Interview with Hodding Carter III


Hodding Carter III:

Massive resistance was not Mississippi's invention. Massive resistance was a pattern of life across the South. And in fact, massive resistance was probably invented and given its most virulent and sophisticated form in Virginia in the original coining of both the phrase and the fact. The South in its legislatures readopted the old notion that the states when faced with federal tyranny could interpose themselves between their people and that tyranny. We all thought that had been solved by the Civil War. But such great theorists as the then editorial page editor of the Richmond paper, J.J. Kilpatrick, just came up and said, "Now is the time for us to play the game again." Being a great Southerner from Oklahoma, he spoke for the Southern tradition with that notion, and that as much as anything else was responsible for the deaths that followed. It was certainly responsible for the massive, absolute, total effort by white South and the white Southerner to stop any form of integration. So, Mississippi was in the end the most defiant of the defiant states, but it was not the only one. Alabama is after all George Wallace. George, outside of Atlanta was total resistance. South Carolina, resistance. Much of the northern parts of Florida, resistance. Arkansas had Orville Faubus, resistance. Louisiana, the pictures of the jeering white crowd and the little black children going into the schools ought to tell you what was going on there. Across the South it was the same, you were going to by God stand up and this time not let the Feds win. Because what was at stake was white supremacy, and that's all that was at stake and they were going to defend it.