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Victor Hess interview
Rogers, Kim Lacy
Victor Hess discusses his involvement in Civil rights causes primarily in relation to public education and his eventual term on the Orleans Parish School Board. Victor Hess notes that while his friends' views did not align with his own, that it was amicable disagreement and that he had the full support of his wife and family. He says that Mary Sands faced far more adversity from her own community. He discusses the "old concept" of school busing, "whereby you would take Black children and bus them to a predominately school"u2026 pass White schools that could have received them in terms of space. We had several harsh discussions on that and I was kind of a minority on the board at that time." His view was that children should attend the nearest school regardless of race. He describes Orleans Public Schools superintendent Carl Dulce position on busing as more "prophetic" than he would have imagined at the time. Hess also describes efforts to promote more African Americans to positions of authority within the school system. Hess posits A. L. Davis and Avery C. Alexander as among the most influential African American leaders in New Orleans. He mentions Jim Singleton, Willie Montgomery, and Dutch Morial as part of a newer generation of African American leaders in New Orleans. He characterizes African American leaders in New Orleans as relatively "moderate" voices. He then lists Moon Landrieu, Edith Stern, and others as the principle White leaders involved in Civil rights causes. Rogers asks Hess about his perspective as a lawyer and whether any legal associations spurred other lawyers into involvement in local Civil rights issues. Hess disputes any relation. He does describe a "new breed of lawyer," Civil rights lawyers, who are an exception in that they demonstrate unusual devotion to such activism. _
Amistad Research Center
Box 6, Item 3, Side A, Kim Lacy Rogers collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
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