SRC -10 Morland, page 1
P: Here we are in Lynchburg, Virginia on February 20, 2002. I=m here with John Kenneth Morland,
former professor and chair of the department of sociology and anthropology at Randolph-Macon
Women=s College in Lynchburg. We thought we=d have a little chat about events and people in
his life. We=re on tape one. Welcome to your own home Ken.
M: Thank you, it=s good to be here, it=s good to have you here.
P: Ken, I know you were originally from Alabama. Could you tell me where you were born and
something about your early life.
M: I was born in Huntsville, Alabama, which was a sleepy, small town of 8,000 when I lived there.
Later, it became one of the centers for the space development, so it=s not the same town that it
was. But when I was there, I liked Huntsville very much. I could walk to town, there was a
swimming pool that our family could buy into and use downtown. I could walk to the elementary
school I attended. They tell me (one of the earliest memories) [that] I grew pretty fast and ate
pretty well. So the first day I went to kindergarten, they made me a lunch, but I didn't know any
better so I ate the lunch on the way to kindergarten. When I got there, everybody else had food at
noon, I felt put upon.
P: What was life like in Huntsville at that time, and what years were you there?
M: I was there from 1916 to 1923. My father moved to Birmingham with six children. I have an older
sister, two older brothers, a younger sister, and a younger brother, there were six of us. My father
wanted to be sure we all went to college and Birmingham Southern was in Birmingham, so he
moved his practice in 1923 and left Huntsville and moved south in Birmingham.
P: That was how far away?
M: It was, in those days, a ride in an old automobile about three or four hours. I can remember being
bundled up on the back seat with a lap robe, and we had on the Eisenglass, we didn't have real
SRC -10 Morland, page 2
glass in the car windows, in any part of the car. That could be put up and you could keep
somewhat warm, but I remember it was a cold, cold drive so we must have moved in the middle of
P: How old were you when you moved to Birmingham?
M: I was about eight or nine. I went to the third grade, but since I had come from a small town, they
sent me back half a year.
P: What was your school like in Huntsville? Was it a good school? It was segregated of course,
M: Sure. Everything [was]. But we didn't think of it as being segregated particularly, it was just the
way life was.
P: It was natural as the sunset.
M: It was a traditionally built school in that it was a rectangular building with about six [to] eight
classrooms. One of the main things I remember was the fire escape. There was a metal pipe, big
one, that students could get in at the top and slide on down to the bottom. When school was
closed, we couldn't get in, but we could get inside and make our way up to the very top and slide
down, which we did often in the afternoons.
P: Was it a challenging place? Did you have any idea you had academic capabilities or inclinations
up through the third grade there in Huntsville?
M: Not really, no. I always enjoyed school, I always enjoyed studying.
P: By the time you got to Birmingham, you finished high school there?
M: I finished high school in Birmingham.
P: Did your consciousness about the way things were around you change much during that period?
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M: Not particularly. Birmingham was much bigger and the segregation there was more obvious than it
was in Huntsville. I can remember riding a streetcar, this was before there were busses, and the
conductor was in the middle of the car and the Whites had to sit in the back of the streetcar and the
Blacks sat in the front of the streetcar. Somehow, we never felt deprived because we were in the
back and had a sandbox back there that we could play in because sometimes they had to put stuff
on the wheels, tracks, so that there would be movement.
P: Was that common throughout Alabama to have the segregation reversed on the common
conveyances and so forth?
M: All the streetcars that were there, there were streetcars in Huntsville the same way and in
Montgomery. Mobile... I think they were all the same.
P: So the Blacks were confined to the front, though. The law held that they had to sit in the front.
M: And we had to sit in the back. What they had if there was an overflow one way or the other is
petitions that they could slip into the back of the seat and on one side it said White only and on the
other side it said colored only. If there were not enough seats for the colored and there were some
in the White section, they would move these petitions down so that the colored could all have
P: What other aspects of city life did you notice at the time? You were now in your teens. Were you
becoming aware of what race relations were like and what did your family have to say about it, and
your church? Where did you go to church?
M: My mother was Episcopalian, my father was Methodist. We attended mainly the Methodist
Episcopal Church South. My mother died when I was five years old so I don=t remember her so
very well, but here was my father, a general practioner, with six children all under the age of
fourteen. How he managed, I=m not sure. Growing up in society, you learn to do what you=re
SRC -10 Morland, page 4
supposed to do. For example, there was never any question about sitting in the back of the street
car. Later when they had busses, Whites sat in the front or I usually stood because I was rather
late in getting the bus and there was never a seat available. I=ve heard the Rosa Parks story. If
Blacks were already seated, they never had to get up and give a seat to a White, never.
P: You never saw that.
M: I never experienced it. I stood because there were these petitions and if that all was filled back
there, you stayed on your side and stood up. Same was true if colored, if Blacks, if negroes had all
of their seats taken, they would stand up. If there were more in the White section, they could move
those petitions and Blacks could sit down.
P: They were temporary separators.
M: Yes they were movable.
P: The driver would move them up and so forth.
M: That=s right.
P: Whereas in Richmond, if they moved back it was sort of informal, you just had to get up so it was a
little bit different. What other aspects of life there...
M: Let me say one other thing about the bus. I went from the high school and the elementary school
to the boys YMCA. I went there every afternoon. Then I would catch a bus, street car, until busses
came. Our house was in the north side of town on Norwood Boulevard it was called. The
streetcar ended there and it had to be turned around. Then the bus did the same thing. By the
time I would get on the bus or the streetcar going to Norwood, all the seats were always taken, I
always had to stand.
P: What other aspects of life there did you take note of back then? What years were these? This was
in the 1920s?
SRC -10 Morland, page 5
M: In the 1920s.
P: Were you a budding sociologist in any way at the time?
M: No. Actually, my major in college was chemistry with a minor in math. My first job was to teach at
a boys school in Tennessee and I taught math, was director of all athletics, and in charge of
P: What school was that?
M: This was Webb School.
P: Where was it?
M: It was just south of Nashville in a town called Bell Buckle.
P: What year was that?
M: That was 1938 to 1939, 1939 to 1940.
P: Let=s go back to Birmingham. You played sports in high school?
M: Always at the [YMCA]. I did not play for the school team. It was a massive jam-crammed high
school. They had not built additional schools and as a matter of fact, all White high school
students had to go to the first high school year at the same school while they were building two
additional high schools.
P: When you finished high school, you went off to Birmingham Southern and you were a day student?
Did you live in a dorm?
M: Everybody was. This was the depth of the depression. I can remember going to this first year of
high school playing all the way through Birmingham and First Avenue South and First Avenue
North tend to separate one part from the other, but I can remember going on the streetcar and
seeing all those stores closed. I think Birmingham had one of the highest unemployment rates of
any city. It was a one industry town really owned by TCI, Tennessee Coal and Iron, which was part
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of U.S. Steel. U.S. Steel kept its Pittsburgh plants open, but they shut all the Birmingham ones. I
can remember my father, he could collect very little. He would come home sometimes with a
chicken under his arm and said this is a $50 chicken.
P: Did you see evidence of poverty and homelessness and so forth in and around Birmingham or
other parts of Alabama?
M: We were all poor and we just thought that was the way life was, but I do remember people coming
to the door and asking for food. They said just a slice of bread or two, and said I=11 do anything
you want me to around the house. I=11 paint, I=11 do anything. But all we would do would be to go
back and cut off some bread and give it to them. We never turned anybody away.
P: This was the early 1930s, just after the...
M: The crash came in 1929, so it was [1930s]. I was in high school the entire four years of deep
depression, and I went to Birmingham Southern in 1934. I graduated in 1938.
P: You went to Birmingham Southern. You took a chemistry curriculum and other things. I know you
played basketball there for the college, did you?
M: I wanted to stay. I was in the middle of the year so I was happy to stay at the high school and do a
post-graduate course. I hadn=t had typing and I hadn=t had some physics courses and other
things that I wanted, but after about a month under Roosevelt, there was a program called the
Federal Emergency Relief Act, FERA. They chose about fifteen of us they thought could make it in
college, and all the teachers, everybody said go, go, go. I didn't really want to go. I would have
preferred going in the fall, but I went to Southern about six weeks late in the semester. It was six
miles at least from my house to Birmingham Southern and I took the streetcar there everyday and
then came back home, but we did not have dormitories, we had only day students.
P: It was all White at the time?
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M: All White in terms of students and in terms of teachers and coaches, but all Black in terms of the
people who took care of the basketball court and the football field and the classrooms and the like.
P: The labor force.
M: That=s right.
P: What happened to you in college there? What kind of professors were there, what were they
saying to you? Was there any growing awareness of race relations in your experience there?
M: Not in college, no. Neither was there in high school. Southerners B I don=t know whether this
was true of you or not, but it certainly was of us B were under the illusion that separation of the
races was a good thing and that the colored were happy that way and we were happy our way.
That was the thing that justified, it was natural that you be separated. On the one hand, we were
separated, but on the other hand, some of the most intimate and the closest persons we had were
Blacks who did our cooking and who took care of the house. My sister, baby sister who had just
been born was nursed by a Black woman and that was considered proper, it was okay.
P: So if I had interviewed you back then, you would have reflected these attitudes and values at the
M: Had I been asked about them I would have. It was like almost anything else. You wouldn't
question why boys dress differently from girls. You wouldn't question why boys had some names,
girls had another name. You wouldn't question why in the tallest building in Birmingham, the
Coma building, elevators were segregated going up, but coming down you could ride any one you
wanted to. There was one elevator going up that was for Blacks only, but you could ride any
elevator down you wanted to.
P: Can you recall religious life in the community? Did you have any contact with Blacks at all in other
SRC -10 Morland, page 8
M: Not in the area of religion, no. That was quite separate. Not only separate by race, but separate in
terms of how people thought and interpreted the Bible, say. Some were fundamentalistic, my
church was never that way. We were quite open to traditional Christianity, but not...
P: What church did you go to there?
M: Again, some people have said that Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week, but
that is understandable because the two institutions that Blacks controlled completely were their
churches and their cemeteries. So outstanding people were ministers of Blacks and outstanding
Blacks were funeral directors. They were the top professions that Blacks held.
P: Outside of religion, there was no sports competition at all between Whites and Blacks?
M: Sometimes in the neighborhood if the neighborhoods were close, we played softball or hardball, we
played pick up basketball, but it was nothing formal.
P: What other aspects of life would you say were memorable, like employment, the job opportunities?
What did the picture look like there?
M: Growing up in the depression and graduating in 1938 there were very, very few jobs available to
college graduates. If you were going into a profession of course you would have to go from college
into a graduate school. I finished Birmingham Southern in 1938 and then had the two years at
Webb School. I made $100 a month for nine months a year and saved most of that so I could go
to graduate school.
P: So you went off after you graduated, you went off to Tennessee. Had you traveled much before
out of state? What kind of vista had you seen? I know later in life you=ve been all over the world,
but in those days...
M: My older brother was with the YMCA and he organized trips. Those trips, one of them that I went
to I remember we went in a truck that was outfitted so that the boys could sit on either side of it and
SRC -10 Morland, page 9
we could put all of our equipment in the middle of it. We went to Chicago and en route, we would
see an open field and we would drive the truck over, they would drive the truck over there, and we
would take out our equipment and set it up and sleep for the night. When we went to Chicago, we
went to the [YMCA] and opened up our equipment in the gymnasium because we couldn't afford
to go to a hotel or the like, but we always stayed at [YMCAs]. This was during the World=s Fair, I
think that was in 1933, 1934. So we went from Chicago on up into Canada again camping out all
the way. Went to Toronto and Quebec. We came down through Maine and I can remember going
and swimming off the coast of Maine. I can still feel the cold it was so piercing.
P: You were about what age at this time?
M: I was late high school and I helped with some of the trips. My brother took trips every summer and
one time he went to Cuba, I didn't get there, didn't get to go. We took turns. All of us couldn't
go at the same time. My sisters didn't go on those trips, girls didn't go.
P: While you were out on those trips, you saw behavior and people who weren=t like those you knew
in Alabama. Did this stimulate any of your thinking about comparisons between cultures or
anything like that?
M: Speech patters were different. I can remember going into a five and ten cent store at the time and
I asked for school supplies and they didn't know what I was talking about so I finally learned to
ask for schoo/supplies and then I made it all right. I noticed those kinds of differences.
Southerners were teased because of their pronunciation and slow way of talking that many of us
grow up with.
P: But this did not alert you in any way to the realities of segregation? That segregation can be
unnatural in other places?
M: Again, I saw no colored in the YMCAs that I went into.
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P: So they were segregated even in the North at the time.
M: They had separate institutions.
P: Separate YMCAs.
M: Yeah, a separate life. Life was a little more separate in the North than it was in the South.
P: Yes, because residences were closer together in the southern neighborhoods sometimes.
M: In the southern neighborhoods, but also you had Blacks who came into Whites homes and they
were there as really part of the family in many ways, although they always knew their place and we
knew our place.
P: Were there any limits on the behavior set on their labor. Not so much in your home, but maybe
other homes. For example, use of dishes or tolerance of taking things from the household. Did
you ever have any occasion to observe that kind of thing.
M: No, we never had anything like that. I guess sometimes they took food and we thought that would
P: In some places, as you know, dishes had to be separated among...
M: Oh that, no, we didn't see that.
P: Was it kind of a genteel society there among the middle classes? How would you describe their
approach to race [relations]?
M: I=m not sure it would be called genteel. We were sort of middle income, on the lower end of the
income scale, but we never felt B I=m thinking of Huntsville and I=m thinking of initially being in
Birmingham. We did not know where the wealthy people were or how they lived. That was pretty
P: So there were class distinctions as well.
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M: Certainly there were basic income distinctions and the limited incomes would be reflected in having
homes that were more luxurious. I always had a paper route and I went to some homes that were
pretty gorgeous I remember.
P: After graduating from college, you went off to Tennessee. What did you find there in your new job?
You spent two years there.
M: I had to learn a great many sports activities that I never had to deal with before. Basketball was my
major field and touch football and tackle as well. But I had to learn how to throw a discus. I went
out behind the gym when I didn't have a class at Webb school and put my book down with it=s
illustrations and then would pick up the discus and throw it. I did the same thing with the javelin.
As I look back on it, that was very, very dangerous to have that javelin throw. It=s a wonder we
didn't hurt somebody in the process.
P: How about in the classroom and with your students and even outside the classroom in the
community and with your students. Did you have any major discoveries?
M: Our classrooms at Webb School were all one room arrangements with a pot-bellied stove in the
P: Was this a private school?
M: It was a private school, yes.
P: The students, were they advantaged?
M: Mostly somewhat advantaged, they would have to be to go there.
P: Was this a marked time at all in your growth and development? Were you still kind of cruising as
you had been in high school and college with discoveries about race relations.
M: I had responsibilities. Our students would sometimes try to slip off. As a matter of fact, one of
them was caught because in Murfreesboro, Tennessee which wasn=t so very away had a picture
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on the front page of a dance and he was on the front page when he was supposed to be in
dormitory. Mr. Webb called me in and told me that I had to be stricter. What he did was to get the
window, he slipped out the window and friends picked him up and drove him to Murfreesboro.
P: So it was a residential school and you had dorm responsibilities.
M: I had that responsibility. Checking all the rooms to be sure they were neat, that they didn't have
bootleg liquor or something hidden.
P: Bootleg liquor was available in the area?
M: Bootleg liquor was, yes.
P: Prohibition was over by this time, is that right?
P: Did you find you liked teaching then? Did that come upon you?
M: I liked teaching very, very much.
P: Did you discover that there?
M: Being in the [YMCA] and going to [YMCA] camp every summer, you had to do a lot of teaching in
terms of some of the youngsters did not know how to swim. I was lifeguard and also the one that
would put them through the various phases to become lifeguards. In a way, you were teaching and
the youngsters had to learn to live with others in pretty close quarters, and sometimes you had to
take them aside and tell them some of the things they were doing were obnoxious or something
and they just had to quit it. It was, I guess, disciplinary more than anything else at camp, but in a
way it was teaching and [I] always felt a triumph if a child could not swim and didn't learn to swim.
A child couldn't dive at all and then learn to do all kinds of dives off the diving board, which I
would demonstrate to them at the time.
P: Did you get any inkling of where you were headed by being there?
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M: Not really. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school and I knew it would be very hard to afford to
P: Where was your love affair with chemistry at this point?
M: The federal emergency relief act, which paid all my tuition, $200 a semester, I was assigned to the
chemistry lab to clean things up. I took chemistry every year I was there and I became a student
assistant, as well as basketball and working at the YMCA over the weekend.
P: You kind of fell into chemistry?
P: It wasn=t a love affair.
M: Well, I liked chemistry, it was very neat. You could get clear cut answers and you could work in the
lab and you could make things happen. I was grounded in the scientific method of being sure that
you were controlling variables, that you had substances that were not mixed up with other
substances. You learned how to discover what was in a sample of something, you had a process
that you went through. I like all that. Quantitative and qualitative we called it in those days, I think
they have different names for them now.
P: What happened to you after you left Webb? This was about what year?
M: That was 1940. I went from there to... I had friends who had gone to Yale Divinity School so I
applied to Yale Divinity School and went up, particularly with a very close friend who had graduated
from Birmingham Southern when I had.
P: This divinity school interest, where did this come from? I heard you say you kind of fell into
chemistry and there was no particular keen interest in ethics or religious...
M: The student Christian movement was very active and the [YMCA] was very active at Birmingham
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P: So this [YMCA] was very influential in nurturing...
M: Very influential because for the first time when I would go to these conventions or meetings outside
of the South, I would meet highly educated, highly interesting and interested Blacks for the first
time. The only Blacks I had ever known were those who were in the servant category, there was
no other chance to meet [Blacks]. But the student Christian movement was very, very influential.
Then, I could see the system and what it was doing to Whites as well as the Blacks. It was really
standing in the way of full development, it was standing in the way of living up to our ideals of
equality of opportunity, equality of treatment, so I learned from the Blacks who were at these
meetings. I got an entirely different view from what I=d had just growing up.
P: Do you recall the first meeting you had this little break through?
M: It was when we went from Birmingham Southern, all White, up to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio,
and I remember the meal we had together, that was unusual. As a matter of fact, when two, a
Black and White became very friendly, they were a little older than we students, the Whites said
you know, when I first sat down next to you to eat my meal, I just about threw up it was so strange.
The Black said same thing happened to me, I just about threw up sitting next to you.
P: Who said this?
M: I think it was one of the directors or one of the teachers of the institute that we were attending. [It
was] about a week long, it was during Christmas break or during Spring break that we went to
P: Did you take these experiences home and ponder it a bit? Did it stir things in you that had to do
with your interest in going to seminary?
M: It certainly had something to do with seminary because the seminary was totally integrated. We
had Black instructors as well as White.
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P: This was at Yale?
M: Yale University Divinity School.
P: You were how old when you left for Yale?
M: About twenty-two I think. I believe that was it, about that.
P: You had good grades and a good academic record so it was not a difficult...
M: I was Phi Beta Kappa.
P: That=s right.
M: I made the Dean=s List every year I was at Southern. It was hard to do because to play
basketball, and Birmingham Southern at that time didn't even have it=s own basketball court, we
had to go down to the Birmingham athletic club which was downtown. We had three hours of solid
running developing, building wind, so I was exhausted and it was very hard to go home and study
and then go back to school and be ready for those chemistry that I was an assistant in, be ready
with my own classes.
P: When you showed up at Yale Divinity School, did you know anybody there? Were you familiar with
M: The person I went up with, and we knew each other in Birmingham and were still friends, I was
the best man in his wedding and he was an attendant in my wedding.
P: His name is...
M: Clark Whitehead.
P: And you still keep up with [him]?
M: Yes. Not as closely as we should. He went into the ministry. I was not interested in going into the
ministry. I was not interested in religious work as such. I was interested more in the history,
comparative studies of religions, philosophy of religion, psychology of religion. It was just a new
SRC -10 Morland, page 16
opening for me because chemistry is rather narrowly focused, but at Yale, I studied under people
like Richard Neiber who was Reinhold Neiber=s brother and who was an absolutely superb
teacher. The teach historian was world renown, again a superb lecturer and teacher. I just gained
enormously in those three years.
P: Who was he, the church historian that you admired?
M: Roland Bainton, that's who it was. Just before he died, he appeared on television. He was
asking questions. He said, you=ve really got two questions there, I=11 take the second one first.
So he analyzed and I wrote him a note and I said this is just like classroom, I said I was just
delighted to hear you. He wrote back, and we had that kind of personal relationship. I got to know
Dean Luther Allen Wigel. Of course, I got to know him better when I went out to China from Yale
University., but Wigel was one of my teachers as well as one of my counselors. He was dean of
divinity school. Richard Neiber was probably the strongest and the best teacher that I had.
Reinhold was the one that was very well known, but I thought... I got to meet and know Reinhold
and listen to him at Patel Chapel at Yale from time to time.
P: You did meet Rienhold Neiber?
M: Oh yes, I met him. As a matter of fact, I was in the wedding of a friend who=s service was held at
Riverside Church at the union in New York City. The reception was in Reinhold Neiber=s
P: This was a very ecumenical school, was it not?
M: Very ecumenical, but it had a preponderance of southern students it seemed.
P: Why would that be?
M: For those who were not inclined toward going to their denominational school in their area, but who
wanted to get out of the South and see another part of the world, that was attractive.
SRC -10 Morland, page 17
P: So these were folks who had sort of ethical longings and were searching and so forth?
M: I think so. They tended to be ecumenical, they were not narrowly focused at all.
P: Who were some of the other professors that you recall that were important or well known at the
M: Robert Caloon was in the philosophy of religion. Richard Neiber was in Christian ethics, and
Liston Pope was in social ethics. It was in social ethics that I began to get interested in looking at
society and at groups, human groups, and its roles and statuses and understanding more of the
social structure of society.
P: So here=s where you got the first hint of a social science interest.
P: What lessons did you take away from Yale Divinity School? What associations that meant so
much to you later on?
M: I was in the process of graduating from divinity school when one of my favorite professors,
Kenneth Scott Larette asked me Ken, would you liked to go to China? I jumped at the
opportunity because a lot of my colleagues were being chaplains and I didn't want to be a
chaplain. I have great admiration and I had a call from my older brother last night. He=s sending
me a book in which the chaplains gave up their life preservers and they went down and died. I
think they were four denominations or four different faiths, I=m not sure who they were.
P: Was this a battle?
M: It was WWII. The ship was sunk and they had life preservers, but there were some who couldn't
swim and who were sinking and so they gave them up and they held hands, in the slush and wash
they were lost.
P: WWII was upon us at that time when you were in divinity [school]?
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M: 1943 was when I finished, yes. We were plunged into it. I had a draft status, every male had a
draft assignment. You were 1A, in my case I have a bad heart...
P: Even at that time?
M: Yeah. So the army wasn=t too keen about taking me so I was given a lower status from say 1A. I
can remember working in New Haven at the Railway Express, worked from 11:00p.m. to 7:00a.m.
Didn=t feel very active the next day, but I made some money that way. We moved things from
freight car to freight car. This was before UPS or Federal [Express], any of these organizations.
The Railway Express was the way to send packages, was the way to send almost everything.
P: In this you were sending things to the soldiers and sailors abroad, or were you doing this for
M: I was doing this for Railway Express, I was their employee.
P: So it was for income.
M: I would load that car and I learned how to pick things up and how to... I was told the first [day], he
said buddy, you have to break your back that way, let me show you how to do it.
P: You learned your first lesson of ergonomics.
M: That=s right.
P: You did need to work while you were in divinity school?
P: Did you work while you were in college as well?
M: I worked as a lab assistant throughout college, and I worked at the YMCA over the weekend in
order to get some funds.
P: You got your first opportunity to go to China and this was a very exciting prospect, wasn=t it?
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M: To me it was very, very exciting because I knew I didn't want to do the other things that Yale
divinity school graduates were doing. I had the classification that would have permitted me to [End
of Tape 1, side A] have gone for a doctorate at Yale in philosophy of religion or in comparative
religion, but there the war was going on and I wanted to be involved in it in some way.
P: What happened next? How did you get to China and what happened?
M: Two of us were asked, Kenneth Scott Larette asked the two of us...
P: The other one was?
M: ...Yale had done with the Yale School in China called Ya Li. Every year they would send out two
graduates to teach English by what we call the direct method. The teacher of English would know
no Chinese and the Chinese coming in would know no English. You had to learn how to teach and
how to speak so that it was possible for these youngsters to understand what was going on. I
chose to go to China, I had to get permission of the draft board, I had to get permission of the state
department, and I had to find someway to get there because you couldn't go through Europe, you
couldn't go through the Pacific with the Japanese and the American fleets fighting each other.
P: The political situation there was the nationalist Chinese were the reigning regime at the time?
M: Oh yes. Chiang Kai-shek was the president. He had taken the place, he had been designated by
Sun Yat-sen who had led the revolution of 1911, 1912 that moved China from having an inherited
leadership of total control of the population.
P: Were the Japanese in parts of China that you were going to?
M: When I went, of course Pearl Harbor had happened.
P: What year was this?
M: December 7, 1941.
P: No, I mean...
SRC -10 Morland, page 20
M: Everybody of my generation knows when Roosevelt said this day will live in infamy, we are now at
war with the Japanese. I knew that at my age that all of us would have our lives turned around. I
think everybody knew exactly... I knew exactly where I was at the time, exactly the words that I
P: You were in China at the time?
P: That=s what I was asking.
M: I was in New Haven.
P: Your trip to China was in what year, this first trip?
M: I left New Haven in June of 1943 and took crowded trains to New Orleans, stayed waiting in line to
take a plane where the next stop was in Merida, Mexico and from there to Guatemala and then to
Panama. At Panama, I was off-loaded because I was traveling without any... I wasn=t in the
military, I wasn=t in business or the like. I was just a freelance in the sense.
P: You were alone?
M: No, one other person.
P: Oh, the other student, yes.
M: The one in this picture that I showed you, he=s in his Chinese gown. He and I stay in touch. He
has just had loss of sight completely, he=s totally blind. He has macular degeneration.
P: His name?
M: Ross Dickson.
P: So you were in Panama and now you had to get to China and they wouldn't let you on the troop
ships. Where did you go from there?
SRC -10 Morland, page 21
M: We had a choice. There was a freighter going through the Panama Canal on its way to Australia,
but how would you get from Australia to China was the big problem. The other alternative, we
learned that there were ships occasionally that sailed from Buenos Aires to Cape Town across the
South Atlantic. What the two of us had to do, we waited two weeks in Panama going to the airport,
we had to check in everyday and see where we were and how close we were to going. Then,
getting on the plane, flying down to Lima, Peru. Went to Columbia, Guayaquille, and then on
down to Lima, Peru. Again, off-loaded.
P: You had to be mindful of transportation that stayed out of war zones, didn't you.
P: So that was part of the trick.
M: It was part of it and yet we were subject to being attacked, particularly in the South Atlantic. The
German subs were sinking Argentine ships. We were going on an Argentine ship. Finally got out
of Lima, had to fly over the Andes in an un-pressurized plane, about 25,000 feet. On that plane,
which of course was propeller, there was no jet at that time, they said when you feel like you=re
going to throw up because of the difference in pressure, non-pressurized, there was a little tube
that we could take and sip on it, it was oxygen. They said don=t use too much because you don=t
have very much, but do that and you won=t get sick. We landed finally up in La Paz in Bolivia after
leaving Lima. We were about 14,000 feet there, Lake Titicaca, and I wanted very much to go and
see the city that had been hidden from the Spanish, the name of it slips me right now, but we
didn't have a chance to do that. [We] flew on down to Buenos Aires and there we had to wait
three weeks going everyday to the ship office to say are you going to sail? They said shhh, not
yet. They did not want anybody to know that they were going because from time to time, the Nazis
would sink those ships, although Argentina was neutral. I can remember going to movies in
SRC -10 Morland, page 22
Buenos Aires and they would say were going to show the news, but we don=t want you to cheer
or we don=t want you to boo because remember were neutral so you must not do that. That=s
part of the way we passed our time. I liked Buenos Aires, it was a beautiful city, and they had what
they called a confeteria. In the late afternoon they had all kinds of good things to eat, pies and
cakes and other things. They ate dinner about 10:00p.m. at night.
P: Now you have spent weeks in the Western hemisphere and you=re headed for China. How did
you get across the Atlantic?
M: On the Jose Menendez. The Jose Menendez, we went and they said were going tonight, were
going to slip out at midnight so be down at the dock. We couldn't take much. We could wear
whatever we wanted to, but we couldn't take much. What we did, we did that on the plane too, I
wore even in panama when I had to weigh in the for the plane, I wore winter underwear, three pairs
of slacks, four sweaters, and a kind of Mackinaw to keep the rain off, and had belts around inside
and hung things on them. I weighed 250 pounds when I got onboard and then when I started
taking things off, I can remember the eyes of the attendants really popped when they saw what we
had. We couldn't get anything in China, we knew that.
P: Where=d this ship go? Was this a freighter?
M: No, it was a passenger ship, 4,000 tons. It bobbed all over the South Atlantic, it was rough. It was
the middle of the winter, it was in July-August by then. We went to Cape Town. I can remember
approach that beautiful harbor of Cape Town just as the sun was coming up. We enjoyed the trip
on the second class. They allowed five of us to travel second class. We had to argue because we
didn't have any money. The way Yale in China outfitted us was to give us letters of credit and you
could take a letter of credit to the bank, and the bank could deduct whatever money we had to
have because we had to change money each time we went into a different city.
SRC -10 Morland, page 23
P: Did you stay in Cape Town for any length of time?
M: About ten days, and then took a freighter around to Durban.
P: While you were in South Africa, did you have occasion to observe its apartheid and other
M: Not really. It was so separate that we just didn't pay attention to it. The residences I=m sure
were all different. What we did, our ship waited there for awhile so we would go off on shore and
then come back, we=d stay on the ship. We did that until that had to go back to Buenos Aires.
We were on that ship when one of the passengers we got to know said this is my third time to try to
get across, the other two ships were sunk by submarines.
P: And he survived?
M: He survived and he was anaesthetized with scotch whiskey to make it this next time. It was such a
harrowing experience. The second time the ship was blown up, he had happened to go up on the
deck, it was a little hot down below, and he was at one end and it was the other end that was blown
up. He went into the water, but he was able to get a life preserver. Then the submarine came up
near him and found out what language he spoke and they asked what ship did we just sink? He
gave them the name of it and they plunged on down and went on, left him. They didn't have any
room to take him in the sub, but another ship came along going back to Buenos Aires [and] picked
P: From Durban then, how did you get further east?
M: Durban was about a two week wait. Again, checking to find out, we were able to get passage on a
British troop convoy. There were troop ships and surrounded by the troop ships were destroyers
protecting it, and we did a zig-zag course across, the Indian Ocean to Bombay. That was a three-
week trip. The ship was much, much bigger, but we were jam crammed in there with the British
SRC -10 Morland, page 24
who were going in to India to help stop the Japanese. They just had a few civilian seats. It landed
in Bombay and for the first time I realized the British had precedence over us. They go to go
through the passport thing first because it was a British colony at the time, India was.
P: Did you get to see much of India at that point? This is in the middle of WWII?
M: We got to stay with missionaries, we couldn't afford to stay in any kind of hotel. They didn't have
very much. They took us around. They took us, for example, to what they call the Towers of
Silence. The Parsees Indians did not want to pollute the earth by putting the deceased in the
earth. They didn't want to pollute it by putting them in water, drowning them or something. So
they put them on big slabs of concrete that it was hard to get up to see, and the buzzards and the
others would pick the bones clean and then the rain would wash the remains down. That was a
part of India that they don=t allow foreigners to see that anymore, but we were able to go to that.
P: Did you see any evidence of the cast system at the time? Now you had your social science
inclinations moving. Was this in anyway an education about social stratification in India in this trip?
M: Not really. The casts were so separate or the way of life was so foreign that we lived with British
American missionaries and they could tell us about it, but I didn't see it very much.
P: Was it on peoples minds at the time?
M: Not so much, no. Again, it was like segregation in this country. It was the way things were. The
people of India had accepted the process of being reborn, reincarnation. If you fulfilled your cast
obligations to the full, then you would get a higher position after you died and your soul was
implanted somewhere else. When Margaret and I were coming back from Hong Kong once, we
usually went around the world and we did that four times, we landed at the Bombay airport. We
were going to stay with students of mine out of Macon, they urged us to come. They took good
SRC -10 Morland, page 25
care of us. But this was long after India had become a separate country from Pakistan as a matter
P: So you=re in India now. We still have a couple more legs of the trip to go to get to China.
M: That=s right, by train. The Indian trains were crowded, but they had compartments and we
stopped at New Delhi and saw the Taj Mahal. [We] got back on the train, went to Benaris where
people would go into the Gangees and wash themselves and all that sort of thing. It looked awfully
filthy to me, but I =m sure it was sacred water to them, and then to Calcutta. To get over the
southern Himalayas into China was very, very difficult. The Chinese national airlines were just
filled each time. Three weeks in Calcutta waiting for a plane. There, we were in the midst of the
Bengali famine, in the midst of a cholera epidemic. People were just dying on the streets and the
only thing we could do [that] would make a little contribution to the famine relief, India was not able
to get food to Calcutta and the people who were sick were undernourished as well as having
cholera and not having cholera shots.
P: Were they isolated because of the war conditions?
M: It was partially the war condition. It was just a matter of poor transportation generally. Finally we
were told the plane was leaving. We were at some kind of hotel B I=m not sure whether we were
with missionaries or not, B but again we could take only about sixteen pounds of luggage, thirty-
two kilos I think, I=m not sure how much thirty-two is, but anyhow you could wear whatever you
wanted to. There we were in hot Calcutta with people just barely having on anything at all, fanning
themselves, and we came along the street with all of these sweaters and jackets and other things
on. I became quite ill, I was over-heated, but we weighed in, and as soon as we weighed in we
could take these things off.
P: Your purpose for carrying all these clothes is because you were headed for a colder climate right?
SRC -10 Morland, page 26
M: We were headed for colder climate and we were headed for a country where all of its
manufacturing centers had been cut off. The Japanese had taken the most populous part of China
and what we were faced with was living really in the peasant, rural area, although Changsha itself
was rather large, it was occupied by the Japanese by the time we got there so we had to go up into
the mountains. We again had un-pressurized cabins, in the airlines we learned to deal with that.
We flew over the southern Himalayas, over ice covered mountains, landed in Quin-ning and I can
remember missionaries putting up with us and putting us up saying I don=t think there=s anyway
to get to this rural town of Yen-ning where the school was refugeeing. We, though, were finally
able to hitch a ride with a British convoy of trucks and they were going to Chongqing, let us off at a
place called Huian, and the only place in Huian, the only way we could get to this town was by a
charcoal running bus. They had no gasoline.
P: Again because of the war shortages.
M: Because of war time, yes. Whatever gasoline there was was used by the army vehicles. The
civilians just had nothing.
P: You landed where and how far did you have to go?
M: About a four day trip on this charcoal bus which would not go very fast. It went downhill real fast,
but we were in quite hilly country. We would stay at Chinese inns, dirt floor, chickens, pigs, and the
like picking up any food that would fall from the table.
P: What provinces did you pass through on your way?
M: Guizhou, which Guiyang is the capital of, and one other. Then Hunan, we went into northern
Hunan is where the school was, I can show you on the map in a minute. But we stayed in these
horrible, horrible inns to us, and there was almost no partitioning between the rooms, and we were
pretty tall and could see over into the next room. One thing we learned to do, we were told do, was
SRC -10 Morland, page 27
to take an oil cloth, a smelly oil cloth, put it over the bed, and then get your own sleeping bag
that'ss what we carried), and the bugs would not get on the oil cloth. So that kept us off. But we
also had to sleep under mosquito netting because there was a great deal of malaria, great deal of
other kinds of illnesses that could be transported by mosquitoes and bugs of all kinds.
P: Your traveling companion and colleague, what was his name?
M: Ross Dickson.
P: When you finally arrived, this was a school that was founded and supported by Yale?
M: By the Yale China Association. This was a separate corporation. Yale provided the name and the
personnel and the headquarters, and also appeals to alumni who wish to contribute, they could do
P: Was it designed to promote cultural relations between China and the United States? What was its
M: The purpose was to increase understanding of China on the part of Americans and to get as many
Chinese as possible into Yale University so that they could learn something about the American
way of life.
P: Had it been a pretty successful program, had it flourished pretty much in years prior to that?
M: Yes. It=s buildings though... It had a beautiful campus in Changsha which was the provincial
capital of Hunan. They were all burned in two big conflagrations of the entire city.
P: Based on bombing?
M: They were not bombed so much as they were just set on fire by the Chinese who thought the
Japanese were coming in and they didn't want them to take over a whole city that would support
them. They had gotten the word mixed up, the Japanese had not gotten to just the outskirts, they
were still some distance away and Chiang Kai-shek had the general who said burn everything. He
SRC -10 Morland, page 28
had him executed. Later, the Japanese themselves burned the city when they were having to
P: You got to see that initial campus? You were there early enough to see?
M: No. We could not go to Changsha because the Japanese were there. We went by a charcoal
burning bus up to the southern part of the Yen River, and then had to take a ferryboat which was
pulled by and over ward by, it was just kind of an open boat, to the other side where the town of
Yen-ning was. Yen-ning was one street and it was a sort of precipitous incline. The street was
about two miles long an the school, Ya Li, had been set up at the western end of the town, but on a
very slippery slope. In these essays that my students are writing about their war time experiences
at Ya Li, they tell about that very difficult time we had going up those hills and down the hills in
makeshift classrooms, in cold weather. My students wore gloves with just these two fingers taken
out so they could write. They all wore hats and stuff over their ears. We wore hats and tried to
write on the blackboard, it was very difficult. Of course, we have snow up in the mountains. It took
me, by the way, four months and one week and almost 25,000 miles to go from New Haven to this
place up in Yen-ning. We didn't get there until November.
P: You had left New Haven in when?
M: Later part of June. July, August, September, October.
P: How long were you there?
M: Three years.
P: You stayed three years. Did you visit home at any time?
M: Visit Chinese homes?
P: Visit your own home. Did you come back to the states?
M: There was no way to get back, couldn't possibly get back.
SRC -10 Morland, page 29
P: So you were there until about 1946?
M: In the fall of 1945, the Japanese surrendered. Interestingly, we went on our own, but I took a trip to
Mount O=mei, which is one of the sacred Buddhist mountains in western China. I had to go to
Chongqing, I had to go by charcoal bus, and then take a river boat. Chongqing was a war time
capital, a very disorganized city. Then to get from Chongqing up to Chengdu, which was in central
Sichuan, we were in the Sichuan province, and then take a bus down to a river, and then take the
river to O=mei shan, Mount O=mei, it was a five day trip walking to the top of it. Sleeping in
Buddhist temples in the interim and the Buddhist monks would charge us, but feed us. We
couldn't have any eggs, we couldn't have any meat, we just had to be vegetarians because the
Buddhists were. I was on top of Mount O=mei when word came that the Japanese surrendered.
We got up so high that we could look down and if the sun were in the right place, we could see
Buddhist Halo. We were about 12,000 [to] 13,000 feet with almost a precipitous straight down
P: So you were there for three solid years without leaving.
M: Yes. Except for the trips that, well about the only place you could go would be Chongqing and the
place I went to.
P: Tell us about your experience there and friends you met and experiences you had.
M: We were coached by the person who=s place we were taking, Dwight Roo. I took over his class.
They had been expecting us in September and here it was November. They had a very hard time
getting back to the states, but they had to kind of retrace our way of going. I can remember when
we were walking in the one street of this town which had become a kind of refugee center in a way,
and walking to the senior school. The middle school is grade six through twelve. Six years of
SRC -10 Morland, page 30
English were required of every student. One of the reasons, I forgot to tell you this, the draft board
gave us an okay was the American forces desperately needed Chinese who could understand
when Americans spoke English, and in turn could speak so that they American could understand
them. So the graduates of Ya Li Middle School, having had six years of Americans teaching them
by the direct method, they had to listen and understand English, and they had to respond so that
we could understand them. This was one of the reasons we were permitted to go to China. I can
remember so well adjusting and going into a classroom of seventy boys in the sixth grade who
knew no English and here I was knowing no Chinese or a few phrases if the Chinese couldn't
understand, but Americans could (Chinese phrases), but we started with the four objects: a box, a
book, a pen, and a pencil. We would hold the box up and we would say this is a box. Is it a book?
No, this is a book. Is it a pen? No, this is a pen. Then we began to hold things up ourselves and
say what is it? And the chorus would come back, it=s a book or it=s a box. Starting with those
words, we built vocabulary and we had some kinds of text books made of very cheap paper. We
didn't have very good material. But reading these essays, the students say they came in and
these foreigners were talking in a way they couldn't understand, and so they were just waiting for
Chinese to be spoken. They finally decided they were going to speak any Chinese, they don=t
know any Chinese, so they were forced to speak by what is called the direct method.
P: Tell us about this project that you are now doing, now in 2002. Does this include essays by
students from back in those years? The war years?
M: Yes. Margaret, my wife and I, went to the Far East, first in Hong Kong where our daughter was
living, her husband was with the state department and she was editor of an art journal called
Orientations. She had her doctorate in art of the Far East, so it was a very natural step for her.
We stayed with them two weeks. We were planning to take a hovercraft to a place called
SRC -10 Morland, page 31
Shenzhen, that is the Chinese city which was not so very far from Hong Kong. We were going to
meet a British [man], Peter Thompson, with whom I had taught in Ya Li. Peter was the only non-
American who had ever taught English there. I was the only non-undergraduate of Yale who ever
got that role. Peter was having a real hard time with his heart, though, and I have an enormous
amount of communication from him. He would write long detailed letters and I so want to take a
look at them. Peter died right before were to go up to Shenzhen, and we told Carol we might as
well just get on the train here and go up to Shenzhen, then change and go to Guangzhou (this is
Canton) and we could fly from there to Changsha. She said mom and daddy don=t you go into
China now. The train stations are filled with peasants who have been forced off the farm because
of more efficient farming and who have no work, no income, and they would rob anybody they
P: So this I under the communist regime by this time?
M: By this time, yes, definitely was under community regime. That=s a big problem for them now. In
those cities they have maybe 20 million peasants in the big cities like Canton or Shanghai or
Beijing and they stay mainly in these cavernous railway stations.
P: This project, you=ve tried to assemble some essays and poems and so forth from your [students].
M: We went to Changsha and we flew there because our daughter told us don=t you go into there. At
your age, you would be easy targets for these peasants who are just looking for somebody with
money. They had had four or five strong husky friends who had gone to Canton, gotten out of their
train surrounded by thugs with knives and they had everything taken.
P: What year was this?
P: Tell us about the students.
SRC -10 Morland, page 32
M: We flew into Changsha two days before the ninetieth anniversary of the founding of Ya Li, it was
founded in 1906 so this was the ninetieth anniversary. I wrote to my students ahead of time and I
said you all get together because we want to talk to you about a project, particularly writing up your
lives as they were during the time we were refugeeing in Yen-Ning. So we got there early and
they were most coridal. They met the plane, they took us in the Ya Li station wagon to our hotel,
Huatian: Ahua@ is flower, Atian@ is heavenly. It=s the same as Tiananmen square where they
had that crushing of the demonstrators. We stayed in the beautiful flowered hotel. [End of Tape 1,
P: We=re at the beginning of the tape. This is tape two. This is Ed Peeples with Ken Morland.
We=re having a conversation about events and things that happened to him in his life and
yesterday, we were talking about you in China during WWII and you were at the Yale School with
students. You were to spend three years there. You have now begun a project which tries to
remember some of those years with your students, would you tell us about that?
M: The Yale China Association was begun in 1901. The school at which I taught began its operation
in 1906, so my wife and I went out to celebrate the ninetieth anniversary of the founding of Ya Li as
Yale is called in Chinese. We met two days before the actual celebration and I talked to the
students about writing down what they remembered of their experience of having to refugee in very
difficult circumstances; makeshift buildings on the side of a steep mountain slope up in the
mountains where we had snow in the winter time without heat, without running water, without
electricity. They were faced with great obstacles, yet they turned out to be among the finest
students I ever taught. I felt that all the world needed to hear what these students had to say
having to study and to learn under such complex, difficult, demanding circumstances. So I invited
them, as many as would, to write essays of what they recalled during the days of refugeeing up in
SRC -10 Morland, page 33
the Hunan mountains. We were seventy miles from the front line of Japanese forces. We were
constantly under the threat of their moving on up the river, so we had selected another site,
actually had purchased boats, had some equipment, some of the library equipment on the boat,
and we were ready to leave this town any time it was required.
P: Did you hear explosions and evidence of war, and did you ever leave the encampment to go places
where there was the war zone?
M: No. None of us would dare venture into the area where there was the war zone. The Americans
built an air field to the south and to the west of us. The Japanese began to bomb it. They would fly
over Yen-Ning, the town we were refugeeing in, and if they had any bombs left over or if they
couldn't find the American base, they would drop their bombs on Yen-Ning. The terrible bombing
came in 1939 and almost wiped out the city. From then on, there were pinpricks of bombing. We
had bombing shelters so we could go when the siren would sound, and we would just gather our
things up and run into the nearest of these shelters.
P: What kind of education environment was that? I suppose this had great impact on some of these
students= character and so forth and it may be reflected in your essays, is that true?
M: I think it=s reflected in the essays. It=s also reflected in the desire of the Chinese to get an
education. The Yale School was held in highest regard and it was difficult to get into the school.
We had places for only 500 students. It also charged tuition although most of the students worked
their way through by being in the dining halls or helping the professors with their work or doing duty
of keeping the campus clean and the rooms tidy.
P: You lived on the campus there?
M: We all lived on the campus. There was really no other place to live.
SRC -10 Morland, page 34
P: The students began to learn to speak English and I assume the whole curriculum was mostly in
M: No, the curriculum was primarily in Chinese, but they learned to speak English. They had to have
six years of it and they had to learn it in the way all of us learn to speak our native language. We
do it by hearing words spoken and then we imitate these words and we are able to respond so that
foreigners can understand what is being said.
P: You are currently editing these essays. About how many are there?
M: There are thirty essays. They [are] mostly about the students= experiences themselves. There=s
also a section on the faculty and the administrators that they remember.
P: Do you recall a happy story or a tale that occurred there with the student or what have you that
might be of interest? That shows the effect of the school and/or the effect on the teachers.
M: There were some amusing things that happened.
P: You want to remind us of one?
M: I was working on my Chinese, but being one of two English teachers, being one of two persons
who spoke English as his native tongue, the students came to have us go down to the village with
them and to interpret. They like to listen to us and to ask us what we have said in English and then
to tell the shopkeepers. At one point, I said let me try to talk to the shopkeeper. They said all right.
I pointed to certain things that I was interested in...
P: To purchase?
M: Yes, at the shops, and ask them how much it was. The shopkeeper smiled and nodded and talked
to one another, but I obviously was not getting through. I turned to the students and said what are
they saying? And they rather sheepishly said they are saying to one another this foreigners
language sounds a little like Chinese doesn't it?
SRC -10 Morland, page 35
P: You had lots of contacts with the students and so forth, and after you left you kept up with some of
them and the tales they would tell and the stories you were to learn about their fate. Were there
some sad stories that you can recall?
M: I left China in 1946. I came back on LST down the Yang Tse River, a southern day trip. [I] was
able to get on an American troop ship returning to the states, went to San Francisco, and then took
the train across the USA to New Haven to take up my new duties as executive secretary of the
Yale China Association. I continued writing to some of my favorite students and the ones who
wanted to communicate, but once the People=s Republic of China was established by the
communists, I was asked by the students please don=t write us anymore. If you do, any letter we
get from America gets us into trouble. So there was a gap of twenty-five or more years that we
heard nothing from the students, nothing about them.
P: Even though you had been friends and had communicated prior to this ban.
M: Correct. We were just asked don=t write. But once Mao Zedong passed on, Deng Xiao-ping
gained control. This was around 1977, 1978, 1979. Then I began hearing from the students again.
P: Through their own initiative?
M: On their own initiative. They found out where their former American teachers were and some of
them came to this country, and whenever they came, I always invited them to stay here with us and
to speak to my classes in anthropology on what things were like in China, what the family situation
was, and what kind of education they had. I was amazed at how well they did with their English.
They told me that under the communist regime initially, they were not allowed to speak English.
They had to learn Russian instead of English. Once Deng Xiao-ping broke that barrier with
American, then they were able to come to this country. When I would ask them I want you to
SRC -10 Morland, page 36
speak to my anthropology class, and they said we have not used our English for twenty-five years,
so were not sure if we can do it. But they all did it, they spoke clearly, the students were
extremely interested, they had not seen or heard anybody from China during their life time. This
was at Randolph-Macon Women=s College. They asked questions which were understood by the
speaker, and in turn the speaker would elaborate and they communicated very, very well. The
education that they got in these six years of English teach by the direct method took well, and they
remembered it well and still had clear enough speech without too heavy an accent that Americans
could understand them.
P: This school was a secondary school?
M: Yes. It=s the equivalent of our grade six through twelve. These six years it was called a middle
school. The first was the elementary, then the middle, then there was the college education. But
this would be the equivalent of our sixth through twelfth grades.
P: You showed me a picture of a man in a book. There was a sad tale associated with this man.
Wasn=t he one of your favorite students?
M: He was actually a colleague.
P: At the school?
M: In the city.
P: Oh in the city, he was not associated with the school.
M: Not directly. They were close friends to the school and they had been in New Haven when I had
been there getting masters degrees, but they actually ran the YMCA in Changsha.
P: You want to tell the story about him?
SRC -10 Morland, page 37
M: The Chinese communists in 1956 initiated what they called the Hundred Flowers Movement. Mao
Zedong either thought that they had been so successful in their revolution that people would no be
critical of it, or he was setting a trap for the intellectuals. At any rate, he urged people and all
around them said tell us about what we can do that would improve what were doing. This just
blew the top off things that had been repressed, and so the communist regime was thoroughly
criticized. Mao said these are not flowers that are blooming, the hundred flowers were let a
hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools contend. He said they're not flowers, they are
noxious weeds and we need to get rid of them. Those who had been pushed and forced into
speaking, the intellectuals, were labeled as Arightests@. As rightests, they no longer had a job,
they no longer had a rice ticket, they had to do whatever common labor there was, they had to go
to the backs of restaurants to try to get what food they could, they had to sleep in the allies. Their
families were afraid to speak to them and their friends would not speak to them. Among the
verified and generally wonderful people we knew was one name Zhang E=fen, and here is the
picture that you are referring to. When he was labeled as a rightest, he was puzzled as to what he
should do. He decided that he would take his own life so that his family would not be censored so
heavily. He filled his pockets full of stones, went to the bridge across the river at Changsha,
jumped into the river (this was during the winter time) and drowned. He was not alone. The co-
editor with whom I=m working with was declared a rightest. He had studied English additionally at
Nan Qing University and he was recruited by the People=s Liberation Army to go to Korea to
interpret for the American and British soldiers so they could communicate with their homes or they
could have their needs met. It was during that time that he was pushed and urged to criticize so
they could improve things. He was labeled a rightest and he said for twenty-two years my family
wouldn't speak to me, I could not marry, I had to live in the alleyways, I had to eat what food that
SRC -10 Morland, page 38
was left over, I had to do menial tasks. He said they took away my blooming years; he had always
wanted to be a writer. In a way were restoring this opportunity although he=s now seventy. I
have urged him to do an autobiography to say what it was like to be a rightest. He has hesitated
because he=s not sure how this would get out of China or how it would be received, but he said
he=d finally decided to do an autobiographical novel. I named him Leo, his name was Lu Zheng
Bi, and I said Leo, in English there=s a difference between an autobiography in which you=re
writing about yourself and the people you know, actual characters, and a novel in which you create
the characters and the situation although they might derive from your experience. But as a rule,
we have a disclaimer in a novel which says any resemblance to persons past or present is
coincidental. He=s now saying he thinks he=ll do an autobiographical novel for China, but he=ll
do a straight autobiography in English for us. I=m hoping he=ll have that opportunity.
P: You spent three years in China, you had been to Yale Divinity School, and you had told me earlier
that you didn't have a particularly sensitive racial consciousness prior to this in high school and
college. You hadn=t been alerted to the injustices that were all around you in Alabama and other
M: I had not until I was in college at Birmingham Southern, a part of the Student Christian Movement,
and we went to meetings outside the South, and it was in those situations that I was able to meet
and talk with highly educated negroes, they were called at this time who could tell us what it was
like and how humiliating and how detrimental the system was for them and for this country.
P: How did you feel about that? What direction did you think it implied for you in your career and your
own personal life?
M: I was determined that I would do what I could in cooperation with others to get rid of forced racial
segregation which kept Whites in a dominate position and Blacks in a subordinate position.
SRC -10 Morland, page 39
P: So this was in this YMCA movement that you began to be sensitive to this.
M: It was the [YMCA], it was also the Student Christian Movement which had conferences outside of
P: Tell us about the Student Christian Movement.
M: It was open to everyone, although our school were segregated. They had the student Christian
movements in the all Black schools, so when we got together at conferences, I can remember
particularly one at Miami University at Oxford Ohio. I spoke last time of it, but I didn't tell you one
incident that revealed something that made us very disturbed and angry about the American
system. One of my colleagues there taught at what is now Norfolk state. His name was John
Blue I think.
P: I know him.
M: We said let=s go down and eat because they are supposed to be integrated here. We went to a
restaurant from the university and they said we will serve you Whites, but we cannot serve the
Blacks. This is in Ohio. So we said if you can=t serve all of us, you won=t serve any of us. The
next day, we got John Blue to borrow one of the head dresses of an African student. We went
back to the same restaurant, they were as courteous, as accepting as they could possibly be.
Here was an American who had been rejected, but when they thought he was a foreign Black from
Africa or some other place they accepted him. This was deeply disturbing. This was the way we
were treating our own citizens.
P: So by this time, you were really thinking about it and thinking about your role in dismantling it.
M: It was one of the reasons I went on to Yale Divinity School. It was integrated, it was highly
conscious of racial discrimination, it had a very strong social gospel approach, it had an
outstanding faculty, so that was one of the reasons I went there. Although my major had been in
SRC -10 Morland, page 40
the physical sciences, I was accepted and went into an entirely different area as a result. I will say
one thing, though. The [YMCA] at Birmingham Southern decided we would try to have our own
integrated group. We talked with friends at Miles College, which wasn=t very far from Southern,
and I knew Herman Long was president at that time, I knew him and others.
P: At the time you knew him?
M: When I was at Southern.
P: When you were a student there you knew him?
M: Yes. So we got a group and went to the downtown YMCA and had an integrated meeting in
Birmingham, probably the only one.
P: What year would that have been?
M: That would have been 1938, my last year at Southern, I was a senior.
P: So now, by the time you had left China now, you really were stirred to care about these issues.
You had now seen something in another culture. What was the association between your
experience in Chinese culture? Did that have any bearing on your perception of American
segregation and the culture of White supremacy?
M: It had a very profound bearing.
P: Can you tell us about that?
M: One of the things that bothered us mostly at the Yale School were the Americans who came in in
WWII to help Chiang Kai-shek and the Guomindang, the nationalist government, look down on the
Chinese. They though they were backward, they thought that here these people had been here all
these years and they didn't have decent roads, they didn't have good restaurants, clean and all,
and they judged the Chinese from the point of view of their own society and culture, and they
missed what was so moving and beautiful about China.
SRC -10 Morland, page 41
P: Were these American public officials and missionaries? Who were they?
M: They were soldiers, but also the missionaries had that same kind of view. They were saving these
people who were lost if they didn't somehow breakthrough and get to them. My students told me
on no uncertain terms that they deeply resented the soldiers who were arrogant. They said some
of them are very, very friend and all, but some of them are arrogant. These things come out in the
essays I might say. The missionaries made these negative judgements about how they could be
saved from eternal damnation if only they would believe and do what the missionaries wanted them
to do. This turned me off from the missionary who was there to convert. There were other kinds of
missions, educational missions, agricultural missions that would help with different aspects of life
and who were not all that evangelical.
P: Did this help you understand the definition of ethnocentrism?
M: Absolutely. It came out loud and clear.
P: You left China in 1946 apparently and you left for the Yale China Association?
M: I was asked to serve as executive director.
P: Immediately after?
M: Immediately after.
P: It was a paid position?
M: It was paid, but not particularly well. $3,000 a year which was, even in 1946, could barely make
P: What did you do with this association? Were you in New Haven?
M: In New Haven. Yale provided us with offices and with opportunities to speak to alumni. I went to
various places. [In] New York City [I] had a long session with Henry Loose who was a graduate of
Yale and a very strong supporter of China, he was very much interested, and started him thinking
SRC -10 Morland, page 42
about rebuilding the school. He and W. Averal Harrowman of New York appealed to Yale
graduates and they raised B I was in Henry Loose=s office for example one time, and asking him
for his regular contribution which was more than my salary for a year that he would give, he was
very generous. He got on the phone and he called about five people and he said look, I=m giving
$2,000 to your organization, and I=11 increase it if you will give to the Yale in China Association. In
thirty minutes, he had raised over $10,000, which in 1946 was a sizeable sum.
P: What else did you do there? Did you promote further trips of other students? What kind of
activities were involved with the association that you were responsible for?
M: We published a newsletter to let all those that had any contact and who were interested know what
Yale in China was and what it was doing. My chief job was to raise money in order to have
sufficient funds to send Yale graduates out to teach, and to bring Chinese to Yale University to
study. The office of Yale in China alerted the Yale student body that we had places, at this time,
for English teachers, a nurse, and an M.D. and we were going to pay their way there, reimburse
them to some degree and then keep that contact with Yale in China moving and keep it alive, and
also with the promise that we would build a new school. We opened up a competition for persons
who were interested in rebuilding Ya Li, the Yale in China school and there was a Chinese, King
Louis Woo was chosen by the board of trustees. I, of course, was at the board of trustees
meetings, and would organize them and we got people there like Dean Wigel of Yale Divinity
School whom I got to know very, very well and who was a big help. Henry Sloan Coffin of Union
University in New York was the vice president of the board, and we had other persons of very high
caliber who would discuss and talk about what should be done.
P: You were there at the association for how long?
SRC -10 Morland, page 43
M: I was there for one year. It was beginning to be clear that the Guomindang was not going to win
that civil war, and that if the communists came in, Yale would go out. I realized that I really wanted
to get into a more intellectual approach. I wanted to go into teaching. I began taking courses in
anthropology at Yale, and sociology, I did them at night, and I wrote a recommendation to the
board and said I think there are two ways you might move. One is to have Ross Dickson, who
had stayed an extra year in China, divide the executive position and both of us would take a course
or two at the graduate level, or you could get a new executive. They decided they wanted to get a
new executive, so I tried to get a scholarship or scholarship help at Yale and went to Leo Simmons
who was one of my teachers, he wrote Sun Chief, a great biography of a Hopi Indian.
P: And he was a medical sociologist as well.
M: I didn't realize that. He had nothing for me. I went to the head of the graduate school, they had
nothing. But it was interesting, Howard Odum of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill was
visiting lecturer. I took his course, which was at night, and liked very much what he was doing.
When I received no positive affirmation at Yale, I asked him about coming to the University of North
Carolina to get my degree. He was skeptical. He wondered why anybody would leave Yale to go
to UNC, but one of the reasons I wanted to was that Yale graduate school offered no courses in
the summer. Here I was in the thirties and still without a position that I wanted to build in or without
the kind of education that would give the position that I would like to have. He told me to come on.
He would see that I would make it. I understand that he diverted the window-washing fund for
Alumni Hall in which the sociology courses were being taught, and anthropology courses, and I
was able to make it with that B I >d say the little bit from being executive secretary, but also I got a
very good fellowship at UNC. John Gillin was teaching at Duke, he was an anthropologist, and he
and his father had written a textbook called SocialAnthropology, very fine book. Odum said I=ve
SRC -10 Morland, page 44
promised I=d turn over some top-notch students to John Gillin, so I was turned over to Gillin. So I
took his courses and those of Guy Johnson who was both a sociologist and anthropologist.
Those fields used to be much closer together than they are at the present time.
P: They were in the same department.
P: The course that you took with Odum was what?
M: It was the Sociology of the South primarily.
P: Did it resonate with you?
M: It resonated beautifully with me because it brought together so many loose ends of greater
understand of the society from the point of view of the social scientists.
P: What was Howard Odum like?
M: Odum was a strange person in many ways. He was not a good lecturer. He didn't organize
things well, but he was inspirational and he would come through at times with things that would just
thrill me, but as a totality he was not easy to follow, easy to work with necessarily.
P: His influence on sociology of the South, on other scholars, could you comment on that?
M: He was very, very great. He was the leader and UNC a leader. He and Guy Johnson were there.
Guy Johnson had a year as director of the Southern Regional Council. He showed me how you
could use your knowledge from sociology and put it into practice with an organization that was
primarily promoting race relations, primarily trying to get rid of the cast-like system that the United
States had at the time based on race.
P: Before you left Yale, did you have memorable teachers there as you took those part time courses?
M: Leo Simmons I=ve mentioned. Another, Raymond Kennedy was a great teacher.
P: In sociology or anthropology?
SRC -10 Morland, page 45
M: Anthropology. He was doing field work in Indonesia and this was during the time of the disturbance
where the Dutch were in charge and he was very much interested in me and I think had he not met
a terrible fate, I would have stayed at Yale. He and one other colleague were out in the rural area
of Indonesia, Bali I think, and they were surrounded by rebels who thought they were Dutch and
they were taken out and executed. That was a big loss for me and for the university.
P: Now you moved to Chapel Hill and you were single. Were you excited about going to Chapel Hill?
M: Very much so. Frank Graham was there.
P: He was the president?
M: He was president. There was an openness, there was a spirit that I liked even better than the one
at Yale in terms of learning and challenging and the opportunities in the South I felt were greater
for me than they were up in New Haven.
P: This was in what year?
M: This would have been in the fall of 1967.
P: When you went to Chapel Hill for the first time?
M: 1947. In the two years from 1947 to the end of 1948, 1 had completed my course work, John Gillin
sent me out to the field which was South Carolina. He received a Rosenwald grant, the last of the
Rosewald funds, and it was enough for me to ask Margaret Louise Ward to marry me. I was
asked to study the mill village section of a South Carolina town.
P: How is it that you were awarded the prize of Margaret? How did that occur?
M: We were both from Birmingham.
P: Did you know her from before?
M: I had met her, but only briefly. She was beautiful, very much interested in what I was doing.
P: Progressive thinking too?
SRC -10 Morland, page 46
M: Very much so.
P: She was in tune with your present attitudes about race and American apartheid?
M: Yes. She hadn=t had the kind of exposure that I had had, but she was ready. So I took this bride
who had been brought up in Mountain Brook, which is the elite of Birmingham, and we went to live
in the mill village sections of a South Carolina town.
P: What was the town you were examining?
M: The town was York, South Carolina which we called Kent, the Duke of York, the Duke of Kent. It
was customary at that time to disguise the name and to be sure we didn't identify people
themselves. We were going to look at the system, and not at particular individuals and certainly
not to make any kind of evaluation.
P: Did this have any kin at all to the book of Blackways of Kent.
M: Hylan Lewis wrote Blackways of Kentand he and I were in York at the same time. I was studying
the mill village sections, he was studying the Black sections.
P: Was he a student or was he...
M: He was working on his doctorate and he was at New York at CCNY. Also, there was a third
person, Ralph Patrick. Ralph Patrick with Yelin had first gone through the South and they
selected York as a place that had both the old South and the new South. It had the kind of
grandeur in its housing of the elite, but it also had the industrial South in the mill village.
P: New textile industry that was beginning to develop widely or had developed widely.
M: Then it had a sizeable Negro population as well. Patrick found that he could not do a thorough job
on all three sections, he tried to. So he took the town of Kent and I took the mill village sections
and Hylan Lewis took the Black sections.
P: Was there a third book written or was it just the two books written about that?
SRC -10 Morland, page 47
M: Just the two. Ralph Patrick could never quite bring himself... Now he was getting his doctorate [in
anthropology] in MIT, which he did. He taught medical anthropology at Chapel Hill, although he
passed away much, much too early. I remember his wife would put the two books, the one I=d
written on Mi//ways of Kent and the one Hylan Lewis had written on Blackways of Kenton their
mantle, and said where is Townways of Kent? But he was never able to pull it off.
P: Hylan Lewis, what was he like? What do you recall about him?
M: Delightful person. We worked together well. We had to share a recording device. We had to
share it without letting people know that we were working together, at least we were both from
UNC. I would park the UNC van at a certain place and he would come by, this would be at night,
and I would slip him the recording machine. He said he had to be very careful because the Blacks
would say you=re just feeding this stuff to the Whites. But Hylan was able to get into the real heart
of the community and his Blackways ofKentis I think a gem of community study by an
P: Was he Black?
M: Yes, he had to be.
P: To gain report and access at the time.
M: Yes. 1=11 say one thing about Hylan. There was place I visited fairly often that both Blacks and
Whites frequented. It was a place where they would play pool and do a lot of heavy drinking. The
liquor store was right next door.
P: Little Red Ball?
P: South Carolina beverage control store.
SRC -10 Morland, page 48
M: Well it was, that's right it was. I remember he went in and they didn't know who he was and he
had his hat on and some Whites said nigger, take that hat off. Hylan said it just went all over him,
but the studies got to be saved to he gradually took his hat off, and the man said oh you=re not
who I though [you were], I was just teasing, I apologize. This was a White who said that to Hylan.
P: So there were classes of prejudice you might say.
M: Oh definitely, yes.
P: So Kent, or York, was a complicated town. It had the moderate thrust of industrial life, but it had all
segregated, and then it had proud and elegant...
M: It had three way segregation.
P: Tell us about that.
M: You had the Black section of course with the leading persons there, as I said yesterday, the funeral
director and the ministers were the ones who were in leadership positions. The mill village section
was owned by Charles Cannon and I might say that...
P: Of Cannon Industries?
M: That=s right. John Gillin took me to meet Mr. Cannon, and to tell him that I was going down into
[End of Tape 2, side A] one of his mill village towns and that if I gave them any trouble, to let him,
Gillin, know. But I was there just to observe and to understand. Cannon said to me, he said
they're not going to accept you. You ought to go in there as a salesman or something else, not as
somebody who is studying them because they=ll clam up on you. I thanked him for his advice, but
I thought it was the worst possible advice because very soon, they would know that I wasn=t
interested in selling, and then they would have clammed up and I wouldn't have gotten anywhere.
P: You actually moved into that community and you were married?
SRC -10 Morland, page 49
M: I moved in and I lived with a retired couple. Margaret and I did not marry until I had been there for
one semester. She came in in the middle of the year, we were married in February. Then we lived
in the town section after that.
P: You lived in a little house?
M: We were boarding with one of the elite families.
P: This was an all White community?
M: This part that Ralph Patrick had studied. He had stayed previously with this family, they were a
mother and daughter who had boarders. Though they didn't have boarders, they had roomers.
Margaret and I had a refrigerator which we shared with somebody else, but we also ate at the mill
boardinghouse, and there I learned a great deal. I could turn the conversation politically or I could
turn it religiously or I could turn it in terms of leisure time and it was a real education.
P: Your book referred to the White community, did it not? The workers were a segregated workforce
M: At that time, the house the mill people lived in came with their job. It gave Cannon a great deal of
strength you know.
P: Like the coal industry in other parts of the South.
M: That=s right. This was disappearing. The mill owners were getting rid of the villages because they
were difficult. We got to know two or three families very intimately, Margaret and I did, very well,
and we used to visit them each time we went from Williamsburg, where I taught first, to
Birmingham. We always stayed over with the mill people, and always called each other at
Christmas time. We found them warm, accepting people as long as they were accepted as they
SRC -10 Morland, page 50
P: Did you find that people, in interviewing, are often willing to be very revealing if there=s a bit of
trust and report and understanding about what the interviewer is going to do with the information?
How did you find that? How did you find Mr. Cannon=s proposition to be wrong?
M: People were very suspicious of somebody from outside coming in. I told them, I=m a student from
the University of North Carolina and I am here to learn how southerners really live. I said there are
a lot of people that don=t understand the South, and they give wrong impressions, but were
going to get the right impression if we can work together. We can tell them the truth of living here
and what a great part of the country this is. They went for this and I was accepted. I went of
fishing trips and we went sailing in the river. At first I thought they wanted me for my company, but
they wanted me for my height because we would have to hold a net up. I was 6'4" and I was able
to hold it up higher and they brought it around and then got into the willows or the like and they
beat the bushes and ran the fish into the net. Then we would get inside and grab these fish, pull
them out. I always felt a little uncomfortable, I never did grab many fish, but they always took some
pity on me and said Morland isn=t very good at this. So they gave Margaret and me a fish or so
and we would=ve gone hungry sometimes had they not done that.
P: You were there for how long?
M: I was there for twelve months.
P: Twelve full months, so you really were a resident of that community.
M: In a way, although when the book came out, I remember the family with whom we stayed in the
town section said you=ve not given an accurate of the relationship between the town and the mill
village because the town people look down on the mill people, and no doubt about it. They would
not let the mill people come to the front door for example, they have to go to the back door. They
really criticized Margaret and me for having mill friends come to our apartment in their home to
SRC -10 Morland, page 51
have dinner. They said you=re embarrassing us. They said don=t do this anymore. So there was
this kind of thing and I told them well, I reported as I saw it, and I know it=s presumptuous to come
down for a year and to try to tell what this town is like even though there were three of us at work
on it. I said we do the best we can without trying to make any kind of judgement one way or the
P: Did other people criticize the book? Did they ask to see it? What was the general acceptance of
the book later? Did very many people read it at all?
M: It was reviewed by mill workers= publications in Gastonia and in other towns that had mills in them.
Very critical. They did not like the book. Our friends in the mill village stood up for us and they
said you know every word in this book is true. If you kept your big mouth shut it wouldn't have
gotten in there in the first place. The rumor was that in the village (it was very strong) that we had
been found to be communist spies and we were locked up in a federal penitentiary in Washington.
P: Because of this book?
M: Because of our being down there and inquiring and getting all this information. Our friends just
laughed at this and said we know that's not so. The Presbyterian minister, whom we got to know
quite well in the town section, went to Richmond and he was there at the seminary in Richmond,
Union [Theological Seminary], and he said he would get things straight. He sent postcards to York
and he said Margaret and Ken Morland are alive and well and teaching at William and Mary. He
said he knew if he put it on a postcard, everybody in the town would know about it.
P: Do you remember his name?
M: Malcolm... I=d have to look it up, I=m not sure. But he and his family were wonderful to us.
SRC -10 Morland, page 52
P: What did your experience there tell you about social stratification in that town and what could be an
example across the country. Was there a lesson to be learned about class and race in that town
that was important to you?
M: I think it reflected the kind of system that Americans had. There were the elite, and by the way
Ralph Patrick broke those down into the blue bloods and the red bloods. The blue bloods looked
down on the Whites who were not mill people, and they did not live in houses that were as grand
as the upper group. The red bloods looked down on the mill people and probably more so even
than the blue did. Even the Blacks considered taking a position to help a mill family was much
lower in status than helping a town family. Hylan Lewis was able to tell me this is the way they felt.
P: So it was an example of August Hollingshead=s classification of social stratification in our country
M: It was very clearly stratified because you had both physical as well as the social stratification.
P: By your study of the related literature at the time, how representative did you think this study was of
conditions in the country?
M: It had the advantage of being an intensive study of a small town of around 4,500 people studied
intensively in the three major divisions. So it would, I think, put in depth the sorts of things that
Allison Davis had written about, that even Cuna Myrdal had reported on. The three studies, and
if Ralph Patrick=s had been published, they would have been combined into a single volume
which was unique at that time. By the way, we did not have complete acceptance by
anthropologists because to be an anthropologist, you needed to go out to some unknown tribe
somewhere. But if you were a part of the society you were studying, and we were, then you would
SRC -10 Morland, page 53
not have the objectivity. Yet, we had the tremendous advantage of knowing the language and the
language being the vehicle of the culture. We could know what went on in innuendos and
discussions. I attended church service, the mill people were very religious, and I went to the
Church of God of Holiness, the Wesleyan Methodist, and the Mill Village Baptist. They were all
totally segregated from the town, but they were also classified within the mill villages themselves,
the mill sections themselves, and I can remember the superintendent B I went to see him, I paid
him my respects and told him who I was and what I was doing B and he said, you get to know the
Baptists, they're the good people here. These others are sort of shiftless. He attended a church
in town because he was affiliated with the town, but he did not go to the Mill Village Church. But I
got to know the ministers very well in the mill village sections. As a matter of fact, each week, I had
to write up in detail carbon copies of all I had done this week and get them to Gillin because he
said you might have to destroy all your notes and I want a copy of everything, but he also wanted
to be sure that I was doing my job. He told me you=re spending too much time with the people in
religion. I told him I was there learning a whole lot. For example, I attended all the handling of the
snake services where visiting people would come, set up a tent, put sawdust down on the ground
and they would come with a very fundamentalistic gospel, and then they would bring out the
snakes. They were in cages, they were usually copperhead snakes or moccasins. The town
police had a real problem there. Do you allow these snake handlers to subject members of the city
to some kind of danger? They worked it out with the visiting evangelists and all of those who were
true believers would come up on the little podium and they would hold up these snakes and say in
the name of the Lord Jesus and they would take a verse from the book of Mark and say if you truly
believe, you can handle serpents and they will not strike you, you can drink poisonous liquids and it
will not harm you. I can remember little boys running around with concoctions that they had had
SRC -10 Morland, page 54
and telling the chief snake handler drink this for us, drink it. They said not yet fellows, not yet
fellows. Interestingly, the chief snake handler was bitten by a snake and his arm had bad swelling,
but he would have no medical attention, he said God will take care of it, and he survived all right.
He said God was just testing me to see if I was a true believer.
P: Were these indigenous or itinerant, the snake handlers?
M: The snake handlers were itinerant.
P: What was the ethnic background of the mill folk. Were they native to South Carolina, that part of
South Carolina? They were immigrants from other parts of the country?
M: No, they were from families that had been farmers, almost all of them. As a matter of fact, they still
had relatives, many of them, and I went out and lived with farmers and helped them for the first
time in my life go pick cotton and sawgram, and run a sawgram mill and drive a tractor. I got a
great deal by living in their homes and just being a part of the their family.
P: Was it an advantage or a disadvantage to have been a southerner yourself?
M: I think it was an advantage, but the major thing that made this system of Gillin and of the
participant observer work was genuine appreciation and acceptance of the people you were
studying. You were not evaluating them, you were not looking down on them. You had admiration
and those young men, for example, and those who were in school did not do very well. I talked to
their teachers, but when I went with them say coon hunting, possum hunting, they knew exactly
what to do. We went out with dogs and we would let the dogs loose, and we would talk our talk,
usually stories that I had a dilemma, should I put them in this book or not because they would not
be considered proper and I left them out. At any rate, they could hear immediately when the dogs
had treed something and they could go through the underbrush; very skilled in that way. If the
schools had taught them what they practiced, they would have come out very, very high. But they
SRC -10 Morland, page 55
taught them on book knowledge in which they were not interested. The realization that these
people were bright in their own way, that they were hard-working, that they were loyal, that they
cared about each other and they cared about their families B not all of them, there were some
drifters that I identify in the book B once this happened, it really wouldn't matter where you were
from. I think Hylan Lewis had to be a Black, he could not have gotten there. One of the problems
with Ralph Patrick was his home was Gastonia and he was in the upper families there, and to
write about what was going on in a candid way proved just overwhelming for him.
P: What was Margaret=s role while she was there? Did she help gather information in any way?
M: She was indispensable in the sense that she could go to women=s sewing circles. As a single
male there some question about you, but you if you have a beautiful wife you=re more acceptable.
So together, we went to funerals, we went to church services, we went to birthday celebrations.
She could talk to women and talk about women=s work, rearing of children and all the rest, in a
way that would have been very, very difficult for me to have done. She made a major contribution.
P: Did she actually write notes and offer them to you?
M: Yes. John Shelton Reed who published Southern Cultures came here and did an interview with us
and I showed slides. It=s an article in the second volume of Southern Cultures called
ARemembering Kent and the conversation with Margaret and Kenneth Morland@.
P: And there=s lots of pictures there too. You took lots of photographs didn't you?
M: I took a great many photographs. I used the camera mainly to get pictures of children and events.
Then I would talk to the mill people, how about my showing this in your house? They would get
neighbors and they would have refreshments, and so we would have a showing. They would just
laugh and carry on when they would see each other in the pictures because they hadn=t seen
color slides before, but I guess I made fourteen or fifteen presentations in mill villages homes.
SRC -10 Morland, page 56
P: In China and now again in South Carolina, you=ve told me lots about how you were concerned
about negative evaluation ethnocentrism with folk people who you were working with or studying.
This is the second time you=ve described with great intensity. So what was happening inside you
about this question of equality and ethnocentrism and race, the tangle of race in America? As you
made the formal efforts with your academic career there at Chapel Hill and in the field in South
Carolina, what was going inside you at the time?
M: You=re so busy observing and trying to understand and get your notes written and getting them
typed out, that you don=t have a great deal of time for introspection. In retrospect, I could see how
exceedingly difficult it would be for anybody in any culture in any society to throw off ethnocentrism
and to keep from evaluating in terms of their own station in life other people. For example, the mill
people were very critical of the town people. They said they're a bunch of hypocrites up there.
They put on heirs, were more genuine down here you know. The Blacks had their ethnocentric
views of both the town and of the mill people. It is something that's ingrained. What is your
standard of trying to determine who these people are if you are evaluating? It has to be the one
you're accustomed to.
P: We know from your later work that you were noted for egalitarianism and you were a mortal enemy
of segregation and so forth. In your growing up, White supremacy was all around you and here
you find yourself studying and studying people in other cultures or subcultures and you seem to be
advocating an open view of them. I was wondering, at the end of your academic experience and
so on, what were you thinking about race in America, particularly in the South, and what did you
have to do with it and about it?
M: I think the experience of being in a society or a part of society in which you observe and participate
as much as you=re permitted to participate, that there is a liberation that comes that you get to the
SRC -10 Morland, page 57
point where you do not make ethnocentric judgements, but you try to understand people for who
they are and for what they do and to appreciate them on that basis. This would be true of Blacks
and rural [people] and mill people and town people. You need to make a ceaseless effort to make
sure you=re seeking to understand and not to evaluate.
P: Why would people be motivated to do that if they grew up thinking that White supremacy was the
norm? Remember you described how normative was the White racism around you and how
unconscious Whites were and how apparently accepting Blacks were of it, for all you could see
they were accepting of it. How is it that you particularly came out of that place where you weren=t
thinking at all about race and now here you are making a career of the study of differentiation
between people on an arbitrary societal basis?
M: I think in the disciplines of sociology and anthropology, there is an experience, and my students at
William and Mary and in other schools in which I have taught have said B and I felt this was the
case particularly studying initially at Yale reading Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict and Elsie
Clews-Parsons and so many who had done field studies trying to understand B that it made them
more open and more accepting and far less ethnocentric. They said these courses that you taught
and your colleagues taught made a big difference in our lives. I think if people believe, for
example, that the human species can be readily divided into specific different entities of races, as
the anthropologists I have studied have said, if people believe these differences are there, then the
effect of that is equivalent to these differences being there. Reality is connected to what people
think and the way they're viewing and looking at things. If you can realize that people grow up in
a situation as human beings mainly, that any kind of physical division is arbitrary, is culturally
derived, if you realize that, then you can be more open, more accepting of people who are different
SRC -10 Morland, page 58
P: When you were at Chapel Hill doing your graduate studies was there, like there was later in
sociology particularly and perhaps even in anthropology, an insistence on being objective and not
being involved in society? Social science was a distance observation of social reality and you
should never get involved in social reforms. Was that true of Chapel Hill at the time given Howard
Odum and the others who were there?
M: There are different roles here. As a social science, you seek to understand and you don=t let your
judgements affect what you=re seeing. You try to see what it is. You have, what I like to call, a
citizen role or a role in terms of your own values to look at these facts and if you don=t like them or
if you don=t like the structure to do something about them. But you are not a social scientist when
you do that. Yet, I saw that in Guy Johnson particularly with Southern Regional Council, I saw it
in Howard Odum, I saw it in Leo Simmons and Raymond Kennedy, John Gillin and the others.
You do your research so that somebody else and come back and repeat and find something
similar. If they don=t, you=re not doing a good job. On the other hand, you are free as an
individual, as a person with a certain set of values, religious beliefs or the like, to institute change
through organizations like the NAACP legal defense fund or like the Southern Regional Council or
the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen or some of these other organizations.
P: Did you ever find an occasion that that line was fuzzy between the social scientists versus the
citizen? After all, people called you a communist, that you were some kind of far-fetched idealist
coming into a community. So the debate in sociology has been often about the ability to truly be
objective that you did carry some of your values to the social science project, whether you intended
to or not. I was wondering if you ever encountered fuzzy cases of this or people who were critical.
Were there hard, strict constructionists on the one hand and other social scientists playing loose
and free with this notion?
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M: I think it=s found in all disciplines. If you have a group of medical people read x-rays, they come
up with somewhat different answers because of who they are. On the other hand, they're trying to
understand what=s going on in this persons life and you need somebody else to check and to
double check. It=s hard to prevent yourself from being critical of things you don=t like and of
people you don=t like, but on the other hand, if you=re going to understand, you can=t... I
separate roles. I think when I am a member of say the Virginia Council on Human Relations, I
have a different role from when I am studying young children in terms of their race awareness. I
want to find out when do they become aware and what kind of attitude do they carry with the views.
You have both of these, and you never separate yourself totally, you are an individual, and yet we
have all kinds of roles. We have a role with our wife that we have with no other women, we have a
role with our daughters that we don=t have with other girls, we have a role with our friends, we
have a role with colleagues in the academic community, we have roles in any organization or
church or social group that there are expectations. We can handle multiple roles reasonably well.
We know when as a parent how we deal with our children. We don=t deal with other children
exactly the way we deal with our own, we have a somewhat different role with them.
P: When you were in a citizen role on occasion, did you find that in the back of your head you took
findings from the social sciences that were useful and applied them such as you suggested others
were doing? At such times, would you possibly have claimed that you had studied a little bit
deeper and you knew a little bit more about a racist rendition of race would be? In that sense, was
a social science role completely separated from the citizen role? Did you encounter any fuzzy
conditions like that?
M: I wouldn't call it a fuzzy condition. Take the example of Selma Alabama. I was a representative
of the United States Department of Commerce, worked with LeRoy Collins, the former governor of
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Florida. [I] got to know Andrew Young and others in Selma. Actually, my mother was born in
Selma and my father just north of there in Greensboro, Alabama. One of the reasons I was sent
there was because of my background. I could go and talk to the mayor, I could talk to Blacks and
they frequently had attitudes and ideas about race that I knew were wrong, but I didn't try to
correct them, but I could kind of see through that where they were coming from and reported in that
way. I would call it an informed kind of activity, informed through the knowledge that comes from
being a student of sociology and anthropology.
P: By being informed, now you could initiate some constructive next step with them toward a solution
about a race conflict of some sort.
M: We could certainly do that. I can remember in Selma again finally getting together the leaders in
the Black community and in the White community together in the old Albert hotel. We said we are
here to help you understand what the situation is, so the Blacks could talk directly to the Whites
and tell them what they were like and what they were afraid of, and the Whites could talk again with
much greater understanding reflecting their own views and the Blacks views as well. [End of Tape
2, side B]
P: We were talking about the sometimes division between the roles of social scientists and citizen and
you were telling me about an example of a presentation in Selma, Alabama, the city where the
famous march occurred, and you were there before in this session that you were going to describe
before the Selma march on the bridge.
M: That=s correct, yes.
P: What session were you involved in? Who was there and what went on?
M: The very first time, the community relations service of the U.S. government of the U.S. Department
of Commerce. As a matter of fact, we had a conference with Luther Hodges, I think he was the
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Department of Commerce then, and this is in Title Ten of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It was set up to
help communities deal with any problems of desegregation they encountered.
P: What year do you think it was that you recall? That you were down in Selma at this meeting?
P: Right after the Civil Rights Act?
M: That=s right, right after. I went down under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
P: It was just a matter of weeks or months after it?
P: Because it was May [of] 1964 the act was passed. So they started this service right away.
M: Immediately, yes.
P: They invited you onboard. How did they choose you Ken, at that time?
M: I=m not sure. I had been with the U.S. office of education on other projects. They knew
something of my Alabama background and the wanted a southerner in there. They had one
person who was with the CRS, the Community Relations Service, and he was from South Carolina
as a matter of fact. He and I went down together. This had to do with the problem in voting. The
Blacks simply could not register to vote and they were very distraught and they asked for help. So
we came down to see if there was anything that could be done through the U.S. government.
P: We were in Selma?
M: Yes. I was asked by the community relations service, which was created by the 1964 Civil Rights
Act and under the guidance of the department of commerce. I was asked to go with one of the
regular programmers at CRS, Mac Seacrest who was from South Carolina. We were in
Washington and went to Selma together. It was necessary to fly into Selma and then to rent a car.
SRC -10 Morland, page 62
We went down in 1964 after the Community Relations Service had been created, and our first visit
was to the mayor of Selma. We told him that we had come at the request of some members of the
community and that we were here to do whatever we could and what could we do? His answer
was keep Martin Luther King out of town. We said we can=t do that because he=s free to come
and free to go, we live in that kind of country. He said the best thing you can do is get out of town
yourself. So we had no cooperation whatsoever from mayor of Selma at the time. Smitherman
was his name.
P: But you did have a public meeting?
M: We visited various people. I knew the director of the YMCA because when I was in Birmingham,
our basketball team juniors in high school had come down to play their basketball team. Mr. Grist
was well known in YMCA circles so I went to see him and to remind him of our relationship and to
ask him what was going on and what did he think could be done. I did the same in terms of going
to see Mr. Faulkenberry who was editor of the newspaper. His daughters had gone to Randolph-
Macon and so he gave me a very cordial reception.
P: You had been at Randolph-Macon by this time.
M: Yes, I was there in 1964. I went to Randolph-Macon in 1953 as a matter of fact.
P: So you visited folks there and tried to get a measure of what was going on. What else happened
while you were there?
M: We, Mac Seacrest and I, were able to persuade seven leaders of the White community and seven
leaders of the Black community to come together in the old Albert Hotel, which was torn down
shortly after that, and to face one another and to talk about what could be done to hasten the
registration of voters because they were all being turned away. Mac Seacrest and I did go out to
see the registrar. He was in his eighties and he was in charge of the waterworks of Selma. Here
SRC -10 Morland, page 63
we had a town that was just about to erupt because of the tensions of not being allowed to vote.
Blacks were on the march and they wanted Martin Luther King to come. The head of the registrar
had us sit down and he said boys, you just tell me about yourselves. Here instead of facing us, he
wanted us to tell him about [ourselves]. I could speak up and say I was from Alabama, my mother
grew up in Selma, was born in Selma and grew up there, my father in Greensboro. Then Mac said
he was from South Carolina. So we gave our... and said we were concerned about people being
able to register. He was a registrar and we didn't understand what was holding things up. He
said were being very careful about who we let vote. They had a long questionnaire that it was
impossible for most people to vote. One of the Black ministers who was a leader in the Selma
community had come from the state of Missouri and he had been elsewhere and he had voted in
both of those very readily, but when he got to Selma, he was declared ineligible because he could
not deal with this set of questions that would determine whether or not he could vote.
P: So you went down there as a duo, you and your colleague?
M: Our goal was to open up the registration so that people could vote. This was true of poor Whites
and not well-educated Whites. There were very few people who were eligible to vote.
P: So you were sent there by the [Community Relations Service] just as a two person team. Your
partner, talk about him.
M: Mac Seacrest from South Carolina, but he was on the staff of Community Relations Service. He
was a newspaper man, but he had gone there. Somehow he had gotten there, I=m not quite sure
P: Was he White or Black?
M: He was White.
P: So the idea was to try to negotiate something of a settlement?
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M: To find out what was going on and to see if we could ease the situation. The director of public
safety was Wilson Baker and he was very cordial, very nice to work with, but the sheriff who was
head, really the power broker there, Sheriff Clark was very difficult to deal with and I think one
reason that the Martin Luther King group, the SCLC, chose to go to Selma was because of Sheriff
Jim Clark for the same reason they went to Birmingham because Bull Connor was head of the
safety commission and they knew their attitudes and knew that this would attract attention, this
would cause a blocking. They had had difficulty in Albany, Georgia they had pulled out too... It was
a failure for the SCLC and they were determined to make this work.
P: How long were you there?
M: We were there four or five days and then recalled to Washington to make our reports.
P: Did you imagine what was to happen there? Were you able to anticipate how those tensions you
were seeing might end up?
M: It was obvious. What the Blacks did was to meet at a church called Brown Chapel. I can
remember sitting in the back of that and singing we shall overcome with them. I heard King speak,
he was very persuasive. He said now were going out to tomorrow and were going to march.
We=re going to go around the courthouse (which is right in the center of Selma) and were going
to hold up our signs and were going to say please, we want to vote. He said if you can=t take
taunts, if you can=t take being prodded with a cattle prod, if you feel like you=ve got to return,
somebody hits you [and] you have to hit them back, please don't go. We=ve got to hold the moral
high ground because the constitution=s on our side, the Lord is on our side. He was just
absolutely magnificent in his appeal.
P: Was this during the time that you and your colleague were there?
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M: The second time I went back. He had arrived. He was not there when we went first, he was on his
way there and that's why Smitherman, the mayor, said keep him out of town that's what you can
do. We said we can=t do that.
P: How long was the interval between your first and second visits?
M: About a week.
P: You in a sense except for this specific event, you could pretty much predict there would be
something happening in Selma, that it=d center on Selma.
M: We saw that the power structure of the Whites, the registrar, the sheriff, simply were not going to
accommodate people and they just did not want the Blacks to vote, that was the story, and they
didn't want the poor Whites to vote either.
P: You reported that to the Community [Relations] Service?
M: Yes we did. But we reported that we did have this communication between them and we thought
something might be worked out, but that was optimistic. The marches began and they started at
Brown Chapel and then well-dressed, well-behaved Blacks held signs saying please, we want to
vote, and they stood around the chapel, stood around the courthouse in the middle, and I saw
these police with cattle prods and I wondered how they felt. I went up to one of the policeman and
I said I want to know how that feels. He said are you in your right mind, I said I hope so. He said
stick out your hand. I stuck out my hand and hit it with the cattle prod, and I thought my arm and
shoulder were going to go over my head because it was a terrible jolt of electricity. That=s what
they were doing to people that wouldn't behave or wouldn't get out of the way, in any way stop
the demonstrations that they had.
P: This second visit of yours, the march across the bridge, when was that in relation to your visit?
SRC -10 Morland, page 66
M: I had returned to Randolph-Macon by that time. I had a full time teaching job and it was very
controversial to be involved in this, but I will say for both William and Mary and especially for
Randolph-Macon that we had presidents and deans who were totally sympathetic and totally
supporting and they knew that I was responsible and would get these classes taught and would do
that, as well as take the time to go to Selma. LeRoy Collins was the one who had and his
daughters had all gone to Randolph-Macon. He pleaded me, as a matter of fact, to join the
Community Relations Service.
P: As a staffer?
M: As a staffer, yes, and to leave Randolph-Macon. Because he said you=re very few in number and
we need you. But teaching was my area and to be with that would mean uprooting the family and
we were well-established here. I liked the college, we had high caliber students and wonderful
colleagues and superb administrators. So I told him I thought I would be on call very gladly, but I
couldn't change positions at that time.
P: Did you have other assignments with them?
M: Oh yes. He was the one in Washington who sent us initially. I had gone to other places for the
CRS. I had gone to Louisiana.
P: Was that with another sociologist?
M: Yes. The first Black who was head of an important sociology department at the University of
Louisville, and his name I can=t recall but I=m sure I=11 be able to find it in my notes somewhere.
P: What took you to Louisiana? What was the assignment there and where did you go?
M: When to a town called Houma where there was a three way segregation. There were the Whites
and there were the Blacks, and there were actually mixed people who liked to call themselves
Indians. They did not want to have a three way segregation. 1954 had been ten years earlier and
SRC -10 Morland, page 67
they were supposed to desegregate their schools, but they were segregated. So we went in to try
to talk to the superintendent of schools, we did.
P: Where was this?
M: This is in Houma, Louisiana. We also went to Baton Rouge which was having a similar difficulty
and we talked with the people there, the superintendent and the principles, students, to try to find
out why they were not moving toward desegregation and trying to get the students to go to the
school nearest them regardless of their race.
P: How long were you there for?
M: About three or four days we spent in Louisiana.
P: Were there return trips?
M: We returned to Washington to give our reports. They took it from there. They had certain ways
that they could bring pressure to bear and they were effective in that sense. But they had to know
what the setting was, what the situation was, what they were up against, why there was difficulty.
P: Did you find racial antagonism similar as you had found in Selma and other places?
M: Oh yes. There was very strong antagonism. There were feelings, as I said last time, that separate
but equal was the way to go. That it was best for Whites, it was best for Blacks, it was best for
P: And that was what the Whites assumed or everybody assumed? That separate but equal
proposition, that was the assumption of the Whites?
P: But not everyone.
M: No, not everyone.
P: I mean not the Blacks.
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M: No. The Blacks wanted the freedom to go where they... Because as one title I just recently read, it
was separate but not equal. Of course that 1954 decision was so historic because it overthrew the
Plessy v. Ferguson 1896 which said as long as facilities are equal, they can be separate. That was
the kind of lynchpin that promoted segregation. I know it did in Alabama and Birmingham. The
whole thing was we are going to make things equal and of course you know the situation in Prince
P: You had other assignments with the CRS too.
P: And some of those places were what?
M: In Arkansas in a place called Eldorado, I think that was the name of it. I interviewed, as before, I
was all by myself this time, and I tried to find out what the situation was and why they were having
P: Desegregating the schools?
M: Yes. It was all school desegregation at that time. The superintendent of the school said our
problem is that the director of education in Arkansas is not from southern Arkansas, he=s from
northern Arkansas and that's why were having our difficulty. He doesn't understand us down
here. That, of course, was not the case at all, but it was given as that.
P: You were accumulating samples of local system of segregation, local attitudes, and willingness to
respond to the court orders and the new civil rights act and other requirements. Did you find
differences between these different localities and states? How did it compare in Virginia?
M: It was comparable to Prince Edward County in a sense, but there was never anything like Massive
Resistance. The Prince Edward County desegregation was ordered... was that before 1954 or was
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P: The case started in 1951 and it was concluded, the decision was made in 1954 as one of the five
M: That=s right. It went to Brown v....
P: I was wondering about the comparison between the four states you=re talking about: Louisiana,
Arkansas, Alabama, and Virginia. Because you were accumulating, by this time and other
experiences, you had accumulated quite a number of samples of cases or segregation, the way it
M: The similarities, I think, outweighed any differences. In Arkansas, you had Orville Faubus the
governor, and I used to use this in my classes as the self-fulfilling prophecy. Faubus said our
people are not going to stand by and allow Little Rock school to be integrated. They=re going to
cause trouble, and you can see that they're going to cause trouble. It was, in effect, predicting in
a way that would make it come true.
P: Did you have other assignments yet? Still other assignments with CRS?
M: I went to White Sulphur Springs, but this was for the Legal Defense Fund under Thurgood Marshall
to find out why they were having difficulty there. This was a little bit different because the...
P: This was in West Virginia?
M: It was in West Virginia, but the Black principle did not want his school to be disrupted and he was
very much opposed to Blacks who were invited to go to the White school. The Whites were upset
because we have our annual dinner dance at the resort there B I forget the name of it right away,
but it=s one of the best known in the U.S., it=s a beautiful gorgeous place B because they won=t
accept Blacks, so they didn't want integration. It was a separate unique sort of situation. [End of
Tape 3, side A]
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M: Massive Resistance is a good reference because that was where all the problem came, right out of
Harry Flood Byrd.
P: Yes indeed.
M: People would say that Virginia is of the Byrds, by the Byrds, and for the Byrds. You remember
P: Yes indeed. I also spoke with a person one time who was a welfare client of mine when I was a
public assistance worker, and he had written some little quips and sardonic comments about the
Byrd machine, and in reference to the Cold War, he referred to Virginia being behind the Apple
M: [Laugh] The Apple Curtain.
P: Because of these apple orchards.
M: Yeah, that's where Byrd comes... they lived up in Winchester.
P: And he imported immigrant workers and so forth. We=re on tape four here and I=m with Ken
Morland once again. We=re continuing our conversation. We had been talking last time I think
about your exploits and adventures with Community Relations Service headed by LeRoy Collins at
the time. This was about 1964. Was this a part of the Civil Rights Act? Was it a provision in the
Civil Rights Act?
M: Yes, it was Title Ten of 1964 Civil Rights Act, which created the Community Relations Service
designed to help communities adjust to desegregation.
P: You told us a little bit about your visit to Selma and what you found and what it portended. A few
weeks later was the march across the Pettus Bridge was it? How long after your visit was that the
SRC -10 Morland, page 71
M: I had been in Selma almost a week and we seemed to be getting some kind of harmony between
the leaders in the Black community and in the White community. Martin Luther King and others
looked upon Selma as a place where they could be heard and attract a great deal of attention
primarily because of the sheriff, Jim Clark, of that county.
P: Right from central casting?
M: Right, he was perfect. He wouldn't speak to those others from the Community Relations Service.
P: He wouldn't speak at all to you?
M: No, he would not have anything to do with us.
P: You called for appointments?
M: We called for appointments and he said no appointment with anybody related to the federal
P: But there were soft spots elsewhere in the town.
M: Yes, Wilson Baker talked to us a lot and said we can get this settled, but he implied that Jim Clark
who had greater strength than he had B now Wilson Baker was the head of security, I forget how
that worked, in Selma B but Selma was in a county and was the sheriff of the county and of the city
as well, so he really had much more power than Wilson Baker.
P: I see. So about how long after you left did the march across the bridge and the confrontation with
the sheriff occur, do you recall?
M: About two or three days after I left. I remember seeing on television the march, I think John Lewis
was there and Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy, and once I got over on the other side of
the Alabama bridge, over the Pettus Bridge, they were met by Al Lingo who was head of the state
police and they were told to stop and they stopped more or less, but then Lingo and his troops
waited in and hit these defenseless people with their clubs and drove them back over the bridge.
SRC -10 Morland, page 72
They were bloody and knocked out, all on television. So I said to myself and to my friends, we are
going to have a civil rights act on voting, and it=s probably going to be punitive in terms of the
South, it=s going to be harsh. We could have done it another way, but no way now.
P: [What] did you think the resolution would have been? How could it have gone another way? Who
would have been figured in that? Could the feds do something different or could the local people
have done something different?
M: I think the local power group, the registrar, the mayor, and then with help of Wilson Baker, now
they would have had trouble with Jim Clark, they could have sat down and they determined the
rules or who was eligible to vote. There were so many rules. There was the poll tax, there was the
ability to pass an impossible kind of questionnaire, how many panes of glass are there in the White
House for example? If you didn't know that, you weren=t fit to vote.
P: That was on the test for Alabama at the time or for that county?
M: Just for that county.
P: You sort of offered a warning didn't you, to the feds?
M: I think we did, the ones with whom I worked in the Community Relations Service, that this needs to
be done, [and] if not it will be done in a harsh way rather than what I would consider as an
Alabamian, a less strict, strenuous way.
P: Did your word and observations get back to LeRoy Collins at the time? Was there a role for him
M: He agreed with this. He thought that there could be a settlement. But of course LeRoy Collins=
great triumph there was to keep Martin Luther King and his group from marching to Montgomery
again, a second time. The first time, of course, they just got across the bridge. But the federal
judge in Montgomery, Frank B I know his name very well because I just read an entire book about
SRC -10 Morland, page 73
him, he is an Alabamian, he is from North Alabama B he declared an injunction against any march
until things could be worked out that they would know what kind of march it would be. It turned out
to be an exceedingly wise decision. King said my people want me to march and we just got to
march. LeRoy Collins was able to work with Andrew Young and with Jack Greenberg and they
came up with a plan of how many people would be in the march, how much of the highway would
be left for cars, where would there be rest stops? They couldn't make it in one day, where would
they stay and how would they keep warm during the night and what if there were rain? All of these
things were worked out and it was Collins getting Andrew Young who was the strategist there. As I
said last time, Martin Luther King was a great orator. He could inspire people, he could talk to
them. I listened to him again and again in Brown Chapel and I was ready to go, although that
wasn=t my role. On the other hand, he did not realize that if he went against the federal judge,
they would have imprisoned him and the whole movement would have been set back.
P: They would have lost the apparent support of the federal government?
M: That=s right.
P: One of the things that was important was the counterbalance between the strength of the federal
government standing behind the civil rights movement for voting and for public accommodations
and the rest, and the local recalcitrance all over the South. Was that the case?
M: That was the case. Of course, what happened in our attempt to get Selma itself to do something
about it did not work out once King came in and once that march was on television and they were
brutally assaulted. It attracted people from all over. I can remember one of my students saying I
can't go to class, I=ve got to go down to Selma and march.
P: We sent a student from MCV, one of our nursing students, who went there and was brutally
beated, was jailed, returned home, returned to MCV and then she was punished for being absent.
SRC -10 Morland, page 74
M: I hadn=t realized... I knew that the woman from Detroit was shot and killed, but they got the KKK
that did it. Also, there was a unitarian minister who was assaulted on the streets, I think it was after
dark, and killed. So there were two people who lost their lives because of that.
P: I=m not totally clear. Was the fact that the march persisted a good thing or was it untoward thing
do you think?
M: The fact that they worked out a compromise that King would lead a march across the bridge, but
when they got to the end of the bridge they would kneel in prayer. Interestingly, this time Al Lingo
who was head of the state police had his troops parked because he wanted them to go on to
Montgomery and break the law that override that injunction by the federal judge because that
would have been a victory for them. But this was the plan worked out by Jack Greenberg and
Andrew Young with the LeRoy Collings help and blessing.
P: So the NAACP legal defense fund had a part in planning some of the civil rights marches and so
M: They had an indispensable part.
P: So Jack Greenberg was important in sort of the conceptual plans and so forth?
M: Definitely, yes.
P: Dr. King and the others, Andy Young and the others, Reverend Abernathy and all the rest, did they
listen and respect the lawyers?
M: Very reluctantly. They wanted to go ahead. Interestingly, once the plan had been approved by the
federal judge, and they organized carefully routed march was set up, then things went smoothly to
Montgomery, but the judge wanted to know whether he had followed this to the letter and that he
was not planning to break that injunction to go against his ruling. King said no, we were not.
SRC -10 Morland, page 75
P: Was it the first march that they ended up just across the bridge and they confronted the state police
and the local sheriffs?
M: The first march was almost spontaneous, it wasn=t very well planned. They went across the
bridge and they were beaten and television showed the whole thing.
P: They dispersed after that one?
M: The next one was carefully planned in order to take care of two opposing positions. One was to go
all the way to Montgomery, the other was to obey the federal judge. What they did was to cross
the bridge, stop and kneel in prayer, and then return to Selma.
P: So this was the second march.
M: This was the second [march].
P: And the planned march. The first march was, as you said, spontaneous and that's when the
horrendous beating at the front of the line [took place]. At that point, did they disperse? Did they
M: Oh yes. The marchers ran wherever they could get away from those clubs. John Lewis was
brutally hurt in that.
P: The second march, did the court enter in this thing after the first march? Is that when there was a
M: Yes. Well, he said no more marches until there is a plan to do it, but in the mean time, King had a
lot of pressure put on him. Said look, we=ve got to show them that we really want this vote. So he
was caught between two forces: the NAACP Legal Defense Fund with Jack Greenberg there and
with Andrew Young, and the SCLC. They worked out a plan that was acceptable to the judge.
P: So SCLC and NAACP Legal Defense Fund, they were very cooperative at this point were they not?
At least in this particular demonstration.
SRC -10 Morland, page 76
M: I would say they were reluctantly cooperative to make this compromise of stopping and turning and
going back without attempting to go all the way to Montgomery, and then to get the approval for a
march that was carefully planned where there would be rest stops, where the highway would not
be too crowded. It was stipulated how many people could be on the highway at one time.
P: There had been some talk about NAACP and SCLC having their own agendas and not always
being congruent. Did you see evidence of that?
M: Oh yes. There was a struggle within both of those movements, but somehow they were able to
workout a compromise and I think that saved the day.
P: What do you think of the outcome. The way it came off, we had footage for the nation to see and
the European press and everywhere in the world to see what American democracy looked like, it=s
warts and all, and now what was the bottom line? How long was it before they the vote and the
poll tax assailed and all the rest? Looking back, was it successful the way it turned out?
M: I think it was successful the way it turned out. I think it could have been done differently, but
maybe I=m unrealistic there. [Thurgood] Marshall would have done it differently.
P: Where was he at this time? He was not in the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
M: He was not directly involved because there were not arrests made and people put in prison, they
were just beaten back.
P: Jack Greenberg had been appointed his successor or was he just on the location?
M: In the book that Jack wrote called Crusaders in the Courts, there were about nine crusaders, we
can call them, and he was one of them. So he was down there appointed by Marshall to help
workout some kind of plan so that this could go smoothly. Don=t go against that judge, he said,
that judge has been on our side in every event, but the judge is right, you cannot just have a march
without some careful planning.
SRC -10 Morland, page 77
P: So Thurgood Marshall was a stickler for following the law.
M: Absolutely. He said, I heard him say it, if I didn't have to spend so much time getting Martin
Luther King and his followers out of jail, I would be able to get a lot more done down [there].
Whether that's the case or not I=m not sure, but I lean in the direction of Marshall because
Marshall said the constitution is on our side. The Declaration of Independence is on our side.
What we need are good cases which show that we are not following the spirit of the constitution,
were not following the ideals of the constitution. If we can get those cases in court, and of course
that's what he did in the 1954 decision. As you know, there were the five, and you=re familiar
certainly with Prince Edward, and I=m familiar with the one in Wilmington.
P: He was still with the Legal Defense Fund at the time, Marshall was?
M: Yes he was.
P: But several of them were down there in Selma during this episode participating in the case. Was
the case over a permit to march or something like that? What was the issue that took it to court
and got that federal judge to make or approve the plan for the march=s course?
M: I=m not sure what the process was. I don=t know whether his permission was asked or whether
his advice was asked, but somehow, he handed down a ruling that no march could take place until
a careful plan had been worked out.
P: Did the state of Alabama enter an attempt to obstruct that?
M: The state of Alabama with, I think either John Patterson or George Wallace was governor and they
were opposed to any kind of integration. As George Wallace said in one of his campaigns,
segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever. But he changed, he changed quite
P: He begged for an apology many years later.
SRC -10 Morland, page 78
M: He did, he said he was wrong.
P: Very few have attempted to apologize in a public way.
M: Of course, he was shot in Maryland and was in intense pain for the rest of his life.
P: How about Governor Patterson, what did you know about him?
M: Just as rigidly segregationist as I think any elected official had to be in Alabama at the time.
P: Were there other things that you think are interesting in the Selma case that we haven=t thought
M: Not really. It does pose the question that we can=t avoid and that is can you get change through
the courts without violating the law, without having marches, without having confrontation, without
having even non-violent resistance can bring about violence.
P: Put more fundamentally it=s asked that in America, do we have the capacity within the law and the
constitution to bring out change when we get new information about an injustice?
M: I think if you compare the 1954 decision by the Supreme Court B which as I said before is
generally recognized and I would certainly agree, as the single most important decision made by
the Supreme Court during the 1900s B if you look at the way that was obtained with Thurgood
Marshall=s careful orchestrating and choosing quite wisely specific cases to help with the final
decision. Marshall and the Legal Defense Fund had people from all over saying come and help us,
come and help us, but he couldn't help everybody. So he carefully chose those particular areas,
one in South Carolina, Clarendon County I think, Prince Edward County, the one in D.C., and the
one in Wilmington...
P: Wilmington, Delaware, and the one in Kansas.
M: Yes, that's right, Kansas, of course. They were all brought up on the Kansas, right. And this
made a very wide range showing not only that your separation was not equal, but also that it would
SRC -10 Morland, page 79
be impossible under the circumstances to make it equal. That is Jack Greenberg was a spearhead
bringing in social scientists, Kenneth Clark primarily, and Jack Greenberg wrote me and asked me
if I would participate in the Wilmington trial.
P: Did this and other events in your experience suggest to you that within the American system, there
is the capacity through the courts and through electoral politics to gain justice no matter what the
odds? Or does there have to be in some, I think a paraphrase of Jefferson would just say, would
be that if a government is unjust you can overthrow it. Which of those sides? Would you go to that
kind of Jefferson idiom there or would you go along with Thurgood Marshall=s view of how to get
justice in America.
M: I would stay with Marshall. The problem is whether we could have gotten segregation changed in
actually without King is the big thing that haunts me because I saw the constitution and the support
that was given to the 1954 decision work. On the other hand, it took a great effort to get certain
P: Many years.
M: Regardless of what that law was, and it because of course the law of the land, was that you could
not have legally segregated schools. That public schools had to be open not on the basis of race
but on some other basis.
P: Maybe this would be a good time to ask you, given the time of the 1954 Supreme Court decision
and the fact that it created great upheaval in so many ways, do you think the outcome of that had a
lot to do with the final America=s examining public accommodations and employment and a variety
of other fronts where White supremacy was in effect and discrimination the order of the day. Do
you think there was some inspiration or some energy that came from the schools decision that
SRC -10 Morland, page 80
went on to impact other fronts. In other words, the 1954 Supreme Court decision was not just
about education. What did you think of that?
M: I think the 1954 decision was the great breakthrough. It touched America and democracy at its
heart. It touched it at its public schools and said these public schools cannot be forcefully
segregated. It=s not a question of whether even if they're equal as the Plessy v. Ferguson 1896
decision said and which was, I think, a tragic thing because it led the states that wanted to
segregate anything as long as they were equal. Of course, they were not equal or in some cases
they so overdid it in order to prove that things were equal. But I think that breakthrough led to the
recognition that if were going to have equal opportunity and equal treatment, we=ve got to open
up everything. We=ve got to open up restaurants, theaters, transportation, and all the other
aspects of public life, and to do it without regard to race.
P: So it was something of an influence on ?
M: It was more than an influence, it was experience that people so feared, but they realized well,
[desegregation] is going to be okay B integregation or desegregation, sometimes we differentiate
between those but I think it=s a mind a matter. It is a fact that if Blacks and Whites or whoever
can get to know each other as individuals and not through stereotypes which segregation would
require to do, then we can move together to a greater equality for all Americans, which is our ideal
P: You took other assignments from the Community Relations Service. One was in Louisiana and
where were some of the others?
M: One was in Arkansas.
P: One was in West Virginia?
SRC -10 Morland, page 81
M: In West Virginia, I went to White Sulphur Springs because Thurgood Marshall telephoned me and
asked me if I would go over and find out what was going on because they were having a lot of
trouble with integrating the schools, desegregating them, and my blessed president and dean, I
went to see them and said the NAACP has called on me to go, how is it going to be? They said
you go ahead if you can get your classes covered.
P: Who was the president at the time?
M: Bill Quillian, he=s still here. He became president almost the same time that I joined the faculty.
P: So that was really a request from the NAACP?
P: How about other assignments? Were there notable events in the Louisiana or Arkansas
M: These were I think a great thing for the federal government to do. It wasn=t well cram this down
your throats, it was look, if we sit down and talk about this and work at this, try to understand it
particularly from many angles, we can be successful and were here to enable you to do that.
This was appreciated in the places in Louisiana, the place called Houma had a three way
segregation of schools and the so-called Indians who were really a mixture of Black, White, and
P: Was this in the north or south of Louisiana?
M: It was in southern Louisiana. They were put in separate schools and they didn't want that. Also,
there was a case I went to in Columbia, South Carolina, I went there for the Southern Regional
Council. They were taking what they called the... there was a mixed group and there was three
way segregation in that case.
SRC -10 Morland, page 82
P: What happened when you went there? What was your assignment and did you have some
colleagues with you or you went on your own?
M: Sometimes with a colleague, sometimes by myself. I went to Columbia, South Carolina by myself.
I had done my field study for my doctorate not far from Columbia so I was fairly familiar with
people in Columbia. I=m trying to think of the name of the ones who were put in a third school,
and I=m trying to get the chronology straight.
P: Wouldn=t be Creole?
M: No, that was in Louisiana.
P: The third in South Carolina? They had three-way also?
M: They claimed they were from a shipwreck and they were somewhat different from everybody else.
P: In southern South Carolina there were east Indians early on. Could they have them?
M: I think Indians were involved in that mixture and the Whites who were sort of outside of the group
and Black as well. Virginia has its colony called...
P: The Malungeons are one, Portuguese and Indian and African American.
M: When I first came to Lynchburg we called them the issues and they didn't like that at all, so
they're now called the Amherst Indians, but they are given equal treatment in schools because of
the ruling of 1954.
P: You=re Louisiana and Arkansas and Columbia, South Carolina visits, what kind of things did you
do when you went there? Pick one of those that would be interesting for us to hear and tell us
what you did when you went there, how long did it take?
M: Let=s take the case in Arkansas. I was asked to go there by the Community Relations Service. I
rode ahead to talk to the principal, to ask for an appointment to speak to him and they were
anxious to do something because they were having trouble.
SRC -10 Morland, page 83
P: What kind of trouble? What was your purpose of being assigned there?
M: The problem was integrating school and on what basis they would do it. There were some Blacks
that wanted no integration at all, as well as some Whites that didn't want integration of course.
There were two places I went to in Arkansas, one called El Dorado and not far from that was a
small town called Smackover.
P: What year would this have been?
M: About 1966. That the year actually I went to Hong Kong on a Fulbright, but I did this in the Spring
and I left Hong Kong in the fall. It was in the area of 1965, 1966, maybe 1966.
P: So you got there and you visited the superintendents of schools you say?
M: I talked to the mayor of each town; I talked to the principals of each of the schools involved; I talked
to teachers; I talked to groups of students; and I talked to people in the town and I found out that
one of the best ways to find people who had time on their hands was to go to a doctors or a
dentist=s office. Say I=m from outside and I heard this is happening, what=s your view of it, what
goes on? I think they were glad to get their minds off the coming dentistry.
P: And the old magazines in the office.
M: [Laugh] That=s right, the old magazines. They didn't have to read those. Most of them were very
cooperative and I wasn=t pushing them. I didn't have a pad or pencil, I had to rush back and try
to record everything in my mind that I could when I went back to the motel or wherever I was
staying. But this is a kind of pattern I followed in each town.
P: You described a public meeting at one occasion, on one of these visits. Am I recalling correctly?
M: Yes, there was a public meeting in which people who wanted to could come and talk about how
they felt about things.
P: Where was this one, this public meeting?
SRC -10 Morland, page 84
M: This was done in Arkansas.
P: One of those two towns.
M: Yes, one of those two towns.
P: They advertised that they were going to have a discussion about desegregation and people
M: They wanted a community gathering about the schools, this was usually the way, how do we
strengthen our educational situation. But everybody knew that really the difficulty was with
P: Did you speak at some of those?
M: Not as a rule, I did not.
P: I saw one article that said an anthropologist came, and they were referring to you, in a public
meeting. Do you recall what that was?
M: This was in Jackson, Mississippi and I was working with the Southern Regional Council. The
women of Jackson, Mississippi, where I was, were determined that they were not going to have
their school disrupted. They were going ahead and have the schools desegregated. Interestingly,
it was a tactic that was purposely used because when the women would get involved and say
were not going to shut down our public schools like they did in Prince Edward County, were
going to hold on to them, the husbands going to work with other men would ask them what is it with
your wife getting involved? And he would say you=re married, can you do anything with your wife?
So the idea was that the women who, at that time, were not in the workforce outside of the home
had greater freedom of movement and the men who agreed with them actually had some
protection. They kept saying over and over if Mississippi is going to get anywhere at all, it=s got to
have strong public education and were not going to spoil our public education, this was the whole
SRC -10 Morland, page 85
thing. I did speak to a group that the women had invited at a schoolhouse I remember, at the
auditorium. It was a big crowd and I talked about integration and I talked about race, I talked about
American ideals, but I was told very quietly by the woman in whose home I was staying the Klu
Klux Klan=s in the back row and the White Citizens Council is all over the front row. So I kept an
eye on them and they kept an eye on me. In every case, I tried to be not confrontational.
P: What year was that meeting? That was in Jackson, and that was a Southern Regional Council
M: That would be after 1954 and probably before 1964. It was in that period of time, the late 1950s
that I did a lot of my work, and the early 1960s.
P: So you really took assignments. You were a stringer for the NAACP, for the Southern Regional
Council, and then later on after the Civil Rights Act to the Community Relations Service of the
federal government. Did you take on similar assignments, community relations and inquiries about
community capacity to desegregate and to get the pulse?
M: There was one other group, the Potomac Institute invited me. As a matter of fact, they asked me
to do a booklet with them on Token Desegregation and Beyond. I think you=ve seen a copy of
that. It was done in conjunction with B=nai B=rith, which is a Jewish organization, and they paid
me a certain stipend to just sit down and look at all that was going on and look at the extent of
desegregation, what areas were resistant, what areas were not resistant, what caused resistance,
and what contributed to acceptance of the law. That=s what I tried to do.
P: During this period of 1954 to 1964, you were really doing community studies, little mini studies
throughout the South for these four organizations: the Potomac Institute, NAACP Legal Defense
Fund, the SRC, and the Community Relations Service. You were their handyman in the field,
SRC -10 Morland, page 86
M: I was one.
P: Who were some of the others?
M: Mac Seagrist was from South Carolina and the head of the department at Louisville was also with
me, and then of course LeRoy Collins had a staff once the Selma group developed. So there were
several of us who were involved, who saw each other. It was hard to balance your teaching
position and your counseling of students, they came first. On the other hand, the administrators at
my school said this is a historic occasion and you can help so well do everything we can to make
sure you are able to do this without too much criticism. We got a lot of criticism. I was in President
Quillian=s office, he had a very thick folder in his hand and he put another letter, he said Morland, I
just got another complaint about you.
P: From parents or from citizens?
M: From alumni and parents and from people anywhere, but mainly those that had some connection
with the schools.
P: How about in the community? Did you run into trouble or threats or any form of intimidation?
M: A great deal of intimidation, but this is another story. It came later. It was the result of my being
with the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta and the decision we made there that we can=t be
effective having just one office in Atlanta. We need to have every state with the Community
Relations Council. So we formed on in Virginia.
P: Community Relations Council.
M: That=s right. It was done at Union University. I can remember the people on the board. We had a
number of different meetings and talked about what was going on in Virginia.
P: What year was that that that decision was made at SRC?
SRC -10 Morland, page 87
M: That decision was made in... I=m not sure. The thing that interferes with it is the year long stay in
Hong Kong between 1966 and 1967. I can remember returning from Hong Kong and speaking to
the ministerial association here.
P: Didn=t the Virginia Council on Human Relations originate earlier than 1966? Much earlier.
M: I=m not sure, I would have to check.
P: Did every state have one?
M: Every state in the South had one. Then we decided well, you can=t have one just in the state, you
need one in the community.
M: So I said okay, I have some friends and well form one in Lynchburg. We had about seventy,
eighty people. We thought we could meet in churches and schools. No place would permit us to
meet except the Unitarian Church here in Lynchburg. I can remember there=s a history of the
Unitarian Church which gives a good long section to the Lynchburg chapter of Human Relations.
P: The Richmond-Petersburg chapter encountered the same thing, but there were a few Black
localities, Black sites that were allowed to hold meetings, but the public accommodations
M: I wrote for permission to the head of the Unitarian Church and said it looks like nobody else is
going to have us, will you let us meet in your church? They took a vote of the membership and the
membership was united, no dissent. We said what about heat and light we want to take care of
those [things]. No, well take care of them for you and well allow you to serve refreshments after
the meeting. [End of Tape 4, side A]
P: [You] were talking about the Lynchburg chapter...
SRC -10 Morland, page 88
M: Lynchburg chapter of Virginia Council on Human Relations. We had decided that just having a
center in Richmond B and we were very active because I can remember we were invited to
respond to Governor Lindsey Almond=s speech that he was going to make, and we assumed it
would be 100 percent Massive Resistance. But his speech, as we waited to respond, was quite
different. He said we can no longer be out of step with the rest of the nation. We cannot have
Massive Resistance prevent schools from being desegregated. Harry Byrd never forgave him for
P: Was this 1959? When was this? Because before that, he had gone along with the Massive
M: Oh yes, yes he had, all the time. As a matter of fact, I have some correspondence with Lindsey
P: You do?
M: I do, and I congratulated him. I told him what a courageous thing it was for him to do. What they
wanted to move to was not required schooling for everybody, they could just go to the school if
they wanted to. I remember my response from the Virginia Council on Human Relations is that that
would mean that the children who needed schooling most of all probably would not get it. It had to
be required. I went to my mill village experience to say how many of the children had dropped out
of school in order to go into the mill and had not been able to fulfill their potential. We did things on
a statewide basis like that. Then we decided every community that wished to should form a
chapter of Virginia Council on Human Relations. So I gathered about eight people at the Lodge of
the Fisherman where you were the other night.
P: Was it called that back then? Was it called the Lodge of the Fisherman?
SRC -10 Morland, page 89
M: Yes, it was called Lodge of the Fisherman. I can remember sitting around that table and about five
Blacks and about five Whites. We agreed that we should have a group here.
P: Do you remember the year that was?
M: I=m no tsure.
P: The Lodge of Fisherman=s right there on Rivermont Avenue here in Lynchburg.
M: Yes, it=s off Boonsboro actually because Rivermont becomes Boonsboro. It has the multiple
acres that the Cosby family turned into a camp for inner city children, a day camp, and you didn't
get to meet Bev Cosby. He died about three weeks ago, wonderful person. I said were going to
need some offices, who will be willing to be president of this? They all turned to me and said well
you got us together, you be president. So I was president the first year; Bev Cosby the second
year; Virgil Wood, a Black, the third year.
P: Do you recall the year you did this, this chapter, foundation, formation?
M: I would have to look it up to be sure. Those dates slip me.
P: There were other chapters in the state, and then other states had their local chapters and they
because something of a network and lots of people later in the 1960s began to connect and lots of
good research came out of the Southern Regional Council and you were deeply involved in that
P: You were one of their most well used researchers weren=t you.
M: Right. You helped in that survey that became a part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. I=m not positive
what part, I=d have to look at the whole act to see, and I=d have to look at the study that we came
up with, the results of the survey.
SRC -10 Morland, page 90
P: You published several booklets and papers associated with that were produced and distributed by
Southern Regional Council. They were widely used, weren=t they, for planning and strategy and
M: I=d like to think they were. Some of my students from Atlanta and from Texas said I saw this
pamphlet of yours. I think I=m getting behind or ahead, I=m not sure which, but I was asked to go
to Texas B this would be before 1964, before desegregation was required by law B to find out how
San Antonio and Galveston and Corpus Christi desegregated their lunch counters. So I went down
and ate in every lunch counter, [San Antonio] I=d go, and the other.
P: San Antonio and Galveston and...
M: Corpus Christi. I would ask the manager of each of them how did you do this? I would talk to the
customers who were coming in how do you feel about eating at the counter and desegregating the
counter. I wrote up that.
P: The Southern Regional Council gave you that assignment?
M: They did.
P: So you wrote this up and its intention was to instruct other communities?
M: Exactly. What each of these communities said was you know if one of us desegregates were
going to lose a lot of customers, but if we all desegregate at the same time, the customers won=t
have anywhere else to go and that's exactly the way it worked out, that's what happened. A lot
of people were angry, those who were regular customers, but some of them said well we have to
eat with Mexicans anyhow so it=s not all that bad.
P: This raises a question about the nature of changes in racial relationships, especially during the
desegregation period. Was there a critical mass point where segregation could be dismantled
based on everybody getting together and not having to take personal blame for desegregating if
SRC -10 Morland, page 91
you were a restaurant so that there was a kind of a point if you could get everybody together, then
nobody would be blamed. It suggests something that segregation didn't have an underpinning of
ideology that was so fixed that it was kind of a facade or teetering structure that all you had to do
was push hard, everybody push hard together, that would fall over. Does that resonate with you as
you looked at how changed happened in the South, especially with public accommodations in
M: There were individuals who said were not being fair, were not giving equal opportunity, were
not providing equal facilities and it=s holding us back. We are, as a region, hurting ourselves.
We=re not using all of our talent. We=re spending so much time duplicating facilities rather than
trying to forget about these racial and ethnic differences and just move ahead and do what needs
to be done, but they were in a minority. I think in my studies, people realized it was going to
happen, but they were going to prevent it as long as they could, as long as they could breathe.
P: What proportion of people do you think wanted to prevent it versus the proportion that might just be
prepared to go either way versus the proportion that were pushing hard for desegregation?
M: I think the majority wanted to maintain segregation. They responded very positively to George
Wallace=s declaration of segregation today, tomorrow, and forever. The people who were in
college and had a college education, those who had had contact with those of other races B and
this happened on both sides of the divide B they wanted to move ahead and get rid of all the
stigma, get rid of the necessity of having people sit in certain places on the street cars or the
busses, or go to schools in terms of what race or ethnic background they had. These were, I would
say, in a minority without any question. We were in a minority in Lynchburg, for example. We had
integrated meetings, we could not meet in any other place. We tried to have our annual dinner at
the YMCA here, and the [YMCA] has generally been pretty open I thought, but I was told
SRC -10 Morland, page 92
confidentially, were just getting ready to have a big drive to get our funds raised and if we start
integrating, or if we have you all down here for dinner, it will ruin our campaign. The people in
churches in would say, it=s all right with me, but there are so many other people in here that would
be upset and we just soon you not meet here. But the Unitarians, very different. They welcomed
us very warmly and they came into the group in a disproportionate number. Our group of the
Lynchburg chapter of the Virginia Council on Human Relations was made up primarily of teachers
from Randolph-Macon, from Sweet Briar, and from Lynchburg College.
P: There was no Liberty University at the time.
M: No Liberty University at the time, no. Thomas Old Baptist was founded in 1956, the same time our
little church was founded, it has 20,000 members now. We=re still around 150 or 200, but they
were not involved.
P: Now in other states, did you see some uniformities from state to state during your travels and your
studies in the states such as Arkansas and Mississippi and Louisiana and Virginia? Was the
process of desegregation similar, or are there distinctive things to be said about...
M: It would require more studying than I have. With the law having changed, the law itself is
instructed. This is one of the things we used to talk about when we talked about segregation. If
people grow up in a segregated situation where it is required by law, it has the sanctity of law, then
it=s going to be followed, it has to be followed. You have to sit in the White section of the bus
which was in the front section, or the back section if it were in the street cars. Diane McWhorter
who wrote Carry Me Home to Birmingham spoke of Whites sitting in the backs of the streetcars. I
grew up sitting in the back and never felt any humiliation or depravation because of it.
P: But the back was not the stigmatized portion of the bus, was it? Whereas in Richmond, the back of
the bus was a stigmatized person and no self-respecting White would be seen back there.
SRC -10 Morland, page 93
M: No one under the law could go back there if he were White, and no one under the law if you were
Black could go in the front part of the bus unless there were so many Blacks that they were taking
up seats and they could move toward the front with those seats, or so many Whites they could
move toward the back. In Birmingham, there was not a rigid sectioning. They had movable, I think
I mentioned this before, White this side, colored only. If there were more Blacks who needed seats
and they were in the front, they would move those plaques right on up so the Blacks could sit in
P: Let=s go back now to the 1940s after WWII. You found yourself in graduate school at UNC
Chapel Hill. Remind me again what year that you were there at Chapel Hill?
M: I was there from 1947 to 1949. I spent one year taking classes, twelve months, one year in the
field of South Carolina, and I had enough of my courses at Yale Divinity School and I had taken
some on the side at Yale University that counted so that I completed my doctorate in two years.
P: My, my. That=s a record.
M: Interestingly, John Gillin who was my supervisor, an anthropologist, promised me $100 bonus if I
could get my dissertation typed up and ready by September. Margaret and I, in her home, had a
typewriter each and in those days they were manual typewriters and when you got to the end it
would ding so you=d know it was over and you could flip it back. We stayed almost round the
clock on those typewriters. We were determined, we needed desperately that $100, but next door
to them lived a very prominent lawyer.
P: Next door to who?
M: Next door to Margaret where we were doing the doing the typing. This was her home in Mountain
Brook in Birmingham.
P: I see.
SRC -10 Morland, page 94
M: Frances Hare was next door as probably the leading lawyer in Birmingham. One way or the other
he found out that we were doing this typing B this was before we had air conditioning, the windows
were up B and he said he would lie there and try to sleep and he kept hearing this ding, ding and
he just thought he was going mad, he just couldn't figure what it really was so he was greatly
relieved. But we got that finished for Gillin in time.
P: And you got the $100?
M: We got the $100.
P: What a treasure chest you took off with you. So you had gone back home to Birmingham to finish
some of the dissertation details?
M: I had notes and we just had to write it up as a dissertation.
P: You say we, it sounds like you had some good assistance.
M: I had first rate assistance with Margaret.
P: She, being a literary... I=ve forgotten the word. I think it=s an Italian word that speaks of talented
literary figure. So she was a budding writer herself, right?
M: And also had spent six months in York, South Carolina with me and as I said earlier, was able to
attend bridal parties and visit with women and get to know them in a way that a male participant
and observer could not do. So it was done together and that comes out very nicely in this
Southern Cultures article that John Shelton Reed came to interview us about.
P: So you finished the dissertation and graduated and were a fresh PhD in anthropology. What year
M: I actually was awarded the degree in 1950 and Margaret held back on her masters in English until
1951. But I was given a position by a colleague at UNC. He had been teaching at William and
SRC -10 Morland, page 95
Mary and he had come to complete his degree, and so he invited us to go to William and Mary
which we did. That was my first teaching job and, beginning in the Fall of 1949.
P: But you got the degree in 1950?
M: Yes. It was virtually completed, but the committee could not sit down with me and quiz me about
that particular part of my study.
P: Going back to that period between 1945 and 1950 where you were in graduate school and so forth,
let me pain a scenario. Blacks and other minorities had served in the military in WWII. They had
gone abroad to fight for democracy and prove their patriotism and courage. They were fighting
fascism and fighting for democracy. When the war was over and you had this keen interest in race
relations at that point, I mean you were very sensitive to these relationships at this point, and you
looked around the South particularly, across the country, what is it you saw among minorities?
Was there a rising tide of expectations among Blacks and other minorities that was later to feed
into the intensified civil rights activities? What did you see at that time?
M: I know a lot of us who were White felt that we were hypocritical on the one hand, and asking and
recruiting and drafting Blacks to fight a war for democracy, but not giving them the benefits of
democracy. Whenever our groups came together both White and mixed say, this was expressed
in no uncertain terms. Whenever I had a chance to speak, which I did pretty often, I talked about
the contradictory situation we had in this country that we were fighting fascism and communism.
We were fighting totalitarian countries, but we ourselves were not true to our beliefs or to our
democracy and we were hurting ourselves because were wasting talent of Blacks and of Whites by
trying to maintain this separation.
SRC -10 Morland, page 96
P: Did you see any difference in Black=s attitudes toward returning to this country and to
segregation? Did you see any rising expectations among them as you traverse these communities
and so forth?
M: The difficulty is the Blacks with whom Whites were associated tended to be in the lower classes,
low income, low education. I think again the leadership of Blacks came from those who were
college students, those who were from higher income families, those at Miles College, for example,
in Birmingham would be among the ones that would be disturbed, but of course some of us who
were White were just as disturbed. I didn't see any kind of rising tide of expectation among the
Blacks. They had been so accustomed to the demands of segregation that I don=t think [they]
thought about it much one way or the other. I think at time they would get angry, but most of the
time they realized well we=ve got to live here and this is the way things are so we follow it.
P: Your association with Black leadership to the extent that you were to have that opportunity, did you
see any changes in their expectations now that there was this body of experience in WWII?
Meanwhile, wasn't it 1848 that the military was desegregated by Harry Truman?
M: While I was in college, and this was 1934, 1938, also on up to 1941 when America went to war,
Blacks were highly displeased with their enforced cast-like separation. This was before they were
asked to join in the war. They proved themselves and one of the things they wanted to do was to
show that they could be as brave and as good soldiers as anybody, and they proved this. A lot of
Whites said it doesn't matter what the color of the man is next to me as long as he=s helping me
in this effort, that's what counts most. I=m sure the rising tide expectation was there, but it didn't
take form until the laws were changed and until the NAACP Legal Defense Fund under Thurgood
Marshall forced the desegregation of schools, forced the reversal of Plessy v. Ferguson, and then
there was an even greater set of expectations. It=s going to happen in the schools, it=s going to
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happen everywhere that we Blacks are going to have the kind of education, the kinds of
opportunities, the kind of treatment that everybody else has.
P: Now it=s 1950, the fall of 1950 and you find yourself with Margaret, married and moving to
Williamsburg, Virginia and to William and Mary, second oldest institution of higher education with
grand traditions. Tell me what it was like when you arrived there?
M: We were given housing on Motoka Court in little boxes that had been moved up from worn out
and used by the army in North Carolina no longer needed. So we had a pot-bellied stove in the
front room and that was our central heating, it was all the heating we had. We had wooden tubs for
a sink, I remember mushrooms growing out of them, but we had good fertile ground in the back so
we planted corn and potatoes and peas and other things. I did get my students to ask these
questions of the Blacks and of the Whites. They did a kind of survey and one of the questions was
why do you think we have separate schools? This was in 1951 I guess. The Whites would say
because we are smarter and we are better and the Blacks are inferior. Blacks would say were
here because the Whites think were inferior.
P: This was a community survey done by your students in sociology and anthropology. Who was the
president at the time? Do you remember?
M: John Pomphard at William and Mary.
P: And you were in a department of what size?
M: There were three teachers all together. I was the sociologistlanthropologist, I was the
anthropology part, and Wayne Kinodle was head of the department and he was the one in North
Carolina that got me to go up there. He=s still at William and Mary, he=s retired of course. Jack
Cantena, who later went to John=s Hopkins, very, very capable and able in the area of statistics
and in the area of family sociology.
SRC -10 Morland, page 98
P: Was it called the department of sociology and anthropology?
M: We were sociology and anthropology.
P: It was totally segregated at the time, was it not?
M: In terms of faculty, administration, and students. The people who kept the place clean and the
yards mowed and all were Blacks in every case, but you=re right, it was totally segregated.
P: William and Mary was like UVA and Virginia Tech was the principle, maybe Mary Washington,
among the public universities were the elite or prestige places to go for Virginia families, were they
M: Yes. Washington and Lee would be right up there as a school, a tuition supported school. For
women, Holland=s and Randolph-Macon Women=s College and Sweet Briar were also very
highly rated, but very expensive for individuals.
P: I was thinking of the public school, public colleges, but it was as you may recall, a small proportion
of Virginians of college age went to college in those days, very much like Mississippi. In fact,
statistics showed that Mississippi was the only one that had fewer proportion of their college age
students in college than Virginia.
M: What year was that?
P: In the early 1950s right on into the time when there were higher education reform in Virginia. So
what quality students did you have and what classes did they come from, social classes or income
M: They came from upper income levels and they came from many other states as well as Virginia.
There was a differential tuition rate, of course non-Virginians would have a higher rate, but William
and Mary wanted to have students from states other than Virginia. They wanted them in Virginia,
but also they wanted them elsewhere.
SRC -10 Morland, page 99
P: What do you think were the most important contributions William and Mary was making at the time,
and what were some of the projects you got into. Did you do any studies that you thought were
significant while you were there? And how long were you there?
M: Four years, 1949-1953. I came to Randolph-Macon in 1953. We did some studies in sociology
class, but I really didn't get into those until later. There=s a whole book of them over there that
my colleague at Randolph-Macon had written up and published with tributes to the two of us, two
main ones, in sociology and anthropology at Randolph-Macon.
P: I=m speaking of William and Mary now. You=re speaking of later?
M: I=m speaking of a later time, yes. We did some at William and Mary. Some participant
observation I remember, studies of... Eastern State Hospital was there. We did some studies of
the attendants and the administration, but this was just an attempt to get our students to have
some experience in actually gathering data in order to show the kinds of steps that were required,
the difficulty, the use of measuring instruments that had to be very carefully pretested. But we
didn't do a great many studies that could be written up I would say, except as term papers for
those in the research class primarily.
P: Were you students typical of the day? Sort of prejudiced and conforming to the prevailing racial
attitudes of that time?
M: Prejudice is a pretty hard thing to get at and to measure. Tthey would generally reflect the notion
that it=s better to be separate, if you bring in Blacks you=ll pull the standards down, this was one
of the lack of information [that] hurt a move toward integration, and again the law was on the side
P: Did you find some students that were independent of this cultural norm and proved to be stars in
your mind? Did any of them have careers in the social sciences that you came to know about?
SRC -10 Morland, page 100
M: From William and Mary I=m not sure. From Randolph-Macon yes, a number of them who got their
doctorates in sociology and in anthropology and are teaching in various schools.
P: So sociology and anthropology may not have been an important occupation in those days to
students at William and Mary?
M: Probably not. We were a legitimate major and interesting how students choose majors. I know
one of the deans was quoted as saying you=ve tried these other things, try sociology, see if you
like that, because the person obviously wasn=t getting along so well in other places. But our
students were reasonable hard working. We had a beautiful campus, a whole lot of tourists.
Williamsburg had just begun to blossom with the company which was building central Williamsburg
on Ducaclosta Street where the school began and which it moved on west of the city.
P: You once told me many years ago that you enjoyed a very generous salary there. Do you recall
what salary you were making?
M: My salary when I went from University of North Carolina the first year was $2,800. The next year it
was raised to $2,900.
P: By 1953, you=d become a wealthy man I assume.
M: About $3,000, but I was offered $4,500 at Randolph-Macon.
P: You moved from William and Mary to Randolph-Macon in 1953?
M: For two reasons, I was pushed and I was pulled. Pushed because there was a scandal in the
athletic department. The Board of Visitors said to the president, we want a football team that wins
more than it loses, so leave Rube McCray who was a coach alone and let him build a team. He
went out and recruited. It was found out later he falsified their records so they could get in to
William and Mary and I had some of those students and they were not inclined to be scholarly at
all, but they were good football players. Also, the coach had a mole in the registrar=s office who