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Rusk H, Interview with Dean Rusk, October 22, 1984

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:25 - Earliest memories of public events in Atlanta

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Partial Transcript: -- your first memories of events in Atlanta, not necessarily your boyhood or childhood but the very first things you remember as far as the public events of Atlanta are concerned.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses his earliest memories of public events in Atlanta, including the effects of World War I and the Great Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the Fourth Ward.

Keywords: 1917 Atlanta fire; Great Atlanta Fire; The Great Atlanta Fire of 1917; U.S. army; World War I

00:01:48 - The West End in Atlanta in early 20th century

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Partial Transcript: The section, West End in Atlanta--just some general characteristics of West End. Again, a lot of this you have already given me.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk describes the modest community of West End in Atlanta, Georgia, during his childhood, detailing the streets filled with wagons selling produce and Jewel Tea Company tea and coffee. He further discusses his experiences as a child during segregation.

Keywords: Atlanta Boys High School; Hurt building; Jewel Tea Company; Joel Hurt building; Leatherwood's Grocery; Piedmont Driving Club; Ponce de Leon Avenue; The South; West End Presbyterian Church; West End, Atlanta; agriculture; anti-Catholicism; antisemitism; classism; race issues; race relations; racism; railroad; shanks; shanties; slums; xenophobia

00:12:38 - The South's reception of "The Birth of a Nation"

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Partial Transcript: But I must say as kids we were pretty stirred up by this film The Birth of a Nation when it carne in.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses his first experience viewing "The Birth of a Nation" (1915) in a theater and the film's influence on a post-Civil War Georgia and the South.

Keywords: Cherokee County; Dixie; Klu Klux Klan; Leo Frank; Leo M. Frank; Reconstruction; Robert E. Lee; Southern Reconstruction; The Birth of a Nation; The Civil War; The Confederate States of America; The North; The Old Confederacy; lynchings; prejudice

00:18:24 - Rusk family origins / class distinctions in Georgia

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Partial Transcript: Got a question about these class distinctions in Atlanta.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks on how classism affected his experiences growing up in Atlanta, and the origins of his ambition and love for knowledge.

Keywords: Atlanta, Georgia; Cherokee County; Cherokee County, Atlanta; Fort McPherson; Frances Elizabeth Clotfelter; Franklin the Goat Man; Georgia; Georgia agriculture; Scotch-Irish; Whitehall Street, Atlanta; agriculture; classism; farm life; poverty

00:25:53 - Childhood house on Whitehall Street

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Partial Transcript: Were there roads there in your end of Atlanta

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the bumpy cobblestone and dirt roads of the West End, and his yard at the house on Whitehall Street in which he lived growing up.

Keywords: 20th century homes; Southern culture; The South; West End, Atlanta; poverty

00:28:31 - Children and medicine in early 20th century

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Partial Transcript: I noticed in the Cherokee Advance and also this book that back in those days there was an awful lot of reference in the media, newspapers, advertisements for different cough syrups and tonics and various things.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the use of medicine and home-made remedies for curing illness during his childhood, a time during which penicillin hadn't yet been discovered nor were modern drugs yet available.

Keywords: 1918 flu pandemic; American automobiles; Epsom salts; Southern remedies; The Franklin; The Poetry of Motion; The Rio; bed bugs; calamol; castor oil; childhood illnesses; cough syrups; early automobiles; flu epidemic; germ theory; medicine; modern medicine; modern pharmacy; old time remedies; pharmacy; the flu; tonics

Subjects: Medicine and home-made remedies during childhood

00:33:07 - Gender, feuding, and tradition in the South

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Partial Transcript: Dueling tradition in the old American South and the last instance of it in Atlanta in 1889. Go ahead, Pop.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the traditions of feuding in the American South during his childhood, as well as the relationship between family feuds and women.

Keywords: Canton, Georgia; Cherokee County, Georgia; Southern chivalry; Southern culture of honor; Southern honor culture; The American South; The South; Woodstock, Georgia; chivalry; dueling; dueling tradition; early firearms; feuding; hunting

00:37:34 - Family life

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Partial Transcript: We had a good deal of singing in our family.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about his childhood, family, and the activities in which they participated, including singing and playing the piano. He also discusses surviving typhoid fever.

Keywords: Enrico Caruso; Victor; West End, Atlanta; church songs; flush toilet; folk songs; hygiene; outdoor privy; outhouse; phonographs; privy; spirituals; the phonograph; toilets; typhoid fever; water closets

00:40:29 - African American businesses in Atlanta / Tradition in the South

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Partial Transcript: Talking about the emergence of a black lower and middle class coming out of slavery and able to prosper in the times--

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses his memories of Atlanta's African American communities. He also talks about Native American relics and Civil War nostalgia. He further discusses his identification as a Georgian, and his experiences leaving and returning to the South, including refamiliarizing himself with Southern traditions such as fireworks, Southern attire, and silent movies.

Keywords: 20th century toys; Civil War; Civil War relics; Davidson College; Herndon's Barbershop; Margaret Rusk; Morningside Drive; Native American arrowheads; Oxford University; Prohibition; Southern attire; Southern toys; The South; West End, Atlanta; Western Electric Supply Company; arc lights; chimney cleaning; chimney sweep; downtown Atlanta; education; fireworks; gas street lamps; horse wagons; lamplighter; race relations; racism; relics; silent films; silent movies; street lamps; traditional Southern attire

00:55:49 - Atlanta Race Riot of 1906 / Leo Frank lynching / Uncle Remus stories / Prejudices and Racism

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Partial Transcript: --The Atlanta race riot in 1906. Precipitating factors were the demagoguery of Tom Watson and also some alleged assaults of black men made upon white women, for instances--

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the race riots of 1906, the lynching of Leo Frank, and his experiences working as a delivery boy for the "Knights of the Mystic Kingdom," which he later realized was a branch of the Klu Klux Klan. He talks about the anti-black, anti-Jewish, and anti-Catholic sentiments in the South during his childhood. He goes on to talk about the Uncle Remus stories he heard growing up.

Keywords: Atlanta Constitution; Battle Hymn of the Republic; Davidson College; Flatiron Building; Joel Chandler Harris; Klu Klux Klan; Knights of the Mystic Kingdom; Leo Frank; Leo M. Frank; Marvin H. Davies Printing Plant; Parks Rusk; Prohibition; Reconstruction; Richard B. Russell; SEC football; Southeastern Conference; The Southeastern Fair; The Southeastern Fair of Atlanta; Uncle Remus; Walter F. George; Walter O. Foote; William D. Upshaw; William David Upshaw; anti-Catholic; anti-Jewish; anti-black; antisemitic; bootlegging; post-Civil War racism; racism

01:07:03 - Patriotism and public support for World War I vs. World War II

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Partial Transcript: About World War I, and the armistice after World War I, and celebrations in Atlanta in 1918.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses his opinions on the differences between World War I and World War II, and the slow but strong development of disillusionment with war in America.

Keywords: Adolf Hitler; Armistice Day; Candler Warehouse; Fort McPherson; General Pershing; German POWs; German Prisoners of War; Henry Lewis Stimson; Henry Stimson; Herbert Hoover; John Joseph Pershing; Lee Street School; Ninth District; Pearl Harbor; President Herbert Hoover; The League of Nations; The Spanish Civil War; Vietnam War; World War I; World War I propaganda; World War II; World War II deserters; anti-war sentiments; desertion rates; jingoism; patriotism; propaganda; war-time propaganda

01:12:29 - The Ford Model T and driving at age 10

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Partial Transcript: My father bought a new Ford automobile, a T model, for $298 once.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about learning how to drive a Ford Model T and performing mechanic work on his family's car as a young adult.

Keywords: Ford; Ford Model T; Henry Ford; Junior Christian Endeavor Society; Parks Rusk; Presbyterian church; Southern Presbyterian church; automobiles; early automobiles

01:19:39 - Religion in Atlanta

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Partial Transcript: Billy Sunday visited Atlanta, and the revival there attracted a total of 30,000 Atlantans--one of Atlanta's great emotional experiences.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks on his experience watching traveling preachers such as William Ashley "Billy" Sunday and Williams Jennings Bryan. He further discusses the theory of evolution and its place in the curriculum of the Boys High School he attended in Atlanta.

Keywords: 1920s American educational system; 1920s educational system; Billy Graham; Billy Sunday; Bishop Ussher; Boys High School; Evangelism; James Ussher; Protestantism; Southern religion; The Scopes Trial; The South; The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes; William Ashley Sunday; Williams Jennings Bryan; creationism; education; evolution; religion

01:21:55 - Early technologies and religious traditions in Atlanta

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Partial Transcript: We're talking about Pop's introduction to the airplane.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses his first airplane ride from Paris to London, as well as his second flight at Mills College. He talks about his experiences with early passenger aviation. Rusk then explains his father's experience as a preacher, and talks about his childhood experience of watching technologies such as motor-driven wagons and radio develop.

Keywords: Atlanta Life; Atlanta newspapers; Aurelia Henry Reinhardt; Aurelia Reinhardt; Billy Sunday; Biltmore Hotel; Bobby Jones; Cherokee County, Georgia; DC-3 plane; Florida land boom; Ford; Harlee Branch; Harlee W. Branch; Hebrew; Mills College; Morgan Blake; Oscar Keeler; Oscar O.B. Keeler; Parks Rusk; Presbyterian Church; RFD Postal Service; Robert Tyre Jones; Rural Free Delivery Postal Service; The Atlanta Tabernacle; The Tabernacle; Theological Seminary; WSB Atlanta; Whitehall Street, Atlanta, Georgia; William Jennings Bryan; Willis A. Sutton; Willis Sutton; World War I; airplane; automobile; boll weevil; church culture; churches; cotton industry; early medicine; early radio; horse-drawn carriage; horse-drawn wagons; military industrial compex; newspaper; radio; radio industry; religion; segregated sports; segregation; telephone; the English Channel; the flu pandemic; wagons

01:41:41 - Happy childhood despite poverty

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Partial Transcript: I don't want to leave the impression that because we were poor that everything was drab and dull.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about his happiness as a child, despite his family's poverty. Further, he details his first day at the Lee Street School.

Subjects: Lee Street School; education; poverty