By Gordon E. Harvey
In southern politics, 1970 marked a watershed. a gaggle of southern governors entered workplace that yr and adjusted either the best way the state checked out the South and how the parts 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 revolutionary average baby-kisser that helped demolish Jim Crow segregation and the twin economies, societies, and academic structures infamous to the Sunbelt South. Historian Gordon Harvey explores the political lives and legacies of 3 of those governors, reading the stipulations that resulted in the sort of radical swap in political management, the results their legislative agendas had at the identification in their states, and the aftermath in their phrases in elected office.
A universal thread in every one governor's schedule was once academic reform. Albert Brewer's brief time period as Alabama governor ended in a sweeping schooling package deal that also stands because the such a lot innovative the nation has visible. Reubin Askew, way more outspoken than Brewer, received the Florida gubernatorial election via a crusade that brazenly promoted desegregation, busing, and tax reform as a method of equivalent tuition 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 new release of recent South governors, Brewer, Askew, and West performed the position of trailblazers. Their profitable attacks on financial and racial injustice of their states have been definitely aided by way of such landmark occasions as Brown v. Board of schooling, the civil rights circulate, and the growth of balloting rights-all of which sounded the loss of life 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 principal 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 resources for A Question of Justice: New South Governors and Education, 1968-1976 (Library of Alabama Classics)
30 The existence of the Sovereignty Commission in Brewer's administration marks an important transitional phase in Alabama history during this period. Brewer definitely wanted to make a new beginning for Alabama. Not ungrateful for what George Wallace had done for him, Brewer still believed he represented a change in the approach by the state government, though at times it did not appear so. The Sovereignty Commission, which had increasingly come under fire, represented segregationist tradition.
31 Although Judge Johnson had been the recipient of much of Brewer's scorn, because of the wide-ranging implications of Lee v. Macon, it was another system and another judge's decision that seemed to occupy the remainder of Brewer's time in office. Davis v. Board was filed at the same time as Lee v. Macon, but its results were very different. Because the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the Justice Department expanded authority to intervene in desegregation cases, the Mobile case attracted the careful attention of both state and federal governments, including President Nixon and HEW secretary Robert Finch.
Concerned citizens' groups of like opinion formed throughout the state during these years, and Mobile was no exception. One Mobile group, Stand Together and Never Divide (STAND), recruited a large membership. At its first meeting in the spring of 1968, more than five hundred attended. Almost one thousand were present at the next rally, and at its third, police reported three thousand in attendance. Not to be outdone, civic groups weighed in on the issue of integration and HEW involvement. Mobile's Canes Club and Exchange Club passed resolutions condemning the involvement of HEW and court orders integrating Mobile's children.