April 10, 1994
Physical Education Complex
There are some reasons I have for being proud of being a Southerner, and Clifford Durr is one of them.
— C. Vann Woodward
Welcome and Introductions
Dr. Guinevera A. Nance
Auburn University at Montgomery
Greetings from Durr Leadership Committee
Dr. Allen K. Hess
Head, AUM Department of Psychology
Member, Durr Coordinating Committee
The Clifford J. Durr Lectures Endowment Fund
Mrs. Lucy Durr Hackney
Durr Leadership Committee
Mr. John W. Durr
Cliffor J. Durr, the Man
Mrs. Zecozy Williams
Friend and Companion of
Virginia F. Durr
Introduction of Mr. Buchwald
Dr. William V. Muse
President, Auburn University
Member, Durr Leadership Committee
“Things I’m Not Allowed to Tell You”
Mr. Art Buchwald
Questions and Answers
Dr. Guin Nance
Art Buchwald was born in Mt. Vernon, New York, and was raised in Hollis in Queens, New York. He attended Public School 35, Jamaica High School, and Forest Hills High School but never graduated. Instead, he ran away to join the Marines where he served honorably (so he claims) from 1942 to 1945 in the Pacific. Although he wasn't a war hero, he looked very good in uniform.
Upon his return to civilian life, Art Buchwald enrolled at the University of Southern California. After three years at USC, he bought a one-way ticket to Paris via the GI Bill of Rights.
Pretending to attend a French language school in Paris, Mr. Buchwald landed a job with Variety magazine. In January, 1949, he took a trial column, "Paris After Dark," to the offices of the European edition of the New York Herald Tribune. Mr. Buchwald sold the Tribune on the idea that he was qualified to write about the restaurants and night life of Paris because of the food he had eaten in the Marine Corps. His credentials were never checked and, in time, he was considered the best-fed newspaperman in Europe. In 1952, the New York Herald Tribune in New York decided to syndicate the Buchwald column, which by then encompassed Europe as well as Paris.
Although these columns dealt with life on another continent, they were very successful in the United States. Buchwald portrayed himself as the Charlie Chaplin of the international set—constantly thrown out of parties and from yachts; traveling to the Soviet Union in a chauffeur-driven limousine to let the Soviet people see what a capitalist really looked like; and venturing to Africa in search of a white hunter in an effort to be considered a true-blue writer in the same class as Hemingway.
In 1962, he returned to the United States to reside in Washington, D.C. His column is published through the Los Angeles TimesSyndicate, and he continues to write for 550 newspapers from Seattle to Yokohama.
Mr. Buchwald has written 28 books, including I Think I Don't Remember (Putnam, 1987), Whose Rose Garden Is It Anyway?(Putnam, 1989), and Lighten Up, George (Putnam, 1991). He has also written a play, two children's books, and a novel. His autobiography, Leaving Home, was published by Putnam in January, 1994.
He was a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for "Outstanding Commentary" in 1982, and in 1986 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Mr. Buchwald is a workaholic and has no hobbies.
John W. Durr
Born in Montgomery, Alabama, John W. Durr is the son of James J. Durr (brother of Clifford J. Durr) and Elia G. Durr. He served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953 and attended the University of Alabama, where he received a B.S. degree in Commerce and Business Administration in 1955.
Mr. Durr spent his entire business career with Durr-Fillauer Medical, Inc. This career first placed him in Montgomery for four years, moved him to Mobile for 15 years, and finally returned him to Montgomery for 18 years as Executive Vice President of Administration.
Mr. Durr was instrumental in initiating the Durr-Fillauer Merit Scholarships for Auburn University at Montgomery. Also, he is one of the principles responsible for the establishment of the Durr-Fillauer Chair in Business Ethics at the School of Commerce and Business Administration at the University of Alabama.
He is married to the former Patricia Collins and they have two children, James J. Durr II and Lucy Powers Durr.
Mrs. Williams was born in the small precinct of Egypt in Hope Hull, Alabama. She attended Tankersley School, Booker T. Washington School, and was graduated from George Washington Carver High School. Thirty years later, Mrs. Williams received the baccalaureate degree in early childhood education from Tuskegee Institute.
In the 1950s, when Clifford Durr represented the Williams in the purchase of a house on Holt Street in Montgomery, Mrs. Williams and her husband became friends of Clifford and Virginia Durr.
In the 1960s, Mrs. Williams traveled many miles and faced many adversities as coordinator of voter registration for the NAACP for five counties in central Alabama. Many believe that it was her letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson which prompted the federal voter registrars to come to central Alabama.
Mrs. Williams has been married to Essie Cue Williams for 55 years; they have one daughter. Mrs. Williams is Virginia Durr's frequent companion.