How Terry Sanford greenlighted the Big Dig

“By 1987 Reagan found his control over Congress slipping….The Democratic majority in the House easily overrode his veto [of what would be the last interstate highway authorization], and the Senate did the same by a single vote.

“A hapless freshman senator from North Carolina [Terry Sanford] , who had opposed the bill because there wasn’t enough pork for his state, switched his vote after a phalanx of senators threatened to kill federal subsidies for tobacco farmers.

“In a curious way, then, those subsidies enabled Boston to transform its landscape with the most expensive interstate highway project in history [to be nicknamed the Big Dig].

— From Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life” by Tom Lewis (2013)

 

Harbinger of South’s reaction on race? Not exactly

“As North Carolina Democrats go to the polls this Saturday to pick a candidate for United States Senate, the politicians here will be looking for the first clue to the political impact on the South of the Supreme Court’s ruling against public school segregation.”
— From “North Carolina Poll Will Be First Hint of South’s Reaction” in the Wall Street Journal (May 27, 1954)
That “first clue” to response to Brown vs. Board of Education turned out to be misleadingly positive: In the Democratic primary, incumbent Sen. Alton Lennon, a hardline segregationist, narrowly lost to moderate former Gov. Kerr Scott. 
In Triumph of Good Will: How Terry Sanford Beat a Champion of Segregation” (2000), John Drescher casts the race as both a rematch of Frank Porter Graham vs. Willis Smith in 1950 and a precursor to Sanford vs. I. Beverly Lake in 1960.
 

An ‘integrationist’ GOP candidate for governor in ’64?

“In the [1964] North Carolina governor’s race, approximately 97 percent of black voters preferred segregationist Democrat Dan K. Moore to his integrationist Republican opponent, Robert L. Gavin. As Gavin explained, ‘This I believe was because of the determination of the Negro race to defeat our [Goldwater-Miller] national ticket.’ ”

– From “Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party” by Geoffrey Kabaservice (2012) 

As a two-time gubernatorial candidate in the early ’60s, Gavin may have qualified as a situational moderate — but “integrationist”?

Rob Christensen notes in “The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics” that when running against Terry Sanford in 1960, Gavin had “said if the Democrats were elected, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell  — the only black in Congress — would try to integrate every public school in North Carolina.”

 

 

For Marshal Ney, life after death?

Still more phrase-frequency charts from the indefatigable Google Books Ngram Reader:

sweet tea

— Jesse Helms vs. Terry Sanford and Sam Ervin

— Old North State vs. Tar Heel State. Only now has Tar Heel State become the more common usage? There’s something here I’m not getting.

— redneck vs. white trash and hillbilly

Marshal Ney. His execution in 1815 apparently accounts for the first spike, his supposed reappearance as a North Carolina schoolteacher for the second.