Interview with Gov. John Patterson
QUESTION 53
INTERVIEWER:

BUT SOME PEOPLE THOUGH THAT YOU OPENED THE DOOR TO THIS KIND OF, THIS ELEMENT IN THE POPULATION BY ALLOWING BULL CONNOR TO TAKE THESE PEOPLE OUT AND DROP THEM AT THE STATE LINE AND NOT CLAMPING DOWN ON THE SITUATION EARLIER. HOW WOULD YOU…

Gov. John Patterson:

Of course, you see, the governor of the state, would feel very reluctant to interfere with the city officials of Birmingham in their way of handling the situation. Now of course, I thought when he, I think when he carried them to the Missi, to the Tennessee line, he made a very bad mistake. [unintelligible] [16] And I never would have done anything like that. The polarization of the races made it impossible for the political leaders to bring about change. It was just political suicide to undertake change at that time because of the situation. The federal court became the valve by which change could be brought about without violence. And then the political leader could survive. He could blame the federal courts for the problems and he could survive politically. That's exactly the situation. We were very…