Oral History

Russell, Donald S. (1992)

Governor of South Carolina, 1963-1965; and U.S. Senator, 1965-1966.

John Carl West

West, John Carl (1996-1997)

Interview Transcript:
John C. West served as a member of the South Carolina Senate, 1955-1966; as Lieutenant Governor, 1967-1971; as Governor, 1971-1975; and as United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1977-1981.

In this interview (taped on four dates in 1996 and 1997) West discusses his childhood in rural Kershaw County, his education at The Citadel, his military career, his law school education and legal career, and his career in public service. Among the topics he covers are his thoughts on aspects of the state's development since World War II; his assessment of Fritz Hollings' gubernatorial term as a "watershed" in the style of state politics; his experiences with race relations and the civil rights movement; and details of various political campaigns.

He discusses the importance of William Workman's 1962 U.S. Senate campaign to the rise of the Republican Party in the state. He also describes his involvement with the 1960 John F. Kennedy presidential campaign in S.C. Some of his achievements during his career, including the creation of a second medical school in S.C., are detailed here, as well as his duties as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. His career was not without disappointments, however, and West shares some of the frustrations he faced.

Go to West Collection page


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