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Davis didn't build his career in the labor movement by being week
Why did he choose Doris? Why did he treat her that way?
It's the strangest thing. It's very hard for me to say. Really I'm
not sure. In other cases with other Blacks, he was very very sharp and
very critical. With Doris, because I think it was like his image, he was
What do you mean “his image”?
She was his replacement. Not that he created her, in the sense
that it's not like Pygmalion. But he had like a vested interested in her
to work out right. I remember Teddy Mitchell, who came out of the
drug division. He was the first black to come on staff. He was a porter.
He had a certain good ability -- he was terrific on the platform. But he
had very very very severe and serious weaknesses. Davis would
humiliate him. Privately, publicly. With other blacks too, he would take
them on. That's what he was admired for! Yet in this case he didn't.
What's the conclusions? The conclusion is that we created her. We
were discussing this in terms of the election, in terms of the issue. You
make her the issue, and you say she's ruining the union. “Well you
people put her in there. When you put her in you said she was the
greatest person in the world. So that you're responsible for her.” The
truth is, we are responsible for her. Well Davis said it was the biggest
mistake he ever made. Now that's true, but it doesn't go far enough.
He has to now -- to be true -- he has to now say, when he speaks on
this issue, he has to explain why he did this and what happened. It's
not merely enough to say, “I made a mistake and it's the biggest
mistake I ever made.” But what are you going to learn from it? Say,
“Why did I do it?” and “What did I do?”
It also seems like not enough to say that because of a psychological
defect, so to speak, on Davis' part that the whole tradition of the union
was undone. There must be something more structural.
[END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO; BEGIN TAPE TWO, SIDE ONE]
We had set up these autonomous divisions -- hospital division,
guild, etcetera. But that could be played any way you want to. They
could be autonomous when you wanted them to be autonomous, but
the president could be the leader when he wanted them to be the
leader. I think here he was falling on the theoretical thing that it was
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