Interview with Orval Faubus
Interview with Orval Faubus


Production Team: NA

Interview Date: 1979

Camera Roll: 25-26
Sound Rolls: 1-2

Interview gathered as part of Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years (1954-1965).
Produced by Blackside, Inc.
Housed at the Washington University Film and Media Archive, Henry Hampton Collection.
Editorial Notes:

Preferred citation:
Interview with Orval Faubus, conducted by Blackside, Inc. in 1979, for Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years (1954-1965). Washington University Libraries, Film and Media Archive, Henry Hampton Collection.

These transcripts contain material that did not appear in the final program. Only text appearing in bold italics was used in the final version of Eyes on the Prize.

INTERVIEW
QUESTION 1
INTERVIEWER:

IF I ASK YOU STRAIGHT ON, GOVERNOR, HOW DO YOU REALLY FEEL ABOUT RACE, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL ME?

Orval Faubus:

I'll tell you what I've always said and always will. From the time that I was a young man, uh, very idealistic. None of us chooses our race…

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

GOVERNOR FAUBUS INTERVIEW UH, SOUND ROLL 1

Orval Faubus:

…and that has to be earned by the individual. But everyone…

QUESTION 2
INTERVIEWER:

I KNOW YOU ARE, I KNOW YOU ARE. BUT LOOK AT ME. UH TRY TO READ IT, JUST LIKE UH, YOU KNOW YOU'RE SAYING SOMETHING OK? WHEN I WAS UH, WITH THE UH, WHEN I WAS THE GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS, IN THOSE TIMES, HERE'S THE WAY IT WAS. OK? JUST UH, DO IT. OK? TRY IT. GO AHEAD.

Orval Faubus:

Shall I call you by name?

QUESTION 3
INTERVIEWER:

NO. DON'T… FORGET ABOUT ME. JUST KIND OF LOOK AT ME, BUT FORGET ABOUT ME, LIKE THIS. OK? GO AHEAD.

Orval Faubus:

Well, I don't think anyone can fully understand the complexities of the situation that existed in Arkansas and many places in the nation uh, at the time of the episode that we are discussing. But I can say that at the beginning of the Little Rock crisis in uh, Arkansas in 1957, I was on excellent terms with all citizens of the state. And my relations with black citizens were especially good for a number of reasons. For example, I had placed leading black citizens on the Democratic State Central Committee. The policy making body of the Democratic Party in Arkansas, for the first time in the modern history of the state. I had served as governor while all the institutions of higher learning were being integrated. And more public schools than in eleven other states combined with a comparable problem at that time.

QUESTION 4
INTERVIEWER:

GOVERNOR, COULD I ASK YOU THIS. WHY THEN, DID YOU GET IN AMERICA YOU KNOW THE THE, THE FEELING THAT YOU WERE THE, THE SYMBOL OF… OF ALL THE THINGS THAT WERE WRONG WITH SEGREGATION IN AMERICA. WHY?

Orval Faubus:

well, that developed as the situation went on and uh, perhaps this will give you some explanation. But, but to continue on back to a theme, My staff meetings were integrated and uh, this was, uh, you know somewhat unprecedented in Arkansas at that time. And then we were in the process of equalizing salaries of blacks and whites in state government, which hadn't been done and in the public schools throughout the state. And I was known as the most understanding man in the history of the state in relation to programs that benefited the poor people.

QUESTION 5
INTERVIEWER:

RIGHT. YOU WERE KNOWN THAT WAY UNTIL THE INTEGRATION OF LITTLE ROCK HIGH SCHOOL BEGAN. AND THEN OF COURSE YOU TOOK ON ANOTHER ROLE. NOW THE PEOPLE, THE BLACK PEOPLE WHO HAD ELECTED YOU FELT THAT THEY HAD BEEN BETRAYED BECAUSE THEY FELT THAT YOU WERE JUST, YOU KNOW, YOU OPERATED AGAINST THEM. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

Orval Faubus:

Well, I thinking you're making a statement that perhaps is extreme because uh, many many of the black people uh, uh didn't feel that way. And they understood when I explained to them that my objective in the Little Rock crisis was to prevent violence and death in the disorders that became imminent. Now it would take too long to go into the reasons for all of this and the proof that I had, but I can give you one example. There would have been small, well-organized groups there that morning that school opened, armed to the teeth with repeating rifles and other firearms …

QUESTION 6
INTERVIEWER:

HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS?

Orval Faubus:

…determined to halt by extreme means if necessary the entry of the black students into the school. Now, one group and I have personal knowledge of this and I can even name some of the individuals, unloaded their weapons at a town, a short distance east of Little Rock, when they learned that the National Guard had been placed on duty. Now if the guard had not been placed, these determined, armed men would have been there and the well-directed volley from such a well-armed group long skilled in the use of firearms, could have left many dead and wounded people… Now I was not nearly as concerned, which was all in the press, about the protestations of the Mothers League or the speeches of the segregationist leaders as with the intentions of these small well-armed groups who didn't proclaim their intentions publicly and kept them well concealed. And I might add that these were the main concern of Superintendent Virgil Blossom, you know, who was known as the author of the Blossom plan and the author of the integration uh, program.

QUESTION 7
INTERVIEWER:

BUT THE POINT IS, DID YOU REALLY WANT INTEGRATION THEN OR NOT?

Orval Faubus:

It didn't particularly matter to me. I permitted it.

QUESTION 8
INTERVIEWER:

DID YOU CARE? DID YOU WANT TO SEE THE SCHOOLS INTEGRATED?

Orval Faubus:

I didn't want to see them integrated, or I didn't want to see them kept segregated.

QUESTION 9
INTERVIEWER:

WHY NOT, WHY DIDN'T YOU WANT TO SEE THEM INTEGRATED?

Orval Faubus:

That's not in the province of the duties of the governor of the state. Each school district is an entity all its own, governed by a board of directors, selected by the people and if we're to have any democracy in this country, then the people must have some say in their own affairs! [overlap] And the argument it was not that there would be segregation or integration, but how is it to be brought about? How were the means? How to settle down these extremists and how to gain acceptance.

QUESTION 10
INTERVIEWER:

WHAT DO YOU, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY EXTREMISTS?

Orval Faubus:

Well there was some extremists on both sides, there were those who were determined that it would go, no matter what, even if it destroyed the public school system, even if it resulted in death and but, on the other hand, were the extremists who were determined that it would never happen. You know that throughout the South at that time, throughout the South, state after state passed the resolutions of interposition…

QUESTION 11
INTERVIEWER:

RIGHT.

Orval Faubus:

Passed here in Texas, passed measures providing for the abolition of the schools…

QUESTION 12
INTERVIEWER:

INTERPOSITION, YES…

Orval Faubus:

If, if integration was ordered.

QUESTION 13
INTERVIEWER:

BUT, GOVERNOR, COULD I ASK YOU THIS? WHAT IN YOUR HEART DID YOU THINK ABOUT INTEGRATION?

Orval Faubus:

I hoped that it would proceed peacefully, because I didn't see anyway to turn back from the Supreme Court decision…

QUESTION 14
INTERVIEWER:

DID YOU WANT TO SEE…

Orval Faubus:

And in the face of the fact that all the other, the majority of the states in the Union had already done this on a local basis, on a state-wide basis.

QUESTION 15
INTERVIEWER:

DID YOU WANT TO SEE IN LTTTLE ROCK, BLACK PEOPLE AND WHITE PEOPLE GOING TO TOGETHER IN SCHOOLS?

Orval Faubus:

Well they were going together in my, in my…

QUESTION 16
INTERVIEWER:

DID YOU WANT TO WANT…

Orval Faubus:

Administration and my…

QUESTION 17
INTERVIEWER:

DID YOU WANT TO SEE IT?

Orval Faubus:

My son, my son was attending an integrated college at the time. I didn't particularly want to see it, I didn't particularly not want to see it. There are certain things that where the people have some say and it's not for one man, who's set up at the top, to say you shall do this or you shall do that. If you do then we gotta… Ayatollah Khomeini, or uh, you got a dictatorship.

QUESTION 18
INTERVIEWER:

IN OTHER WORDS YOU FELT THAT BECAUSE YOU WERE THE GOVERNOR OF THE WHOLE STATE THAT YOU WERE RESPONSIVE TO THE WHOLE STATE?

Orval Faubus:

Right. And of course you know what the public sentiment in the whole state was at that time, as it was in many other regions.

QUESTION 19
INTERVIEWER:

BUT DO YOU THINK AS A WHITE MAN THAT THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE WANTED TO HAVE INTEGRATION? DON'T YOU THINK, DO YOU THINK THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE HELPED INTEGRATION?

Orval Faubus:

Well a lot of the press used to come around to me and say why don't you go out and tell the people this is alright and tell them to do it. Well, they would have just thrown me out.

QUESTION 20
INTERVIEWER:

YEAH. IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT DID YOU FEEL IN YOUR HEART, THOUGH.

Orval Faubus:

Well, I don't think that's any of your business. Or anyone else, if I don't want to say so. Uh, this is, this is not a…

QUESTION 21
INTERVIEWER:

WOULD YOU SAY SO?

Orval Faubus:

No. This is not a personal thing, this is dealing with a situation and with facts and with an historical event.

QUESTION 22
INTERVIEWER:

YEAH, BUT…

Orval Faubus:

And I don't care about getting into the other.

QUESTION 23
INTERVIEWER:

BUT JUST MAN TO MAN GOVERNOR, I'M JUST CURIOUS ABOUT WHAT YOU REALLY FELT AT THAT TIME IN YOUR HEART.

Orval Faubus:

Well, you just have to remain curious.

QUESTION 24
INTERVIEWER:

WON'T YOU TELL ME?

Orval Faubus:

No.

QUESTION 25
INTERVIEWER:

AH, COME ON. COME ON NOW. YOU ARE THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF…

Orval Faubus:

I hope that whatever would be done would be accomplished peacefully, without any deaths and without any injuries.

QUESTION 26
INTERVIEWER:

WELL, WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE SEEN BLACK AND WHITE CHILDREN GO TO SCHOOL TOGETHER, OR NOT?

Orval Faubus:

I've already said that I would not answer that question at the time. I was a governor of the whole state and responsive to all the people of the state and my duty was to enforce the laws and see that peace and good order prevailed. That was my responsibility.

QUESTION 27
INTERVIEWER:

BUT YOU KNOW I'M GOING TO ASK YOU RIGHT NOW… MAN TO MAN, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHITE AND BLACK CHILDREN GOING TOGETHER TO SCHOOL? DO YOU THINK IT'S GOOD? SHOULD THEY HAVE GONE TO SCHOOL TOGETHER?

Orval Faubus:

I'm not objecting to it. It's accomplished now. It's happening throughout the nation.

QUESTION 28
INTERVIEWER:

WHY…

Orval Faubus:

There are still difficulties…

QUESTION 29
INTERVIEWER:

WHY WON'T YOU SAY YES?

Orval Faubus:

What if I should say no?

QUESTION 30
INTERVIEWER:

OK. IF YOU SAY NO, WHY SHOULDN'T BLACK AND WHITE CHILDREN GO TO SCHOOL TOGETHER?

Orval Faubus:

Well I, I won't say no of course.

QUESTION 31
INTERVIEWER:

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT? BE A MAN, JUST TELL ME, YOU KNOW, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT BLACK AND WHITE CHILDREN GOING-IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH THEM GOING TO SCHOOL TOGETHER?

Orval Faubus:

I hope not. I think only time and events of the nation will prove… if the nation survives, if everything improves, if quality of education improves, if human relations improve, that'll prove it's good. If they deteriorate and it goes the other way then there are those who will say that that proves it bad.

QUESTION 32
INTERVIEWER:

SO YOU STILL THINK…

Orval Faubus:

It's not, it's not a question…

QUESTION 33
INTERVIEWER:

SO YOU STILL THINK REALLY…

Orval Faubus:

Now you're, you're trying to impose your personal opinion on someone else. Now other people have a right to their personal opinions just as well as you do.

QUESTION 34
INTERVIEWER:

I'M SORRY. GOVERNOR, IF I'VE DONE THAT, I'M SORRY. AND I DON'T MEAN TO DO THAT…

Orval Faubus:

Well that's what you're doing.

QUESTION 35
INTERVIEWER:

AND I'M SORRY IF I'VE DONE THAT. BUT…

Orval Faubus:

Well, that's very evident.

QUESTION 36
INTERVIEWER:

WELL… EXCUSE ME FOR IT. BUT, BUT DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT, THAT FOR SOME REASON THAT BLACK AND WHITE CHILDREN SHOULDN'T GO TO SCHOOL TOGETHER?

Orval Faubus:

No, I haven't said that. I never have said that.

QUESTION 37
INTERVIEWER:

WELL WHAT, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT?

Orval Faubus:

I hope it proves to be all riqht.

QUESTION 38
INTERVIEWER:

WELL, DO YOU THINK IT'S GOING TO PROVE ALL RIGHT OR WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Orval Faubus:

Only time will tell.

QUESTION 39
INTERVIEWER:

WHY DO YOU THINK FOR EXAMPLE THAT MAYBE TIME WILL TELL THAT BLACK AND WHITE CHILDREN SHOULDN'T GO TO SCHOOL TOGETHER,

Orval Faubus:

Because…

QUESTION 40
INTERVIEWER:

IS THERE SOME REASON…

Orval Faubus:

Well I just got through stating that if it improves human relations, if it improves the quality of education, if it makes for a more harmonious society, then everything will be well and good. But what you're forgetting is that these problems have existed since the dawn of mankind.

QUESTION 41
INTERVIEWER:

I SEE. OK, OK.

Orval Faubus:

And no one individual—myself, I couldn't solve it by expressing a personal opinion. It would have no effect on it.

QUESTION 42
INTERVIEWER:

I SEE.

Orval Faubus:

It's something bigger than you and bigger than me and it's to be determined by the human race itself. [overlap]I hope it all turns, I hope it all turns out just fine.

QUESTION 43
INTERVIEWER:

SO GOING BACK ALL THE WAY TO 1954 OR WHENEVER THE HECK IT WAS. YOU DON'T REALLY THINK THAT WHATEVER YOU DID MADE ANY DIFFERENCE, RIGHT?

Orval Faubus:

No.

QUESTION 44
INTERVIEWER:

IN OTHER WORDS THAT, THAT THE, THAT THE SWEEP OF HISTORY WOULD HAVE JUST CARRIED US ON.

Orval Faubus:

Right.

QUESTION 45
INTERVIEWER:

CUT. YOU KNOW I LIKE TALKING TO YOU… WOULD YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE? [unintelligible] YOU'RE A GOOD MAN. I LIKE TO TALK TO YOU.

Orval Faubus:

Well, thank you.

QUESTION 46
INTERVIEWER:

YOU'RE UH, YOU'RE SOMETHING ELSE. [unintelligible background conversation] OK, WHY DON'T WE START OUT WITH, UH, LET THE GOVERNOR READ WHAT HE'S GOT. OK?

FILM PRODUCTION TEAM:

[SOUND ROLL 2, UH, GOVERNOR FAUBUS INTERVIEW, SOUND ROLL 2] OK GOVERNOR WOULD YOU READ AND TRY TO YOU KNOW, TRY TO ADDRESS IT TO THAT CAMERA , NOT TO ME, OK.

Orval Faubus:

Now my second objective in the action which I took at Little Rock was to induce the federal authorities to enforce, or help enforce, or help prevent disorder, which came from their own court order, instead of casually retiring from the scene and leaving the problems to the local and state uh… officials. After all, it was their court order, it was not a state court order, or not a state law, at that time it was in violation of the state constitution. Well, I succeeded in both objectives. I'm glad to be able to say that in the volatile situation that existed, not a plate glass window was broken, no building was looted or burned and not a single life was lost. And that can't be said in hundreds of other American Cities all across the nation. I was able to keep order and protect everyone, although some of the means used were considered drastic and misinterpreted by the press and the critics. Now after I was barred from the situation by a federal court order, the federal authorities moved in to maintain order and affect integration at Central High School. That's all a matter of history. But with this action they were greatly displeased. And that's the main reason for their displeasure with me and their attempts to paint me as an extremist. This is the basis for a number of misinterpretations. For example, I never said I was a segregationist. I haven't said yet that I ever was,

QUESTION 47
INTERVIEWER:

ARE YOU?

Orval Faubus:

Are, am now? Or ever will be. My opponents in ‘56, ‘58 and ‘60 in the campaigns proclaimed themselves unyielding segregationists and challenged me to state my position. I refused. I said I was governor of all the people, to try to serve all of them, of whatever viewpoint. I was accused of saying "never" to integration. This is untrue. At the very time all this was happening, my own son entered an integrated college in Arkansas [overlap] colleges which had been integrated in my administration for which I had been condemned.

QUESTION 48
INTERVIEWER:

GOVERNOR… CAN I BREAK IN, JUST ONE THING. BUT GOVERNOR, DIDN'T YOU AT THAT TIME, INTERPOSE YOURSELF TO TRY TO STOP THE INTEGRATION OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM IN LITTLE ROCK? ISN'T THAT TRUE?

Orval Faubus:

No, I said all the time…

QUESTION 49
INTERVIEWER:

ALL ALONG?

Orval Faubus:

I said all the time it would be integrated, but there must be some time for tempers to cool and for uh, intentions to die down and for people to realize that if this was going to be, it was going to be and that their extreme opposition efforts were futile. That was what I plead with to the President of the United States, he agreed with me, I sold my point to him he even asked Attorney General Brownell to go to Little Rock and ask for it to be postponed for a time to give things a chance to cool off, but Brownell refused to do it. In fact he lied to the President in my presence about it.

QUESTION 50
INTERVIEWER:

GOVERNOR, WHY DO YOU THINK THEN THAT MOST AMERICANS HAVE THIS CONCEPTION OF YOU AS BEING A- AGAINST INTEGRATION? WHY DO THEY THINK THAT YOU HELPED TO BLOCK INTEGRATION IN LITTLE ROCK?

Orval Faubus:

Well, at that time, there were no wars abroad, there was no depression or recession, there was nothing in the national, or international newspaper to take the spotlight, it just happened to be a good time to take some episode and promote it and blow it out of all proportions. I got to be…

QUESTION 51
INTERVIEWER:

YOU'RE SUGGESTING A MEDIA EXTRAVAGANZA?

Orval Faubus:

Yes, it was, because…

QUESTION 52
INTERVIEWER:

BUT WHAT ABOUT…

Orval Faubus:

They proclaimed that there was violence and disorder when not a single scratch was put on anybody and there was no difficulty whatsoever …

QUESTION 53
INTERVIEWER:

OK, NOW, GOVERNOR…

Orval Faubus:

This is, this is born out in the writings of…

QUESTION 54
INTERVIEWER:

…OK, NOW GOVERNOR… EXCUSE ME GOVERNOR, WE'RE GOING TO SEE SOME FILM HERE ON THIS SHOW, RIGHT OF THIS LITTLE GIRL, A BLACK GIRL WHO COMES UP AND SHE TRIES TO GET INTO THE SCHOOL AND SHE IS PUT OUT AND SHE IS THREATENED AND WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

Orval Faubus:

Let me ask you and all those who listen or question. Would have rather seen her admitted that day and then killed or turned away as she was until the situation could cool off and all of this could be affected peaceably …

QUESTION 55
INTERVIEWER:

THAT'S OK.

Orval Faubus:

That's the question to consider. That's the question that with which I was confronted…

QUESTION 56
INTERVIEWER:

BUT WHY DIDN'T YOU, WHY DIDN'T YOU STEP IN AND SAY THIS LITTLE GIRL IS GOING TO GO TO SCHOOL THIS DAY.

Orval Faubus:

It was in violation of state law, and of the state constitution. [overlap] and the overwhelming public sentiment. I was serving the people of the state. And if the legislature had come in session at the time they would have impeached me and thrown me out like that. That was the sentiment throughout the whole region, you have to take into consideration the, the whole complexities of the situation at the time, you have to deal with the situation…

QUESTION 57
INTERVIEWER:

BUT GOVERNOR, BUT GOVERNOR, LOOK…

Orval Faubus:

Now listen, you have to deal with the situation…

QUESTION 58
INTERVIEWER:

WE'RE DEALING WITH, WE'RE DEALING WITH ONE LITTLE GIRL, RIGHT?

Orval Faubus:

You have to deal with the situation as it is… and not as you would like it to be. Yes, it would have been very fine if everything had been peaceable and they could have gone ahead into the school and there'd have been nothing happened. As they did in other schools in the state, which they hadn't in many other states at the time…

QUESTION 59
INTERVIEWER:

BUT WHAT ABOUT THAT LITTLE GIRL, WHAT DID YOU… WHEN YOU THAT NIGHT CAME BACK TO YOUR HOUSE AND YOU SAW THIS THING ON TELEVISION, AND YOU SAW THIS LITTLE GIRL BEING JUST, DONE THIS, IN THIS BAD WAY. WHAT DID YOU THINK? YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

Orval Faubus:

Well, in a lot of other places people were injured and killed, she didn't have a hand laid on her.

QUESTION 60
INTERVIEWER:

WELL WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT IT THOUGH?

Orval Faubus:

She was protected, the guard gathered around her and ordered the people away and also the state police and her safety was assured. Now that was my concern. [overlap]My concern was the safety of the people. My concern was not the integration or the segregation of the school at the time. My main concern was peace and order. And to protect lives and property. Had you rather I had forsaken that? Had the general public, rather? Had Brownell or the others, did they want integration to go forward with so many deaths? Or did they want it handled in such a way that it could be eventually affected peaceably, as it was.

QUESTION 61
INTERVIEWER:

I SEE, I SEE. BUT WHAT ABOUT THAT GIRL? WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN YOU CAME BACK TO YOUR HOUSE THAT NIGHT AND TURNED ON YOUR T.V. SET AND YOU SAW THAT GIRL. AND YOU MUST HAVE, THAT MUST HAVE HURT YOU, BECAUSE YOU ARE A MAN, RIGHT?

Orval Faubus:

Sure, I was…

QUESTION 62
INTERVIEWER:

IT MUST HAVE HURT…

Orval Faubus:

I was sorry, I was sorry, I was sorry that the students were subjected to this and thrown in as the pawns in the controversy between adults.

QUESTION 63
INTERVIEWER:

I KNOW. BUT YOU KNOW MEN, WHEN WE COME RIGHT DOWN TO IT, DIDN'T YOU REALLY FEEL HURT THAT THTS GIRL, HAD TO BE, HAD TO GO THROUGH THIS KIND OF THING BECAUSE OF-WHAT DID YOU THTNK ABOUT THAT?

Orval Faubus:

I didn't like it. I didn't think any-there was no good about it. In fact, as I've written in my book, there are people who said things that should have kept their mouths shut.

QUESTION 64
INTERVIEWER:

SEE, YOU ARE THE KIND OF A MAN WHO JUST DOESN'T LIKE THIS KIND OF THING, AND IT'S FAIRLY OBVIOUS.

Orval Faubus:

I went through World War II. I was with a combat division whose front line units turned over four hundred percent. Uh, I'm not sure I could even count the number of dead people that I saw or the injured. And that has an effect on you. You don't like to see it in a situation that should be peaceable where, uh, this shouldn't happen.

QUESTION 65
INTERVIEWER:

RIGHT.

Orval Faubus:

And I had a volatile, very serious situation to deal with at the time and I dealt with it the best I could.

QUESTION 66
INTERVIEWER:

OK. THAT'S… THANK YOU VERY MUCH. GOVERNOR, I APPRECIATE YOUR TALKING. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. GOOD. OK. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. YOU KNOW YOU REALLY TALKED UH—

Orval Faubus:

You're trying to get something to sell, like Mike Wallace.

QUESTION 67
INTERVIEWER:

NO, NO, BUT YOU REALLY TALKED GOOD AND I APPRECIATE THAT. I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU REALLY FELT AT THE TIME. YOU KNOW WHETHER YOU FELT ONE WAY OR THE OTHER WAY, I DON'T CARE. YOU'RE A MAN.

Orval Faubus:

Now, do you want me to tell you personally?

QUESTION 68
INTERVIEWER:

YUP.

Orval Faubus:

I wanted it to go peacefully and that hoped that it would never have occurred.

QUESTION 69
INTERVIEWER:

DID YOU, WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT BLACK AND WHITE?

Orval Faubus:

Well, I was reared in a region somewhat like New England. Uh, we had a feeling that uh black people had never really had uh, as fair a shake as some of the rest of us, although I was raised in a, a poverty stricken region, uh there were many blacks who had access to fine high schools, when I didn't have. You know, it's pretty hard, it's like in a war, how are you going to obtain equality of sacrifice, uh between the troops, the rear echelon troops, and the front line troops.

QUESTION 70
INTERVIEWER:

YEAH, YEAH. I UNDERSTAND THAT OK.

Orval Faubus:

And uh, all of this it's a complex. [overlap]It's a human situation. You can't reduce it to simple terms. I don't care how anyone tries.

QUESTION 71
INTERVIEWER:

I KNOW YOU CAN'T, I KNOW YOU CAN'T, BUT I KNOW THAT INSIDE THE SOUTH AND INSIDE THE NORTH. THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE PREJUDICED, THE PEOPLE WHO RUN THINGS, IF YOU'RE THE GOVERNOR, YOU RUN THINGS, RIGHT? IF GOVERNOR WALLACE RUNS THINGS IN ALABAMA OR IF, IF GOVERNOR WHAT'S HIS NAME…

Orval Faubus:

No, that, that's an exaggerated statement. Uh, a President or a Governor is, uh, circumscribed by many laws and regulations, uh bureaucratic red tape and uh, uh…

QUESTION 72
INTERVIEWER:

NO.

Orval Faubus:

He doesn't have his say many, many times at all.

QUESTION 73
INTERVIEWER:

NO, BUT YOU CAN MAKE THINGS, YOU CAN MAKE THINGS HAPPEN INSIDE YOUR STATE TO A DEGREE…

Orval Faubus:

Well, there…

QUESTION 74
INTERVIEWER:

TO A DEGREE. THERE, CAN'T YOU?

Orval Faubus:

There, there was a reason in Central High School which made it different from all the others. Those who promoted the plan had visions of becoming overnight heroes, headliners, for solving a problem that has been difficult of solution throughout the history of mankind. [overlap]And they had some, they had invited the press in, you know, to see this great success story and they were going to be heroes uh, uh, throughout the country. And when they started proclaiming that it was going to be the pilot project for all of Arkansas and all of the South, than those in opposition became interested. And so they started… [overlap]And they started, they started building up a focal point of contest. And this I explained to the President and he understood it very well, because he was a military man you see, and he could see how, how this all came to a point, uh… around Central High School, whereas it didn't occur at the other schools throughout the state. Now, if…

QUESTION 75
INTERVIEWER:

RIGHT. I UNDERSTAND.

Orval Faubus:

If these people who promoted the plan had said to—now, this doesn't concern the rest of these people, this is the local Little Rock situation, we're trying to handle our situation we're trying to handle our situation the best we can, then they wouldn't have become interested. You wouldn't have had these caravans coming in from all over the state, uh, of which Virgil Blossom well knew and which he told me.

QUESTION 76
INTERVIEWER:

YES BUT WHY DIDN'T YOU, BY THE WAY. SEE YOU, I THINK THAT YOU HAD A CHANCE TO BECOME A GREAT MAN IN AMERICA. WHY DIDN'T YOU TAKE THAT CHANCE?

Orval Faubus:

I had a chance to be thrown out of office.

QUESTION 77
INTERVIEWER:

WELL WHAT. EXCUSE ME.

Orval Faubus:

Well, you are just as wrong about that as you can be.

QUESTION 78
INTERVIEWER:

REALLY?

Orval Faubus:

Yes, the sentiment, the sentiment was eighty-five to ninety-five percent…

QUESTION 79
INTERVIEWER:

I KNOW, BUT I'M SAYING. I'M SAYING…

Orval Faubus:

And you would have. [overlap]And you would have had, as governor of the state the most rabid segregationist that could have been found.

QUESTION 80
INTERVIEWER:

I'M SAYING TO YOU, AS A GOVERNOR…

Orval Faubus:

I was a hero. I saved lives.

QUESTION 81
INTERVIEWER:

YOU COULD HAVE BEEN A HERO. A BIG HERO, IF YOU HAD TAKEN A STAND. WHY DIDN'T YOU DO IT? THE GALLUP POLL

Orval Faubus:

I did. I did! I did! And you know what the Gallup Poll showed at the end of the next year? This nationwide. I was among the ten most admired men in the world.

QUESTION 82
INTERVIEWER:

WELL, I DIDN'T ADMIRE YOU TOO MUCH [laughter].

Orval Faubus:

No, I can tell you're prejudiced.

QUESTION 83
INTERVIEWER:

I'M A PREJUDICED SON OF A BITCH. OK. LET'S WRAP UP.

Orval Faubus:

Which, every man is entitled to his prejudices and his opinions…

QUESTION 84
INTERVIEWER:

I LIKE YOU.

Orval Faubus:

Well, thank you Paul.

QUESTION 85
INTERVIEWER:

BUT YOU KNOW I WISH YOU WERE A LITTLE BIT I JUST REALLY DO WISH YOU WERE TOUGHER.

Orval Faubus:

Well I never was really tough in a way. I was firm, but not tough.

QUESTION 86
INTERVIEWER:

IF YOU THINK OF ALL THE BLACK PEOPLE WHO HAD IT SO HARD…

Orval Faubus:

Listen, there are a lot of them…

QUESTION 87
INTERVIEWER:

SO HARD BECAUSE OF THE WAY YOU SAID…

Orval Faubus:

There's a lot of them never had it as hard as I did.

QUESTION 88
INTERVIEWER:

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER…

Orval Faubus:

Do you know what my father earned one year to support seven kids and himself and his wife?

QUESTION 89
INTERVIEWER:

OH, I DON'T CARE WHAT YOUR FATHER EARNED. I DON'T REALLY CARE.

Orval Faubus:

That's right. You see, you don't care. You've got your mind set. You are prejudiced. And you've got firm opinion. And nothing is going to change it.

QUESTION 90
INTERVIEWER:

BUT DON'T YOU THINK, DON'T YOU THINK THAT YOU AS A GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS…

Orval Faubus:

I do.

QUESTION 91
INTERVIEWER:

IF YOU WERE, IF YOU HAD BEEN A BETTER MAN, THAT A LOT OF BLACK PEOPLE COULD NOW BE LIVING A LOT BETTER. DON'T YOU THINK SO?

Orval Faubus:

Do you think they'd have made any more progress than they did?

QUESTION 92
INTERVIEWER:

WELL, MAYBE, I THINK THAT MAYBE IT COULD.

Orval Faubus:

That's a maybe, yeah, that's right, no one knows. We're just very small minute segments in the process of history. What I did will matter very little, they got to make a lot of copy . [overlap].

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

(ALL TALK AT ONCE) YOU HAD THE CHANCE. I DIDN'T HAVE THE CHANCE; HE DIDN'T HAVE THE CHANCE; YOU HAD THE CHANCE. ISN'T THAT RIGHT?

Orval Faubus:

I used it the best I could.

QUESTION 93
INTERVIEWER:

OK KIDS…

Orval Faubus:

I didn't want anybody to get killed [laughter].

QUESTION 94
INTERVIEWER:

OK. OK. I KINDA LIKE YOU, EVEN THOUGH I DIDN'T LIKE YOU.

Orval Faubus:

Well, You kinda make me think of uh, of the movie "Patton", where he was seated at the table, you know, with the Russian officer and the Russian officer wanted to drink a toast. And uh, Patton said "no, I don't care about drinking a toast with a son of a bitch." And the interpreter told the officer what he said. And he first looked really displeased and then he kind of laughed and he said to the interpreter and the interpreter went back and talked to Patton, and Patton said, "OK, I agree. A toast. One son of a bitch to another…" [laughter]

QUESTION 95
INTERVIEWER:

ONE SON OF A BITCH TO ANOTHER.

Orval Faubus:

So you think I'm a son of a bitch, I think you're a son of a bitch so…

QUESTION 96
INTERVIEWER:

ONE SON OF A BITCH TO ANOTHER.

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

This has been the most interesting uh, interview I've seen in a long while. Can't say it was a laid back interview at all.