You have now heard from someone who wanted people in the country to change the way they felt about racial equality. Now let's look at some people who did not want change. Several governors in the South wanted things to stay the same.

Governor Orval Faubus was from Arkansas; he defied the Supreme Court order for school integration and ordered the Arkansas National Guard to prevent nine African-American students from enrolling in Central High School in Little Rock.

The picture below is of Governor Faubus speaking at a rally at the state capitol. He is surrounded by supporters protesting the admission of the "Little Rock Nine" to Central High School. Members of the National Guard stand nearby.

Click the picture to see what Governor Faubus had to say about the Supreme Court order for school integration.

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Source: Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, John T. Bledsoe, Library of Congress

"The Supreme Court shut its eyes to all the facts, and in essence said, 'integration at any price,' even if it means the destruction of our school system, our educational processes, and the risk of disorder and violence that could result in the loss of life. Perhaps yours."

Excerpt from Speech of Governor Orval E. Faubus,
September 18, 1958

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Governor George Wallace of Alabama famously blocked the way of two African-American students at the University of Alabama in order to prevent them from registering. After a confrontation with federal marshals and the Alabama National Guard (who had been federalized), Wallace stood aside.

Below is a picture of Governor Wallace defiantly standing at the door of the University of Alabama while being confronted by Deputy U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach. News reporters and members of the National Guard stand nearby.

Click the picture to see what Governor Wallace had to say about racial integration.

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Photograph of Alabama Governor George Wallace confronting the Attorney General of Alabama at the doors of the University of Alabama

Source: Alabama Gov. George Wallace blocking the entrance to the University of Alabama, Warren K. Leffler, Library of Congress

"I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

Excerpt from Gov. Wallace's 1963 speech regarding segregation

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Lester Maddox of Georgia was a segregationist who owned a restaurant in Atlanta that, despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, refused to serve African Americans. He maintained that he would rather close the restaurant than serve "black people." Maddox was elected governor of Georgia in 1966. As governor, Maddox refused Martin Luther King, Jr. the honor of lying in state in Georgia's capitol after King's assassination.

Click the picture to see what Governor Maddox had to say about discrimination.

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Source: Governor Lester G. Maddox of Georgia, Digital Library of Georgia.

"That's part of American greatness, is discrimination. Yes, sir. Inequality, I think, breeds freedom and gives a man opportunity."

Slansky, P. (2008). Idiots, Hypocrites, Demagogues, and More Idiots: Not-So-Great Moments in American Politics. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing.

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In addition to governors, members of Congress from the South supported segregation. Some southern Democrats even broke away from the Democratic Party to form the Dixiecrats, a political party based on states' rights.

These Congressmen said that states should be able to decide the question of segregation and that the federal government should not be involved. South Carolina's Governor Strom Thurmond ran for president as a Dixiecrat in 1948 and actually won the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

Several southern Congressmen drew up what became known as the "Southern Manifesto," a document meant to answer the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Below is a photo of Strom Thurmond giving a public statement.

Click on the photo to see a portion of the "Southern Manifesto."

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Photograph of South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond giving a speech

Source: South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, StromThurmond Institute

"In the case of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 the Supreme Court expressly declared that under the 14th Amendment no person was denied any of his rights if the States provided separate but equal facilities. This decision has been followed in many other cases. It is notable that the Supreme Court, speaking through Chief Justice Taft, a former President of the United States, unanimously declared in 1927 in Lum v. Rice that the "separate but equal" principle is "within the discretion of the State in regulating its public schools and does not conflict with the 14th Amendment.

This interpretation, restated time and again, became a part of the life of the people of many of the States and confirmed their habits, traditions, and way of life. It is founded on elemental humanity and commonsense, for parents should not be deprived by Government of the right to direct the lives and education of their own children."

Excerpt from "The Southern Manifesto", Congressional Record, 84th Congress Second Session. Vol. 102, part 4 (March 12, 1956). Washington, D.C.: Governmental Printing Office, 1956. 4459-4460., The Strom Thurmond Institute.Close Pop Up

After reading the quotations from leaders of the opposition to the civil rights movement, answer the following questions using your notes: