have made a fair governor. John was rather conservative in a lot of ways. But he wouldn't -- he couldn't unbend I think. So Ned just sort of took it.
BIRDWHISTELL: John Breckinridge is a -- He -- he interests me more and more,in that for a person like myself, by the time I start paying attention, not 00:31:00historically but just, you know, in current events, to John Breckinridge, he's sort of a -- you know, an aristocratic f--- type liberal who seems sort of out of [chuckle--Pearce] -- out of sync. in --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- Congress. And then he gets, you know, hammered in a -- in hisre-election campaign by Ed Easterly's son, Tom Easterly. Sort of a -- I don't know, it's just an odd -- odd thing. And then when you look back at John Breckinridge in history, you know, the promising young liberal politician that had good instincts, good moves, good policy, good issues, well-liked, it -- it seemed like that the -- while he had a -- certainly a distinguished career, it fell far short of the mark that everybody had set for him. 00:32:00
PEARCE: Oh, yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that fair to say?
PEARCE: Yeah. We thought that John would go onto the Senate.
PEARCE: It was a shock when Easterly beat him. Don't know where he fellshort, but he fell. He fell short.
BIRDWHISTELL: You don't know what happened to his career, then. I mean, you --you can't pinpoint --
PEARCE: Anything he did?
BIRDWHISTELL: -- things he did that sort of caused him to fall short of thatmark that --
PEARCE: He didn't run enough against Easterly.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Umhmm.
PEARCE: Yeah, well. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] [Chuckle] Let's go -- let'smove on.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] [Okay ?].
PEARCE: I don't have a lot more to say about John Breckinridge.
BIRDWHISTELL: Really? Okay. All right.
PEARCE: We were very close. John and I were very friendly.00:33:00
PEARCE: I was always supporter of his. But he lost. And then diedrather young.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Let's see where -- We have 'til what?
PEARCE: About 12:00.
BIRDWHISTELL: About 12:00?
PEARCE: I'll be late.
BIRDWHISTELL: I've been -- Actually on this -- Governor Breathitt's race, I --I am doing what you suggested I do several times, we are talking to him about that, and so his version of that we do have. And it's a -- The reason I was just sort of feeling you out on it, because it was such a fascinating political 00:34:00story about how Bert Combs sort of -- And he sai--- You know, without speaking out of turn, his tapes are restricted, too, so I won't say too much about it, but basically Governor Combs said, "Look I'm not gonna just pick -- you know, I'm not like picking -- "
BIRDWHISTELL: -- "the best of the litter. You all go out and" [chuckle] "rootaround a little bit and see what -- "
PEARCE: See what the reception is. Umhmm.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- "see what happens." And of course, Governor Breathitt, Ithink your r--- reading on that is what most people who were paying attention at the time would say, that, you know, if -- yeah, now he's a former governor, but at the time nobody -- nobody would have bet much money on him.
PEARCE: Yeah, he was the first television candidate, really.
PEARCE: He started running on television. "Happy" was never comfortableon television. "Happy" -- "Happy" needed a crowd. He needed to press the 00:35:00flesh. He needed to look down into the faces of listeners. And without a crowd to invigorate him, "Happy" was unimpressive, to say the least, on television.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Well, he looked a little old-fashioned on television. Helooked a little old-fashioned.
PEARCE: Yes, he -- he --
BIRDWHISTELL: The fact that he was -- he was getting older and --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- he had a sort of old style --
PEARCE: [Well ?], --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and the --
PEARCE: Court house --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, it's a stump speech --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- rather than a television speech.
PEARCE: It was. And he seldom had written speeches, you know. "Happy"just got up and spoke to the crowd. And he sensed, as he went along, to what they would respond.
BIRDWHISTELL: Right. He drew strength and --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and inspiration from the crowd itself it seems like.
PEARCE: And when he didn't have a crowd, when he was looking into thecamera, he was as flat as the camera [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And Ned was 00:36:00pretty good. And little by little -- little by little. I think that was the time when "Prich" [Ed Prichard] made his famous Breathitt candidate speech.
BIRDWHISTELL: It is. The "flat-bed truck" speech.
BIRDWHISTELL: We have a copy of that in the archives.
PEARCE: Well, it was wonderful. You know, that was an important speech inthat Combs in his second -- in his second race against ha--- against [Harry Lee] Waterfield, starting ridiculing "Happy". "Happy" was g--- the best at ridicule of anybody ever, but he could not take ridicule.
BIRDWHISTELL: No [chuckle].
PEARCE: He was rather thin-skinned and he reacted viscerally and -- andhe didn't -- he didn't respond well. And when "Prich" said, "And every one of 00:37:00them the moral superior of A.B. "Happy" Chandler," the crowd laughed, you know, and it was widely reported [chuckle--Birdwhistell], of course. And it -- it sort of caught "Happy" off balance, I think. And -- and he -- he never attacked "Prich" after that. He -- he didn't want "Prich" out there against him any more [chuckle--Birdwhistell].
BIRDWHISTELL: But he forever tried to keep Prichard from getting any recognition.
PEARCE: Oh, yes. He --
BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, he would -- he called him a convict.
PEARCE: Do you know Tracy Campbell?
BIRDWHISTELL: Yes. Umhmm.
PEARCE: You know, he just finished a book --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, I've read it.
PEARCE: -- on "Prich." Have you read the manuscript?
PEARCE: Are you a reader?
BIRDWHISTELL: Not a -- not a reader for the press. I read before it -- it went in.
PEARCE: I'm a reader. I -- I think I'm not supposed to say that, but00:38:00[chuckle--Birdwhistell] I found it a good piece of work.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, it is.
PEARCE: It needs editing in the worst --
BIRDWHISTELL: But it's --
PEARCE: -- possible [chuckle] way.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- but it is --
PEARCE: It's a great --
BIRDWHISTELL: It's solid.
PEARCE: -- story.
BIRDWHISTELL: It's a solid story.
PEARCE: And he -- And it's a great piece of research.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, he's worked -- he's worked incredibly hard. You know, Isee a lot of historians in my line of work, as you do too, and -- and some do a little bit, some do whatever it takes, and some really [get ?] it. And [he's in ?] --
PEARCE: Well, he did.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- he's in the category of -- When he set out to do this book --I'd had a lot of people tell me they wanted -- you know, they were gonna work on something like that, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and I said, "Okay." And he just kept showing up.
BIRDWHISTELL: And he [inaudible] --
PEARCE: He came to see me. I --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- he worked hard.
PEARCE: I remember --
BIRDWHISTELL: You were very helpful to him, as a matter of fact. PEARCE: Well,he -- It's a good book.
PEARCE: I'll be glad to see it published.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah, it's a good book. He's on the -- At the oralhistory -- national oral history [Oral History Association] meeting in Philadelphia next month, he's doing a paper on Prichard. And, of course, he did 00:39:00one down here for the state conference that you didn't get to attend. And when he got up to give the paper, on the right was Nathan Prichard, and in the center was Phil and Julie Ardery [chuckle].
PEARCE: Oh, shoot.
BIRDWHISTELL: And he [chuckle] just [went ?]-- [chuckle] he just took a deepbreath [chuckle] and went right on. So -- But yeah, it's a good book. So you -- you -- you think that Breathitt's just sort of new style campaigning, television turned the tide, and his persistence turned the tide in the '63 primary then?
PEARCE: Yes, and he had the support of Combs, who was still very popular.
BIRDWHISTELL: What were -- What did Combs want to do after he -- he left00:40:00office? Did you all sit around and talk about the future at that point? 'Cause it's hard to --
BIRDWHISTELL: It's hard to figure out sometimes what to do after you -- Youknow, it's like they've already started talking about what's Bill Clinton going to do, --
PEARCE: Well, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you know, as a young m---
PEARCE: -- Combs just said, "I've got to make a living." So, he went toLexington and started practicing. And bought a rather ordinary-looking house over there. His decisions at the time were complicated by his difficulties with his wife, Mabel. Mabel was a bad drinker. When she drank she became irrational and -- and dangerous. And she --
BIRDWHISTELL: To herself?
PEARCE: And to others. She scream around quite a bit. And Combs had --00:41:00I'm trying to get my time sequences right here. Combs had been seeing Helen [Ructon ?] on -- on the sly, you might say. Actually, Helen had been dating General Lloyd, Arthur Lloyd, who Combs named to handle the veteran's [bonus ?].
PEARCE: And whenever there was a conference or a meeting anywhere, Artwould show up, and usually Helen would show up. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I thought that -- I thought that Helen and Art had something going. He was 00:42:00single, you know, a man of stature. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I remember once at a -- I think it was at a football game in Lexington, they showed up, and I said to Combs, "Boy, she's an awful good-looking woman to be [chuckle] messing around with Art Lloyd," And he said, "I -- I -- I wouldn't put too much in [that ?]." [Laughter] But I suspected nothing.
[End of Tape #1, Side #1]
[Begin Tape #1, Side #2]
BIRDWHISTELL: So, I should know this, but Combs gets divorced in -- in --
BIRDWHISTELL: How long after he -- It's after he leaves office, obviously.
PEARCE: Yeah, it was quite a while afterward.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. I could look that up.
PEARCE: I'll tell you a -- an anecdote. Combs asked me to come down to00:43:00Miami and help him with his -- his speech he had to make, and Barry said, "Yeah, go ahead." Bill May was flying down and said, "Come and go with me." And I did. And rather than check in the DuPont Plaza where Bert was staying, I just went on out and stayed at Bill's house, out on [Collins ?]. And I called Bert and he said, he was in DuPont, come on down. And he -- he said, "Don't bring May." Well, that put me in a very awkward position, 'cause May was expecting to go down and see Combs, and wanted to talk to him [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And I was in no position to tell May, "You can't go."
BIRDWHISTELL: That's right [chuckle].
PEARCE: So we started driving down. We got right down to the hotel and00:44:00May said, "Oh, I -- I've got a -- Tell -- tell Bert I'll see him later. I've got a man I've got to see. I forgot about it," which was a great relief to me, of course. So, I went into the desk and asked if -- "Is Governor Combs --" What room -- his number. And he says, "516." And I said, "Is the governor alone?" And I meant just that, i--- is Mabel with him or what. And the clerk said, "Yes, he is. Mrs. Ructon is in 518." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I thought, "Whoop," you know ?], [chuckle--Birdwhistell] lights light up all the sudden all over the board, "So that's what's going on." And he would have let me come up there, you know, --
PEARCE: -- all exp--- [chuckle--Birdwhistell] you know, unexpecting --unsuspecting. So, I went up, and Helen opened the door. 00:45:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
PEARCE: And of course, I was prepared. [Chuckles] They -- they were --they were surprised that I wasn't surprised.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I guess that shows how much confidence Governor Combsplaced in you, though, because --
PEARCE: [Chuckle] He knew I wasn't gonna talk.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] He knew you wouldn't talk.
PEARCE: We flew back the next day. [Chuckle] He asked me what I thoughtof her. And I said, "I don't know her. She's good-looking." [Chuckle] We had a -- Then Combs and Mabel separated, and Combs moved over here. And he took a house down at the foot of [Blankenbaker ?] Lane on -- a big house up on a hill 00:46:00to the left there going toward the river owned by the Bartlett sisters. They were great fishermen. They spent a lot of time around Miami fishing. And damn [chuckle] their house was covered with fish of all [chuckles] kinds, fish all over the walls.
BIRDWHISTELL: Stuffed fish, right?
PEARCE: Big house. ['Course ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: So, he rented it from them?
PEARCE: Yeah. Oh, I think they just let him have it when they were outfishing and they were out fishing all the time. Combs gave a -- a dinner party one night. "Prich" was there, and -- and Helen, and well, other people. Couple of clerks. And I was invited. We had a very pleasant dinner. "Prich" was in 00:47:00great form and so was Bert. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And it was [inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: So, you were entertained.
PEARCE: Oh, it was a good dinner. Yeah, a lot of good conversation. Weretired to living room and were sitting there talking, and there was a knock on the door, and the butler was in the kitchen and so I said, "I'll get it." And I went to the door and opened it, and Mabel brushed me aside.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh [chuckle].
PEARCE: She pushed that door open, and pushed me aside, and came in. Andshe said, "Well, I guess you all weren't expecting me."
PEARCE: And looked over at Helen and said, "So that's the dirty littlewhore." [Chuckle]
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, no.
PEARCE: And Bert said, "No, Mabe, this isn't gonna get us anywhere." Andshe cussed him, "You --" I won't repeat it on tape, but [chuckle--Birdwhistell] 00:48:00boy she let him have it. It was very embarrassing. And "Prich" said, "Now, Mabe, now, this ain't gonna help you or anybody else." In the meantime, I got Helen and hustled her into restroom there at the foot of the stairs and I said, "You lock that door and don't you come out 'til I say so." [Chuckles]
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] [Coast ?] -- ['til the ?] --
PEARCE: And --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- coast is clear.
PEARCE: -- I went back and -- Mabel reached in her purse and she carrieda pistol, and I grabbed her, and we wrestled. This is very unbecoming on everybody's [chuckle] part [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. We fell to the floor, purse fell open, pistol fell out.
BIRDWHISTELL: You think she was going for her pistol?
PEARCE: [Yeah, I was confident ?] she was.
PEARCE: With her was a lady named Savage [chuckle], [that's funny ?], but00:49:00a cousin of Bert's -- or Mabel's now, [inaudible]. Nice woman. And she kept saying, "Mabe, just -- Come on, Mabe, let's leave. Let's leave." Mabel picked up a brass ashtray as big as a soup tureen [chuckle], very heavy, and threw it at Bert, and it missed him by inches and crashed through French doors behind him.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, no.
PEARCE: And I think it was at that point that we started wresting[chuckle] match. But after that, Mrs. Savage and I finally managed to persuade Mabel to leave. And she left under a full head of steam, beside herself with anger and frustration. But that gives you an idea. Bert, in the meantime, had 00:50:00come over with John Tarrant who was a surviving partner in [Dawson, Hood, Dawson, and Tarrant ?]. And I thought it was a very strange [chuckle] outfit for Bert. But I gather that John asked him. John called Bert and said he needed help with somebody in Washington on a case that had, asked Bert if he could help him. Bert said, "Well, I may be able to." So Bert made a couple of phone calls. And did provide the information that was needed. And he sent a John a bill for ten [chuckle] thousand dollars and [chuckles] John, who was a tightwad 00:51:00anyhow, [chuckles] had a fit.
BIRDWHISTELL: I guess [chuckle].
PEARCE: And called Bert, "God damn, Bert. Ten thousand dollars for aphone call." Bert said, "Well, John, I knew who to call." [Chuckles] John thought so highly of this he asked Bert to come in with him.
BIRDWHISTELL: Because it'd be cheaper to hire [chuckle] him.
PEARCE: Yeah. So Bert became --
BIRDWHISTELL: A partner.
PEARCE: -- a partner of John Tarrant. And later, of course, Wilsonproposed that they form a -- the well-known partnership of Wyatt, Tarrant, and Combs. And on the death of John -- or the retirement of John Tarrant, why Bert became managing partner. And it became the largest law firm in Kentucky.
BIRDWHISTELL: At the time that Combs moves to Louisville and lives out in the00:52:00house on [Blankenship ?] Lane, does he have money at that point? Is --
PEARCE: No, he didn't have any money to speak of.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. I mean, when he was governor, was he -- was he in asituation where he lived off his salary?
PEARCE: Yeah, he didn't have anything.
BIRDWHISTELL: He didn't have any money?
PEARCE: He made a little money, I guess, as -- But circuit judges don'tmake money.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I mean, but not like money he would make with Wyatt,Tarrant, and Combs.
PEARCE: Oh, no. No.
BIRDWHISTELL: But he was -- he was basically just, as -- as you said, livingoff his salary and --
PEARCE: [Inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [maybe had some ?] savings. And he knew a lot of rich people.
BIRDWHISTELL: And he knew a lot of rich people.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. The other thing that comes to mind in thinking back aboutthat Combs administration, the -- the political and then the personal, is that it -- again it just highlights how much things have changed, because in today's 00:53:00world, a politician having marital problems, the press would be all over it from day one. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- the press didn't cover Combs' personal life.
PEARCE: No. And furthermore, Combs kept it so quiet.
BIRDWHISTELL: He was discreet?
PEARCE: Well, not only discreet, he was quiet [chuckle].
BIRDWHISTELL: [Right ?] [chuckle].
PEARCE: He never said anything about his difficulties. He hired as adriver Kenneth [VanHoose ?], who lives over in Shelbyville now, just outside Shelbyville, and -- and VanHoose was also very discreet.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Yeah. You'd have to have loyal people around you in thatkind of situation.
PEARCE: I don't think that many people knew about Helen. I doubt if ahalf a dozen people did. Bill May knew, but Bill was savvy enough to keep it to -- 00:54:00
PEARCE: -- himself. I knew. I wasn't about to say anything.
BIRDWHISTELL: Prichard did. Prichard?
PEARCE: Yes, "Prich" knew. I don't know when "Prich" found out. Hedidn't know early on.
BIRDWHISTELL: Trying to explain to -- Say somebody's looking at this period inKentucky history where you have the Combs administration, then you have the Breathitt administration, sometimes seen as a continuum, but if you had to help somebody understand the distinctions between Combs and Breathitt as politicians, as political philosophy, the way they went about doing things, how would you -- how would you describe their differences? And -- 00:55:00
PEARCE: Between Combs and Breathitt?
PEARCE: Combs played much closer to his vest. Combs had studied, I think[chuckle], [inaudible] Earle Clements.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. [Inaudible] --
PEARCE: Breathitt was very open. He was more the traditional Democratic governor.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was he?
PEARCE: Combs was not exactly secretive, but he kept things to himself.And he was very cautious.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Again, like Clements, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- cautious and --
PEARCE: Uh-huh. He always thinking down the road.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. Now, Breathitt as governor, following Combs wouldbe tough, I think, --
PEARCE: Yes, it was.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- no matter what, but people don't give -- seem not to giveBreathitt very high marks for managing state government. You know, the governor 00:56:00back then was in--- I mean, the governor was the chief executive officer by any definition and you had people like Clements and -- well, even [Lawrence] Wetherby and Chandler and Combs, they had their own management styles to manage that executive operation, which was state government, and Breathitt seems not to get as high marks for being able to control things.
PEARCE: He didn't try, I think, and he certainly didn't. He was not aman for close control. On the other hand, he got done what he wanted done, usually.
PEARCE: He had a -- a good record with the legislature. He passed thatstrip-mine control bill that nobody thought [chuckle] he could get [chuckle--Birdwhistell] passed.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Civil rights legislation.00:57:00
PEARCE: Civil rights. Combs' executive order on public accommodationshad helped him a lot in that respect. It sort of opened the door, made people --
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Of course, it made the campaign harder.
BIRDWHISTELL: Made the campaign harder with Louie Nunn --
PEARCE: Yes. Yes, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- running against them.
PEARCE: -- uh-huh. But it wasn't so hard for Ned once he was in office.While he was running Ned went up to see Bill Sturgill. Now, I've gotten this from -- more from Sturgill than from Ned. And Bill took him in his plane and flew him all around east Kentucky to speaking engagements. And he said, "Ned, you can take the plane on back to Lexington." And he put five thousand dollars 00:58:00in the seat of it. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And then he said, "And that sorry son of a bitch went down there and passed that bill against me." [Laughter--Birdwhistell] I don't think he ever forgave Ned for that.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that'd be hard.
PEARCE: Yeah. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Ned shouldn't have taken thatmoney if he was gonna [chuckle--Birdwhistell] --
BIRDWHISTELL: Kentucky politics is full of stories of money left in places,isn't it?
PEARCE: Yeah. Ned -- he gave me -- he gave me the Governor's Medallionup there for working strip mining. As I recall, that's what it was for.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, the Courier-Journal and John Ed Pearce played a big role inthat, didn't they? In setting the stage for -- 00:59:00
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [demonstration ?]?
PEARCE: That -- our -- what was it called, "Our Ravaged Land," thatspecial magazine we put out. I guess that had some part in it. There was an awful lot of indignation building up against the ravages of strip mining.
BIRDWHISTELL: Those kind of battles are tough --
BIRDWHISTELL: Those kinds of fights are tough fights. Strip mining. You know,you --
PEARCE: Oh, boy.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you equate it with the current fight over tobacco, you know,the sort of cultural changes, social/cultural shifts.
PEARCE: And the strip mining was nastier and uglier. It's -- You don'tsee the ravages of tobacco out in the field [chuckle] there --
PEARCE: -- as you did the ravages of strip mining on the hillside. But,01:00:00I guess the same s--- There isn't the effort made in the legislature, of course, to curb tobacco growing or tobacco manufacture. I doubt if there ever is.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, I'm just equating it though with livelihoods, with freedomto do what you want, those kinds of things, the -- the similarity of the debates, in a sense.
PEARCE: Well, let me point this out, however. In the strip mining, whatyou call "the little people" were against it, against strip -- and they were being hurt by it.
PEARCE: Their property was being taken and the big -- the Sturgills, andthe Kellys, and the big outside firms like U.S. Steel, Consolidated -- Consolidation, they were pressing down the crown of bituminous [chuckle] coal on the little people. It's quite different in tobacco. In tobacco, the [chuckle] 01:01:00little people are the hurters, I guess [chuckle]. They're the ones who are [assenting ?], the little farmer. [But boy ?], I guess it's the big companies still that are buying the tobacco, but that's -- they don't have any sympathy with the -- for -- from the people.
PEARCE: It's the farmer who -- out there with his sons staking [chuckle]tobacco. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]
BIRDWHISTELL: There was a report on NPR yesterday, I don't know if you heard itor not, about farm safety and child safety.
BIRDWHISTELL: Wasn't that fascinating?
PEARCE: Let me tell you, if it weren't for NPR I wouldn't [chuckle] everturn on the radio [chuckle--Birdwhistell].
BIRDWHISTELL: That whole issue of freedom and where regulations --
PEARCE: That --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [inaudible].
PEARCE: Do you know Barbara Foote?
PEARCE: She wrote a book, I don't think I have it here, about her life on01:02:00the farm in west Kentucky [Harvest of Hope].
BIRDWHISTELL: I need to --
PEARCE: It's a beautiful book.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- I need to look at that.
PEARCE: Beautiful book. It contains some of her poetry. And it isn'tone of these in the tobacco chewing, hillside, corn hoeing [chuckle--Birdwhistell] thing. She is a modern woman and part of the time she has to go into town, take a job in order to keep the farm going with her husband. And she talks very movingly about her children on the farm. It's a book worth reading.
BIRDWHISTELL: I'll take a look at that. Well, let's stop right here for today.That's --
[End of Interview]