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Rusk F, Interview with Dean Rusk, circa 1985

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:14 - Family history

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Partial Transcript: I have the chronology of your ancestors. I wanted to ask about the story of your great-grandparents coming to this country.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk details his Irish ancestry and the migration of members of his family from northern Ireland to South Carolina in the early nineteenth century.

Keywords: American colonies; American colonization; Charleston; Charleston, SC; Cherokee County; Ireland; Irish immigrants; James Edward Rusk; John Caldwell Calhoun; Margaret Rusk; Parks Rusk; Robert Hugh Rusk; Rusk Family Memorial Association; South Carolina

00:04:56 - Growing up on a farm in Cherokee County, Georgia

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Partial Transcript: Your father and your mother were very well educated, especially for that time.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk details his experience of growing up on a farm in Cherokee County, Georgia. He explains the daily activities of the family (how they ate, what they wore, etc.), and his father's work as a mail carrier in Atlanta around the year 1912.

Keywords: 20th century Atlanta; Atlanta, Georgia; Cherokee County; Davidson College; Frances Elizabeth Clotfelter; Inman Park, Atlanta; Little Five Points; Parks Rusk; Presbyterian church; Presbyterian ministry; Robert Hugh Rusk; Roswell, Georgia; The South; U.S. mail; U.S. post office; Woodstock, Georgia; early mail system; southern history

00:14:13 - Childhood education and favorite books

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Partial Transcript: Did you have readings out loud of The Bible?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk details his experience reading the Bible as a child, and how the Bible influenced him. He also talks about his experiences at the Joel Chandler Harris Library, a children's library, once his family moved to the West End in 1912. He further explains his experience at the Lee Street School, the teacher training school for elementary teachers in the Atlanta School System. Rusk then talks about the influence of the "Carpenter's Geographic Reader" on what would later develop into an interest in geography and different cultures of the world.

Keywords: 20th century Atlanta school system; 20th century Georgia schools; 20th century schools; Asa Griggs Candler; Candler Warehouse; Carpenter's Geographic Reader; Frank G. Carpenter; Ft. McPherson; Lee Street School; Robinson Crusoe; The Bible; The New Testament; The Rover Boys; The South; The Swiss Family Robinson; Tom Swift; World War I; children's literature; education; geography; religious South

00:17:29 - The influence of World War I and World War II on childhood in Atlanta

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Partial Transcript: That was the time of World War I. Were you acutely aware or did that all seem far away? I suppose Washington--far away?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the influence of World War I on his childhood, and his experiences watching and meeting German prisoners of war. He further explains his formative years in the West End of Atlanta, detailing experiences watching the Old No. 7 Firehouse, the trains on the Central of Georgia Railway that connected Atlanta and Macon, an ice-making plant, and the Karo syrup factory.

Keywords: Atlanta, Georgia; Central of Georgia Railway; Ft. McPherson; German POWs; German Prisoners of War; Germany; Karo syrup; Macon, Georgia; World War I; World War I POWs; World War I Prisoners of War; World War II; childhood; icemaking; industrial waste

00:22:33 - Race relations amongst Georgians in the 1910s

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Partial Transcript: Then when I was about seven or eight years old, I went to work for a little grocery store just across the railroad tracks, run by a man named Leatherwood.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk details his first contact with the African American community growing up in the West End of Atlanta, and the relationship he had with boys from that neighborhood who would often play outside with him as his friends.

Keywords: 20th century race relations; African American history; Atlanta School System; Black history; Claude Leatherwood; James Eldridge Leatherwood; Lee Street School; race relations; segregation

00:24:33 - Boys High School in Atlanta

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Partial Transcript: In high school you had a remarkable teacher, Preston Epps. What did he look like then, and why did he--

Segment Synopsis: Rusk describes his experience at the Atlanta Boys' High School as a member of the high school ROTC. He further details his opportunity to serve as high school page editor for The Atlanta Journal.

Keywords: Atlanta Boys High School; Atlanta Commercial High School; Atlanta Girls' High School; Atlanta Technical High School; Atlanta high schools; Boston Latin School; Boys High School; Estelle Bradley; Harllee Branch, Jr.; Henry W. Grady High School; Miss Atlanta; Othma K. David; Reserve Officer Training Course; The Atlanta Journal; U.S. Army ROTC; U.S. ROTC; corporal punishment; discipline; educational discipline

00:29:58 - Religion and career ambitions

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Partial Transcript: That didn’t stimulate you to a career in journalism?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk explains his desire to become a member of the Presbyterian ministry as a young adult. He further talks on the atmosphere of his household growing up, and the activities he was engaged in.

Keywords: Christian Endeavor; Dean Rusk; Presbyterian ministry; The South; southern religion

00:31:20 - Family visits

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Partial Transcript: When you were in high school did you go on school trips to Washington or--?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about spending his summers with his family on various farms in Cherokee County and Rockdale County in Georgia.

Keywords: Cherokee County, Georgia; Rockdale County, Georgia; World War II

00:32:20 - Experimental outdoor school, Preston H. Epps, and learning Greek

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Partial Transcript: What is your impression of your father now?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about his experience attending an experimental open air school in the backyard of the school, and his experiences reading Greek plays and novels such as The Iliad and The Odyssey in their original language.

Keywords: Boys High School; Georgia Tech; Herbert Smith; Lee Street School; Milledgeville, Georgia; Preston H. Epps; University of Oxford; William E. Fincher; World War II

00:39:53 - Graduation and working at Augustus Roan law office

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Partial Transcript: When you graduated you went to work for Augustus Roan in the law office.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk details his experiences working for Augustus M. Roan in Atlanta producing copy for advertisements, the Georgia Tech football program, and convention catalogs. He also talks about his qualifications for the Rhodes scholarship at Davidson College.

Keywords: Atlanta; Atlanta, GA; Augustus M. Roan; Davidson College; Georgia Tech; Georgia Tech football; Rhodes Scholarship; Southern history; YMCA; advertising; copy

00:41:52 - Davidson College, 1927-1931

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Partial Transcript: Could we turn to Davidson?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the physical developments of the Davidson College Campus made since he attended the school. He further discusses his process of working through college as the bookkeeper for the local bank and the process of seeking his Rhodes Scholarship. Rusk then talks about the influence of the Great Depression of the livelihood of his family. He details his experience at Davidson concerning determining a major. At this time, he no longer wished to become a minister and became interested instead in international law and becoming a professor.

Keywords: Davidson College; Davidson ROTC; Dixon Phillips; Guy Vowles; Phi Beta Kappa; Presbyterian Church; Rhodes Scholarship; The Great Depression; The Rockefeller Foundation; Virginia Rusk; William R. Scott; baseball

00:53:09 - "The South"

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Partial Transcript: What was it like growing up in the South?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the regional differences between the North and the South in the United States, and the ramifications of the Civil War and Reconstruction on growing up in Cherokee County, Georgia.

Keywords: Abraham Lincoln; Black Republicans; Brown v. Board of Education; Civil Rights; Civil Rights Acts; David Felix Clotfelter; George Marshall; Henry Grady; Oliver Brown; Ralph Bunche; Reconstruction; Robert E. Lee; The Civil War; The Confederate Army; The GOP; The North; The Republican Party; The South; The University of Oxford; World War II; desegregation; integration; race; racial issues; segregation; southern culture