By Karl E. Campbell
Many american citizens keep in mind Senator Sam Ervin (1896-1985) because the affable, Bible-quoting, outdated state legal professional who chaired the Senate Watergate hearings in 1973. but for many of his two decades within the Senate, Ervin was once Jim Crow's so much gifted criminal defender because the South's constitutional specialist throughout the congressional debates on civil rights. the ambiguity of the senator's competition to civil rights and safety of civil liberties lies on the center of this biography of Sam Ervin. Karl Campbell illuminates the nature of the guy and the historic forces that formed him. The senator's mistrust of centralized strength, Campbell argues, is helping clarify his ironic acceptance as a foe of civil rights and a champion of civil liberties.
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Extra resources for Senator Sam Ervin, Last of the Founding Fathers (Caravan Book)
Women raised funds and volunteered to bring salvation and uplift to the ‘‘foreigners,’’ the ‘‘Negroes in the South,’’ the mountain people, the Indians, and the ‘‘fatherless ones’’ at the Barium Springs Orphanage. There was even some outreach to ‘‘the Colored Women’s Conference’’ for joint projects in the region. Mother Ervin served as the treasurer of the Ladies’ Aid Society for some time at the turn of the century, but as her daughter Catharine later recorded in her booklet ‘‘The History of Women’s Work,’’ published in the 1930s, the fact that all the Society’s records ‘‘are in the handwriting of Mr.
But neither the orthodox defense of Ervin as a consistent constitutional libertarian nor the critical attack on the senator as an inconsistent southern obstructionist can withstand a close review of the historical record. Like the simplistic old country lawyer caricature created by the news media during Watergate, these interpretations are more mythical than substantive. They served the political needs of their adherents more than they help to resolve the contradictions of Sam Ervin’s career. The ﬁrst interpretation of Ervin as a consistent civil libertarian rests on the simplistic theory that political ideology is the wellspring of all human behavior.
Mother Ervin served as the treasurer of the Ladies’ Aid Society for some time at the turn of the century, but as her daughter Catharine later recorded in her booklet ‘‘The History of Women’s Work,’’ published in the 1930s, the fact that all the Society’s records ‘‘are in the handwriting of Mr. ’’≥∑ During one particularly hot summer, Miss Laura convinced her husband that his regular black suit was far too warm for the season and that she was going to purchase a fashionable grey Palm Beach suit for him to wear.