The Southern Case for School Segregation

The Southern Case for School Segregation

The Southern Case for School Segregation

The Southern Case for School Segregation

Excerpt

May it please the court:

When this book was conceived, it was intended to be titled "U.S. v. the South: A Brief for the Defense," but it seemed a cumbersome title and the finished work is not, of course, a brief for the South in any lawyer's sense of the word. It is no more than an extended personal essay, presented in this form because the relationship that exists between the rest of the country and the South, in the area of race relations, often has the aspect of an adversary proceeding. We of the South see ourselves on the defensive, and we frequently find ourselves, as lawyers do, responding in terms of the law and the evidence.

It is an unpleasant position for the South, which regards itself as very much a part of the American Republic, and it is an uncomfortable position also: We find ourselves defending certain actions and attitudes that to much of the country, and to much of the world, appear indefensible; some times we are unsure just what it is we are defending, or why we are defending it. We would like to think more upon these questions, but in this conflict there seldom seems to be time for thought or for understanding on either side. When one side is crying "bigot!" and the other is yelling "hypocrite!," an invitation to sit down and reason together is not likely to draw the most cordial response.

This brief for the South, as any brief must be, necessarily is a partisan pleading. My thought is to present the South's case (with a few digressions, irrelevancies, reminiscences, obscurities, and mean digs thrown in), but I hope to present it fairly, and without those overtones of shrill partisanship that drown out the voice of reason altogether. And it seems to me, if the suggestion may be advanced with due modesty, that a Virginia Conservative is perhaps in an unusually advantageous position to write such a brief. By tradition, inheritance, geography, and every intangible of the spirit, Virginia is part of the South. The Old Dominion, indeed . . .

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