By Gordon E. Harvey
In southern politics, 1970 marked a watershed. a gaggle of southern governors entered place of work that 12 months and adjusted either the way in which the country checked out the South and how the components of these states seen themselves. Reubin Askew in Florida, John West in South Carolina, Jimmy Carter in Georgia, and Albert Brewer in Alabama all represented a brand new breed of innovative average flesh presser that helped demolish Jim Crow segregation and the twin economies, societies, and academic platforms infamous to the Sunbelt South. Historian Gordon Harvey explores the political lives and legacies of 3 of those governors, studying the stipulations that ended in this sort of radical switch in political management, the consequences their legislative agendas had at the identification in their states, and the aftermath in their phrases in elected office.
A universal thread in each one governor's time table used to be academic reform. Albert Brewer's brief time period as Alabama governor ended in a sweeping schooling package deal that also stands because the so much innovative the nation has visible. Reubin Askew, way more outspoken than Brewer, gained the Florida gubernatorial election via a crusade that brazenly promoted desegregation, busing, and tax reform as a method of equivalent university investment. John West's dedication to a coverage of inclusion helped allay fears of either black and white mom and dad and made South Carolina's one of many smoothest transitions to built-in schools.
As participants of the 1st iteration of recent South governors, Brewer, Askew, and West performed the function of trailblazers. Their winning attacks on financial and racial injustice of their states have been definitely aided through such landmark occasions as Brown v. Board of schooling, the civil rights flow, and the growth of balloting rights-all of which sounded the dying knell for the normal one-party segregated South. yet during this serious detailing in their paintings for justice, we learn the way those reform-minded males made schooling crucial to their gubernatorial phrases and, in doing so, helped redefine the very personality of where they referred to as home.
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Extra info for A Question of Justice: New South Governors and Education, 1968-1976 (Library of Alabama Classics)
Four separate cases were heard under the rubric of Brown. The Supreme Court sent one of these, Briggs v. Elliott, back to South Carolina where Judge John S. Parker of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Supreme Court had decided only that "a state may not deny to any person on account of race the right to attend any school that it maintains. . But if the schools which it maintains are open to children of all races, no violation of the Constitution is involved even though the children of different races voluntarily attend different schools, as they attend different churches.
If the law withstood constitutional challenge, the state could possibly revert to freedom of choice. If struck down as unconstitutional, then the law wherever practiced would be overturned, forcing those states that Brewer believed were getting away with segregation to implement desegregation laws. The session also had a political genesis.
Another complained to Brewer about the "stinking federal government" and how it had infringed on Alabamians' constitutional rights. A twelve-year-old from Mountain Brook said she favored segregation, and another child sent a letter "sealed with hope" that blacks would never attend her Mountain Brook school. Members of the Citizens Political Action Committee sent their opinion that "virtually no one wants integration. If many did, it would not be hard to get people to integrate. Voices in the dark cry 'forward!