All units in the Marines during the three years in which I served were racially integrated, also a new experience for me. I learned later, however, that there were no African American Drill Instructors at Parris Island during my training there. Issac Ward and I became relatively close during our training at Parris Island.

During boot camp training, the Drill Instructor who later met me at the hospital bus and directed me to the base seamstress, yelled out to the squad bay for "Private Logue to get in here." Following the careful regimen taught to all Marine recruits, I knocked three times firmly on the wall outside his office. Upon his order, I marched into the small forbidden office and stood rigidly at attention, looking straight at the wall. He commanded me to look down by the numbers. Glancing down and back up quickly, I saw a fellow recruit lying on his back, the Drill Instructor astraddle his stomach and a bayonet at his throat.  

The Drill Instructor said, "Private Logue what should I do with this nigger!" I was scared speechless. Finally he let the young African American recruit stand and ordered me to "fight him." At Parris Island no recruit dared disobey an order, any order, just as few whites or blacks risked ignoring the ever-present written and unwritten signs in the South requiring racial separation. Trying to appear to obey the Drill Instructor's command that I fight, without actually following through, I edged forward and asked meekly, "Private ____ do you want to fight me?"  

There was also a practical dimension to this Parris Island dilemma. Having gotten to know and respect this Private well during our rigorous training, I knew that in any fight he would beat me badly. In response to what I perceived as a military order, rather than do something that would get me maimed by my fellow recruit and further upset the Drill Instructor, such as telling him, "Sir this is wrong" or "Sir this is not right" -- attempts at moral suasion some might have tried -- I managed somehow to do nothing. Finally the Drill Instructor dismissed us to the squad bay, terrified but unharmed.
Once while our platoon was standing at attention in front of our racks (beds) waiting for inspection, the Drill Instructor stopped before me and stated or asked something that I can't recall now. Without warning he hit me hard in the stomach with his ample fist, bending me to catch my breath, tears dropping directly onto the deck (floor of the squad bay). "Private Logue," he demanded, "are you going to cry!  Why aren't you standing at attention!"  

When a recruit marched out of step, the Drill Instructor compelled him to run around the entire platoon, his 9.5 lb. M-1 rifle held high above the head, as his buddies marched smartly to chow. There were also the usual pushups for punishment. Those several who failed to qualify with the M-1 rifle at the range were required to wear their clothes backwards and straggle along behind the qualifiers, who at this stage of their training marched with marked precision, the some seventy boot heels hitting solidly as one.

Our Platoon 6 is pictured below marching in step at port arms at Parris Island. (Photograph from Platoon 6 Graduation Booklet given to us upon graduating from boot camp, Parris Island,1956.)

Wondering if it were safe, I stopped the damaged car down the road a block or two and, without a word, the African American gentleman opened the smashed-in door and got out. Bent over slightly from age, he began walking back slowly toward what we learned later was the bloody site of the murders. I pray that we thought to thank him

Going Home Alabama and Beyond

I was born in 1935, and lived in small towns in Alabama -- Pine Apple, Greensboro, Evergreen, and Auburn -- where schools, churches, movies, restaurants, motels, and bus stations were racially segregated. Wherever one went there were written signs as well as unspoken customs separating "whites" from "coloreds". By legal and social definition, whites and blacks as a rule did not mingle unless blacks provided some service. I had only communicated with blacks from what we whites in the South and beyond perceived as a superior social and racial status, a perception that gave rise to many of our personal and communal misconceptions and prejudices. 

As a result, I knew many blacks but always on my terms. For example, when at ages five and six I played with "Tom" in Pine Apple, I assumed that he was visiting as a friend, only to learn later that this young African American was just accompanying his Mother, "Mary," our cook. Certainly we did not play at "Tom's" home. Once Mama apparently sent "Tom" home, or perhaps had "Mary" send him home, when a white boy visiting at our home began taunting him. She didn't want "Tom's" feelings hurt or him to get into trouble. "Tom," my brothers, and I rode horses barefooted in the dirt driveway made from chinaberry limbs." Tom" told us about his father who had seen turtles in the "islands" so big one could ride on their backs. Since we had seen how big turtles at the branch behind our house actually got, not for a second did we believe him.

On occasion in Pine Apple, several of we white boys walked across the pasture behind our house, careful not to wear a speck of red, because of the giant bull that guarded the grounds, crawled up behind a log, and spied on residents of "colored town" as if we were looking down upon aliens.

 When Daddy left his job teaching Vocational Agriculture in Pine Apple to become Assistant County Extension Agent in Greensboro, Alabama (Hale County), Mama wanted "Mary" the cook to move there with us. "Mary" wanted to go, but another employer wouldn't allow it.  He was likely the same clerk that Mama upset one day. The clerk was waiting on a black person when Mama came into the store. When the clerk shifted his attention to what Mama wanted to purchase, she told him that the black customer was there before her and should be waited on first. Mama said that the clerk was infuriated by her stand. Mama mailed Christmas presents to "Mary" for many years, for the rest of "Mary's" life.

Mama grew up in Bay Minette, Alabama, was graduated from Agnes Scott College in Atlanta in French, English, and music. She taught school in Luverne, Alabama, where she met Daddy. My three brothers and I were born in the house in Bay Minette where Mama grew up, in the care of her father a physician.

In Greensboro, "Arabella" served as "Mary's" replacement as family cook. In the fourth grade or so, when I first walked into "Arabella's" home, right across the dirt road from our own house, I was surprised to find it so orderly and well appointed. I never learned the family names of those African Americans whom I encountered so often in our homes and beyond in those small Alabama towns where we lived. While I was taught to address "Mary" and "Arabella" as "Ma'am," "yes Ma'am," and "no Ma'am," I was not required to address African Americans with "Mrs." or "Mr."

We moved to Auburn in 1948 when Daddy became the 4-H Club Leader for the state of Alabama, following three years of service as County Extension Agent in Evergreen (Conecuh County). Daddy grew up in Troy, Alabama, and was graduated from Troy State, a two-year college at the time. Later he received the B.S. and M.S. degrees from Auburn University.

Our first Sunday in Auburn Daddy parked the Ford on Gay Street equal distance between the First Methodist and First Presbyterian churches, and announced that "each person could go to the church of his choice." My older brothers, Mickey and John, began walking toward the Methodist church, while Daddy, Mama, and young Lamar started in the opposite direction. In Pine Apple, Greensboro, and Evergreen we all had been active in the Methodist Church. Earlier, however, while Daddy was enrolled in Alabama Polytechnic Institute in Auburn, he and Mama had been members of First Presbyterian. Hesitating, thinking my older brothers wouldn't want me tagging along, still I stayed with the Methodists among whom later I would meet the Reverend Ashland Shaw.

I recall, soon after arriving in Auburn, walking up to the counter in Wright's Drug Store where an African American woman and child were already waiting to order ice cream. The server looked beyond them to me, a fourteen-year-old, and asked what flavor I wanted. I knew that it was unfair for me to be served first, but unlike Mama, I didn't protest

A few years later I drove from Auburn to Opelika, the Seat of Lee County, to register to vote. When the official called me back in the office of the Court House, I saw an elderly African American man sitting at a desk being questioned in detail about what appeared to be so official government document. After I had quickly filled-out a short registration form and was leaving, I noticed that the senior African American gentleman was still citing and explaining the official manuscript in an attempt to "qualify" to vote. I knew that this was wrong too. 

One day Mama and I were in our living room at home on Brookwood Drive in Auburn. As the young black carrier rode up on his bike to deliver our newspaper, we heard white kids say something like, "get out of here nigger." When she heard the ugly racist remark, I noticed that Mama bit her lower lip, shook her head in shame, and cried tears, a rare even silent protest at the time. Mama and Daddy taught and required us always to show respect to all individuals regardless of race, along with the verbal and nonverbal signs that separated "whites" from "coloreds" throughout the region. Had I insulted any individual black or white person at any time, when we got back home, I would have paid dearly. 

From 1941, when I entered the first grade in Pine Apple, through 1960, when I received the B.A. at Auburn University, no black students had been allowed in "our" public educational institutions. In 1961, I wrote my master's thesis at Florida State University on "The Status of Speech Education in the White Public Schools of Alabama."

Only once, before meeting Issac Ward at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1956, had I conversed with African Americans on an equal footing.   This occurred in 1955, when as a sophomore at Auburn University, motivated by Reverend Ashland Shaw, I attended the Student Volunteer Movement Quadrennial Conference in Athens, Ohio. The meeting was planned in part by Ms. Margaret Flory, one of the leaders of the ecumenical movement of the 20th century. More than half the 4,000 students attending came from outside the United States. Upon returning home, I had my film developed of that racially integrated interaction, but I hid the pictures. One of those pictures that I hid is below. I am second from left.  

Some seven years earlier, in 1956, during combat training in the U. S. Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, I was crawling in the dirt with back pack and M1 rifle under barbed wire, bullets flying over head and explosions going off all around. In January of that year, after nearly two years enrolled at Alabama Polytechnic Institute (later Auburn University) in sociology, I had taken the train from Auburn to Montgomery to join the Army. Upon finding that the Army recruiter was away for lunch, I went next door and joined the Marine Corps for a three-year tour of duty. Immediately the Marine recruiter in downtown Montgomery had me transported to a large hangar at Maxwell Air Force Base where several hundred other men were sitting around, waiting for orders. I assumed they all had joined the Marine Corps. Over the public address speaker we heard this loud command: "All men who joined the Marines step up to the desk." Only two persons stepped forward, amidst wisecrack warnings from the other recruits -- Issac Ward, a young black man whom I had never met -- and me. Later I learned that Issac Ward was from Dothan, Alabama, where Mary Jo, my wife, grew up.

Just before our scheduled graduation from basic training, I caught pneumonia and was told to go to the base hospital. Hospitalization meant that all my buddies in Platoon 6 would graduate without me, go home for a 30-day leave, and return for combat training as a unit without me.  After my leave, I would have to join a unit of strangers for combat training and deployment to a permanent duty station. When I returned from the physician's office to pack my sea bag for the hospital, seventy fellow-Marines and the Drill Instructor looked on. 

For a reason known only to himself, the Drill Instructor yelled, "Private Ward get up here and help Private Logue pack his sea bag!" Issac Ward and I spoke few words as we both held the sea bag open and placed my personal articles in it. 

We managed only an awkward farewell more appropriate for the Drill Instructor than for each other, a rare pause in the unremitting day and night training.  

Some time later, when I returned to training from the hospital, that Drill Instructor met me at the bus, arranged to have me join a new platoon that -- thankfully,  as had been true of my Platoon 6 -- was close to graduating from Parris Island, and walked me down to a base seamstress to have PFC (private-first-class) stripes sewn on my shirts and coats. 

On right I'm pictured at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, 1956, my first permanent duty assignment soon after finishing boot camp, trying to look "salty".

Fortunately Daddy taught us to shoot the bb-gun and .410 and 12 gauge shotguns. Also nearly two years of Army ROTC at Auburn University were a benefit. However, because I had difficulty seeing the small target several hundred yards away, initially on the firing range I was sent to the optometrist for glasses.                                                            

If you blundered by calling your rifle a "gun," you were compelled to stand nude on a table in the squad bay before some seventy fidgety-footed recruits, holding the weapon high above your head with one hand, and your crotch with the other, repeating loudly with required accompanying gestures:

                                                 This is my rifle, this is my gun;
                                                This is for killing, this is for fun.

Over two years after joining the Marines, when I had been promoted to sergeant, I was packed in a troop ship with hundreds of others all dressed down to T-shirts because of the heat. Tensions were high. While exiting a movie in an overly crowded passageway on the ship, I brushed the shoulder of a black Marine. He grabbed me by the collar, shoved me against the bulkhead, and threatened, "white boy, who do you think you are shoving?" Frightened and anxious to improve my situation, I responded in my native Pine Apple speech: "I realli' wadn' tryin' to push inybody." When my assailant, who apparently was from the North, heard my Alabama accent, things got worse. He said to a few of his black colleagues gathering around, "Hey man, look what we got here, a FARM BOY!"  

I'm not sure what would have happened to me had this racial conflict accelerated. To my good fortune, Sergeant John Williams, a close friend in our small survey artillery unit and a black resident of the Virgin Islands came along, placed his arm about my shoulder, and with a big smile and clipped speech deplored, "what have you gotten yourself into now, Logue," and then somehow walked me past the angry faces while, at the same time, identifying with their feelings. Below is a picture of Sergeant Williams of the Virgin Islands, taken when we were practicing artillery fire for six months on Luzon Island, Philippines, about 1958. 

Near the end of my three year tour of duty in the Marines, in 1958, after returning to Camp Lejeune from stints at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, California, Okinawa, Japan, and the Philippines, I was walking on the base one day and met Corporal Issac Ward. We returned to my squad bay for a long chat about where we had been and what we had seen and experienced during our tour in the Corps. Below is a picture of Issac Ward practicing the prone position with the M-1 rifle at the rifle range, Parris Island, South Carolina. He was a model soldier and person. (Photograph from Platoon 6 Graduation Booklet, given to us upon graduating from Boot Camp, Parris Island, 1956.)

At Parris Island at that time, some Drill Instructors employed intimidation to motivate young Marines-to-be for war. Most of the persuasive coercion was more mental than physical. Reverend Ashland Shaw had served in the Army, and when he learned I was dropping out of Alabama Polytechnic Institute to enter the military, he somehow arranged to meet me at the depot to warn me of the psychological pressures I would experience. With my train on the way, there was no time for indirect counseling. He expressed no doubts about my managing the physical demands, but was concerned about the emotional strain.  

Fortunately, Daddy's cowboy belt discipline and three years of grueling football practices under Coach R. L. Beaird at Auburn High School had braced me well for boot camp mentality. Reverend Shaw also cautioned me about the risque side of military service, and wisely asked if I knew the "hand method" on which to rely if necessary. Once while our small survey unit was camped in concert with an engineering company deep in the interior of Luzon Island in the Philippines, a local resident rolled a sad appearing prostitute to the fringe of the encampment in a makeshift wheelbarrow. Below is a photograph of Reverend Ashland Shaw.

On Sunday, September 15, 1963 at 10:22 a.m., dynamite set off by at least three white men at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama killed four young African American girls who were attending Sunday School and injured numerous others.  Approximately thirty minutes later, Mary Jo, Michael, our 2  1/2 year-old son, and I were driving home from Sunday School on 17th Street, across Kelly Ingram Park from the bombed house of worship.

That morning around 9:00 a.m., we left our rented home on Arkadelphia Road across from Birmingham-Southern College and drove to Trinity Methodist Church on Oxmoor Road in Homewood, following a route through downtown that took us past Kelly Ingram Park, 16th Street Baptist Church, and over Red Mountain by the Vulcan statue.

In 1961 I finished the master's degree at Florida State University in communication studies and took a job the following year at Birmingham-Southern, a respected Methodist liberal arts college located in the city. I taught public speaking and oral interpretation and also coached the debate team. I can recall that at the invitation of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Charles Morgan, Jr., a young lawyer from Birmingham, spoke at the College on racial problems confronting society and what responsible people should do to solve them. [Mr. Morgan passed away in 2009.]

When we first moved to Birmingham in 1962, we rented an apartment in Homewood. Each morning when I drove to Birmingham-Southern College to teach, because of congested traffic down town, I skirted the city. In 1963, when an old home owned by Birmingham-Southern College just across Arkadelphia Road from the campus became available to rent, we moved there, but we continued to worship at Trinity United Methodist Church in Homewood.

On that fateful Sunday morning, we arrived at Trinity United Methodist Church around 9:30 a.m. After Sunday School, about 10:55 a.m., deciding not to attend the 11:00 a.m. worship service, we got into our two-toned 1958 Ford and started home.

Anticipating that the downtown streets would be deserted on Sunday, since the stores were closed and many residents would likely be at home or in church, we decided to return by the same route that we had gone to Sunday School. From Oxmoor Road we drove down Red Mountain on 26th Street to the Vulcan statute, where 26th becomes 20th Street, the main thoroughfare through Birmingham.  We drove through Five Points South, under the railroad tracks, turning west onto 4th avenue. We turned north onto 17th, a two lane street, and came to Kelly Ingram Park situated across from the 16th Street Baptist Church.

As we drove adjacent to Kelly Ingram Park across from the east side of the dynamited church, we came up behind cars that had stopped in the road as if there were a wreck up ahead. People scampered about as if leaving a fire. Wondering what was happening we looked out the windows of our Ford into the angry faces of young African American men lining the curbs on each side of the road. Suddenly there was a loud crash that seemed to come from inside our car. Then we saw young African American men standing at both curbs with concrete coated bricks in each hand, one brick hanging down in the left hand at the ready and one drawn far back for throwing in the other. With angry shouts and all their might, they hurled bricks onto our car, striking both sides and the back, their momentum causing them to lunge off the curb into the street. Nearby was an old building that had collapsed onto itself, seemingly making available an endless supply of bricks and half-bricks reinforced with concrete.

Mary Jo and I were more frightened than curious as to what was happening. We were sitting targets, bumper-to-bumper with cars in front and behind. There was no escape. We quickly locked ourselves in the car. Sensing the heightened tension, little Michael began to cry. I asked Mary Jo to squat down in the floor with Michael. Doing so, she placed Michael beneath her and squeezed him under the front seat as far as he could go. I was holding on to the steering wheel and trying to keep the clutch of our straight-shift drive pressed down so that the car wouldn't stall. From inside the car each smash of a brick sounded like an explosion. Fearing that a brick would crash through a window, we attempted to turn away, half-duck, and shield our heads with a free arm and hand.

On April 8, 1956, soon after my boot camp training ended, a Drill Instructor marched 74 men of Platoon 71 from their barracks into Ribbon Creek, one of the tidal streams on Parris Island, and six of the recruits drowned. This unusual incident led to an investigation by the Marine Corps. Following this review, but after my departure from Parris Island, apparently changes in the handling of recruits at boot camp were implemented. These planned improvements were designed to retain the Drill Instructor's authority while, at the same time, disallowing his abuse of it.  

Ironically, when I returned to Camp Lejeune after a thirty-day leave at home, a delay in the cutting of my new orders necessitated that I go through combat training with some of the Marines who had survived the forced march through Ribbon Creek.
In the early 1960s, while teaching at Birmingham-Southern College, I attended a Billy Graham rally, said to have been maybe the first mass racially integrated public meeting in Birmingham, if not all of Alabama. The Reverend Billy Graham asked that we repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, refrains probably heard often in the Protestant churches our family attended regularly in Pine Apple, Greensboro, and Evergreen.  

When exiting that Billy Graham revival along with thousands of others, I was shaken to see my former Parris Island Drill Instructor, dressed immaculately in civilian suit and tie, his some 6 foot 4 inch frame straight as a board, same bold face, towering head and shoulders above most others, marching briskly as if on parade pass blacks and whites leaving the huge football stadium. I hid in the crowd, seven years after Parris Island boot camp.

Several years later, when I was teaching at the University of Georgia, this ex-Drill Instructor, now disheveled, came unannounced into my office to inquire about a doctoral program in public administration. When he walked into my office, I quickly stood as erectly as I could manage at the time.
Despite its hardships, I am a better person for my voluntary service of two years, eleven months, and thirteen days in the Marine Corps.  

(I was allowed to leave the military a few days short of my three-year enlistment period to meet the deadline for enrolling in Auburn's forthcoming term).  

My formal schooling in artillery survey taught and motivated me to study, also a novel experience for me. I served with a small artillery unit that measured and calculated distances and directions from 105 and 155 Howitzers -- and once in the Philippines, an Honest John missile from the back of a truck -- to targets using a 20-second transit. I learned to apply trigonometric functions that I had failed to master in a mathematics course at Auburn some months earlier. I also benefitted significantly from intereacting with African Americans on a daily basis on an equal status.I will never forget my buddies -- Ferguson, Walindoski, Moyer, Long, Schoen, Hagan, Blankenship, Murphy, Sneed, Wilson, Cantrel, Shoffit, Ackerman, Boyce, Williams, Armstrong, and Ward.                                               
While the formal instruction, challenging training, associations, and friendships were invaluable, at the same time, in a graduate seminar in sociology during my doctoral program at Louisiana State University, I could draw on firsthand knowledge to write a research paper on "Brainwashing at Parris Island." Dr. Vernon Parrington, instructor for that project, had been blinded by an artillery shell during World War II.  That distinguished professor had graduate assistants read research literature in sociology to him in French and maybe German. He would serve on the committee to hear my defense of dissertation on Ralph McGill.

Back on Seventeenth Street North in downtown Birmingham, September 15, 1963, as we returned home from church, the threat from bricks being hurled against our car became increasingly desperate. There seemed to be little hope that Mary Jo, Michael, and I would get out of this dangerous situation safely. Suddenly there was a firm tap on Mary Jo's side window. We both grimaced and attempted once more to shift away from the thud, assuming a brick had bounced off the pane. The tap grew louder. We glanced over and saw the frantic face of a quite elderly African American man just one inch from the window. Not knowing what to do or what we could do, we looked at him fearfully, the motor of our Ford still running. He tapped again, and signaled urgently with his rotating hand for us to lower the window.  Did we dare lower the window?

Most reluctantly, but with no good choice available to us, Mary Jo let the window down about one-half inch. The African American gentleman said firmly through the crack over the noise of the street, "Move over and I'll sit with you." Mary Jo crawled from the floor of our Ford, squeezed the door open, moved over next to me, and held Michael in her lap.

There sat Mary Jo, Michael, and I amidst a storm that we could not comprehend, with bricks continuing to strike cars in front and back of us, the angry shouting unceasing. We were sweating, shivering, and crying in total fear, with a black stranger sitting cheek-to-cheek with us in the front seat of our car for all the world to see, a rare sight in the Deep South under any conditions.

When the elderly African American gentleman entered our two-door car, sat down beside Mary Jo, and closed the door, the bricks stopped.  Our passenger looked straight ahead. Finally the cars in front of us began to move forward, and we inched on past nearby 16th Street Baptist Church where, unbeknown to us, four African American girls, Denise McNair, 11, and Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, all 14, had been murdered at 10:22 a.m., the moment the church clock stopped. Sunday School was ending and the four girls reportedly were preparing to sing and usher at a worship service.  

Many others were seriously injured by the dynamite placed at the basement of the church by Thomas Blanton, Jr., Bobby Frank Cherry, and Robert Chambliss, all apparently former members of the Ku Klux Klan. Among the injured was Sarah Collins Cox, 12, who had numerous pieces of glass removed from her eyes and eventually lost an eye.  

One of the Church's stained glass windows that remained in place had the face of Jesus blown away, as pictured below. (Photograph property of Birmingham Public Library. Courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Department of Archives and Manuscripts, Catalog Number 85.1.16)

At this time my sense of racial justice was growing more acute through participation in the Wesley Foundation at Auburn where, under the leadership of Reverend Shaw, we had begun to discuss and question the evil of the separate-but-unequal treatment imposed upon African Americans. While some later wrote that we were the silent generation, actually many of us then were quite vocal in small groups, if short on action. In Auburn, Mama and Ashland Shaw were forming my consciousness, while elsewhere journalists such as Ralph McGill, editor of the Atlanta Constitution, were instructing a much wider audience in the South and beyond about the wrongs done to African Americans.  

When Issac Ward and I walked up to the desk of the U. S. Marine Master Sergeant, whose dress blues were covered with medals of service and heroics, we probably both needed a friend, but neither one of us spoke. Instinctively, even before boot camp, we both knew there were times when one should just listen and obey. After my physical exam, when I covered the same eye twice so I could pass the test -- a decision on the rifle range at Parris Island I would regret -- I looked around for Issac Ward, but he was gone. I did not see him again until the next morning when I boarded the train in Montgomery for Parris Island, South Carolina, via Atlanta, Georgia. I had stayed the previous night at a very nice hotel in Montgomery, courtesy of the U. S. Government, a new experience for me.  When I naively asked Issac Ward where he disappeared to after our physical exams, he replied matter-of-factly that he had spent the night in a part of Montgomery that I did not see.

Issac Ward and I sat together on the train trip from Montgomery to Parris Island. When we got off the train in Atlanta for a layover, I was upset by the separate waiting rooms and decided to sit with Issac Ward in the "colored" section of the depot. I assumed that blacks would be less likely to protest my presence in their waiting room than would whites oppose Issac Ward's presence in theirs. Certainly that was a rare experience for me. Issac Ward didn't express an opinion. While waiting for the train to Parris Island, together we walked over to the Atlanta Constitution building to speak to my brother, Mickey, who covered college sports for that paper. I assumed that a newspaper that published Ralph McGill's columns in support of equal opportunities for African Americans would likely be more receptive to racially mixed guests
Little did I realize that day on the way to Parris Island that a few years later, while working on a doctoral dissertation at Louisiana State University, I would be sitting in Ralph McGill's office, taping an interview with him about his many speeches on human rights. I returned to Auburn in 1958 to complete a B.A. degree in sociology and a year later the M.S. in speech at Florida State. In 1966 I finished the Ph.D. at Louisiana State University in the history and criticism of public address. My dissertation was on the theory and practice of Ralph McGill's persuasive discourse.