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Interview with Bob Holmes, May 13, 2009

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:28 - Early life and education / Early career

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Partial Transcript: Tell us about Bob Holmes.

Segment Synopsis: Holmes talks about his childhood in West Virginia and New York. He discusses his education at Shepherd College and then at Columbia University. He later shares about his early career in New York as a teacher and an administrator at City University where he met his mentor, Robert Weaver. Holmes also talks about his time working with students in New York and at Southern University and Atlanta University.

Keywords: Baton Rouge; Bernard Baruch College; Ford Foundation; HBCU; HUD; Harvard Yale College Intensive Summer Studies Program; Housing and Urban Development; John Hay Whitney Foundation; Louisiana; Political science; Search for Elevation Education and Knowledge; Shepherdstown; Woodrow Wilson Foundation; college bowl; historically black colleges; historically black universities; historically black university

00:04:37 - Political involvement and career / Atlanta City Charter revisions

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Partial Transcript: And then I became very active in the community.

Segment Synopsis: Holmes talks about writing speeches for Andy Young's and Maynard Jackson's campaigns, and recalls his own election to the state legislature in 1974. He discusses his career as an educator and his other business ventures in banking, computers, and real estate. He tells about his admiration for J.C. Daugherty, Grace Hamilton, and Billy McKinney. He talks about the effects of Hamilton's revisions of the Atlanta City Charter, and about the history of racial representation on the Atlanta City Council.

Keywords: Atlanta Urban League; Bank of North Georgia; Capital City Bank; Carl Weir; Georgia General Assembly; Hampton University; Johnson C. Smith; North Georgia National Bank; University of Mississippi Valley; William Hartsfield; racial polarization; white primary

00:13:37 - Legislative career

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Partial Transcript: Let's get back to state representative Bob Holmes.

Segment Synopsis: Holmes discusses his time as a state representative in the Georgia General Assembly and shares about his relationship with Speaker Tom Murphy. He later talks about becoming active in the legislative black caucus. He also discusses his time as director of the Southern Center for Studies in Public Policy.

Keywords: Al Burruss; Appropriations Committee; Calvin Smyre; David Lucas; Joe Frank Harris; Motor Voter legislation; National Voter Registration Act; Rules Committee; Senator Murphy; election law reform; environmental justice; state legislature

00:28:18 - Voter Education Project / Integration of the University of Georgia and Shepherdstown High School

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned Mayor Hartsfield encouraging voter registration.

Segment Synopsis: Holmes talks about the Voter Education Project and those involved. He then discusses the Hamilton Holmes desegregation lawsuit filed against the University of Georgia, and the subsequent process of integration at UGA. Holmes later recalls his childhood and talks about his experience integrating Shepherdstown High School with three of his family members. He also discusses the beginning of his love of academics.

Keywords: Atlanta University; Charlayne Hunter; Charlayne Hunter-Gault; Clarence Bacote; Congressman Louis; Donald Hollowell; Ford Foundation; Hamilton Holmes; Harry Klueb; Horace Ward; Jim Shafer; Leroy Johnson; Lyndon Wade; Mayor Hartsfield; Primus King; UGA; VEP; Vernon Jordan; Voting Rights Act of 1965; desegregation; voter registration

00:37:29 - Relationship with governors / Maynard Jackson

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Partial Transcript: A couple of other issues, several of the governors that I served under, all of them were unique.

Segment Synopsis: Holmes talks about his relationships with Governors George Busbee, Joe Frank Harris, and Zell Miller. Holmes compares the diversity of the appointments made by Busbee and Harris. He discusses the relationship between Miller and Speaker Tom Murphy, examining the personalization of politics. He also discusses the political career of Maynard Jackson, about whom Holmes has published a book.

Keywords: Atlanta Negro Voters League; Calvin Smiley; Civil Rights; Georgia General Assembly; Georgia House of Representatives; Georgia Lottery; Georgia governor elections; HOPE Scholarship; Herman Russell; Horace Tate; Jesse Hill; Leroy Johnson; Robert Benham

00:48:49 - Retirement / National Popular Vote

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Partial Transcript: I could talk a lot about some other things but maybe I'll basically talk a little bit about my retirement.

Segment Synopsis: Holmes describes the party shift in the Georgia General Assembly as being the impetus for his retirement. He talks about his current involvements, including lobbying for The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, mentoring a young politician, and writing and traveling.

Keywords: Georgia legislation; Georgia legislature; Georgia state legislature; John Koza; ballot; electoral college; presidential elections; voting rights

01:01:10 - Voting reform / Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: There was an issue that you wanted-- oh I talked about my interest in electoral voting reforms.

Segment Synopsis: Holmes discusses voter turnout and voter identification fraud. He ends by talking about his family and the legacy he hopes to leave behind.

Keywords: Georgia vote; National Voter Registration Act; absentee ballot; absentee voting; ballot box; ballot system; electoral fraud; electronic voting; motor voter legislation; voting rights