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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Howell Heflin, July 9, 1974. Interview A-0010. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Noting southern judges who upheld <cite>Brown v. Board</cite>

Heflin draws attention to the southern judges who were relatively conservative yet upheld the Supreme Court's ruling in <cite>Brown</cite>. One judge even let George Wallace know that he would hold him in contempt of court for violating the ruling.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Howell Heflin, July 9, 1974. Interview A-0010. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

They didn't get the publicity that Johnson did. But several judges likeLynn in Birmingham, who's pretty conservative but still follows the United States Supreme Court. You've got a class of federal judges that have never been written about. But they were not the flashy. . . and that sort of thing. But they moved to follow the Supreme Court and gave adherence to it in a unspectacular way, but they added stability to it. You got people like Frank Johnson. . . I mean like Lynn in Birmingham and Hobert Greems in Birmingham and Dan Thomas who was in Mobile. They were not spectacular with it, but they saw that the United State Supreme Court's decisions were carried out. They followed it. And at the same time they were able to keep the lawyers convinced that they were not revolutionaries but that they were doing what they thought they had to do and what was right. That element in the South has never been written about. But the conservative federal judge who followed the Supreme Court and gave stability to it really. . . . If you get down to it, nobody knows. . . and this is something. . . but the influence of Seibert Lynn had-he was a federal judge in Birmingham on the school house door. I don't know. All mine's hearsay. But the word out in a few circles was that he let George Wallace know that if he did certain things that if he held him in contempt that his contempt procedure was going to be rough. That sort of thing I've heard. Now I don't know. . . that's all hearsay. I don't know whether it's true. But there was a lot of conversation about that at certain times.