Nieman Fellow Talks On Southern Violence
Mob violence has been one of the biggest factors in preventing integration in the South, according to John L. Siegenthaler, Nieman Fellow.
Siegenthaler, a reporter for the Nashville Tennessean, cited occurrences in Nashville as fairly typical of what has been happening in the South. There was no real trouble until mob leaders such as John Kasper began to preach resistance to the Supreme Court.
Addressing a meeting of the Society for Minority Rights last night, Siegenthaler said that, surprisingly, "the dynamiting of the school in Nashville in September 1957 did more to aid the cause of integration than any other factor."
"Prior to the bombing," he said, "crowds had mobbed the streets outsid the school, and police had seemed reluctant to take any action. But once the bomb went off and Nashville became subject to national ridicule, police came out of their lethargy and cracked down on mob violence."
The instigators of the violence were probably motivated by fear, said Siegenthaler. "In most counties the Negro population is large, and white parents rebel against thoughts of their children in the same schoolroom with Negroes." They fear that integration in schools could lead to inter-racial marriages.
In addition, Siegenthaler said that the White South sees no reason for changing the old "separate but equal" doctrine.