Item Details

Interview With Wiley Branton

Elwood, William A; Kulish, Mykola
Online; Online Video; Video
2006; 1987-07-15
Part one. After serving in World War II, Wiley Branton returned to discriminatory voter registration laws in his home state of Arkansas. He participated in voter education and was arrested and convicted (wrongfully) of rigging an election. This incident inspired him to go to law school. He participated in forcing the integration of University of Arkansas Law School in 1947. He describes Jim Crow professional schools in the South. Part two. Mr. Branton recalls the Moore v. Dempsey case from his childhood. Mr. Branton goes over a case he tried in eastern Arkansas called State of Arkansas v. Paul Lewis Beckwith. Mr. Branton discusses his childhood. He talks about desegregation in Arkansas and the education situation for African Americans at the time of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Interestingly, some eastern Arkansas school districts integrated immediately after Brown. Mr. Branton talks about his many legal actions to get Little Rock schools integrated. Part three. Mr. Branton describes the Little Rock Crisis and its legal aftermath. He remembers the Arkansas governor closing public schools after the Army left, an action that damaged the Arkansas economy. Mr. Branton discusses Charles Houston. Branton returns to his own experiences during the Little Rock Crisis: His family lived under armed guard for two years and crosses were burned at his family cemetery. Mr. Branton talks about his legal representation of Freedom Riders in Jackson, Mississippi. Part five. Mr. Branton discusses how bail was raised for Freedom Riders in Mississippi and Arkansas. Mr. Branton discusses the Voter Education Project, which he directed from 1962 to 1965. He tells about the project's programs to support small, local voter registration groups with money and advice on handling obstacles. He recalls registrars blocking African Americans from registering by administering outrageous tests. Mr. Branton reveals that he would let white sheriffs think he was white, too, when talking to them on the phone in order to get people out of jail.
Elwood, William A
Kulish, Mykola
Branton, Wiley Austin, 1923-1988
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 Washington DC.
William A. Elwood Civil Rights Lawyers Project
Related Items
Road to Brown : the untold story of "the man who killed Jim Crow."
William A. Elwood Civil Rights Lawyers Project
Logo for Copyright Not EvaluatedCopyright Not Evaluated