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Interview with George Berry, April 6, 2013

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:23 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: I'm Bob Short, and this is Reflections on Georgia Politics, sponsored by the Richard B. Russell Library at the University of Georgia and Young Harris College.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer Bob Short introduces interviewee George Berry, speaking about the late James Carmichael.

00:01:28 - Berry's interest in Carmichael / Carmichael's early life and injury

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Partial Transcript: How and when did you get interested in the life and career of Jimmy Carmichael?

Segment Synopsis: Berry speaks about how he came to be interested in Carmichael, and explains that Carmichael was unremarkable until an automobile accident left him with a spinal injury, at which point his determination to succeed grew.

Keywords: Atlanta, Georgia; Car accident; Carmichael stop; Disability; Economic development; Education; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Henry Grady; I-285; Income; Marietta, Georgia; Merchants; Natural resources; New South Movement; North Georgia; Oakdale community; Overachiever; Rapid transit; Rural Georgia; School newspaper; Southern poverty; Spinal injury; Streetcar; Trumpet

00:06:40 - Carmichael's early legal and political career

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Partial Transcript: He became a lawyer.

Segment Synopsis: Berry discusses Carmichael's law practice and two terms as a member of the House, a seat for which he ran unopposed.

Keywords: Attorney; Civic activities; Conflict of interest; Emory University; Ethics; Fraternity; Georgia House of Representatives; Law degree; Lawyer; Red Cross; Reelection; Undergraduate degree

00:08:48 - Development of Rickenbacker Field and Bell Aircraft Company plant

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Partial Transcript: Tell us about his, uh, work on Rickenbacker Field.

Segment Synopsis: Berry discusses Carmichael's involvement in bringing an airport and Bell Aircraft plant to Cobb County.

Keywords: Agriculture; Aircraft carrier; Aircraft manufacturing facilities; Airport development; Assembly line; Atlanta metropolitan area; B-29; Bell Aircraft Company; Blairsville, Georgia; Bootlegging; Buffalo, New York; CEO; Candler Field; Disabilities; Disabled people; Eastern Airlines; Economic progress; Economic stimulation; Farmers; Federal government; General Lucius Clay; General counsel; Industrial safety; Industry; Landing field; Larry Bell; Lockheed Martin; Machinists; Metalworkers; Midwest; New Deal era; Presidential citation; Saw mills; Southeast; Southwest; U.S. Air Force; U.S. Army Aircorps; Whiskey stills

00:16:12 - Carmichael's run for governor

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk a little bit now about his interest in the politics.

Segment Synopsis: Berry suggests that Carmichael ran for governor out of a sense of obligation rather than personal desire, as term limits dictated that the relatively progressive Arnall could not run against Eugene Talmadge.

Keywords: Carl Sanders; County unit system; Disenfranchisement; Ellis Arnall; Ernest Vandiver; Eugene Talmadge; General assembly; Georgia Constitution; Gubernatorial run; Herman Talmadge; Leadership; Marvin Griffin; Newnan, Georgia; Policy; Political philosophy; Poll tax; Popular vote; Progressive politics; Revenue Commissioner; Term limits; Three governors controversy; UGA; University of Georgia

00:23:54 - The three governor's controversy

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Partial Transcript: Let's go back, George, to that election: Eugene Talmadge won but died before he took office.

Segment Synopsis: Berry explains that despite coming in first in Georgia's general election and second in the county unit vote, the governorship was temporarily given to Herman Talmadge largely due to Talmadge's campaign forging write-in votes; the lieutenant governor eventually took office.

00:32:18 - Carmichael's views on race relations

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Partial Transcript: Carmichael put forth a very progressive platform that included moderation in race relations.

Segment Synopsis: Berry speaks about Carmichael's engagement of African Americans in the state and suggests that this position essentially ended his chances at holding elected office.

Keywords: 17th Amendment; Board of Registrar; Community service; Conspiracy; Demagogue; FBI; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Huey Long; Public office; Race mixing; Racial discrimination; Voter intimidation; Voter literacy test; White primary

00:34:51 - Work after political office

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Partial Transcript: Well, that,uh, that ended his quest for public office but it didn't end his community and his political dealings.

Segment Synopsis: Berry indicates that Carmichael remained engaged in both the private and public sectors following his run for governor, serving as head of Scripto and on several non-profit boards; he also opines that Carmichael would remain a progressive Democrat in contemporary Georgia.

Keywords: Board of Industry and Trade; Board of directors; Charisma; Civic life; Coca-Cola; Democrat; Fine arts; Georgia Power; Inclusive politics; Interpersonal relations; Loyalty; One-party state; Physical pain; Republican; Robert Woodruff; Scripto; Trust Company Bank; Two-party state; Woodruff Arts Center

00:39:32 - Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Well, Georgia, I want to thank you for being with us today and for enlightening us on the life and career of Jimmy Carmichael.

Segment Synopsis: Short and Berry conclude the interview.