A letter from Pittsburgh, PA

Box 461
Chatham College
Pittsburgh 32, PA
February 11. 1964

Senator Ervin
Senate Office Buildings
Washington, DC

Dear Senator Ervin,

Hi, I am an eighteen year old North Carolinian from Charlotte. I attended Myers Park High School and I am now in Chatham College. Political Science will be my major.

I am interested in politics mainly because of my love for North Carolina. We are a rising state, and we must keep emerging economically and politically.

I am fully aware of the Civil Rights Bill that is pending action in the Senate in three or four weeks. I am fully aware of the many facets of the bill, although I’m not completely versed in the amendments. (For instance, I’m not sure just what the House decided on the Mrs. Murphy clause.)

Mr. Ervin, I feel I know the stand you’ll take on the Civil Rights Bill when it hits the Senate floor, because I partially agree with it. There are many objections to the bill from a Constitutional viewpoint. But Mr. Ervin, and I speak not only for myself, but for all people with the future of North Carolina in mind, the Civil Rights Bill must be passed.

It is obvious; the progress that has been made in economic gains in Charlotte, N.C. There is a cold, business reason for the gains; and that reason is a recognition of the negro in an almost complete public accomidation agreement. The gains made in Charlotte are advances that must be carried out throughout our state. If North Carolina is to ever count for anything, our economic awakening must be complete, now.

The opinion of northern or southern states counts for naught in your weighing of the Civil Rights Bill. North Carolina is the primary concern. Please don’t fillibuster for the sake of voters whose only tradition is ignorance and the misuse of their Constitutional rights. The college students of 1964 are for an economic birth in North Carolina, a birth that can be stimulated only by trade with economically propsperous states. North Carolina needs new industries, workers and a solvent economy. This can only be accomplished by a stimulation of trade.

Civil Rights must be enacted now. North Carolina needs the business. A better economy begets better education, which in turn begets better leadership, which flows into economy again. This circle is not vicious, but prosperous, in direct opposition to the circle now in North Carolina. Now commerce leading to inferior education leading to weak leadership, and we find ourselves back at bad commerce.

Senator Ervin, we near-voters are definitely for an economically prosperous North Carolina. It can only be achieved through trade and there is a step that can be taken toward it today. Civil Rights must be passed.

Yours truly,

(Miss) Judith Ann Murray

Sam Ervin’s Response to Miss. Murray:

Miss Judith Ann Murray
Box 461, Chatham College
Pittsburgh 32, Pennsylvania

Dear Miss Murray:
This is to thank you for your letter of February 11, which I have read with interest.

I cannot in good conscience support the pending civil rights proposals. This is true for reasons stated by me on the Floor of the Senate and in the North Carolina Law Review. I am enclosing copies of such statements and ask that you accpet them as an answer to your letter.

While I respect your right to think and speak your honest thoughts concerning proposed legislature in all fields of life, I wish to respectfully submit that each Senator has taken an oath to support the Constitution, and that he violates this oath if he supports legislation not warranted by the Constitution even if such legislation is favored by good men seeking what they conceive to be just ends.

With all kind wishes, I am

Sincerely yours,
Sam J. Ervin, Jr.

[Transcribed by Anna Brown]

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