Interview with Erle Johnston
QUESTION 50
INTERVIEWER:

OK, NOW HOW DID YOU TOUCHED ON THIS BEFORE, BUT SPECIFICALLY, HOW DID THE PASSING OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT, HOW DID THAT CHANGE SAY, THE CUSTOMS AND THE TRADITIONS OF IN MISSISSIPPI IN REGARDS TO RACE?

Erle Johnston:

When Congress passed the Civil Rights Acts of 1964—now, I might as well tell you, the Sovereignty Commission was involved in fighting the passage of that bill. In fact, we had money funneled through the Sovereignty Commission, donated by outsiders. In fact, one from New York, who were [sic] interested in not seeing that bill passed. Of course, our position was at that time that if you have a restaurant you ought to decide who you want to serve. Of course, their position was that if you were in the public if you were advertising and that kind of stuff, why you got to accept whoever comes in in response to your ad. And we considered that sort of an invasion of, of states' rights. The Supreme Court had ruled unconstitutional the Agricultural Adjustment Act of President Roosevelt's day because it invaded states' rights. So this was a turn around as far as the Supreme Court was concerned. States' rights? No, they don't exist. So, Barnett often said you know, that the, the Bill of Rights was a, was good for the country until the Supreme Court started tearing it up.

FILM PRODUCTION TEAM:

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