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Where’d Everybody Go? l atjtrt. By Robert Benton for The Texas Observer 4 THE TEXAS COURTS COMPLY Our Attorney General Tells the Supreme Court That Local Option Is What Is NeededOmits Reference to His Present Argument \(This is the second of three articles analyzing the status of Texas law on segregation or integration. The first article dealt with the basic integration decision of the Supreme Court. This week the author takes up the implementing decision of the court. HOUSTON The Supreme Court, as we have seen, decided that segregation is a denial of the equal prOtection of the law provision in the Constitution. But the court needed full assistance of the parties involved to “implement” the decision. It was stated that the question of “appropriate relief was necessarily subordinate to the primary question the constitutionality of segregation in public education.” The cases were restored to the docket, and the parties were _requested to present further arguments on the question of the relief to be granted the plaintiffs, or, stated in a broader sense, the manner in which the schools should be integrated. The Attorney General of the United States and the attorneys general of the states requiring or permitting. segregation in public education. were invited to appear. Attorney General John Ben Shepperd appeared for’ the State of Texas and argued for gradual desegregation as opposed to an immediate order.. In his argument he presented some interesting facts with respect to the Negro population of Texas. He said: Texas has 254 counties, but onehalf the colored school children of the -state live in only 45 counties of the eastern section of the state. The remaining ten per cent of our colored school children are scattered throughout 125 central and western counties, thus the proportionate colored population of Texas reside in the 88 counties comprising the eastern third of the state. The remaining ten per cent of our colored school children are scattered throughout 125 central and western counties ; thus the proportionate colored population of Texas counties varies sharply with five eastern counties having colored school children in the majority and 41 western counties having not a single colored school child. He argued that since the question of separate or integrated schools is “as vast and as varied as Texas terrain and population,” “the varied situations that exist in these communities cannot be considered under a single blanket policy. . . .” He quoted, with approval the statement of Dr. J. W. Edgar, the TeXas Commissioner of Education, that. “The final decree of the Court ought to permit continued management of local districts by local boards. Schools must be run. on a comnittnity basis. They cannot be run successfully from Washington. . .. we certainly believe that our 2,000 problems can be. resolved best if the Supreme Court leaves control in local districts …. Expenses’of these school districts are paid through local taxation voted by the taxpayer of the district and complemented by the Legislature under an automatic system of finance called the minimum foundation program ….” Note that the Attorney General did not then tell the Supreme Court that he intended to .use this automatic system of finance as a threat for withholding school funds from districts which’ integrIted, MOST IMPORTANT of all, the Texas Attorney General argued that “a man made cataclysm must be made slowly and with wisdom.” At about this point the Chief Justice asked the Texas Attorney General the probability of integration very quickly in localities where there were very stnatl percentages. of Negroei. .Shepperd answered : “I think that th&e are some of those particular counties and some of those particular districts that would like integration. It would be more economically felasible for them to integrate.” Thus Interpretive THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 3 Sept. 28, 1955 Shepperd was at that time arguing that the school districts shouldbe permitted to decide their -own particular questions. Those with the least problem would presumably integrate first for economic reasons. The First Primary To the Editor : Less than 13 months ago I swore that I would never take part in Texas’s crooked politics again after watching Shivers arid Jack Porter and their syndicate of oil multimillionaires take the second primary. . . . But I can’t seem to stop reading good democratic literature like the Observer, and a good Democrat can’t keep on reading -without getting the itch. So here I am again. . . I have read a lot recently about who shoUld be the Democrats’ candidate for governor. I don’t think there should be any question among us about that. . . . Three out of four are The court incorporated its original opinion on the fundamental principle in its implementing decision of May 31, 1955. It held that “all provisions of federal, state or local law requiring or permitting such discrimination must yield to this principle.” Therefore, of course, all provisions of the Texas Constitution and of the Statutes of the State permitting or requiring racial discrimination in public education are clearly unconstitutional, and they may not be used to grant favors to those districts which remain segregated or to punish those. districts which proceed to abolish segregation. THE COURT said, “There remains for consideration the manner in which relief. is to be ac ready to put a Democrat. in the Governor’s-Mansion and 75 percent of them want Judge Yarborough. Mr. Hart and John White are both fine men and true Democrats but they are not known to the public nearly as well as. Judge Yarborough. And Judge Yarborough is the one man that has resurrected the Democratic Party in Texas. . . . We had better play it smart and put all .our eggs in one basket in the first primary. . . Because if there is a runoff, the Shivers gang, financed by the oil, gas and sulphur monopolies, will pull -every . . . trick. . . . S. W. NICHOLS Box 266, Rockdale, Texas corded.” It then recognized the variety. of local problemsas had been argued by Shepperdand said : Full implementation of these con stitutional principles may require solution of varied local school problems. .SOlool authorities have the primary. responsibility fr elucidating, assessing, and solving these problems ; courts will have to consider whether the action of school authdrities constitutes good faith implementation of the governing constitutional principles. Because of their proximity to local conditions and the possible need for further hearings, the courts which originally heard these cases can best perform this judicial appraisal. But the decision emphasizes that the vitality of the constitutional principle cannot be allowed to yield simply because of disagreement. with the basic principle. Jurisdiction of the courts was retained until the transition to a racially non-discriminatory, school system should have been ac, ethmplished. R.C.E. at The Code and Sir Walter To the Editor : A few days after your “interpre.i tive” column on the new Code of Conduct for servicemen appeared, the. A.13: released its story on the freeing. of Rev. Levi Lovegren by the Chinese Communists. The statement made by Rev. Lovegren points up the anachronistic think ing of Eisenhower and those who assisted him in drawing up the code. We may assume that a Baptist preacher is strong in his faith in Godat least as strong as the average G.I. of about 21 or so is likely to beaid yet Rev. Lovegren stated that he “signed a statement implicating” himself as a spy, and he also said, “In fact, I signed things all the time. They told me it was the only way to get out.” In the case of the code, Eisenhower appears to be less a general with knowledge of modern war than he does a boy of 10 or 11 enchanted by King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. SELWYN JONES 5935 Van Fleet Drive, Houston 21 Important Puapose To the Editor : I. offer my congratulations for a job well done, and my best wishes for the continued success of The Texas Observer. I feel that The Texas Observer fills a very definite need and serves a very important purpose in the political circles. I look forward to its continuing as a highly successful publication for many years to come. JERRY ,WARREN Dallas Not for Ten Million To the Editor : In . the recent death of Paul Holcomb, Texas lost a staunch idealist who kept the fire oftruth burning during some of the darkest hours of our state’s history. We shall always remember Paul Holcomb’s patience in the fall, 1954, while awaiting the collection of $5,000 to pay for the State Observer, and his sparkling eyes when he told of his offer from his opposition to the price of $10,000 and of his reply to that offer: “Mister, you couldn’t buy my paper for ten million dollars!” HARRIS COUNTY DEMOCRATS Mrs. R. D. Randolph J. Edwin Smith