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Interview with Charles Graves, May 6, 2015

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:50 - Early life / Bertha Hill retrial

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Partial Transcript: Tell us a little bit about Charlie Graves before we get started here.

Segment Synopsis: Graves talks about his early life growing up in Rome, Georgia. He says that he was in the distributive education program in high school, so he got to work for half of the day. He discusses getting a job with the local newspaper and reporting on the retrial of Bertha Gossett Hill, a 28-year old woman who had been accused of murdering her husband and parents. He describes how Hill had been found guilty of murder not because of evidence but because the jurors had been deliberating for 78 hours and just wanted to go home. He says that she was eventually set free.

Keywords: Golden Gloves; Mack Hicks; Maple Street Community Center; Shorter University; boxing; marines

00:10:17 - Getting started in politics

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Partial Transcript: Tell us how you got interested in politics.

Segment Synopsis: Graves talks about getting involved in politics by helping the Speaker Pro Tem of the Georgia House of Representatives with advertising for his campaign for Superior Court Judge of Rome, Georgia. After that, Graves became the press aid for Congressman John Davis and moved to Washington. After Davis was defeated, Governor Busbee asked Graves to become the Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Keywords: Bob Stogen; Carl Vincent; Erwin Mitchell; Gerald Ford; John Kennedy; Larry McDonald; Mack Hicks; Richard Russell; Summerville, Georgia

00:17:58 - Remembering John F. Kennedy

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Partial Transcript: You knew the Kennedys.

Segment Synopsis: Graves talks about seeing John Kennedy in Warm Springs while he was running for president in 1960. Graves also talks about being in Washington when Kennedy was assassinated, and being able to see his body at the Capitol Building.

Keywords: Atlanta Journal Constitution; Franklin Roosevelt; John Davis

00:25:28 - Election to the Georgia House of Representatives

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Partial Transcript: Well let's talk about your elective career.

Segment Synopsis: Graves discusses getting elected to the Georgia House of Representatives even though he had never considered running before. He talks about getting into a disagreement with Governor Maddox over an education bill that would have required an entire county to vote on any change a local school board wanted to make. Graves also talks about his efforts to get a new mental health hospital built in Rome, Georgia.

Keywords: Ben Lucas; George Busbee; George L. Smith; Jack Nelson; Mac Barber; Milledgeville, Georgia; Swainsboro, Georgia; Tom Murphy; education committee; judiciary committee; rules committee

00:36:48 - Democratic Party in Georgia

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Partial Transcript: Well now let's talk about the Democratic Party.

Segment Synopsis: Graves discusses being the Executive Director of the state Democratic Party during the time that the Democratic Party was at its height in Georgia. Graves says that he believes that the decline of the party in Georgia was due to dissatisfaction with the party at the national level. Graves also talks about what it was like to be a Democrat in Georgia during the time that Jimmy Carter was running for president.

Keywords: Governor's Club; Marge Thurman; Tom Murphy; World Congress Center; gender equality; minorities

00:46:41 - Maddox vs. Busbee / Jimmy Carter's campaign director

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Partial Transcript: Let's go back to the election of former Governor Maddox and State Representative Busbee. You were there, tell us about that race.

Segment Synopsis: Graves briefly talks about the gubernatorial race between Lester Maddox and George Busbee. Graves then talks about being Jimmy Carter's presidential reelection campaign director for Georgia, Texas, and Kentucky. Graves also talks about the criticism directed at the "Georgia Mafia," the name given to Carter's inner circle of advisers.

Keywords: Barack Obama; Bob Beckel; California; Frank Moore; Hamilton Jordan; Iran Hostage Crisis; Newt Gingrich; gas

00:58:08 - George Busbee and Jimmy Carter

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Partial Transcript: Looking back over the Busbee administration, I think it's important for history to record, and for people to know, that had it been for George Busbee, Governor Carter's reorganization program probably never would have worked.

Segment Synopsis: Graves talks about the relationship between Jimmy Carter and George Busbee who succeeded him as governor. He says that Busbee continued Carter's efforts to reorganize the state government. Graves also recalls encouraging Busbee to support Carter during his presidential campaign.

Keywords: Bert Lance; Carl Sanders; Norman Underwood; Peanut Brigade; succession