The Politics of Moderation
There has been a kind of liberal strand running through the air-- but make no mistake about it, Greensboro is not all that liberal.
Nell Coley, a black schoolteacher
We're just like Georgia and Alabama except we do it in a tuxedo and they wear suspenders.
A prominent white attorney in Greensboro
The law is the landing force [of change]. It makes the beachhead. But the breakthrough, if it is to be significant, is broadened by forces from behind which take advantage of the opening to go the rest of the way. Where these forces are present, significant alterations of social practices result. Where they do not exist, the law has been unable to hold its beachhead and the legal action becomes a kind of military monument on which is only recorded, we were here.
John B. Frank, legal scholar
To those who believed that Greensboro might lead the rest of the South toward racial justice, the early response to the school board's desegregation resolution provided hope and reassurance. On May 19, 1954, the morning newspaper applauded the school board's willingness to face facts. "How one felt or what one did about segregation before Monday . . . has become relatively academic now," the Daily News editorialized. "Segregation has been ruled out and the responsibility now is to readjust to that reality with a minimum of friction, disruption, and setback to the public school system." A few days later, the Greensboro Jaycees--the largest chapter in the state--endorsed the school board's resolution by a margin of four to one. The same day, the Greensboro Ministerial Alliance added its support.
Acceptance of the Brown decision appeared to extend into the general community as well. A newspaper survey reported that most "ordinary citizens" had accepted the Supreme Court's decision as inevitable. "I really haven't had a chance to think it out," one White mother said, "but I feel the best thing to do is to go ahead and accept the decision and make