Interview with Erle Johnston
QUESTION 23
INTERVIEWER:

AND WHAT ABOUT THE SOVEREIGNTY COMMISSION? WHAT WAS ITS PURPOSE, SAY, IN THE EARLY 60S AS AN ORGANIZATION?

Erle Johnston:

Well, the Sovereignty Commission was organized in 1956 under Governor J.P. Coleman, and Governor Coleman incidentally was not in favor of it but he went ahead and signed it and it was a very, it was really a child of the Citizens' Council. The Citizens' Council was the one that promoted the creation of the Sovereignty Commission. The Sovereignty Commission and the bill that created it never had the word segregation. The wordage was to resist federal usurpation of states' rights. And of course people perpetuate, maybe racial integrity, which of course was the theme of the Citizens' Council because the Sovereignty Commission was called a watch dog on segregation but after the Congress passed the the civil rights law in 1964 and the voting rights law in ‘65 really it became moot.