Interview with Hodding Carter III
QUESTION 7
INTERVIEWER:

HOW DID THEY EXTEND THEIR INFLUENCE ON TOWARD PEOPLE WHO MAY NOT INITIALLY HAVE WANTED TO JOIN THEM, HOW DID THEY…?

Hodding Carter III:

One way was simply to make it be seen as another necessary club for inclusion in the white family. That if you were going to be considered a responsible leader in your community you had to join it. Another was by suggesting that those who were outside it, if you weren't with us, were against us. That a moderate was someone, who would only let a little sewage under the door, as they said. That those who weren't ready to stand up and be organized were ready to lie down and let the integrationist take over. There were a handful of people who resisted them almost from the beginning, and my father was one of that handful. And the response to that, for that handful of whites, there was for us a boycott launched by the Citizens' Council which lasted from, I would say 1955 until 1968…[overlap]…on the newspaper, on its circulation, attempts on its advertising, which wasn't very successful, but the circulation certainly was in the outlying counties around us and areas…the—for that handful of extraordinarily brave blacks who tried immediately passing, for that handful of extraordinary brave blacks who tried following ‘54 to do something, the Citizens' Council provided the mechanism for quick suppression. Names that found themselves, for instance, on petitions for the integration of local schools were names that soon found themselves without jobs. A person who was identified in Belzoni, Mississippi as a leading member of the NAACP soon found [unintelligible] dead. People who were considered to be major [unintelligible] courts. Within four years the Citizens' Council was powerful enough that in the election of 1959 it threw its support openly and actively behind the candidacy of a damage suit lawyer named Ross Barnett, not one of the world's most successful politicians up to then, and saw him elected over a supposed moderate who was himself a segregationist, but with a quieter voice than Ross Barnett. And from 1959 until 1963 in the Barnett administration the Citizens' Council was the state and the state effectively on matters racial was the Citizens' Council.**