Interview with William Simmons
QUESTION 14
Prudence Arndt:

NOW CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE GROWTH OF THE CITIZENS' COUNCILS IN THE LATE '50S AND AS A RESULT AND RESPONSE TO THESE DECISIONS, BROWN AND [unintelligible].

William Simmons:

The Citizens' Councils were formed in the summer of 1954 following the Brown vs Board of Education decision on May 17 of '54 for the reason that it dealt directly with education, and parents were very concerned about their children, about the effects it would have on them. They didn't know exactly what to do, but they felt that they should organize. They looked around them, they saw that the decision itself had been the result of organization, of organized pressure over a period of many years. And they felt that it could only be fought with counter-pressure. That was through organization, hence the Citizens' Councils were formed. The name Citizens' Council was selected because it was descriptive. A council of citizens. And it was thought that the best course to follow would be to try to get respected capable people who were aware of community sentiment to form themselves together for purposes of communication, and study and try to determine what best course of action could be taken.