Interview with Oscar Persons, December 18, 2017

Collection: Two-Party Georgia Oral History Project

Dublin Core


Oscar Persons talks about his first interests in Republican politics in the 1960s, recalling in particular Barry Goldwater’s presidential run in 1964 and Bo Callaway’s 1966 gubernatorial run. Persons then describes how the Republican Party grew in the 1970s and 1980s, highlighting the internal divisions the party suffered during this growth. He then talks about smaller Republican victories in the 1990s and how they led to statewide victories in the 2000s.

Oscar Persons was born in McCormack, South Carolina but moved to small towns around the South with his father, a missionary Baptist preacher. He spent his high school years in Columbus, Georgia, and studied engineering at Georgia Tech. After graduating in 1960, he served in the United States Navy’s Seventh Fleet for several years. Returning to Georgia, Persons was employed by Southern Bell as an engineer and moved to Atlanta. He graduated from Emory University’s Law School in 1967. Persons joined the Atlanta Young Republicans, working his way up to become the organization’s president. Persons served as the general counsel for the Georgia Republican Party from 1971-1992. He was also the chairman in Georgia for Bob Dole’s presidential campaigns in 1988 and 1996.






Oral History Item Type Metadata



98 minutes


Oscar Persons and Ashton Ellett, “Interview with Oscar Persons, December 18, 2017,” UGA Special Collections Libraries Oral Histories, accessed July 25, 2024,