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Black Power, Soft Power: Floyd McKissick, Soul City, and the Death of Moderate Black Republicanism

  • Devin Fergus (a1)
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NOTES

1. “The GOP and the Black Vote,” Ripon Forum, 41 December 2007–January 2008, 3.

2. “Information on Soul City, North Carolina,” in “Press Kit Materials, 1970–1979” File, Folder 1752, McKissick Papers. Within the decade, an oil-refinery project in Tuskegee, Alabama, would eclipse Soul City as the project for an African American to receive the most federal funding.

3. Roy Wilkins to Floyd McKissick, 5 November 1973, Soul City [2 of 3], Subject Files, WHCF: SMOF: Patterson, Nixon Presidential Materials, National Archives II.

4. To date, no book-length monograph exists on Soul City or its founder, Floyd McKissick. This limited secondary literature has not prevented conflicting scholarly commentary. Some situate Soul City within a larger argument in recent civil rights–black power historiography, which effectively rejects the notion that black power signaled some fundamental break from the broader aims of the civil rights movement. Another view contends that Soul City signaled a significant departure rightward from historic black struggle; it suggests that McKissick was not only the godfather of Soul City but also of today’s black New Right. For the continuitarian view, see Strain, Christopher, “Soul City, North Carolina: Black Power, Utopia, and the African American Dream.” Journal of African American History (Winter 2004); and Minchin’s, TimothyA Brand New Shining City: Floyd B. McKissick and the Struggle to Build Soul City,” North Carolina Historical Review (April 2005). For the rupture view, see Sundiata Cha Jua, “Selling Soul City: Floyd B. McKissick Sr., Black Capitalism, and the Origins of Contemporary Black Conservatism,” Association for the Study of African American Life and History conference, Milwaukee, 10–19 October 2003. For interpretive views somewhere in between the continuity/departure divide, see Biles, Roger, “Rise and Fall of Soul City,” Journal of Planning History (November 2005). Not surprisingly, literature exploring the interplay between McKissick, Soul City, and the GOP is scarcer yet, with scholars such as historians William Link and Minchin engaging the subject typically locating McKissick within the progressive strand of modern Republicanism.

5. The original Big Four typically refers to CORE, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Urban League, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. For a contemporary view of the Big Four, see Negro Leaders Split Again: Can’t Agree on Need to Demonstrate,” The Chicago Defender, 1 August 1964. Later some scholars would also make mention of the Big Four, replacing the NUL with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, though the latter was established after the other groups mentioned. For SNCC as a member of the Big Four, see McAdam, Doug, Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930–1970 (Chicago, 1982), 154; and Gurr, Ted Robert, ed., Violence in America: Protest, Rebellion, Reform (Newbury Park, Calif., 1989), 278. As one of the original, old-line Big Four civil rights organizations that shaped the struggle for racial equality since the 1950s, CORE was notably the only one to endorse black power. Given its more decentralized, grassroots organizational structure and bottom-up economic initiative, CORE’s agenda coincided with Nixon’s economic uplift program for black America.

6. Hurt, R. Douglas, The Rural South Since World War II (Baton Rouge, 1998), 13, 79, 81.

7. Rich, Spencer, “McKissick Is Planning ‘Soul City,’Washington Post, 14 January 1969.

8. Negroes to Build Their Own ‘New Town’ in North Carolina,” New York Times, 14 January 1969.

9. Rich, “McKissick Is Planning ‘Soul City.’”

10. “Negroes to Build Their Own ‘New Town’ in North Carolina.”

11. Olson, Guy, “Soul City Foundation to Aid Black Equality,” Chicago Daily Defender, 6 February 1969.

12. Trohan, Walter, “From Washington: Wilkins Decries Segregation in Reverse,” Chicago Tribune, 17 January 1969, A3.

13. I do not want to misuse the term “soft power,” but to broaden its application. First, I apply “soft power” to the United States, where black activists like McKissick—across the political spectrum—repeatedly called on America to embark on a domestic Marshall Plan from the 1950s on. I seek to stay consistent, though admittedly domesticating its usage in ways perhaps not originally imagined, given that the coiner of “soft power,” Joseph Nye, himself opens the 2004 edition of his book by implying that the Marshall Plan is a classic example of soft power. Second, for Nye, soft power meant “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion and payment.” Soft power practitioners persuaded others through American culture, political ideals, and policies, according to Nye. While the Nixon administration did pay for Soul City, the policy intent conformed to Nye’s soft power agenda, since Republican national chairman George H. W. Bush impressed on McKissick that the party was doing so to make the GOP more politically palatable and open to black America. Nye, Joseph S., Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (New York, 2004), preface; Conference Notes for Meeting with George Bush, 30 March 1973, Folder 7703, FBM Papers; Bush to McKissick 12 April 1973, Folder 7703, FBM Papers.

14. The leading scholarship on the GOP’s effort regarding black votes during the Nixon years has tended toward three directions. The longest, largest, and perhaps most familiar is the narrative of the Southern Strategy. This literature, reflecting the dominant scholarly and popular view, contends that Nixon’s famous Southern Strategy was in intent and effect race-based. Such books include Carter, Dan T., George Wallace, Richard Nixon and Transformation of American Politics (Waco, Tex., 1992), O’Reilly, Kenneth, Nixon’s Piano: Presidents and Racial Politics from Washington to Clinton (New York, 1995), and, most recently, Mason, Robert, Richard Nixon and the Quest for a New Majority (Chapel Hill, 2004), and Perlstein, Rick, Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America (New York, 2008). In the words of historian Robert Mason, to pursue blacks was “a wasted effort.” More important, doing so ran the risk of alienating potential southern white voters and a growing number of northern whites as well. These disaffected whites, according to the Southern Strategy literature, increasingly felt left behind by liberal Democratic administrations of the postwar era, which made securing black equality paramount in each respective national party platform.

By the late 1990s, a corrective to the southern strategy argument emerged. It started with Hoff’s, JoanNixon Reconsidered (New York, 1995) and was soon followed by Dean Kotlowski, Kevin Yuill, and Garry Wills. What they share generally is a defense of Nixon’s domestic agenda—though Wills offers less forbearance toward Nixon’s machinations than others. While Southern Strategist scholarship saw Nixon as the genealogical forbearer of the New Right, the Hoff school tends to place Nixon snugly within the liberal context of his predecessors. Problematizing the image of a race-baiting Nixon, they concluded that liberal pundits then and historians since have tended to overlook the administration’s civil rights and other domestic achievements. Still, Hoff historians stayed consistent with earlier conventional scholarship: Nixon remained calculating as ever. According to Kotlowski, Nixon reached out to a silent black majority, calculating that it could draw a wedge within the black community without costing him white voters. Nonetheless, Hoff’s historians preferred to downplay motives to results. See Kotlowski, Dean, Nixon’s Civil Rights: Politics, Principle, and Policy (Cambridge, Mass., 2001), 404; Krugman, Paul, “It’s a Different Country,” New York Times, 9 June 2008.

15. King, Wayne, “McKissick Is Succeeding, Although Not ‘Supposed To: A Spur to County,” New York Times, 22 December 1974.

16. “Floyd B. McKissick: Making Black Capitalism Work,” in Black Voices in American Politics, ed. Elliott, Jeffrey M. (San Diego, 1986), 282.

17. McKissick, Floyd B.: “Black Business Development with Social Commitment to Black Communities,” in Black Nationalism in America, ed. Bracey, John H., Meier, August, and Rudwick, Elliot (Indianapolis, 1970), 492.

18. ‘Liberate Selves—McKissick,’Carolinian, November 1969.

19. McKissick, “Black Business Development,” 492; see also Self, Robert O., American Babylon: Race and Struggle for Postwar Oakland (Princeton, 2003).

20. Ibid.

21. ‘Soul Town’ Planned to Relieve Ghetto Dwellers,” Chicago Daily Defender, 14 January 1969.

22. Kotlowski, Nixon’s Civil Rights, 131–33; see also Yuill, Kevin, Richard Nixon and the Rise of Affirmative Action (Lanham, Md., 2006).

23. Unlike the argument above, there are other scholars who actually posit a Nixon-as-liberal thesis, locating him within New Deal liberalism. For example, as historian Manning Marable has written in Race, Reform, and Rebellion: Nixon was “part of the great ‘centrist social liberalism’ tendency” that existed from Roosevelt (1932) until Reagan (1980). I cite Race, Reform, and Rebellion because Marable presented this thesis as far back as a generation ago, in 1984, a full decade before the best-known book on the subject, Joan Hoff’s Nixon Reconsidered (1991). In addition, see Kotlowski, Nixon’s Civil Rights; Wills, Garry, Nixon Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self-Made Man (New York, 1971), and Ambrose, Stephen, Nixon (New York, 1991).

24. McKissick, “Black Business Development with Social Commitment to Black Communities,” 492.

25. J. W. Goodloe to McKissick, 15 November 1968; McKissick to J. W. Goodloe, 8 January 1969; McKissick to W. J. Kennedy, 28 October 1971; J. J. Henderson to McKissick, 9 November 1971, Folder 6022, FBM Papers.

26. Jackson to McKissick, 16 May 1969, WHCF/Subj. Categories, HS (Housing) (Box 7), [Gen] HS 3/LG/S [1969–70], NPM.

27. See Cross, Theodore, Black Capitalism: Strategy for Business in the Ghetto (New York, 1971), vii.

28. While Nixon’s cordoning was not unusual and he had few intimates, the physical space an aloof Nixon kept between him and blacks is notable nonetheless. After one particularly inflammatory session with Ralph Abernathy, Nixon would later tell aides that he had met with enough blacks. His intention was to slow down the civil rights agenda because of the growing perception that a positive agenda curried few black votes while inviting a blue-collar voter backlash among whites. Pressure from key officials from HEW, HUD, Labor, and members of the White House elite staff for more aggressive civil rights enforcement likely exacerbated Nixon’s coldness toward blacks and civil rights policy generally. By March 1970, Nixon even met black Republican officials’ wishes to sit down and discuss domestic racial policy with silence. Memorandum from John R. Brown to Harry Dent, 25 March 1970, Dent, Presidential Memos–1971, Staff Secretary (Box 83), WHSF-SMOF, NPM.

29. Memorandum from John T. Sun to Ronald F. Scott, 3 June 1971, Series; Office of Policy and Planning, Box 32, Folder: New Community Program-142-11; Memorandum from John T. Sun to Ronald F. Scott, 6 July 1971, Series: Office of Policy and Planning, Box: 32, Folder: Intra-Division or Department.

30. See McKissick to Robert Brown, Assistant to the President, 4 April 1969. Folder 6201, FBM Papers; For more on Brown’s position, see Frymer, Paul and Skrentny, John David, “Coalition Building and the Politics of Electoral Capture During the Nixon Administration,” Studies in American Political Development 12 (1998): 145; see also Small, Melvin, The Presidency of Richard Nixon (Lawrence, Kans., 1999), 174–77.

31. Kotlowski, Dean, “Black Power-Nixon Style,” Business History Review 72 (1998): 422.

32. The next eleven months proved more disheartening for McKissick. “We all know where Richard Nixon stands,” and, like Johnson, wrote McKissick in the Black Scholar, “If [Nixon] thought black power was a real threat to the status quo, he would hardly be for it.” McKissick, , “The Way to a Black Ideology,” Black Scholar (December 1969): 17.

33. “Soul City” Conference transcript, Howard University, 21 February 1969, 101, Folder 6571, FBM Papers; HUD Legislation—1970, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Housing of the Committee on Banking and Currency, House of Representatives, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., Part 2, 8 June 1970, 664, in Congressional Record.

34. Memorandum from John R. Brown to Harry Dent, 25 March 1970, Dent, Presidential Memos–1971, Staff Secretary (Box 83), WHSF-SMOF, NPM.

35. Underline in original letter. McKissick to Brown, 30 May 1972, Folder 7550, FBM Papers.

36. Memorandum from Fred Malek to John Mitchell, 26 June 1972, Subject: Black Vote Campaign Plan, Plumbers, White House 3. Evidence, CRP, Black Vote Plan, Records of the Watergate SPF.

37. Ibid.

38. See weekly activity reports of Paul Jones, 17 January–7 September, in PLM-R (WH) 3 Evidence, Weekly Activity Reports, Planning and Coordination—Documentary Evidence (Box 6), Responsiveness Program, Plumbers Task Force, Records of the WSPF.

39. Malek to Bob Brown, Bill Murrimoto, Paul Jones, and Alex Armendariz, 3 March 1972, Box 7 Ex FG 21-17, OMBE [2 of 2, 1972–74], WHCF: Subject Files, NPM.

40. DeLaney, “Report of Watergate Committee Staff Cites Plans to Use Federal Funds to Gain Black Support for Nixon,” 12 June 1974.

41. Memorandum from Fred Malek to Bob Finch, 2 May 1972, PLM-R (WH) 3 Evidence, White House Documents and Notes, Records of the WSPF, NPM.

42. Roy Wilkins to Floyd McKissick, 5 November 1973, Soul City [2 of 3], Subject Files, WHCF: SMOF: Patterson, NPM.

43. King, , “McKissick Is Succeeding Although Not ‘Supposed To,’New York Times, 22 December 1974.

44. Ashbee, Edward, “The Republican Party and the African-American Vote since 1964,” in Black Conservatism: Essays in Ideological and Political History, ed. Eisenstadt, Peter (New York, 1999), 252; Kilson, Martin, “Anatomy of Black Conservatism,” Transition 59 (1993): 15.

45. For an archetype of today’s black Republican, see Dale Russakoff’s Washington Post feature on Rice, Condoleeza, “Lessons of Might and Right,” Washington Post, 9 September 2001.

46. PLM-R (WH) 3. Evidence, 26 July 1972, Minutes of 25 July Meeting of the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, Records of the WSPF, NPM.

47. Joint Center for Political Studies, 10 November 1972, Folder 7687a, FBM Papers.

48. The Ripon Society, founded 1962 in Wisconsin by Republican progressives. Dick Behn to McKissick, 14 July 1972, Folder 7719, FBM Papers.

49. “Blacks: Soul City,” in National Affairs section, Newsweek, 14 August 1972.

50. Memorandum from W. Richard Howard to Dave Parker, 8 August 1972; memorandum from Nate Bayer to John Campbell, 26 September 1972; Commerce Secretary Peter G. Peterson to Ehrlichman, 21 September 1972, Box 7 Ex FG 21-17 Office of Minority Business Enterprise [2 of 2, 1972–74], WHCF: Subject Files, NPM.

51. Shriver replaced Missouri senator Thomas Eagleton.

52. Statement by Floyd B. McKissick, 1 September 1972, Folder 7638, FBM Papers; see also Nixon-Blacks telegram, from Paul Jones, director of the Black Voter Division of CREEP, Folder 7551, FBM Papers.

53. See National Black Committee for the Re-Election of the President campaign literature in Folder 7555, FBM Papers; see also memorandum from Stanley S. Scott to Presidential Surrogates, 6 September 1972, Folders 7550, 7554, FBM Papers.

54. Editorial Comment: “Four More Years,” Cleveland Call and Post, 14 October 1972.

55. As Black Business Digest Sees It: The November Election,” Black Business Digest, October 1972.

56. See National Black Committee for the Re-Election of the President campaign literature, Folder 7555, FBM Papers.

57. New York Times, 17 October 1972; Paul DeLaney, “Blacks for Nixon Sharply Rebuked,” New York Times, 3 August 1972.

58. Graham, Hugh Davis, The Civil Rights Era: Origins and Development of National Policy, 1960–1972 (New York, 1990), 326; Smith, Robert Charles, We Have No Leaders: African-Americans in the Post–Civil Rights Era (Albany, N.Y., 1996), 145–47.

59. Fletcher, Arthur, “The Black Dilemma If Nixon Wins,” Wall Street Journal, 25 September 1972.

60. Chicago Daily Defender, 18 October 1972.

61. Confidential minutes of Black Executive Advisory Team/National Black Steering Committee, 15 September 1972, Folder 7554, FBM Papers.

62. The Black Executive Advisory Committee of CREEP included Robert Brown, Malek, Clark MacGregor, Paul Jones, Frank Herringer, McKissick, Hurst, and Cleveland Call and Post publisher and editor Willie Walker. See Conversation #108-1, 6 October 1972, Reference Cassette #186, RC-1 White House Tape 108, Tape Subject Log, NPM.

63. CREEP awarded McKissick’s group $7,000. McKissick to Malek, 23 October 1972, Folder 7654, FBM Papers.

64. Ibid.

65. Barker, Lucius J. and McCorry, Jesse J. Jr., Black Americans and the Political System, 5th ed. (Boston, 1980), 223.

66. Bush to McKissick, 12 April 1973, Folder 7703, FBM Papers. By his successful congressional bid in 1966, however, Bush had won over a sizable number of racial crossover votes, getting three times (34 percent to 10) percent more of the black votes than the GOP gubernatorial candidate; see Bass, Jack and De Vries, Walter, The Transformation of Southern Politics (Athens, Ga., 1995), 323.

67. Conference Notes for Meeting with George Bush, 30 March 1973, Folder 7703, FBM Papers.

68. Ibid.

69. Horton to McKissick, 12 April 1973, Folder 7637, FBM Papers.

70. For Immediate Release, The National Committee for a Two-Party System, Inc. Soul City [2 of 3], Subject Files, WHCF: SMOF: Patterson, NPM.

71. See Purposes and Objectives of the North Carolina Chapter of the National Committee for a Two-Party System, Soul City [2 of 3], Subject Files, WHCF: SMOF: Patterson, NPM.

72. McKissick to Bush, 22 May 1973, Soul City [2 of 3], Subject Files, WHCF: SMOF: Patterson, NPM; see Conference Notes for Meeting with George Bush, 30 March 1973, Folder 7703, FBM Papers.

73. McKissick, Western Union telegram, to Helms, 10 November 1972; Helms to McKissick, 27 November 1972, in Folder 794, FBM Papers. For the Vardaman quote, see Franklin, John Hope and Moss, Alfred A. Jr., From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, 8th ed. (Boston, 2000), 289.

74. McKissick to Thompson, 28 March 1973, NPM, WHCF: SMOF: Patterson, Subject Files, Soul City [2 of 3].

75. Schulman, Bruce, The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics (New York, 2001), 109–20; Minchin, Timothy, “Building Soul City,” North Carolina Historical Review (April 2005): 139–40.

76. See “Soul City,” 1 July 1975, File Folder: 1.3 Correspondence, 1974–75, Box 2, Program Records Related to Soul City, Warren County, N.C., 1974–75, NCDC, General Records of the DHUD.

77. “Soul City Project’s Funds to Depend on Deeds,” News and Observer, 3 March 1975.

78. The request went to U.S. comptroller general Elmer B. Staats of the General Accounting Office, Congressional Record, 26 May 1975, 25135.

79. See the Senate Joint Resolution 415, General Assembly of North Carolina, Session 1975.

80. See Lee Rudd to John Freeman, Assistant Administrator for Policy Development, 9 December 1974, File Unit: 1.10 Public Information, 1972–78, Series: Program Records Relating to Soul City, Warren County, N.C., 1972–78, Subgroup: NCDC, Records Group: General Records of the DHUD, National Archives. For Helms’s quote, see Congressional Record (1975).

81. “Announcement by Governor Jim Holshouser Establishment of North Carolina Office of Minority Business Enterprise,” 21 July 1975, Folder 476, FBM Papers.

82. Harry E. Payne Jr. to Waymond Burton, 19 June 1975, Folder 5281, FBM Papers.

83. Soul City Receives New Funds,” News and Observer, 17 December 1975.

84. North Carolina’s junior senator, Robert Morgan, preferred to remain on the sidelines. Berg, Steve, “Fountain, Helms Ask Audit for Soul City,” News and Observer, 6 March 1975.

85. Senator Charges Massive Boondoggle at Soul City,” Durham Morning Herald, 17 December 1975.

86. Information on the new community of Soul City, N.C.: multiagency: Report of the Comptroller General of the United States (1975).

87. Staats to Fountain, n.d., in Report of the Comptroller General, Soul City, 18 December 1975.

88. McKissick to Otto G. Stoltz, NCA Administrator, 28 March 1975, File Unit: 1.10 Public Information 1972–78, Series: Program Records Relating to Soul City, Warren County, N.C., 1972–78. Subgroup: NCDC, Record Group: General Records of the DHUD, NABII.

89. Statement of Floyd B. McKissick Regarding Release of the GAO Audit on Soul City, 16 December 1975, File Unit: 1.10 Public Information, 1972–78, Series: Program Records Relating to Soul City, Warren County, N.C., 1972–78, Subgroup: NCDC, Record Groups: General Records of the DHUD.

90. Pearce, Gary, “Review of Audit Urged by Helms,” News and Observer, 17 December 1975; Berg, , “Fountain, Helms Ask Audit for Soul City,” News and Observer, 6 March 1975.

91. Pearce, , “Review of Audit Urged by Helms,” News and Observer, 17 December 1975; New York Times, 21 March 1974; Jeffers, Charles, “Opinion Mixed on Economic Impact of Soul City Failure,” Durham Sun, 28 June 1979.

92. Monica McAdams to Doug Parker, 25 February 1976, File Unit: 1.10 Public Information, 1972–78, Series: Program Records Relating to Soul City, Warren County, N.C., 1972–78, Subgroup: NCDC, Record Group: General Records of the DHUD.

93. James F. Dausch, Deputy General Manager, HUD to McKissick, 28 June 1976, File Unit: 1.10 Public Information, 1972–78, Series: Program Records Relating Soul City, Warren County, N.C., 1972–78, Subgroup: NCDC, Record Group: General Records of the DHUD, NABII.

94. Senator Robert Morgan to HUD Secretary Carla Hills, 12 October 1976; James F. Dausch c/o Melvin Margolies to Morgan, 21 October 1976, File Unit: 1.13 Correspondence (Development) 1974–77, Box 2, Series: Program Records Relating to Soul City, Warren County, N.C., 1974–77, NCDC, General Records of the DHUD.

95. FBM to Rockefeller, 17 January 1976, Folder 1810, FBM Papers.

96. FBM to John Marsh, 4 October 1974, Folder 7301, FBM Papers.

97. Greene, John Robert, The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford (Lawrence, Kans., 1995), 193.

98. Hult, Karen M. and Walcott, Charles E., Empowering the White House: Governance Under Nixon, Ford, and Carter (Lawrence, Kans., 2004), 145.

99. Mieczkowski, Yanek, Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s (Lexington, Ky., 2005).

100. FBM to Rockefeller, 17 January 1976, Folder 1810, FBM Papers; Barker and McCorry, Black Americans and the Political System, 215.

101. Hult and Walcott, Empowering the White House, 146.

102. Luebke, Paul, Tar Heel Politics (Chapel Hill, 1998), 212; Bass, and Devries, , The Transformation of Southern Politics (Athens, Ga., 1995), 234–39.

103. Bass and DeVries, Transformation of Southern Politics, 235.

104. Congressional Record, 19 March 1974, 7174–75; see also 11 June 1974, 18664–65; 5 August 1974, 26651–55; 15 October 1974, 35677–78; 5 December 1974, 38361–63; 9 December 1974, 38537–39.

105. Goldwater’s 1964 defeat of Rockefeller in California is the other. Shirley, Craig, Reagan’s Revolution (Nashville, 2005), chap. 8.

106. North Carolina Citizens for Reagan for President newsletter, n.d., in Gov. Holshouser Papers; Evans, Rowland and Novak, Robert, The Reagan Revolution (New York, 1981), 54; Wills, Garry, Reagan’s America (New York, 2000), 390.

107. Long Marketing North Carolina Poll, January 1976, Question #4, Folder: Republican Party, Box 501, Gov. Holshouser Papers; Wills, Reagan’s America, 390.

108. Press Release, 19 March 1976, Folder: Republican Party, Box: 501, Gov. Holshouser Papers.

109. See, for instance, telegram from Andrew C. Untener of Charlotte to Holshouser, 19 March 1976, Series: Holshouser, Box: 483, Folder: President Ford Political II, State Archives.

110. “GOP Governors Ask Reagan to Quit,” Associated Press, 20 March 1976, Folder: President Ford Political I, Box 483, Gov. Holshouser Papers.

111. The other major PACs were the National Committee for Political Action Committee, the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, Citizens for the Republic, and the Fund for a Conservative Majority. Burris, Val, “The Political Partnership of American Business: A Study of Corporate Political Action Committees,” American Sociological Review 52 (December 1987): 732–44; Price, David E., “Our Political Condition,” Political Science 25 (December 1992): 681; Luebke, Tar Heel Politics, 162–63.

112. The Congressional Club view was a popular one. R. J. Howell of Goldsboro to Holshouser, 19 October 1976, Folder: Soul City, Box 501, Gov. Holshouser Papers.

113. See, for example, Congressional Record, 26 July 1975, 25133–37; 16 December 1975, 40881–83.

114. Congressional Record, 40882.

115. “Groundbreaking for Soul City,” Soul City, 9 November 1973, Addresses and Public Papers of James Eubert Holshouser, Jr., Governor of North Carolina, 1973–1977, ed. Memory F. Mitchell (Raleigh, 1978), 172–73.

116. North Carolina Citizens for Reagan for President newsletter, n.d., in Holshouser Papers, State Archives; N.C. Last Stop for Wallace, Reagan?Daytona Beach News-Journal, 21 March 1976, Folder 3016, FBM Papers.

117. Shirley, Reagan’s Revolution, 176; Dallek, Matthew, “Book Review: Reagan and His Times,” Washington Post, 17 April 2005.

118. Wills, Reagan’s America, 390.

119. Dallek, Robert, Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961–1973 (New York, 1998), 528.

120. ABC Evening News, 24 March 1976, “Headline: Campaign 1976/NC Primary/Republicans”; CBS Evening News, “Headline: Campaign/NC Primary/Republicans,” 24 March 1976, in Television News Archives, Vanderbilt University, Nashville.

121. Wills, Reagan’s America, 391–92.

122. Helms Is ‘Best’ Senator,” NC Anvil, 2 November 1974.

123. James F. Dausch, Handling of Soul City at NCDC Board Meeting, 6 October 1976, File Unit: 1.4 NCDC Board Correspondence, Series: Program Records Relating to Soul City, Warren County, N.C., 1974–79 (Box 2), Subgroup: NCDC, Record Group: General Records of the DHUD.

124. Lawson, Steven F., Running for Freedom: Civil Rights and Black Politics in America Since 1941, 2nd ed. (New York, 1997), 191.

125. Ayres, R. Drummond, “Doubts Rise on Wallace’s ’76 Strength,” New York Times, 2 January 1976; Wicker, Tom, “Wallace, Reagan at Bay,” New York Times, 23 March 1976; Stevens, William K., “’72 Wallace Voters Lean to Reagan in Michigan,” New York Times, 11 May 1976; Walters, Ronald W., Black Presidential Politics in America (Albany, N.Y., 1988), 46.

126. For slightly different percentages of blacks voting for Ford, see Ashbee, Black Conservatism: Essays in Ideological and Political History, ed. Peter Eisenstadt, 239; Barker and McCorry, Black Americans and the Political System, 214–19, 294; Blacks and the GOP,” Congressional Quarterly (April 1978): 1046–51; Preston, Michael B., Henderson, Lenneal Jr., and Puryear, Paul, eds., The New Black Politics (New York, 1982), 7; and Black, Earl and Black, Merle, The Rise of Southern Republicans (Cambridge, Mass., 2002), 94–96.

127. DMH, 27 November 1976.

128. Link, William, Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern American Conservatism (New York, 2008); Cannon, Lou, Ronald Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (New York, 1991).

129. Shirley, Reagan’s Revolution, 176.

130. James C. Roberts, Book Review, Human Events, 21 February 2005.

131. Bayard Rustin to McKissick, 27 April 1976, FBM Papers, Folder 5373; Unionization Vote Set at Soul City,” The Warren Record, 3 November 1977, FBM Papers, Folder 3039.

132. Low wage rates to be discussed,” Durham Morning Herald, 13 September 1977; Janet Guyton, “Tar Heel unions scarcity gives fuel to both sides,” n.d. in File Unit: 1.10 Public Information 1972–78, Series: Program Records Relating to Soul City, Warren County, N.C., 1972–78, Subgroup: NCDC, Record Group: General Records of the DHUD, NABII, College Park, Md.

133. Like residents of most states, North Carolinians, according to a statewide poll taken in the spring of 1972, favored new industry coming into the immediate area by a margin of 3½ to 1 so long as it did not mean environmental and labor problems. The east shared environmental concerns but clearly remained more ambivalent than other parts of the state about such labor concerns as good wage scales; Long Marketing North Carolina Poll, April 1972, see Question 3, NPM, WHSF: SMOF: H. R. Haldemann, North Carolina.

134. Guyton, “Tar Heel unions scarcity gives fuel to both sides.”

135. Hammer, Greene, Siler Associates to McKissick, 22 May 1970, FBM Papers, Folder 528 (Soul City Name Change).

136. Gantt to McKissick, 7 March 1978, FBM Papers, Folder 528 (Soul City Name Change).

137. The underline is in the original text. Draft of letter to Murphy was written by Sorg for McKissick. See Sorg to McKissick, n.d., FBM Papers, Folder 5429.

138. While it is nearly impossible to tell if sharp declines in consumer purchases or the supposedly racially charged name turned off GM, it is understandable that McKissick concluded the latter. Many, perhaps most, other company executives had not dropped their racialized view of the city. Making matters worse, even so-called sources of “good publicity” actively promoted Soul City as all black, claimed one Vermont-American Company representative. Abraham Venable, Urban Affairs Director, to McKissick, 7 December 1979, FBM Papers, Folder 5429; SCC Memorandum from Waymond L. Burton Jr. to C. C. Allen, 23 December 1974, FBM Papers, Folder 5288.

139. Walter Larke Sorg to Walter J. Schularick, 24 January 1978, FBM Papers, Folder 847.

140. SCC Memorandum from Waymond L. Burton Jr. to C. C. Allen, 23 December 1974, FBM Papers, Folder 5288.

141. Analysis of Conclusions found in the AVCO Report on Soul City, p. 3, 6 July 1979, FBM Papers, Folder 1828.

142. A Brief Response to the AVCO Report, August 1979, p. 3, FBM Papers, Folder 1836.

143. Harrigan, Susan, “An Old ‘New Town’ Hangs On, Sustained by Federal Money,” Wall Street Journal, 19 April 1979.

144. Thad Cochran to Harry S. Schwarz of HUD, 15 May 1979; David P. Whiteside to Thad Cochran, 19 April 1979; Robert Morgan to Patricia Roberts Harris, 6 June 1979, File Folder 1.3 Correspondence, January–July 1979, Box 1, Program Records Related to Soul City, Warren County, N.C., 1974–79, NCDC, RG: General Record of the DHUD.

145. Memorandum from Myers to McKissick, 4 June 1979, FBM Papers, Folder 5358.

146. Julian C. Madison to Susan Harrigan, 23 April 1979, File Folder 1.3 Correspondence, January–July 1979, Box 1, Program Records Related to Soul City, Warren County, N.C., 1974–79, NCDC, RG: General Record of the DHUD.

147. “Soul City Still Hasn’t Accomplished Its Purpose,” Chapel Hill News, n.d., in File Folder 1.3 Correspondence, January–July 1979, Box 1, Program Records Related to Soul City, Warren County, N.C., 1974–79, NCDC, RG: General Record of the DHUD. A later WSJ story attributed the project’s inability to bring industry in to its divisive name; see a WSJ staff reporter, “Troubled Soul City Loses Support of U.S., Which Backed $10 Million of Financing,” Wall Street Journal, 29 June 1979.

148. Some urging a new name argued that the large percentage of African American (59 percent) versus white (39 percent) residents in Warren and Vance counties reinforced the racial stereotype of Soul City as a black city, and in doing so heightened industrial development sales resistance because of objections to locating where racial balance did not match regional or national racial ratios. Two percent were Native Americans. “Recommendations on Changing the Name of Soul City,” prepared by Carmichael and Company, January 1978, FBM Papers, Folder 528 (Soul City Name Change).

149. Report of the Soul City Task Force, June 1979, p. 16, Folder 1824, FBM Papers.

150. Monthly Professional Staff Meeting, 7 May 1979, Folder 1984, FBM Papers.

151. As of 13 June 1979: nine letters from senators, six letters from the House; see Soul City letter tally, 13 June 1979, Soul City Task Force, Box 22, Program Records Related to Soul City, Warren County, N.C., 1974–79, NCDC, General Records of the DHUD.

152. Memorandum from John P. Stewart to McKissick, 23 January 1978, Folder 528, FBM Papers.

153. McKissick to Harris, 6 July 1979, Folder 716, FBM Papers.

154. Survey by Louis Harris & Associates, January 8–January 12, 1982. Retrieved 6 June 2008 from the iPOLL Databank, Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut. http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu.proxy.library.vanderbilt.edu/ipoll.html.

155. Troubled Soul City Loses Support of U.S., Which Backed $10 Million of Financing,” Wall Street Journal, 29 June 1979.

156. McKissick to North Carolina State Legislator, week of 27 August 1979, Folder 470, FBM Papers.

157. “Settlement Reached on Soul City,” press release, n.d., Folder 1851, FBM Papers.

158. McKissick Cites Soul City’s Worth,” News and Observer, 28 June 1980.

159. Press release, 29 June 1979, Folder 1827, FBM Papers.

160. For the story of how black and Latino prisoners arrived in these rural locales from big cities as unemployed or members of the working poor, see Platt, Tony, “The Prison Fix,” Social Justice 33 (2006): 203.

161. “N.C. Department of Corrections—News Release: Warren Correctional Institute Dedication, 20 June 1997. http://www.doc.state.nc.us/NEWS/1997/97releases/warren.htm. For more on the rise of the prison industrial complex in the rural South, see Huling, Tracy, “Building a Prison Economy in Rural America,” in Invisible Punishment: The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment, ed. Mauer, Marc and Chesney-Lind, Meda (New York, 2002); Schrift, Melissa R., “The Wildest Show in the South,” Southern Cultures 14 (Spring 2008): 22–41.

162. From Obama’s perspective, black nationalism’s most significant shortcoming was that it privileged ideological and racial purity over pragmatism. In Obama’s words, black nationalism existed solely as “an attitude rather than any concrete program, a collection of grievances and not an organized force, images and sounds that crowded the airwaves and conversation but without any corporeal existence.” Obama, Barack, Dreams from My Father (New York, 1995), 200; Shelby, Tommie, We Who Are Dark: The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity (Cambridge, Mass., 2005), esp. chaps. 1 and 3.

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Journal of Policy History
  • ISSN: 0898-0306
  • EISSN: 1528-4190
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-policy-history
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