Stepping out of the Shadows: Alabama Women, 1819-1990

By Mary Martha Thomas | Go to book overview
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10
"Alive to the Cause of Justice" Juliette Hampton Morgan and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

SHERYL SPRADLING SUMME

Juliette Morgan was basically reserved and shy but could, in the words of her coworkers and friends, "rise to militancy for a righteous cause or speak out forthrightly for truth and justice." She was a deeply religious white intellectual who abhorred racial prejudice. As an Episcopalian and a member of the upper class in Montgomery, Alabama, she had the courage and the means to express controversial racial and political views and was often "the spokesman for a growing group of Progressive Southerners."1 In 1955-56, she was one of a small number of white women in Montgomery to support publicly the boycott of Montgomery's buses by the city's blacks. Primarily through letters to the editor of the Montgomery Advertiser, she expressed strong integrationist views that marked her as unusual among white people in Montgomery at that time. While her privileged position in society gave her the opportunity to make a visible and significant dissent, it also made her a target for the special hatred directed at insiders who questioned the white establishment.

Born in 1914 to Frank P. and Lila Bess Olin Morgan, Juliette Hampton Morgan was a member of a family whose ancestors had lived in the South since the early seventeenth century and in Alabama since before the Civil War. As the only child in this wealthy and prominent Montgomery family, she was made aware of the importance of politics from an early age. Her father, a prominent politician concerned with the welfare of Alabama's blacks, was elected four times to the Alabama Public Service Commission and later served on the Interstate Commerce Commis

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