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July 24, 2015


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T-N Henderson

The young woman has to be Autherine Lucy. I knew there were mobs, but didn't realize they were from the Goodyear tire factory (where, coincidentally, James Hood's father was a tractor operator) . . .

Al Brophy

You are exactly right, T-N. Nicely done.

I'm excited by the proposals for the Watchman symposium. We'll start posting on Monday. And if any other readers want to join us, we have space. In the meantime, here are some of my preliminary thoughts on the clash of constitutional visions in Watchman:


I think Hood’s father worked in the Goodyear plant in his hometown of Gadsden. I’m wondering if many of the segregationist tire plant employees came from the Tuscaloosa Goodrich plant where Imperial Wizard Bobby Shelton worked.

Fraternity boys were on hand too, even if most students told reporters they came out just to “watch.” Newspapers identified U of A students burning NAACP literature and waving Confederate flags. The college expelled at least one student—pre-law sophomore Leonard Wilson, then president of the West Alabama Citizens’ Council—who rallied crowds against integration and, perhaps more egregiously, the college administration. Some 24 others received (undisclosed) disciplinary action.

It seems that only three people (non-students) were charged with disorderly conduct—and that charge was based on the egging of Emmet Gribbin, chaplain of the church that sits across from Foster Auditorium. The NAACP accused college officials of conspiring with those three men-- and Birmingham truck driver Richard Chambliss--to foment a violent atmosphere that would make integrating the campus a public safety hazard. Chambliss, of course, eventually went to jail for the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.

T-N Henderson

CM - Thanks for the correction! The Chambliss connection is fascinating.

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