Interview with Judge John Minor Wisdom
QUESTION 5
INTERVIEWER:

THAT'S A GOOD POINT TODAY. THAT IS A PROBLEM. NOW, IN TERMS OF RESISTANCE AMONG WHITE SOUTHERNERS, NEW ORLEANS DID FAIRLY WELL. THERE WAS ONE PERIOD —

Judge John Minor Wisdom:

There was one — one — one or two days where the — Leander Perez, who was not exactly a model citizen, but he was a powerful influence in Louisiana, he mobilized the mothers of white children, so that the day four little black girls attended the first grade, in one school, he had organized a demonstration against it, and — but there was no real violence. And there never was any real violence in New Orleans. But of course, there was later, in many other places. Selma, Alabama; Oxford, Mississippi. The Freedom Marchers marched with great courage. At a risk of life. had been a — a tradition to control by whites, of politics and everything else. And also a fear that — of miscegenation. That was more true, I think, in the, among the blue-collar class, or the manual laboring class, than among those who — with better education. But it was certainly true of that class. And that's the class, for example, who furnished the — the Klan with its members. The – the better educated whites formed citizens' councils. Now, in a way they were more dangerous than the Klan, because although they did not advocate violence, they did advocate resistance, in every possible way, except violence. And they were — this came from the leaders of the community. The leaders of the small towns throughout the south, for example, felt it a civic duty to belong to the citizens' council, the white citizens' council. Just as if today, they might, in a small town, want to belong to the Rotary Club. I don't know, really, whether that answers the question, what is the basis for the — for the fear. I think that basically