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Interview with Horace A. Silver

Silver, Horace A.
Perzel, Edward
Causby, Anna
Date of Interview: 
UNC Charlotte; Dr. Bonnie Cone; World War II; Changes in higher education; Veteran's Administration
Horace Silver gives a description of his work history that includes employment with the Department of Veteran's Affairs and the State Department of Revenue. He provides an overview of the evolution of higher education in the city of Charlotte, making note of the time he spent working with Dr. Bonnie Cone.
Interview Setting: 
Interview as part of the WSOC-TV Oral History Project. Interviews conducted at either the downtown public library or the Midtown Shopping Mall.
WSOC-TV Oral History Project
Collection Description: 
The Oral History Project of 1979, headed by Dr. Edward Perzel, was an effort to gather and preserve spoken recollections. Interviews were conducted with older citizens, primarily over the age of 65, who were encouraged to share their memories and stories.
Interview Audio: 
AC (Anna Causby): This is Anna Causby May 22, 1979 interviewing Horace A. Silver. What would you like to start with?
HS (Horace Silver): Well, what do you want me to talk about?
AC: Let's talk about anything that you want to that you remember.
HS: Oh you want to talk about anything that I want to that I remember about what in particular?
AC: About Charlotte
HS: Well, I'm not a native of Charlotte. I came to Charlotte after World War II as an employee of the Veteran's Administration. And was located here as an officer and a rehabilitation department. And my position with that was to advise the training officers and placement in training the returning World War, on the job training that is, the returning World War II veterans. And we had a very excellent program. We had them in all facets of training. Auto mechanics. Marketing. On the job training. And most of these boys that finished these courses in the rehab were very good employees, and most of them were employed by their former employers. And they went on into that. After a years' worth of work here as a training officer, I resigned from the Veterans Administration, and took a year's graduate work at the University of Kentucky. And after I did that, I came back with the Veteran's Administration as a contract officer for several years. Then I transferred from that to the office of ( ). Stabilization as a field investigator for about eighteen months under the administration of Harry Truman. And with advent of Eisenhower I was, this job that I had as officer of ( ). Stabilization was terminated. And I applied back with the State Department of Revenue for a field auditors position in taxes, sales taxes, income tax, any kind of tax related to the Revenue Act mostly. I handled them for a period of around twenty-five years. And at age sixty-five, I retired from this program, and I am now a commissioner for the North Carolina Veterans Commission appointed by Governor Hunt. I was elected to the North Carolina Retired, Retired Governmental Employees Association and have three years and was just recently re-elected for another period of three years. And that has to do with the welfare of the retired North Carolina employees working for in their behalf for more retirement benefits. And we were very successful in the last session of the legislature in getting a rise, a raise in retirement pay. And the state subsidized the retired employees by giving them a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance policy that took care of what Medicare, under the aging, does not take care of. And that is about a history of my life up until now. And in 19 and 45, 55 I was elected Department Commander of the Disabled Veterans. Served a year as a commander. Increased the membership considerably. It was about sixteen hundred with the termination of my period, and I've been as commander. And I've been very active in that organization ever since. Now we have approximately fifteen thousand members and still growing. And is that?
AC: Is that a friend of yours?
HS: Oh, no. I don't even, I don't even know him.
AC: He said hello hard.
HS: I'll be damned if I know anything. [laughter] Oh, am I still on this thing.
AC: Yeah. [laughter]
HS: I better stop. I'd better hush up. [laughter] Are there any questions you'd like to ask?
AC: Well, maybe. Yeah. You haven't been in Charlotte then as long as some of the people we've interviewed. Like what changes have you seen Charlotte come, go through?
HS: I, I didn't--.
AC: Changes, like maybe in the townscape?
HS: Oh, when I came to Charlotte originally, we had the, the streetcars and since that time we have a new transit to buses. And the, I think it's about fifty-five thousand people in when I first worked here. Now I wasn't a resident of Charlotte until during the wartime, World War II. My family moved from Raleigh here, and when I returned from service, my home was here, and I maintained a home in Charlotte practically ever since. And they've been a tremendous change in the facilities in Charlotte by housing and what have you. And also in the size and industry has increased tremendously. And Charlotte at the present time is a small metropolis, so to speak. And it's the place that I live right now, my home, is in the city of Charlotte, and it was in the country when I came here. That's the other end of Selwyn Avenue. And it when I came here there was no sch--, colleges other than Johnson C. Smith University. Now under Dr. Bonnie Cone and Dr. Garinger the development of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte came about.
AC: I just took.
EP (Edward Perzel): Turn it over.
AC: No, you had already taped on this side. I turned it over.
HS: On my return from univer--, graduate school at the University of Kentucky to North Carolina I was re-employed with the Veteran's Administration as a contract officer. And in so--, that capacity I worked with Dr. Bonnie Cone, who was a headed up the off-campus course at old Central High School in Charlotte on Elizabeth Avenue, as an off-campus course at the university to take GI in training. And working with Dr. Bonnie Cone through this program, she later developed this program into Charlotte College, and was its first president. Dr. Cone and her work as president of Charlotte College was very helpful in getting Charlotte College admitted to the university as, as a member of the university, which is now the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. And if I remember my history correctly, a biography of, of Jefferson in which he stated that he'd rather be president, known as the president and founder of the University of Virginia than president of the United States. And by the same token, if Thomas Jefferson can be known as the president or founder of the university, founding father of the University of Virginia, Dr. Bonnie Cone of Charlotte can be known as the mother of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, which I was very happy and proud to do so. The educational facilities of has increased by having a full-fledged accredited university of the state in our fair city, which I am very happy to, to know about at this time. It should be a godsend to the students of this area and their educational benefits. The students can stay at home and commute to and from the college from a vast area in and about Charlotte, Gastonia, Kings Mountain, Concord, Kannapolis, and Statesville. I understand that there are students commuting as far as seventy-five miles of the university, and this wasn't so in my day. You either lived on the campus or near the campus or you didn't go. And the wonderful thing in the educational system of this town now a boy or girl that desires an education can have it by working full time and not be dependent on their parents and take night courses, which they can acquire a degree in a field of their endeavor. Which was not available nearer than the city of Washington, DC when I was a boy. I finished at State University in Raleigh, which is known as State College at that time under the administration of Colonel Harrison. And at that time, there was no such a thing as a night school that offered a degree or in the state. And that's one of the fine thing in the field of education that we have today that we didn't have in my, my day. Now, there were some professional schools that I attended, a year and half in Royster's law school while I was working with the Revenue Department, but now those schools are vanished. And the only law school that you can go to now is a four-year school, and I understand that we have about five in this state. And the requirement is a degree from a four-year college now before you can enter such a school. I believe that's about enough.
AC: OK. Thank you very much. .