Interview with William Simmons
QUESTION 20
INTERVIEWER:

OK, LET'S CUT OK, UM, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE GROWTH OF THE CITIZENS' COUNCILS IN THE LATE 50S AND UM… I'M SORRY, LET'S START AGAIN. SINCE THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE WHO JOINED THE COUNCIL, UM, CAN YOU GIVE US NUMBERS OR PERCENTAGES OF MEN WHO JOINED, OR WAS IT ONLY MEN?

William Simmons:

The Citizens' Councils in the late 5Os grew quite rapidly uh, as word of the organization spread. It actually got its biggest boost from a speech made by a lady member of the state legislature. Uh, the speech was well publicized and organizations began to spring up all over the state. The Citizens' Council was not and never was an overall organization. It was a group of local councils who cooperated with each other. There was no centralized record keeping and no one ever really knew uh, how many members there were but it, in this state and in neighboring states it numbered certainly into many thousands. The leadership typically in a local, on a local level, would be town leaders. Uh, lawyers, doctors, businessmen, professional men by and large. And of course planters in the Delta, farmers in the hills and uh generally that, that type of person. Uh, ladies were very active in it as well.