Interview with Constance Baker Motley
QUESTION 13
INTERVIEWER:

WE WERE LOOKING IN OUR PROGRAMS AT THE MASSIVE RESISTANCE MOVEMENT, THE RESISTANCE PARTICULARLY IN VIRGINIA, PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY. I'M WONDERING IF YOU COULD TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THATI THAT QUESTION OF MASSIVE RESISTANCE AND HOW IT DEVELOPED OUT OF THE STATES' RIGHTS PROBLEM.

Judge Constance Baker Motley:

After the Brown decision in 1954, I think we were not really quite prepared for the extent to which the south would resist the implementation of the Brown decision. In fact the shutting down of the NAACP in Alabama, the resistance evidenced in places like Virginia and Arkansas, the legislative investigations committees in Florida and in other states, really frightened us,** we were not prepared to protect black lawyers for example who were summoned before these legislative committees. We were not quite prepared for the shutting down of the NAACP in Alabama. We had to suddenly become corporate lawyers. We were driven out of Mississippi so to speak, because the NAACP had failed to pay a corporation tax. We had never heard of any such thing because we were civil rights lawyers, and so the resistance was really much more than we had anticipated. We obviously knew there would be resistance but the sophisticated level of the resistance was what we had not anticipated.