Interview with William Simmons
QUESTION 8
INTERVIEWER:

WELL, IT SEEMS TO ME, I'LL JUST KEEP GOING ON THIS TRAIN OF THOUGHT, IN 54 WITH THAT DECISION, NOW THAT SEGREGATED SCHOOLS WERE ILLEGAL IN EFFECT, UM, CAN YOU JUST GIVE ME AN IDEA ABOUT THE KIND OF SHOCK THAT THAT DECISION UH, REGISTERED TO SOUTHERNERS?

William Simmons:

Uh it had a profound shock. It was met almost, the Supreme Court decision of 1954 caused a profound shock. Almost one of disbelief except to those who had been following prior decisions and who saw the way the wind was blowing, it was not too big a surprise there. What did come as a surprise was the second part of the decision. It really came in two parts the first one uh, said segregation was no longer legal. It outlawed segregation. The second part required integration and there is a distinction between those two, a very great distinction. And I think it was the second part when it really began to soak in that disturbed people very much because that involved the, the fact of compulsion, of compulsory mixing of people who had two um completely separate ways of life.