Henry Gonzalez of Beh-har Tor Whom Does the Bell Toll? It Is Ringing for us All’ The drne great rule of co-mposition is to speak the truth. Thoreau Oftr Orvls. brrurr e will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. meekly Newspaper -41 0″ P Vol. 48 TEXAS, MAY 7, 1957 10c per copy No. 52 The Segrtation Filibuster of 1957 Six Senators Go 36 Hours AUSTIN A tall Latin man in a light blue suit and white shoes and yellow tie and yellow handkerchief was pacing around his desk on the Senate floor. It was eight o’clock in the morning. An old Negro was brushing off the soft senatorial carpet in front of the president’s rostrum. Up in the gallery a white man stood with his back to the chamber, studying a panel of pictures of an earlier Senate. The Latin man was orating and gesturing in a full flood of energy, not -like a man who had been talking to almost nobody for three hours and had another day and night to go. Why did they name Gonzales Gonzales if the name wasn’t honored in Texas at the time? he Ronnie Dugger Chick Kazen He Held On 15 Hours quence and impact as never before in Texas. In the larger way the filibuster was the splitting up of the Texas culture into some of its varied ways of life. On one side of the Senate chamber stood South and far West Texans with more than a million Latin-Americans behind themLatin-Am erle ans they think are threatened by general segregation bills which do not say they aim at Negroes. On the other side of the chamber were white East Texans with a million Negroes behind them, some of them restive for what the Supreme Court says . are their rights. In the middle stood senators of moderate persuasion, some of whom voted with the minorities, some of whom voted with the East Texansthen switched at the last minute to vote their personal convictions. Spelling Gonzalez and Kazen with long questions, readings from novels and essays, repeatings of the text of the bill, spellings-out of the words of the sections, were four other Senators, Charles Herring of Austin, Bruce Reagan of Corpus Christi, Hubert Hudson of Brownsville, and Frank Owen III of El Paso. Voting with these six Senators against final passage of H. B. 231, by Rep. Virginia Duff of Ferris, were Carlos Ashley, Llano; Preston Smith, Lubbock; and Dorsey Hardeman, San Angelo. Smith and Hardeman voted to bring the bill up and cut off the filibuster when Gonzalez gave out. Early the first day Sen. William Fly, Victoria, explained that ten of his twelve counties have started integration and said he was Nvorried that the bill would reverse that. “We want to do this thing. It’s generally communitywide acceptance,” he said. Sen. R. A. Weinert, Seguin, asked Kazen if it were not so that the bills would “only foment litigation.” But when the vote came another day and two nights later, at 2:25 a.m., Fly, Weinert, and five other senators were not present. The talkers won ; their point for the week: Sen. Wardlow Lane, Center, who originally wanted to pass out all the five bills before the Senate except the one barring NAACP members from public employment, gave in when Gonzalez refused all blandishments and importunations and talked on into early Friday morning. Only HB 231 was passed; but Lane awaits more running room this week, and if he gets it, another filibuster is certain unless a previous question cuts it off from the first. It was due Wednesday. Monday Senate state affairs passed out two more bills but \(by General Will Wilson one requiring some advocates of integration and segregation to register with the Secretary of State. “I intend to fight every one of ’em to the last ditchevery one of ’em. It’s the least I can do,” Gonzalez after 22 hours and 2 minutes of continuous argument. Replied Kazen, who held the floor 15 hours without a break, slept two and a half hours, and returned to rest Gonzalez with long questions: “As long as you want to stay on your feet, I want to help you.” The Local Level’ Sen. Wardlow Lane of Center, the Senate leader of the East Texans, explained very briefly that H.B. 231 permits school boards to use 17 factors in. assigning students to schools \(not including you trust your trustees or the local authority,” he said. “This places it on entirely the local level,” he said. As passed by the House, HB 231 also permits parents who object to integration to withdraw their children from the public schools, all other laws to the contrary notwithstanding, and says they will then get educational grants as provided by law. Kazen, a son of Lebanese immigrants and a member of the powerful Kazen family of Laredo, was dressed in a dark blue suit, red tie with a gold clasp, ancl black shoes as he Started the fight Wednesday morning at 11:16 with a pre-lunch statement of 44 minutes. He said the bill was meant to deter integration and circumvent the U.S. Constitution. Sen. Dorsey Hardeman of San Angelo, who presided over the filibuster, passed its early hours reading the Magna Charta. Gonzalez, questioning Kazen, said the bill “actually affects every person in Texas.” Kazen said. it “encompasses everybody.” Kazen leaned heavily on someof the factors for pupil assign ment. What kind of tests could measure “mental energy”? he asked. Of “the psychological effect on other pupils,” he said: “If breakfast, it’s gonna have a psychological effect on him if he goes to school with a fella who eats cornpone.” The “availability of transnorta tion facilities” could be combined with “safety” to turn down students, he said. If a student didn’t want to take a music course a school offered, he could be rejected because the curriculum would not be “suitable” for him. In short, he said, it would return education “to the rancid principles of the aristocratic countries of old Europe.” Early in the afternoon George Parkhouse, leaning back at the press table, quipped, “Let’s go start a crap game.” Kazen said the bill would “ruin the schools,” create “Grade A. B, C, and D children,” “tear GilmerAikin all to pieces,” “keep people asked. Why did they honor Garza along with Burnet? “My own forebears in Mexico bore arms against Santa Anna. There were ‘ three revolutions against Santa! AnnaTexas was only one of its manifestations!” Did you know! Negroes helped settle Texas? That a Negro died at the Alamo? The angry crystal-voiced man I stopped in ‘his pacing and raised! his arms to plead. “I seek to register the plaintive cry, the hurt feelings, the silent, the dumb protest, of the inarticulate.” No one in the capitol this weeic’ will deny that Henry Gonzalez ! registered itthat through him! of Laredo and four other senators who spelled the two talkers-! in-chief during their 36-hour marathon on the Senate floor, the minorities were heard with elo HB 231 Will ‘Ruin the Schools,’ Said Kazen; Sen., Lane and Gov. Daniel Talk as Gonzalez Orates; He Held Floor 22 hrs, 2 min. Staff Photos by Bob Bray
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