To combat agricultural depression and the hand-to-mouth cash crop system, North Carolina has for months been conducting what its able Governor Oliver Max Gardner calls a "Live-at-Home" campaign. The economic theory behind this program is that the home-living husbandman raises his own food and feed, patronizes local production plants, reduces his dependence upon extrastate sources of supply. A prime feature of the campaign was an essay contest among 800,000 North Carolina school children. Last week Governor Gardner closed the competition by awarding prizes in the House of Representatives.
Before him, crowded cheek to jowl, sat whites and blacks, men and women, boys and girls, for the "Live-at-Home" movement included Negroes. Newsmen remarked with astonishment upon the sudden evaporation of race prejudice. Negroes spoke from the same rostrum as Governor Gardner about the "recovery of their race's self-respect." Declared Governor Gardner:
"This is an important day in North Carolina historythe date of the Declaration of Independence of North Carolina agriculture. . . . The 'Live-at-Home' idea is not a fad. We have already gotten out of the sentimental stage of talking about it. Already its results are apparent. . . ."
To Leroy Sossamon, blond and blue-eyed, of Bethel High School and to Ophelia Holley, chocolate brown, Governor Gardner awarded two large identic silver loving cups for their prize-winning essays. Then, with them, he walked out before the statue of Governor Charles Brantley Aycock to be photographed. His political friends, suddenly apprehensive, reminded him that no southern Governor had ever had his picture taken publicly with a Negro, warned him that such a photograph would be used against him in future campaigns. Undaunted, Governor Gardner ranged the black girl on his right and the white boy on his left, ordered the photographer to proceed. Said he: "If I ever get into politics again I'll use this picture for myself."
:*Mr. Legg is a Presbyterian. Mr. Williams is a Divine Scientist.