Interview with Judge Robert Carter
QUESTION 17
INTERVIEWER:

COULD YOU TALK JUST ABOUT WHAT, WHAT I SEE IS CONSIDERED AS THE FIRST EXTENSION OF BROWN, THAT IS THE BROWDER CASE? DID YOU SEE THAT AS AN EXTENSION OF THE BROWN DECISION INTO OTHER AREAS IN EDUCATION? DID YOU SEE IT AS A CONNECTION, THE SUPREME COURT'S DECISION DESEGREGATING THE MONTGOMERY BUSES—I'VE SEEN DESCRIBED AS THE FIRST TIME THEY TOOK THAT DECISION OF YOU CANNOT HAVE SEGREGATION IN SCHOOLS, AND SAID YOU CANNOT HAVE SEGREGATION IN SOME OTHER AREA.

Judge Robert Carter:

Well, the problem is that the court can't, couldn't do anything. It couldn't do otherwise. What had occurred was that the Montgomery boycott—after Brown there were segregated golf courses, buses and interstate commerce. No, I'm sorry, intrastate commerce, within the city limits. Segregation of interstate commerce had been abolished in 1948, 1950 by court decision. But intrastate commerce, within the state, had not. And when the Court handed down Brown vs. The Board of Education it had to apply that across the board, because what Brown meant was that segregation in American life was through, was finished. It was legally dead. That you couldn't have segregation any—in any of the other public reaches of American life. That's what Brown meant. It wasn't—they couldn't just apply it to the schools. It had to have an overall implication, and that's what, so that's what happened. So that when Browder, which had been tried before, came to the Supreme Court, and these cases—another case came from Baltimore—the Court near granted it so cherari(?) and then sent it back on the basis of Brown vs. The Board of Education. So that's the full meaning of Brown—is that segregation is dead legally in the United States. No law is valid that supports segregation as I think I told you, as I think I said, the Brown transformed blacks into militant—demanding their rights. And there was a, I think, roughly about a ten year period when everything was more or less quiet, only the law we were trying to mop up, and go into legal activities, and we had a lot in the South, where to do—where they were passing laws barring civil rights lawyers from and in effect being involved in litigation, charging them with barratry[?] and so forth and so on. And so those things were passed and then the effort was made in fact to outlaw the Association. The Association hadn't really been of much interest until Brown to people in the South. And then, I think it was unleashed in the marches and student protests and so forth that came in the sixties, and it seems to me that what's involved. Of course, the things that have to be done now is that there has to be more effort made on the economic front, which I think is the place where a great deal has to be done, and a great deal of effort has to be made. And there has to be a great deal of effort made also in—on the political level. We're in a period it seems to me now where things are very quiet, and as a matter of fact it—they're not quiet. They look like as if there's a regression during this whole period, but I am old enough to feel fairly sanguine. Historically, we have in America—there's been this movement back and forth, like a clock, and you go forward three steps and back two, and so it seems to me that that's what is occurring now, occurring now. That we are in a point of regression, but it'll be over, and we'll move forward.