Interview with William Simmons
QUESTION 46
INTERVIEWER:

BUT WHAT ABOUT LATER MOVEMENTS IN, FOR EXAMPLE, IN, IN JACKSON, THE WHOLE MOVEMENT IN THE BLACK COMMUNITIES WHICH WAS A MOVEMENT WHICH CONSISTED OF UH, AROUND THE VOTING RIGHTS QUESTION. WHAT WAS YOUR RESPONSE TO THAT WHEN, WHEN BLACKS WERE ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING IN A WAY THEY HAD NOT BEFORE?

William Simmons:

There was no opposition to blacks participating in, uh, in registration voting uh, at all. The Citizens' Council has always taken a position that anyone who is qualified to vote should register and vote and be a good citizen. What is a little disturbing though about this whole question is the fact, is really is this question of race. They were asked to vote not as American citizens, but to vote as blacks. Now, there's been some history in the South of black block voting. And it has not been too pleasant. Most often it has been connected with political machines of, generally of a corrupt nature. I, to mention two the Crump machine in Memphis, Tennessee, the Long machine in Louisiana. None of which, neither one of which covered themselves with, one might say glory. And part of their power base was a manipulable black block vote. One could see this coming about and indeed it has, it has lead to all kinds of gerrymandering, uh, maneuvering by federal judges, by civil rights lawyers to advance black political power per se.