Interview with Burke Marshall
QUESTION 34
INTERVIEWER:

TALK WITH US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT'S ACTIVITIES IN 1961 IN DALLAS COUNTY.

Burke Marshall:

Well, I don't remember quite when the first suit was filed in Dallas County, but Dallas County was marked as a place for voting rights suit, early, in 1961. We prepared the case. We prepared it thoroughly. We had a bad judge. That is, the federal judge, who had- who had been a judge for several years, was not so much racially prejudiced, perhaps, as totally indecisive. So he wouldn't do anything. He—he would just sit on the case, and wouldn't issue an order. The—once an order was issued, the Dallas County authorities did all sorts of things to avoid it, avoid complying with it. So that it was- just took enormous amount of man-hours, of lawyers' work, to get a little accomplished in Dallas County, to get a few people registered to vote. They would change the rules, they would cheat, they would do anything to avoid letting black citizens freely register to vote, in that part of Alabama. It wasn't just Dallas County, but the neighborhood counties. There was a, a large black population in those counties, and the whites were just afraid of losing their political power, and they were determined to fight it.