Howard Lee - May 5, 1995
Interviewed by Joseph Mosnier on May 5, 1995
This interview is part of a project done from 1995-1997, aimed at understanding how North Carolinians have dealt with post-Great Depression changes. Overarching themes are the realignment in North Carolina party politics and the Republican reemergence, the evolution of African American political activity since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the evolution of women's political activity since the 1960s, and the centrality of cultural and social politics in the state's political contests and debates. Howard N. Lee, a leading figure in African-American politics in North Carolina, was elected mayor of Chapel Hill in 1969 and served in various positions in state politics over the next thirty years, including Secretary of Natural and Economic Resources and as a senator. He discusses his background, his early political career, the evolution of African-American political activity since the 1960s, Democrat and Republican politics including their shifting foci over the years, and his opinions on the continuing issues of race and class in North Carolina society.