Interview with Burke Marshall
QUESTION 26
INTERVIEWER:

THIS QUESTION OF ENFORCING A COURT DECREE WHEN, WHEN THERE'S OPPOSITION TO IT, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN TERMS OF FEDERAL [?]?

Burke Marshall:

Well, it, it, it doesn't often but it happens. If a governor is determined to do everything he can to thwart a compliance with a federal court order, he has enormous powers at his control. He has the power of the, over the motions, the emotions of the people of the state and that's an enormous power because if you have a crowd of two or three or four or five thousand people, with guns there is an enormously dangerous situation. It isn't just a question of getting out marshals, you have to get out the United States Army to combat with that. He's got, he's got initial control of state national guard. Now the, the problem in our history—it isn't the only problem—but the basic problem in our history that is about that kind of defiance of federal authority, by state authorities is the race issue. It is the determined adherence to a system of racial oppression. And the system of racial oppression was threatened just by the entry of one black student to the University of Mississippi, so the state of Mississippi was just determined by the state, I mean the governor, every state official, every state judge, that I know of. Almost all of the officials of the University, 90% of the students of the University, all the sheriffs of the counties of Mississippi, all of, a whole lot of deputy sheriffs, a whole lot of farmers and other people with guns were determined to resist that order. Now when you get to that situation, it is, it's not a question that can be handled by lawyers. It isn't a question of going to the court and saying, "This is what you should do, court. Order this and all will be well." That won't solve it. The only thing that solves that in the end, is by the use of force, and the only questions are, whom, a, who is going to apply the, who is going to apply the force? At what time? On what occasion? By what means? In what magnitude? For what duration?