Supreme Court Outlaws Segregation in Schools
Tribunal Postpones Discussion of Details; Experts Foresee Administration Problems
Yesterday's historic Supreme Court decision to outlaw the segregation of races in public schools showed unusual wisdom, University and national authorities agreed last night. But it was emphasized, at the same time, that the ultimate effect of the high court's unanimous ruling must await fall hearings, at which the administration of non-segregation will be decided.
The court, ruling on cases from four states and the District of Columbia, made only the general decision yesterday, postponing specific problems until the fall hearings.
The decision was "an important pronouncement of principle," Mark DeWolfe Howe '28, professor of Law, said last night, "but there are questions of very difficult administration. It seems we've made an important commitment, but it's absurd to think that racial prejudice is over."
Despite whatever difficulties may be met in the fall, and despite the virulent reaction by several Southern administrators, "the outlook for compliance is favorable," Paul A. Freund, Charles Stebbins Fairchild Professor of Law commented.
No Significant Difference
Schemes for systematic evasion of the law, such as dropping public school systems, will be difficult to attempt, and perhaps even more difficult to legally maintain, Freund added. In 1951, South Carolina Governor James F. Byrnes pronounced that if the law were changed to make segregation impossible, "reluctantly, we will abandon the public school system."
The Atlanta Constitution told the CRIMSON, however, that in some instances at least, the court ruling will make no significant difference, since Negro and white residential areas are fairly distinct, and schools are located accordingly.
But, the Constitution points out in an editorial appearing this morning, "Our best minds must be put to work, not to destroy but to seek out constructive conclusions."
Other Georgia spokesmen were not so considered in their viewpoints, however. Governor Herman Talmadge insisted that Georgians "will fight for their right under the U.S. and Georgia constitutions to manage their own affairs," adding that the high court "lowered itself to the level of common politics" in handing down its decision.
Sutherland Predicted Vote
But "Georgia isn't going to stand out alone," Arthur E. Sutherland, professor of Law, commented last night. There should be "a diminuendo of noise" concerning the decision. Sutherland added.
He foresees little difficulty in working out the specifics of the Supreme Court decision: Sutherland predicted the decision and the unanimous vote to his classes last year.
Freund's views concurred with this opinion. "Some of the politicos like Talmadge, who have made statements, have to reiterate them, but liberal forces of the South can be a much stronger influence." Howe added that "I don't see how even Talmadge could start a revolution now." Praising the unanimous decision, he said, "It's statesmanlike to have done it as they did."
Even Governor Byrnes told the press yesterday. "We must await final decree of the Supreme Court, and in the meantime. I earnestly urge all of our people, white and colored, to exercise restraint and preserve order."
Physical violence in the South is believed unlikely. Sutherland noted that "it's a hard thing to say that there won't be any trouble, since 17 states are involved," but he anticipates no serious disturbances.
The court's decision will produce no immediate results; in fact it may be ten years or more before integration is realized, Howe pointed out. He praised the court's positive action rather than waiting for the natural breakdown of the "separate but equal" school process legal since 1895. If Southern leaders show magnitude and statesmanship, the law will be acceptable sooner, Howe said. "I hope they will show it, but I doubt it,"
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, in New York, described the decision as a "vindication" of a 45-year fight, but added that the actual end of segregation may not come for at least five years. The decision will have, however, "a great effect on American relations and prestige throughout the world the NAAGP said