Opposition to the Civil Rights Movement and "Nation of Laws"

Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 08:06 am
I am trying to answer a question I have.

I am looking for historical facts backed by source documents, not a political discussion and would appreciate that your keep any responses here appropriately focussed on the specific historical question.

Clearly the nation was divided about the civil rights movement (I am particularly interested in the period during the Montgomery Bus Boycott). My hypothesis is that Americans that were opposed to the Civil Rights movement would use the fact that the "Negros" were breaking the law as a big part of the argument.

However, my first attempt at searching for documents that would either support or contradict my hypothesis didn't achieve either. Most of the documents readily available were written by the winning side, and the viewpoint of the opposition is not easily accessed.

But as this was a contentious national issue. I am sure there was a deeply held, well-articulated argument on why the Civil Rights movement was bad.

I would love to have access to well-written editorials from people who were opposed to the civil rights movement.

Can anyone offer insight in the arguments they used to justify their opposition to this movement-- particularly whether the fact that members of the movement were breaking laws was a core theme.
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Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 03:56 pm
I think your hypothesis is incorrect - at least directly. Blacks were accused (and charged) with committing crimes (trespass, etc..) but I don't recall many arguments that civil rights should be denied on that basis. From what I recall and what I've read over the years I get the impression that the issue was much more like the gay rights fight of today - it was more over "moral" issues than criminal issues.

But, you might look for speeches by Richard Russell. He was a southern senator (GA I believe) and was the lead in the Congress for stonewalling (i.e. fillibustering) the Civil Rights Act.
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Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 04:03 pm
I recall hearing the argument pbrown posess but it was generally present more on a conversational level than in public pronouncements. It would generally go like this: ..."I'm all for civil rights but those protestors are breaking the law" etc..etc..etc

In my experience it was a way people rationalized their opposition to the civil rights movement without actually expressing and opposing opinion
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Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 07:22 pm
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Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 07:57 pm
You might try to find minutes of the meetings of the Montgomery City Commission during that time frame. Also, the Montgomery Advertiser has a good web site of the events here and a link to the White Citizens Council here
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Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 08:32 pm
This is definitely a topic of interest; watching closely.
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