Governor James Baxter Hunt, Jr. reflects on the development of his personal and political philosophies, including his opposition to segregation, many of which developed in classes with Dr. Abraham Holtzman. Interview on May 29, 2012. (4:47)

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Probably the professor that influenced me the most in college 00:00:00.000 - 00:00:06.053
was Dr. Abraham Holtzman. 00:00:06.053 - 00:00:08.916
And he was a dynamic teacher. 00:00:08.916 - 00:00:12.803
and he would teach about the Constitution 00:00:12.803 - 00:00:19.056
and he would teach about the leaders who had led the country politically, 00:00:19.056 - 00:00:24.984
the decisions of the Supreme Court, all of that, 00:00:24.984 - 00:00:29.234
and you learned how politics worked at the national level and at the state and local level. 00:00:29.234 - 00:00:36.022
And again, he would talk about the issues 00:00:36.022 - 00:00:42.060
and you'd learn about what was happening in the country, 00:00:42.060 - 00:00:44.485
what was happening in the Congress, and you'd often say, that's wrong. 00:00:44.485 - 00:00:51.051
That's not right. That's unfair. And I did that a lot. 00:00:51.051 - 00:00:57.339
My political philosophy was developed there 00:00:57.339 - 00:01:01.545
and my activism was developed there. 00:01:01.545 - 00:01:05.859
And of course a lot of that comes from 00:01:05.859 - 00:01:12.710
what you believe about what's right and wrong in the world. 00:01:12.710 - 00:01:15.740
I believe that God loves us all 00:01:15.740 - 00:01:18.677
equally 00:01:18.677 - 00:01:21.132
and wants us all to have a good life and be treated fairly. 00:01:21.132 - 00:01:25.127
It's wrong to mistreat people 00:01:25.127 - 00:01:27.649
and it's wrong to be mistreated, 00:01:27.649 - 00:01:29.888
and I've spent my life trying to correct that 00:01:29.888 - 00:01:34.541
and to see that people are given a fair opportunity to have a good life. 00:01:34.541 - 00:01:38.469
But Abe Holtzman made a profound impact on me 00:01:38.469 - 00:01:45.266
and I think stimulated me to political activism, 00:01:45.266 - 00:01:48.579
to run for office, 00:01:48.579 - 00:01:50.695
to choose the issues that I thought were important 00:01:50.695 - 00:01:53.840
and treating people right and giving them an opportunity 00:01:53.840 - 00:01:56.270
to be all they can be. I sometimes say, all that God wants them to be. 00:01:56.270 - 00:02:01.080
I had started - in my senior year in high school 00:02:01.080 - 00:02:05.465
I had written a senior paper 00:02:05.465 - 00:02:08.703
laying out why I thought Brown v. Board of Education, 00:02:08.703 - 00:02:15.164
which ruled segregated schools to be unconstitutional, 00:02:15.164 - 00:02:20.502
I wrote a paper in high school saying why it was wrong. 00:02:20.502 - 00:02:25.736
I thought that separate but equal, really equal, ought to be enough, 00:02:25.736 - 00:02:33.691
and it took me some time during college, 00:02:33.691 - 00:02:39.732
reading books like "Black Like Me" and a lot of others, 00:02:39.732 - 00:02:44.349
to realize that segregation, enforced segregation, is inherently wrong. 00:02:44.349 - 00:02:51.381
You can't have that. It just doesn't work. 00:02:51.381 - 00:02:54.547
When you're forced to be separate not only are there practical consequences 00:02:54.547 - 00:03:00.729
but the fact that you are forced to do it is wrong. 00:03:00.729 - 00:03:04.097
And it is legally wrong and it is constitutionally wrong. 00:03:04.097 - 00:03:07.896
And of course I began to meet black students, black leaders, 00:03:07.896 - 00:03:15.080
as I said read books, hear speeches by people that I admired and was impressed by. 00:03:15.080 - 00:03:25.312
I began to hear stories of 00:03:25.312 - 00:03:28.865
how badly people had been treated. 00:03:28.865 - 00:03:32.299
And I knew a little bit about enforced segregation, 00:03:32.299 - 00:03:38.184
the rigidity of it, the unfairness of it, 00:03:38.184 - 00:03:41.759
but I didn't really understand enough about how 00:03:41.759 - 00:03:44.816
people who were segregated and discriminated against felt. 00:03:44.816 - 00:03:50.152
I learned that at NC State 00:03:50.152 - 00:03:53.459
from many of these professors, some of the speeches I heard, things I read, 00:03:53.459 - 00:03:58.252
had a profound influence on me, 00:03:58.252 - 00:04:01.093
and of course with the 00:04:01.093 - 00:04:07.324
interest in politics that was developing in me 00:04:07.324 - 00:04:12.018
I began to see that this is a political issue. 00:04:12.018 - 00:04:15.904
You have to do something about this politically. 00:04:15.904 - 00:04:18.797
The laws are wrong; they have to be changed. 00:04:18.797 - 00:04:21.813
The customs are wrong; they have to be changed. 00:04:21.813 - 00:04:24.602
And if you're going to get active and try to 00:04:24.602 - 00:04:29.723
be a force in the public policy arena 00:04:29.723 - 00:04:33.423
you've got to be a force to change segregation 00:04:33.423 - 00:04:36.976
and permit equal opportunities. 00:04:36.976 - 00:04:41.085

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