Yesterday on WUNC’s program The State of Things, host Frank Stasio interviewed Carolina Public Press reporter Jon Elliston, who has listened to the H. R. Haldeman audio diaries recently released by the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library. On Wednesday, November 12th, the Carolina Public Press website published Elliston’s article about the Billy Graham–Richard Nixon alliance as revealed on Haldeman tapes. During the interview, Stasio and Elliston briefly discuss Haldeman’s diary entry for “Billy Graham Day” in Charlotte on October 15, 1971.
As you might expect, Hugh Morton was there. He was located stage left, slightly elevated and slightly forward of the podium—either seated in the audience just behind the press photographers platform or on the platform behind the television cameras. He photographed using 35mm cameras loaded with black-and-white negative and color slide films, and was switching lenses. Two of Morton’s color images appear in the book Making a Difference in North Carolina; those two original slides, however, are not in the Morton collection.
Several of the black-and-white negative frames are double exposures, but it’s difficult to say if they were intentional or accidental. Broken sprocket holes on the film suggest Morton experienced a camera failure during the event. Below is one of the double exposures that produced an interesting result: Nixon and Graham’s sculpted face (from an unveiled historical marker) appear to be looking at each other.
In recent months we’ve run two blog posts related to this time period, when Hugh Morton was an undeclared candidate for governor in the Democratic Party: the Governor’s Down-East Jamboree in Atlantic Beach in mid September, and The National 500 NASCAR race on October 10th in Charlotte. Billy Graham Day was just five days after the race.
In addition to Morton’s photographs of the Billy Graham Day, the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives also holds forty-two 35mm slides by Charlotte Observer Chief Photographer Don Sturkey.
Richard Nixon’s speech can read at University of California, Santa Barbara’s “The American Presidency Project” website.