Senator Sam Ervin was an interesting guy. There are things to like. He was against prayer in school. He opposed “no knock” searches. And he was instrumental in taking down Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon. He is now something of a liberal hero because he was a big defender of Jim Crow during the 50s and earlier 60s who did a turn around and supported civil rights—at least in an anemic way.
But there are big things to dislike about him. He was against the Equal Right Amendment. He was against the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, mostly for racist reasons. And he was basically a racist his whole life. (In his defense, given his life and times, he was pretty enlightened.)
Regardless of all this, he was an interesting guy—a character as we might have said back in the day. After retiring, he recorded an album, Senator Sam at Home. It is delightful. Here is a sample (thanks to Lawyers Guns & Money):
I’d like to think that Senator Sam would have been a bridge over troubled waters regardless of race or sex.