Item Details

Interview With Jack Bass

Elwood, William A; Kulish, Mykola
Online; Online Video; Video
2006; 1987-09-19
Part one. Professor Jack Bass talks about Judge J. Waites Waring and his daring decisions. Mr. Bass also recalls the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals applying a broad interpretation of Brown v. Board of Education to its decisions during the civil rights era. For example, in the Montgomery bus boycott case, the Fifth Circuit Court declared that Brown had overturned Plessy v. Ferguson. Mr. Bass offers remarks concerning Judge Richard Taylor Rives, Judge John R. Brown's dissent in Gomillion v. Lightfoot, and socioeconomic changes in the South. Part two. Mr. Bass describes the African American diaspora to the North. Mr. Bass talks about Judge Frank M. Johnson and his judicial decisions reshaping the structure of society in Alabama. Mr. Bass comments on the problems faced by judges, as well as white lawyers who represented African Americans, and their families when the the judges applied equal rights and protections to minorities. He also talks about Judge John R. Brown, pre-civil rights era voter registration for African Americans, absurd voter registration rules, and intimidation of African American plaintiffs. Part three. Mr. Bass quotes Judge John R. Brown's dissent in Gomillion v. Lightfoot. Bass says that Charles Houston thought that education reform was the key to promoting civil rights in all areas. Bass continues to talk about judges of the Fifth Circuit, including Elbert Tuttle and John Minor Wisdom. In 1963 in Birmingham, Bull Connor expelled a large group of African American students a few weeks before graduation, a decision that a local judge upheld, but Judge Tuttle took immediate action to open the school to all students the next day. Judge Wisdom was instrumental in calling an end to the deliberate speed clause of the Brown decision by ruling that the only constitutional desegregation plan is one that works quickly. Wisdom also put the onus of desegregation plans on school boards and administrations instead of politicians. Part four. Mr. Bass explains that the Fifth Circuit Court defined a new kind of federalism. They incorporated into the Constitution the concept of equality found in the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Bass declares that the great heroes of the civil rights movement are the African American plaintiffs in the lawsuits. He comments on the changes in the South after Congress validated the decisions of the courts with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voter Rights Act of 1965. Mr. Bass comments on the legal struggle in South Carolina, especially noting Judge Matthew Perry and Judge Skelly Wright.
Elwood, William A
Kulish, Mykola
Bass, Jack
Digitized by: Cincinnati, Ohio : The PPS Group, 2006.
Source footage for the documentary, The road to Brown : the untold story of “the man who killed Jim Crow” (California Newsreel, 1990), about the life of Charles Hamilton Houston, his crusade for civil rights, and the events that led to Brown v. the Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared the doctrine of separate but equal to be illegal.
Title supplied by cataloger.
Recorded at Columbia, South Carolina.
William A. Elwood Civil Rights Lawyers Project
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Road to Brown : the untold story of "the man who killed Jim Crow."
William A. Elwood Civil Rights Lawyers Project
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