Commissioner Sullivan and
The New York Times
The decade following the Supreme Court of the United States' decision in 1954 that school segregation was unconstitutional was one of extreme racial tension in the states of the old Confederacy. Black insistence that their constitutional rights be recognized and guaranteed was usually met with white intransigence. Under the leadership of such men as Martin Luther King, Jr., the black communities brought their grievances to the attention of the American public through demonstrations and reinforced those demonstrations through court actions. The white communities of the South at times responded with violence as well as their own legal actions, bringing to bear whatever sanctions of the criminal law they found available.
In few Southern communities was this conflict more evident than in Montgomery, Alabama. The first direct-action black challenge to racial seg