F OR MANY YEARS the American vocabulary has included the phrase Solid South, but the phrase is more romantic than realistic, especially if from solid one infers uniform. Where Negro rights are concerned, there are within the southern region -- within, that is, Alabama, Arkansas, the Carolinas, northern Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, northeastern Texas, and Virginia -- many degrees of what James Silver calls "the closed society." Atlanta and New Orleans are worlds apart from, say, Cleveland, Mississippi, or Macon, Georgia. A continual awareness of this diversity in the makeup of Dixie is important, for, when we discuss, as we propose to do here, what the Reform rabbis 1 of the South have or have not done in the realm of civil rights since 1954, it is necessary for us to pose the question: Which South? Once this is understood, a generalization about the mood of the South as a whole might prove helpful as a point of departure.
Our generalization is simply this: The reaction of the South toward the so-called civil rights movement has been one of, at the least,____________________