Buck vs. Bell

Emmett Till Murder - Pt. 2
2, 4, 6, 8 - We Want To Miscegenate!

That was the protest chant we never heard, but that segregationists passionately argued really sang in the heart (or other body part) of the civil rights movement. As a grade-school kid during the heat of the school desegregation battle, I could never grasp why school desegregation sparked such a venomous reaction. I thought I understood the threat of voting rights. But why was school desegregation so threatening?

Researching for this video cleared it all up for me.


Longines Chronoscope: Herman Talmadge, 1954

No - it was not Talmadge equating segregation with worship that enlightened me. He simply appears to be your garden-variety soapbox orator, whose bloated nose suggested that his true passion was alcohol. In 1979 he finally underwent treatment for alcohol abuse. Although, like many segregationists, he repudiated segregation to save his political career, he never took responsibility. Instead he argued that he was doing his duty in following the will of the electorate. Just following orders...

In an oral history, Talmadge recalled what forged his character:

"I needed every whipping I ever got, too, and they all helped me."

Maybe he just needed a few more whippings. Spare the rod, spoil the demagogue.


Florida Bar Journal, March, 2006

No light shed by the Florida State Supreme Court opinion - it just proves that supposedly intelligent people can embrace completely self-contradictory absurdity, if it is made to appear to support their beliefs:

"I might venture to point out ... that segregation is not a new philosophy generated by the states that practice it. It is and always has been the unvarying law of the animal kingdom, the dove and the quail, the turkey and the turkey buzzard ... it matters not where they are found, are segregated: place the horse, the cow, the sheep, the goat and the pig in the same pasture and they instinctively segregate ... and when God created man, he allotted each race to his own continent according to color, Europe to the white man, and Asia to the yellow man, Africa to the black man, and America to the red man, but we are now advised that God's plan was in error and must be reversed.... " [State v. Board of Control, 83 So. 2d 20, 27 (Fla. 1955) (Terrell, J., concurring)]

Right - a "white" man, ruling in the land of the "red" man, rules that horse, cow, and sheep (different species that cannot breed with each other) segregate, and therefore segregation of humans (same species, and therefore capable of breeding) is God's plan. And the argument conveniently misses this: horse, cow, and sheep are all domestic animals that resulted from generations of crossbreeding - i.e. mongrels, products of miscegenation. In other words, if the 1955 Florida Supreme Court ruled the animal kingdom, horses, cows, and sheep would be illegal.


Sex, Segregation, and the Sacred after Brown
Jane Dailey, The Journal of American History Vol. 91, Issue 1

The answer seemed so obvious - after I found it. Why would adults go crazy over kids in school? SEX, of course. Isn't that the reason for everything? The only sensible explanation came from the The Journal of American History, where Jane Dailey wrote:

Despite the precautions of both the NAACP and the Warren court, however, the Brown decision was interpreted by a large and vocal segment of white southerners in explicitly sexual terms. "The first reaction to the Supreme Court's decision was almost psychotic," Mark Ethridge, editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal, recalled. In a typical editorial comment, the Jackson Daily News in Mississippi denounced the school decision as "the first step, or an opening wedge, toward mixed marriages, miscegenation, and the mongrelization of the human race." Walter C. Givhan, an Alabama state senator, interpreted the Brown decision the same way. "What is the real purpose of this? To open the bedroom doors of our white women to Negro men." Numerous letters sent to southern governors struck the same theme. In a letter to Georgia governor Herman E. Talmadge (who was on record arguing that "God himself segregated the races" and who would continue to assert that "segregation is not inconsistent with Christianity"), William A. Robinson Jr. worried about the future. "Of course, we may abolish the public schools," Robinson wrote, "but when the NAACP procures from an obliging Court, as seems quite likely in the near future, a ruling adverse to our marriage restrictions, we cannot meet that issue by abolishing marriage." Georgia's state attorney general, Eugene Cook, agreed with this line of reasoning and took it a step further, predicting "an amalgamation stampede" should the Court rule against state antimiscegenation laws. Racial Facts, a popular pamphlet, made the same point in a way any southern gardener could understand, warning of "Negroid blood like the jungle, steadily and completely swallowing up everything."

So that's it. Segregationists feared that Johnny won't be able to read because Mary's become addick-ted to the load Tyrone's carrying in his baggy knickers. At the same time that they argued that segregation was natural and God's plan, they openly implied that anything less than strict laws of separation (enforced by both official and mob terrorism) would result in a stampede of white women eager to ride the black hot rod. Maybe a few counseling sessions on self-esteem could have solved the whole problem.

Maybe not.

For those readers who are not southern gardeners, the same point can be made in a way that could be understood by any inhabitant of the Internet milieu: