Published online by Cambridge University Press: 31 July 2009
This essay explores growing disillusionment with the national Democratic Party in the southern United States, disillusionment that led to third-party movements such as the Dixiecrats and George Wallacism, and eventually southern allegiance to the modern Republican Party. The essay focusses on Alabama during the first half of the 1940s, where a “Great Melding” between economic conservatism and racial conservatism came to maturity. The melding resulted in a cross-class and pan-white alliance in a state that had experienced periodic plain-white challenges to business and planter elite dominance. It also resulted in the use by economic conservatives of white supremacy and allied conservative norms on gender, class, religion, and militaristic hyper-patriotism to suppress future working-class insurgency, and set the stage for a more formal southern disassociation from the Democratic Party and eventual conversion to Republicanism.
1 Mobile itself erupted in race-related violence in 1943 when white shipbuilders' anger and management intransigence at the Alabama Dry Dock and Ship Building Company combined in reaction to a six-month Fair Employment Practices Committee directive to promote twelve black welders. On this subject see Jennifer E. Brooks, Defining the Peace: World War II Veterans, Race, and the Remaking of Southern Political Tradition (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004). On the subject of black males and white females working in the South see Charles D. Chamberlain, Victory at Home: Manpower and Race in the American South during World War II (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2002). For the touring journalist's observation see George Brown Tindall, The Emergence of the New South, 1913–1945 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1967), 701.
2 For perhaps the best single volume on the New Deal see Anthony J. Badger, The New Deal: The Depression Years, 1933–1940 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999). As it relates to the present essay, see especially 299–312.
3 This is a deficiency that is currently being remedied. See, especially, Brooks; Gail O'Brien, The Color of the Law: Race, Violence, and Justice in the Post-World War II South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999); and Pamela Tyler, Silk Stockings & Ballot Boxes: Women and Politics in New Orleans, 1920–1963 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996). On the importance of the 1940s for southern economic changes see Gavin C. Wright, Old South, New South: Revolutions in the Southern Economy since the Civil War (New York: Basic Books, 1986); and Bruce J. Schulman, From Cotton Belt to Sunbelt: Federal Policy, Economic Development, and the Transformation of the South 1938–1980 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991). For Alabama see Scribner, Christopher MacGregor, “Federal Funding, Urban Renewal, and Race Relations: Birmingham in Transition, 1945–1955,” Alabama Review, 48 (Oct. 1995), 269–95Google Scholar; William Warren Rogers, Robert David Ward, Leah Rawls Atkins, and Wayne Flynt, Alabama: The History of a Deep South State (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1994), 511–13, 521–22; and Allen Cronenberg, Forth to the Mighty Conflict: Alabama and World War II (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1995).
4 Jennifer E. Brooks, “Coming Home and Taking Charge,” rough draft of essay in possession of the author. I am especially grateful to Professor Brooks for making this paper available to me.
5 John Egerton, Speak Now against the Day: The Generation before the Civil Rights Movement in the South (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), 391 (Stewart Alsop quotation about Alabama as an “oasis of liberalism”). Helen Fuller of the New Republic singled out Alabama as far more liberal than the states surrounding it. See Sarah Newman Shouse, Hillbilly Realist: Herman Clarence Nixon of Possum Trot (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1986), 168. A. G. Mezerik of The Nation proclaimed Alabama the most liberal state in the South. See his “Dixie in Black and White,” The Nation, 164 (19 April 1947), 449. Rogers et al., Alabama, 524 (Flynt quotation about the “flowering of liberalism”). Despite his great insight into other matters Alabama, Wayne Flynt has been prone to speaking far too often about Alabama's liberalism “on issues other than race.” See, most recently, his Alabama in the Twentieth Century (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2004), 62, 63 (quotation). Samuel L. Webb has also frequently made the mistake of trying to excise race out of politics as if it were some minimally relevant factor in a polynomial exercise. Up until the Brown v. Board decision of 1954, Webb argued on the first page of his book, “Most [Alabama] whites were not conservative except on race.” See Samuel L. Webb, Two-Party Politics in the One-Party South: Alabama's Hill Country, 1874–1920 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997), 1 (quotation). To his credit, Wayne Flynt recognized that “when Northern liberals and Southern conservatives increasingly linked liberalism to race relations, the New Deal coalition in Alabama began to unravel.” Yet Flynt put this at a much later date than does the present study. “By the late 1950s liberalism had taken on a racial meaning in Alabama politics that made it unacceptable to most white voters.” Rogers et al., Alabama, 525. In another spot in his 1994 narrative (at 532), Flynt put the date at which “race became central to state politics” as the “later 1940s … The turning point … came in the Dixiecrat movement of 1948.” Thornton, J. Mills III, “Hugo Black and the Golden Age,” Alabama Law Review, 36 (1985), 899–913.Google Scholar
6 For the electoral consequences of Folsom having black Harlem congressman Adam Clayton Powell for drinks see Carl Grafton and Anne Permaloff, “James E. Folsom, 1947–1951, 1955–1959,” in Samuel L. Webb and Margaret E. Armbrester, eds., Alabama Governors: A Political History of the State (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2001), 197–205, esp. 204. On Hill retiring an embittered man in the 1960s see Virginina Van der Veer Hamilton, Lister Hill: Statesman from the South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987). On Folsom, Graves, Hill, and journalist Charlie Dobbins having to “trim their sails” significantly on race, see the Gould Beech interview by John Egerton, 9 Aug. 1990, 16–17, and 19, Southern Historical Collection (SHC) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. See also the Anniston Star, 29 April 1948, clipping in folder: 1948 Elections, Charles G. Dobbins Papers, Auburn University Archives, Auburn University, AU; and Van der Veer Hamilton, Virginia, “Lister Hill, Hugo Black, and the Albatross of Race,” Alabama Law Review, 36 (1985), 845–60.Google Scholar
7 Stetson Kennedy, Southern Exposure (Boca Raton: Florida Atlantic University Press, 1991; first published 1946), 199 (SSIC and Rankin quoted).
8 New Orleans businessman and National Association of Manufacturers director John U. Barr – soon to be a regional leader of the third-party “Byrd for President” movement, the Dixiecrats, and later the White Citizens Councils – also served as vice-president of the SSIC. As part of its campaign against the FEPC, the Industrial Council widely distributed “Shall We Be ruled by Whites or Blacks?” – a diatribe by Mississippi congressman and fallen New Dealer John E. Rankin.
9 During the war, Rankin responded to Carl Sandburg's call for conquest of the color line by denouncing the poet as “a communist-front propagandist” who was trying to “mongrelize America.” Kennedy, 201 (Rankin quoted in note, second quotation in text). Congressional Record, 78 Cong., 2 Sess., 5054 (first Rankin quotation) cited in Tindall, 715. For the vehement Republican and conservative southern Democratic opposition to the FEPC see Andrew Edmund Kersten, Race, Jobs, and the War: The FEPC in the Midwest, 1941–46 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000).
10 Frank M. Dixon to Ralph D. Williams, Defense Supplies Corporation, New York, printed in the Montgomery Advertiser, 24 July 1942 (quoted), in box 4, folder: Racial Question, 1942, Range H, Section 4, Shelf e, Chauncey Sparks Personal Papers, Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH), Montgomery, Alabama.
11 For more on Dixon see Glenn Feldman, “Frank A. Dixon, 1939–1943,” in Webb and Armbrester, 185–89.
12 “Big Mules” was the colloquial name in Alabama used to denote large industrialist and financial interests in Birmingham; “Little Mules” were found in Mobile and other smaller cities. Alabama Magazine, 9 Oct. 1942, 3.
13 For a good overview of the Dixiecrat movment see Kari Frederickson, The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932–1968 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001). See also Numan V. Bartley, The New South, 1945–1980 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1995).
14 Congratulatory Letters Received by Governor Dixon on the Race Segregation Issue, list, ca Aug. 1942, box SG 12277, folder 30, Alabama Governors Papers, Frank M. Dixon Papers, ADAH, Montgomery, Alabama. Hereafter cited as Dixon Papers. Black support for Dixon's position was negligible. Only twelve notes of congratulation were cited in this list of hundreds of letters and telegrams, all coming from a group of black doctors, funeral directors, and Baptist and Methodist ministers in Gadsden. Among the Big Mules and Black Belt planters who congratulated Dixon were Thomas McGough, a director of the SSIC and president of the Birmingham-based McGough Bakeries; Robert I. Ingalls of Ingalls Shipbuilding; I. W. Rouzer, president of the Alabama Mining Institute; J. Bruce Henderson, Wilcox County state senator; Fred D. Renneker and H. G. Seibels, Birmingham insurance men; Mrs. L. P. Munger and J. Frank Rushton Jr., also of Birmingham; Judge Walter B. Jones of Montgomery; Elbert S. Jemison of the Jemison Land Companies; Milton H. Fies of DeBardeleben Coal; W. Howell Morrow of Lanett; and Borden Burr, perhaps the state's leading union-busting attorney. Third-party leader R. DuPont Thompson, and University of Alabama science professor and advanced white supremacist Roland M. Harper, added their enthusiastic approval. See also T. A. McGough to Frank M. Dixon, 25 July 1942, box SG 12276, folder 11, and Donald Comer to Frank M. Dixon, 6 Aug. 1942, box SG 12276, folder 10, both also in Dixon Papers, ADAH. For more on McGough's background, see Kennedy, 200. For more on the new Wilkinson–Dixon alliance see the Atticus Mullin column in the Montgomery Advertiser, 31 July 1942, 7. The Alabama Mining Institute was staffed by some of the Alabama's biggest mules. I. W. Rouzer served as president, Prince DeBardeleben and R. T. Daniel were vice-presidents, and Charles F. DeBardeleben, Hugh Morrow, and Herbert Tutwiler served on the board of governors. See I. W. Rouzer to Frank M. Dixon, 13 Aug. 1942, box SG 12276, folder 10, Dixon Papers, ADAH. In 1943 Liberty National Life Insurance Company, under Frank P. Samford, merged with Brown-Service, the largest funeral insurance company in the world, to give Samford control of Alabama's largest, and the United States' tenth-largest, insurance firm. See Alabama Magazine, 28 July 1944, 7.
15 For too good studies on the burying of class differences in favor of racial considerations at this time see Norrell, Robert J., “Labor at the Ballot Box: Alabama Politics from the New Deal to the Dixiecrat Movement,” Journal of Southern History, 57 (May 1991), 210–34Google Scholar; and idem, “Caste in Steel: Jim Crow Careers in Birmingham, Alabama,” Journal of American History, 73 (Dec. 1986), 669–94.
16 Ben D. Turner, president Mobile Chamber of Commerce to Frank M. Dixon, 7 Aug. 1942; Opelika Rotary Club Resolution to Frank M. Dixon, 11 Aug. 1942; and S. Palmer Keith, president of the Bessemer Lions Club to Frank M. Dixon, 4 Aug. 1942, all in box SG 12276, folder 10. See also the Opelika Rotary Club, Bessemer Lions Club, Ensley Kiwanis Club, and Mobile Chamber of Commerce, all in the Congratulatory Letters Received by Governor Dixon on the Race Segregation Issue, list, ca Aug. 1942, box SG 12277, folder 30, and C. C. Williams, committeeman, Ensley Kiwanis Club to Frank M. Dixon, 13 Aug. 1942, box SG 12276, folder 11, all in the Dixon Papers, ADAH. The Talladega Chamber of Commerce unanimously approved Dixon's defiance of the federal government. A Birmingham electric company businessman contended that Dixon had performed one of the “most outstanding acts of a Southern statesman since Reconstruction days,” while another businessman tied the government intervention on employment to the steady decline of “the individual spirit in America” on shoddy display since the New Deal – and marked most acutely by the disgrace of farmers, dairymen, and workers seeking government assistance. “All of this … can be borne … however … and our lives adjusted to it,” he concluded, “but the one thing we cannot bear … is abolition of the color line in the South.” See R. T. Brooke to Frank M. Dixon, 31 July 1942 (first quotation), box SG 12276, folder 11, and J. F. Duggar to Frank M. Dixon, 7 Aug. 1942 (second quotation), box SG 12276, folder 10, both in Dixon Papers, ADAH. See also Hugh F. McElderry, executive secretary, Talladega Chamber of Commerce to Frank M. Dixon, 7 Aug. 1942, same box, folder 10.
17 The “1880s independent wars” refers to the political clashes during the 1880s between conservative, elite-dominated “Bourbon” government and intermittent challenges to their regimes mounted by a biracial, working-class alliance between the Knights of Labor and plain whites supporting the Greenback-Labor Party. All of these developments are spelled out in detail in Glenn Feldman, “Ugly Roots: Race, Emotion, and the Rise of the Modern Republican Party in Alabama and the South,” in Glenn Feldman, ed., Before Brown: Civil Rights and White Backlash in the Modern South (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2004), 268–309.
18 Yet the liberal Montgomery patrician also felt “so akin to them. I feel so sorry for them for I know the long background of poverty, disease, ignorance, oppression and lack of any cultural enrichment in their lives.” Virginia Durr to Clark and Mairi Jemison, n.d., Sept. 1959, quoted and cited in Wayne Flynt, Poor but Proud: Alabama's Poor Whites (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1989), 335.
19 Virginia Durr to Judge Jones, n.d. (quoted), box 1, folder 5, Virginia Foster Durr Papers, ADAH. Alternative white voices in Alabama were few and far between – limited mostly to northern expatriates, intellectuals sequestered in academic departments, journalists with funding sources located out of state, or the occasional socially ostracized homegrown radical. The careers of Aubrey Williams, Gould Beech, Herman Clarence Nixon, Joseph Gelders, and Virginina and Clarence Durr roughly parallel these descriptions. For more on these alternative southern voices see Patricia Sullivan, Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in the New Deal Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996); and Egerton, Speak Now against the Day.
20 “Kluxers on the Prowl,” Newsweek, 34 (11 July 1949), 21–22 (first quotation); Tuskegee Institute News Clipping Files: Anti-Negro Groups File, reel 108, 1949 (second quotation), Tuskegee University Archives (TU), Tuskegee, Alabama; Montgomery Advertiser, 13 June 1948 (third quotation).
21 Mrs. Henry W. Dunn, Gadsden, to Frank M. Dixon, 12 Aug. 1942 (first quotation); Mrs. A. L. (Mary) White, Birmingham, to Frank M. Dixon, 30 July 1942 (second quotation); and Mrs. Minnie Callaway Claiborne, Bessemer, to Frank M. Dixon, 31 July 1942, all three in box SG 12276, folder 10. Also see Endorsement (West Blocton), ca July 1942; and James A. Chappell to Frank M. Dixon, 30 July 1942 (third quotation), both in same box, folder 11, all in Dixon Papers, ADAH.
22 S. Palmer Keith to Frank M. Dixon, 4 Aug. 1942, box SG 12276, folder 10, Dixon Papers, ADAH.
23 Frank M. Dixon to S. P. Galliard, 13 Aug. 1942 (first Dixon quotation); Frank M. Dixon to Mrs. James A. Carney, Battle's Wharf, 5 Aug. 1942 (second Dixon quotation); and Frank M. Dixon to Willis Pace Estis, 19 Aug. 1942, all in box SG 12276, folder 10, Dixon Papers. For journalist Gould Beech, one of the most fully formed liberals in the state, the whole thing was maddening: “that whole race business” of the 1940s was “just as it had been in the 1900's at the turn of the century … It was just used and misused and used and used and used.” Gould Beech interview by John Egerton, 9 Aug. 1990, 20, SHC.
24 Congressmen Joseph Starnes, H. B. Steagall, Pete Jarman, John Sparkman, and Frank Boykin. George Grant outdid his colleagues by informing Dixon, “You are absolutely right … We are all with you 100%.” Sam Hobbs one-upped Grant by telling the governor he was “of course, 110% right!” Carter Manasco went them one better and had Dixon's letter read into the Congressional Record. But John H. Bankhead II, member of the Walker County political dynasty and a US senator, outdid them all. Describing his request as one emanating from the “best friends” of the Negro in the South, but actually writing after Dothan banker Wallace D. Malone prodded him, Bankhead wrote US chief of staff, General George C. Marshall, and asked that the federal government remove all black troops from being billeted in the South – or at least relocate the more troublesome northern black soldiers. George Grant to Frank M. Dixon, 24 July 1942 (first quotation), and also see the letters to Dixon from Joseph Starnes and Frank Boykin on the same date, John Sparkman on 25 July 1942, Sam Hobbs on 29 July 1942 (second quotation), H. B. Steagall on 4 Aug. 1942, Pete Jarman on 14 Sept. 1942, W. D. Malone to Frank M. Dixon, 31 July 1942, and John H. Bankhead to Wallace D. Malone, 29 July 1942. Mining magnate I. W. Rouzer was also against this “cramming [of] negro soldiers in southern camps.” See Rouzer to Joseph Starnes, 29 July 1942, all in box SG 12277, folder 30, and also the miscellaneous news clipping, ca Aug. 1942 (Bankhead quoted) in box SG 12276, folder 10. General Marshall declined the request. All of the above in this note in the Dixon Papers, ADAH. Also see the Cullman Democrat, 30 July 1942, clipping in box 4, folder: Racial Question, 1942, Chauncey Sparks Personal Papers, ADAH. Pete Jarman was known for an acute interest in foreign policy and national defense issues. See box 8, miscellaneous newspaper clippings, range I, section 7, shelf b, Pete Jarman Papers, ADAH. Alabama's congressional delegation in 1942 by district included: Frank Boykin, first; George Grant, second; H. B. Steagall, third; Sam Hobbs, fourth; Joseph Starnes, fifth; Pete Jarman, sixth; Carter Manasco, seventh; John Sparkman, eighth; and John Newsome, ninth; See Alabama Magazine, 19 June 1942, 7.
25 An American (Atlantic City, NJ) to Frank M. Dixon, 24 July 1942 (first quotation); An American Mother (New York City) to Frank M. Dixon, 16 Aug. 1942 (second quotation); and No Name (Cleveland) to Frank M. Dixon, ca 30 July 1942, all three in box SG 12276, folder 11, Dixon Papers, ADAH. W. C. Raines to Frank M. Dixon, 20 Aug. 1942 (third quotation); An American (Atlantic City, NJ) to Frank M. Dixon, 24 July 1942; and Rollins Leonard Winslow to Frank M. Dixon, 8 Aug. 1942, all three in box SG 12276, folder 11, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, 25 July 1942, clipping in box SG 12276, folder 10, all in the Dixon Papers, ADAH. See also the Alabama Magazine, 31 July 1942, 6.
26 G. F. Porter, secretary of the Dallas NAACP to Frank M. Dixon, 28 July 1942 and Unsigned (Raleigh, NC) ca 30 July 1942. The North Carolina writer also damned Alabama as “a black state” and asked the state's whites to “try to be human wrather [sic] than a brute.” The Alabama Farmer's Union, largely black and somewhat communist, also sent a resolution protesting Dixon's refusal of the WPB contract. See Gerald Harris, president, Alabama Farmer's Union, to Frank M. Dixon, 5 Aug. 1942. Also see No Name (Memphis) to Frank M. Dixon, ca 30 July 1942. All four in box SG 12276, folder 11, Dixon Papers, ADAH.
27 The Selma Times Journal, editorial “A Champion Arises,” ca 6 Aug. 1942 (first quotation) also urged Alabamians to turn quickly “to sources of strength or we shall be lost.” For Ed Field mentioned as editor of the Selma Times-Journal, see Major Squirm column, Alabama Magazine, 16 March 1945, 15. See also the Pell City News, 30 July 1942 (third quotation), clipping; also the Mobile Post, 7 Aug. 1942, editorial, “South Rallies Behind Dixon,” the Decatur Daily editorial “Dixon Courage,” and the Dothan Eagle editorial “Alabama Unintimidated,” all ca 30 July 1942. All of the above in this note from box 4, folder: Racial Question, 1942, Sparks Personal Papers, ADAH. Also see Sam B. Sloane's Sumter County Journal, ca 30 July 1942 (second quotation), clipping in box SG 12276, folder 11, Dixon Papers, ADAH.
28 “A Dangerous Order,” Speech of Hon. John E. Rankin, House of Representatives, 1 Dec. 1942, Congressional Record extract; and Horace C. Wilkinson to Frank M. Dixon, 29 Aug. 1942, both in box SG 12277, folder 29, Dixon Papers, ADAH. See also Alabama Magazine, 21 Aug. 1942, 11 and 23 Oct. 1942, 15 (quotation from both). For Milton Webster of the FEPC repeatedly quoted, see the Alabama Magazine, 25 June 1942, 6 and 15, and 31 March 1944, 5.
29 Albert Rains to John Will Johnson, 7 April 1945, box 305, folder 2, John Will Johnson Collection, W. Stanley Hoole Special Collections Library, University of Alabama (UA). Alabama Magazine, 15 June 1945, 3, 23 Feb. 1945, 15; Lister Hill to Joseph F. Lyons et al., 25 March 1944, box 376, folder 2, Hill Papers, UA. Hill's unease emanated from critics such as the very conservative Greensboro Southern Watchman, 23 March 1944, which incorrectly accused him of being in favor of permanently extending the FEPC. Clipping in Official Files 93, file Colored Matters, Jan.–March 1944, FDR Papers, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library (FDR), Hyde Park, New York.
30 A. B. Hale to Frank M. Dixon, ca 28 July 1942, box SG 12276, folder 10, Dixon Papers, ADAH.
31 Benjamin B. Gossett, Charlotte, NC to Frank M. Dixon, 13 Aug. 1942 (first quotation); and J. F. Duggar to Frank M. Dixon, 7 Aug. 1942 (third quotation), both in box SG 12276, folder 10, Dixon Papers, ADAH. For the almost exact phrasing as the first quotation, see R. A. Bragg to Dixon et al., 24 July 1942, also “A Champion Arises” editorial in the Selma Times-Journal, ca 6 Aug. 1942 (second quotation), both in box 4, folder: Racial Question, 1942, Sparks Personal Papers, ADAH. Dixon agreed with the cultural assessments of his position: The federal position is “naturally repugnant to me” and represents “an extremely dangerous situation in this section … being forced on the Southern people.” See Frank M. Dixon to Oliver Day Street, 19 Aug. 1942, box 10, folder: 1942 Political Republican Correspondence, Oliver Day Street Papers, ADAH.
32 Your Friend to Frank M. Dixon, 5 Aug. 1942, box SG 12276, folder 10, Dixon Papers, ADAH. Horace Hall of the Dothan Eagle put it plainly. Denouncing the rare Alabama editors that criticized Dixon for his federal contract refusal as “laurel seekers,” Hall wrote that these newspapers had taken their “stand against Alabama and the South and for the left-wing radicals of the North” who sought to “tear down social barriers and interfere with state sovereignty.” These “historical ignoramuses,” Hall charged, apparently operated under the impression that journalistic kudos and literary fame could best be won with a “dagger thrust deep into the backs of their own people.” Dothan Eagle editorial, ca Aug. 1942 (quoted in note), reprinted in miscellaneous news clipping, also in box SG 12276, folder 10, Dixon Papers, ADAH. Hall pointedly criticized Col. Harry Ayers of the Anniston Times, Victor Hanson's Birmingham News, and his nephew Grover C. Hall Jr. of the Montgomery Advertiser.
33 H. L. Hargrove to Frank M. Dixon, 10 Aug. 1942, clipping enclosed of the Mobile Post, 7 Aug. 1942 (Floridian quoted); J. F. Duggar to Frank M. Dixon, 7 Aug. 1942 (second quotation), and for the fault lying with the “federal government [and] … the First Lady”; see also Miss Terrell Whitman to Frank M. Dixon, 8 Aug. 1942, all three in box SG 12276, folder 10, Dixon Papers, ADAH.
34 Oliver Day Street, a former Populist and Alabama's leading Republican for the first half of the twentieth century, applauded Dixon's thumbing his nose at the federal government because this is “not the first time that outsiders (high officials of the United States) have attempted to set the Negro astride the necks of the white people of the South.” Indeed, it was this attempt made by “selfish outsiders … 75 years ago” that led to southern Republicans having to “suffer all these years.” Oliver Day Street to Frank M. Dixon, 15 Aug. 1942, box 10, folder: 1942, Political Republican Correspondence, Street Papers, ADAH.
35 Resolution of the Bessemer Lions Club, 28 July 1942 (first quotation), box SG 12276, folder 10, Dixon Papers, ADAH. See the Selma Times-Journal, “A Champion Arises,” editorial clipping ca 6 Aug. 1942 (Dixon quoted, paragraph's second quotation), box 4, folder: Racial Question, 1942, Sparks Personal Papers, ADAH. Dixon's Speech to the Southern Society of New York, 11 Dec. 1942 (third quotation), copy of speech sent with R. H. Powell to Frank M. Dixon, 23 Dec. 1942, box 1, folder 27, Frank M. Dixon Personal Papers, ADAH.
36 Cullman Democrat, 30 July 1942 (first quotation); and the Montgomery Advertiser, 24 July 1942 (Dixon quotations), both clippings in box 4, folder: Racial Question, 1942, Sparks Personal Papers, ADAH. Dixon's quotes also appear in the Alabama Magazine, 31 July 1942, 5.
37 Decatur Daily editorial reprinted in the Mobile Post, 7 Aug. 1942 (quoted), clipping in H. L. Hargrove to Frank M. Dixon, 10 Aug. 1942, box SG 12276, folder 10, Dixon Papers, ADAH. Other quotations all in Alabama Magazine, 31 July 1942, 6, see also 7. Final quotation is actually from a Dothan Eagle editorial.
38 Decatur Daily and Dothan Eagle (quotations), both in Alabama Magazine, 7 Aug. 1942, 7 and 11.
39 Alabama Magazine, 7 Aug. 1942, 11. Grover C. Hall Jr.'s editorial has sometimes mistakenly been interpreted as a celebration of Alabama's predominant liberalism of the period instead of what it was, a warning to Dixon to right himself away from the course set by Talmadge, Bilbo, and Blease.
40 For classic studies of the concept see Hanna Fenichel Pitkin, ed., The Concept of Representation (New York: Atherton Press, 1969); and J. Roland Pennock and John W. Chapman, eds., Representation (New York: Atherton Press, 1968). Selma Times-Journal editorial (first quotation) and Alabama Magazine (second quotation), both in the Alabama Magazine, 31 July 1942, 6. See also Frank M. Dixon to Mrs. A. L. (Mary) White, 3 Aug. 1942, in box SG 12276, folder 10, Dixon Papers, ADAH, and the Opp Weekly Journal, 30 July 1942, clipping in box 4, folder: Racial Question, 1942, Sparks Personal Papers, ADAH.
41 Alabama Magazine, 3 July 1942, 3 (first quotation); Henry F. DeBardeleben to Congressman Joseph Starnes, 29 July 1942, box SG 12277, folder 30, Dixon Papers, ADAH.
42 I. W. Rouzer to Joseph Starnes, 29 July 1942, box SG 12277, folder 30, Dixon Papers, ADAH. Rouzer believed that blacks had “more rights, more freedom, and more downright security” in the South than “anyplace on the globe,” and that all of that would be “reversed” if the present racial challenges continued. Rouzer also thought that it was the “Lady of the White House” who had “thoughtfully (or thoughtlessly) made a complete mess of her reign as the First Lady … [with] the blessing and help of all the half-baked reformers and ‘wackies’ of the nation … inspiring a false hope in the breast of the negro race by her stupid determination to break down the wall of social equality” and by doing “a pretty good job of stirring up” hard racial feelings. All from the same Rouzer letter to Starnes cited above.
43 Joseph Starnes to Frank M. Dixon, 24 July 1942, box SG 12277, folder 30, Dixon Papers, ADAH.
44 Alabama Magazine, 12 and 19 June 1942, 3 (both quotations). The press breakdown on the FEPC hearings initially began similar to the Frank Dixon issue, with the Dothan Eagle, the Gadsden Times, a number of the state weeklies, and John Temple Graves II's column in the Birmingham Age-Herald against it while Harry Ayers's Anniston Times and Victor Hanson's Birmingham Age-Herald, Birmingham News, and Montgomery Advertiser expressed support for it. See the Alabama Magazine, 25 June 1942, 6–7, 15.
45 Dothan Eagle, quoted in Alabama Magazine, 19 June 1942, 7. See also 3.
46 Major Squirm column in Alabama Magazine, 25 June 1942, 15 (first quotation); news item in same issue, 3 (second quotation).
47 Dothan Eagle, quoted in Alabama Magazine, 19 June 1942, 7 (first and second quotations) and standard editorial of 25 June 1942, 3 (third quotation).
48 Alabama Magazine, 12 June 1942, 7 (first quotation). Major Squirm quotation from columns in issues on 12, 19, and 25 June 1942, all on 15. Baughn outed as “Major Squirm” by editor Barrett Shelton of the Decatur Daily in Alabama Magazine, 12 May 1944, 15.
49 Alabama Magazine, 25 June 1942, 7. Anxious to placate such criticism, Louisville Courier-Journal publisher Mark Ethridge, a noted southern progressive and chair of the FEPC, famously announced that his committee had no intention whatever to undermine segregation: “there is no power in the world – not even in all the mechanized armies of the earth, Allied and Axis – which could now force the Southern white people to the abandonment of the principle of segregation.” Yet the hue and cry from the South was so fierce that the FEPC cancelled a fifth scheduled regional hearing in El Paso. Within two months of the Birmingham meeting, Governor Dixon undercut the federal committee by establishing a State War Manpower Commission to oversee much of the function originally ascribed to the federal bureau. He unabashedly stacked the state commission with the most devout segregationists, laissez-faire enthusiasts, and anti-federal types that could be found in Alabama: Greensboro Watchman editor Hamner Cobbs served as director; Montgomery judge Walter B. Jones was chair; and Horace Hall of the Dothan Eagle, Barrett Shelton of the Decatur Daily, and Frank P. Samford, president of the Associated Industries of Alabama, all served as members. Alabama Magazine, 4 and 11 Sept. 1942, 6 in both. Cobbs, Hall, and Samford would soon leave the Democratic Party to lead the Alabama Dixiecrats.
50 Major Squirm column in the Alabama Magazine, 19 June 1942, 15.
51 Miss Lida Bestor Robinson to Frank M. Dixon, 29 July 1942, box SG 12276, folder 11; Mrs. Estelle Cassimus to Frank M. Dixon, 13 Nov. 1942 (first quotation), box SG 12277, folder 29, both in the Dixon Papers, ADAH. Dave Smith, “The Dope on Dixie Cops,” ca Aug. 1943, clipping in box SG 12491, folder 8, Sparks Papers, ADAH.
52 H. D. Kissinger, Kansas City, MO to Chauncey Sparks, 28 Aug. 1943, doggerel attached to letter (quoted), in box SG 12491, folder 8, Sparks Papers, ADAH. One concerned southerner pleaded with Governor Dixon to do something to stop the “dumping of hundreds of thousands of aliens on us” because eastern and northern congressmen were pandering to their foreign-born supporters by “tearing down … our immigration gates.” “Isn't our negro population large enough already,” he asked in connecting the racial to the economic, “without the influx of thousands of negroes [who] … ‘avoid manual labor’” and are attracted to “‘radical thought’?” Robert Erskine Kerr to Frank M. Dixon, 26 Aug. 1942 (quoted in note), box SG 12277, folder 29, Dixon Papers. One writer pleaded for Chauncey Sparks to persuade the South to leave FDR's Democratic Party to vote for “a real true American, not one who is putting Africans in our place, and who will surely rule or ruin the white race.” See One of the Insulted Whites of the South to Chauncey Sparks, 13 Aug. 1943, box SG 12409, Sparks Papers, both in ADAH.
53 Glenn Feldman, Politics, Society, and the Klan in Alabama, 1915–1949 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1999). I have profited here from conversations with prominent Birmingham, Alabama attorney James M. “Jimmy” Wooten.
54 Mabel Jones West to Frank M. Dixon, 24 Aug. 1942 (first quotation), and Frank M. Dixon to Mabel Jones West, 27 Aug. 1942, both in box SG 12277, folder 29, Dixon Papers; Briget McCauley to Chauncey Sparks, 27 Sept. 1943 (second quotation), box SG 12491, folder 7, Sparks Papers; and Elman Caldwell to Chauncey Sparks, 25 April 1943, box SG 12398, folder 19, Sparks Papers, all in ADAH. Caldwell also admitted that he had taken part in “numerous horsewhipping[s] of those blacks and I hate the ground every Nigra walks upon.” Describing himself as “a True Son of the South,” he recommended that blacks be reduced to “a state of servility such as they were during the Ante Bellum days … during 1859–60” because “[t]he Nigra is inferior and God did [not] intend that they should have more than a place to eat and drink and a pair of overalls.” For the Wilkinson–McCorvey alliance see the Atticus Mullin column in the Montgomery Advertiser, 28 July 1942, in the Opp Weekly Journal, 30 July 1942, clipping in box 4, folder: Racial Question, 1942, Sparks Personal Papers, ADAH.
55 Harry H. Smith to Chauncey Sparks, 30 Sept. 1943 (first quotation), box SG 12491, folder 7, Sparks Papers; Monroe Stephens to Horace Wilkinson, 24 July 1942 (second quotation), box SG 12277, folder 30, Dixon Papers, both in the ADAH. Stephens resided near the Alabama–Georgia line, as had his family “on all sides” since 1838.
56 Gessner T. McCorvey to E. Ray Scott, 2 Oct. 1942, box SG 12234, Dixon Papers, ADAH. Alabama's Bourbons applauded McCorvey because he “spoke the language of most Alabamians” and was willing to “stand up and fight for Southern principles of democracy” against the New Deal “conglomeration of radical rousers and social equality advocates.” See the Alabama Magazine, 13 Nov. 1942, 6.
57 T. E. “Bull” Connor to Franklin D. Roosevelt, 6 Aug. 1942, box 376, folder 3, J. Lister Hill Papers, W. Stanley Hoole Special Collections Library, University of Alabama, UA. The Connor letter is also found in box SG 12491, folder 5, Sparks Papers, ADAH.
58 Wilkinson–Dixon scatter sheet mentioned in the Atticus Mullin column in the Montgomery Advertiser, 28 July 1942, cited in the Opp Weekly Journal, 30 July 1942 (first quotation). Levie Shelley, a close friend of Chauncey Sparks's and, along with the next governor a longtime privileged opponent of Wilkinson's, acknowledged that, despite their past differences, the Birmingham attorney had sounded an alarm that “deserves the most serious consideration by all who love Alabama, the South, and their traditions.” Levie Shelley to Judge Chauncey Sparks, 28 July 1942, both in box 4, folder: Racial Question, 1942, Sparks Personal Papers; J. H. Tucker, Ensley, Alabama to Frank M. Dixon, 1 Aug. 1942, box SG 12276, folder 10, Dixon Papers, all in ADAH.
59 Horace C. Wilkinson, “Racial Relations! An Address Delivered before the Kiwanis Club of Bessemer, Alabama,” 22 July 1942, box 376, folder 1, Hill Papers, UA. A copy of the speech also appears in box 4, folder: Racial Question, 1942, Sparks Personal Papers, ADAH. By and large, white southerners rejected the “one-world liberalism” of Wendell Wilkie. See Wayne Greenhaw, Elephants in the Cottonfields: Ronald Reagan and the New Republican South (New York: Macmillan, 1982), 50.
60 This is a point Kari Frederickson makes clear in her skillful study, The Dixiecrat Revolt, 217–38.
61 John Egerton, Speak Now against the Day, 391 (Stewart Alsop quotation about Alabama as “oasis of liberalism”).
62 William D. Barnard, Dixiecrats and Democrats: Alabama Politics, 1942–1950 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1974), 20–21.
63 Birmingham News, 12 July 1998, 1A (Martin quotation).