Interview with Constance Baker Motley
QUESTION 38
INTERVIEWER:

I'M GONNA JUMP AHEAD TO OLD MISS. NO, BEFORE I DO IT, MAYBE I'M WONDERING, YOU WERE SAYING THE BROWN DECISION HAD AN ENORMOUS IMPACT AND I'M WONDERING IF YOU COULD THINK ABOUT IT IN TERMS OF, OF THE EARLIER SCHOOL SEGREGATION CASES: LIITLE ROCK NINE, PRINCE EDWARD. DO YOU HAVE THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BROWN DECISION AND THE RESISTANCE TO IT?

Judge Constance Baker Motley:

Well of course, after the Supreme Court's decision in the Brown case, the legal defense fund set about the task of trying to implement that decision. And we made a conscious determination to start with the border states like Kentucky and Tennessee and Maryland and then eventually moved south to the hard core states, as we called them: Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia. And that was the game plan and we followed that as best we could. Although there were demands from people all over the south to have us represent them in cases. But we knew that as we moved further south there would be tremendous resistance. The first major resistance of course, cone in the little rock case in 1958 I guess it was, when Governor Faubus decided to defy the Supreme Court, and which required President Eisenhower to send troops to enforce the Supreme Court's decision. And then you know later when we went to Mississippi finally, that was a state which offered the greatest resistance to the, the Brown decision. The governor called upon every official in the state to resist. And those who believed that that was wrong I think were even fearful of saying so, because the overwhelming majority of the officials did see to agree with the governor—state officials I'm talking about—that the supreme courts' decision in the Brown case should not be implemented in Mississippi.