Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 087 Tom HouckReflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 087 Tom Houck

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 087 Tom Houck

Descriptive Summary

Title: Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 087 Tom Houck
Creator Houck, Thomas, 1947-
Dates 2009 September 28
Extent 1.0 interview
Repository Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
AbstractThomas Houck dropped out of high school at age 15 and joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to work under Hosea Williams. In 1965, he met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at a meeting of the SCLC, and in 1966 he came to Atlanta and became the King family’s personal driver. Later, he became an organizer for the SCLC, and was active in numerous demonstrations and marches. His case, Houck and Williams vs. Birmingham-Jefferson County, led to the desegregation of Southern jails. Houck went on to help campaign for various Atlanta mayors and governors, including Maynard Jackson and Zell Miller, and started doing commentary for WGST Radio. Houck discusses his work with the SCLC, some personal experiences with the King family, his work on various campaigns, and the state of party politics in Georgia.

Administrative Information

Custodial History note

Reflections on Georgia Politics began in the fall of 2006 at Young Harris College, as a lecture and discussion program hosted by Georgia political veteran Bob Short. In late 2007, the Richard B. Russell Library began producing the program as an oral history video series to further illuminate and personalize the tectonic shifts that occurred in Georgia politics in the late twentieth century.

Preferred citation

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 087, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.


Restrictions

Copyright Information

Resources may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.


Biographical Note

Thomas Houck was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on August 21, 1947. He dropped out of high school at age 15 and joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to work under Hosea Williams. In 1965, he met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at a meeting of the SCLC, and in 1966 he came to Atlanta and became the King family’s personal driver. Later, he became an organizer for the SCLC, and was active in numerous demonstrations and marches. He filed a court case, Houck and Williams vs. Birmingham-Jefferson County, which led to the desegregation of Southern jails. Houck went on to help campaign for various Atlanta mayors and governors, including Maynard Jackson and Zell Miller, and started doing commentary for WGST Radio. He then went on to host various politically-oriented radio and television shows, retiring from full time broadcasting in 2001.


Scope and Content

Tom Houck discusses growing up in Boston before moving to Atlanta to work in the Civil Rights Movement and in television. He recalls meeting Martin Luther King, Jr., at the Selma to Montgomery March.

Houck recalls his work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and explains the organization's purpose and people. He discusses answering Martin Luther King's mail for the SCLC, having dinner at the King house, and becoming the Kings' driver. Houck recalls several personal stories relating to the King family.

Houck recalls Dr. Martin Luther King loving to read, swim, and play the lottery. He discusses Coretta King's involvement with the civil rights movement and mentions her fundraising work for the SCLC.

Houck discusses demonstrations such as open housing demonstrations, the Poor People's campaign, and store picketing. He recalls that Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr., did not participate in politics but was friendly with Georgia governors. Houck explains how Maddox's election made many activists uncomfortable. He recalls being arrested 18 to 20 times in the course of his activism.

Houck discusses Zell Miller's involvement with civil rights and his recollections of Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young. Thid interview takes place at Manuel's Tavern and Houck explains who Manuel Malouf was and the history of the tavern. Houck recalls Zell Miller's campaign for lieutenant governor and comments on his friendship with both candidates. He weighs in on whether the civil rights movement is dead.

Houck describes how he got into talk radio and television as a political commentator and comments on the state of party politics in Georgia.


Related Collections in this Repository

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection


Access Points

Civil rights demonstrations--Georgia.
Civil rights movements--Georgia.
Civil rights--Georgia.
Jackson, Maynard, 1938-2003
King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968.
Maddox, Lester G., 1915-2003.
Miller, Zell Bryan, 1932-
Oral histories.
Political campaigns--Georgia.
Shipp, Bill, 1933-
Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

 
ROGP 087 Tom Houck video ( 87.0 minutes ) VIEW ONLINE
 
ROGP 087 Tom Houck transcript VIEW ONLINE