Why Segregation Collapsed In Montgomery


This comes from J. Mills Thornton III’s Dividing Lines: Municipal Politics and the Struggle for Civil Rights In Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma.

“The ICC order, therefore, constitutes the first real blow to the segregationists’ belief that they were winning the battle; it was the first clear evidence that integration inevitably held the initiative, that the federal government had, if it would but use, the weapons with which to overwhelm the segregationists’ defenses.

The increasingly widespread entry of federal court injunctions in response to suits proliferating across the South during 1962 and 1963, along with increasingly energetic efforts by federal executive agencies at the same time, encouraged the growth of this. And the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, leading to the massive desegregation of the whole range of public accommodations within a period of weeks during July of that year – and with only quite scattered municipal resistance, virtually all of which had crumbled by years end – made the conclusion almost impossible to avoid.”

From 1955 to 1965, city and state politics in Montgomery shifted to the right as Jim Crow came under assault with hardcore segregationists ousting liberals and moderates: John Patterson and George Wallace replaced Big Jim Folsom as governor, Clyde Sellers and L.B. Sullivan replaced Dave Birmingham on the Montgomery City Commission.

Jim Crow was destroyed in Montgomery by the existence of the Union: Smith v. Allwright in 1944, which ended the white primary; Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, which ordered the integration of public schools; Browder vs. Gayle in 1956, which integrated public transportation in Montgomery; the ICC ruling in 1961, which integrated all bus terminals in the United States.

The list continues: Lee vs. Macon County Board of Education in 1963, which ordered desegregation of Alabama public schools; the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which abolished all remaining segregated public institutions; the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which put Alabama elections under the control of the Justice Department; White v. Crook in 1966, which put blacks on Alabama juries; Loving v. Virginia in 1967, which struck down Alabama’s anti-miscegenation law.

Among other things, there were also specific federal court injunctions by Judge Frank Johnson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama which integrated Montgomery’s library, parks, museums, and airport, in addition to Browder v. Gayle which ended the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Were it not for the existence of the Union, the White backlash would have easily defeated the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama. It triumphed solely because of the subservience of state and local officials to Washington. In the near future, amnesty for illegal aliens and gay marriage will also be imposed on Alabama, as we have already seen with Obamacare.

Update: Here’s a link to a fascinating essay on the Jewish Question in Montgomery which includes the story of how Montgomery was “redeemed” from Reconstruction by its first Jewish mayor, Mordecai Moses, and how the Jewish community in Jim Crow Montgomery was firmly ensconced in the city’s elite.

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  1. The Federal leviathan will impose gun control, amnesty and gay marriage and as usual conservatives will do nothing but roll over and take it. Notice how leftists simply ignore with impunity Federal laws they are not in agreement with; sanctuary cities and “medicinal marihuana” being just two examples of this. Why don’t conservatives grow a pair and begin following leftist tactics?

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