Interview with Senator Ralph Yarborough
QUESTION 25
INTERVIEWER:

SO, THEY DIDN'T NEED CIVIL RIGHTS CAMPAIGNS THEY JUST NEEDED MORE FOOTBALL?

Senator Ralph Yarborough:

Well, if, with that football, without the civil rights laws, those things wouldn't have been granted, they wouldn't have been granted automatically. Texas for example one of the last five states in the union to abolish the poll tax that kept the blacks, most of them from voting anyway, having to pay that poll tax. And they, Georgia had repealed it. Most states in the south had voluntarily repealed the poll tax requirement as a part of their own, uh, programs for advancing the rights of the black without the intervention of the federal government. And uh, we passed, uh, the constitutional amendment there you know to abolish the use of the poll tax and but before that was in federal elections only. And uh then, a judge appointed by Lyndon Johnson, his close personal friend, my personal friend, former mayor of Austin, Homer Thornberry was circuit judge. He wrote an opinion in Austin as presiding over a circuit court group that uh, the poll tax was unconstitutional and that knocked it out in Texas and four other states. There were only five that held on to that last vestige of denial of equal rights to the poor. That got the poor whites, as well as the poor blacks, that was just keeping the poor people from voting.