Comment on a minority; J. Waties Waring
Comments on a minority. I know it's common to say it and very often said that you have to educate people before you attempt fast slow so they want to be at them but I want to stress the fact that you have got to have laws under which morality and decent thinking can operate. You have got to read the law you may not legislate morality. You can and do in most of the Southern states legislate immorality. The voice is that of the judge as a way to lower judge Waring was before his retirement to the United States I disagree that judge for the Eastern District of South Carolina while long and then you have South Carolina born judge Waring made a number of decisions relating to segregation in practice in American one of the cases on which I decided I was a set of integration cases which are eventually was appealed to the Supreme Court itself and was one of the cases upon which is great for the Education decision of 1950 or so or it's been well made.
In the portion of the recorded interview with Judge wearing them here not when pressed he discusses some of the background leading up to the historic 19th and his own role in civil rights case rather dryly for him. We return to affect an implication of large numbers of the segregation laws and a great many people who will tell you that segregation was the law of the land o his and that it was only comparatively recently that we began to break it down. That's entirely untrue. In the southern states you had practically no legal segregation. I'm till about 1890 five to 900 and the peak of it was reached shortly after nineteen hundred where you take and my state of South Carolina.
They didn't have any segregation on the railroad trains or public accommodations. They had a custom of the whites who were the governing class to associate with the negroes. But there was no legal segregation and in it it wasn't until the end of the century until it teen 98. That South Carolina passed railroad segregation law and the Charleston used in Korea which is now the the bible of the segregationist wrote an editorial violently opposing segregation on a railroad train saying it was unfair to the railroads to put two coaches on instead of one. And built two stations instead of one and all the rest of the terrible cost of six years. And they even said lately where the next thing you know they'll be is having separate eating rooms.
But of course now all of the laws of the state is that you have to have secular accommodations on railroad trains separate waiting rooms separate eating places everything say and supposed to be equal. I have course there isn't any quality that is be perfectly frank but nobody ever saw two real road coaches in South Carolina when used by weight and won by a Negro that was a lake. There's always an oval in the noon and it waiting rooms are the same when everything else and the usual is no you didn't please me. Now I have to Plessy against Ferguson watchers and they did in 96. Things went along. More and more segregation legal segregation negroes were completed this French or just the white primaries came in the voting codes who established the poll tax
was put on and more and more there was a build up of floors that prevented negroes from equality of citizenship. Now the courts began to make some changes there. And grades are there came a line of cases that what I speak of as chiseling back the segregation. And you found that the Supreme Court of the United States cut down the difference on railroad travel. The dining us the interstate buses and the travel. Generally they cut down the statutes about what he and jury service and system. The juries had to be made up of representatives from all the people. And by the way let me say in passing that Plessy against Ferguson
was not a school to use and has no authority for school segregation. It was a railroad. It was not interstate commerce. It was in the trial trip within the state of Louisiana from one town to another. Now the courts began to strike down many of these restrictions. At the same time leaving Plessy again for this little home. And then you came in the school Erie area. You came to the to the gains Kiya said Missouri ram Missouri. On some pressure there they had to give education to Negroes provided the Negro could get a scholarship to a law school out of the state and then made arrangements with another state. Well that was held to be unequal because the Supreme Court said that a man that
lived in Missouri had a right to go to the same law school in Missouri that other people's misery. Then you came to the. So the case is from Texas and Oklahoma and you came to the famous case from Texas where a man applied to. Going to law school where the case was foretold for a long time. And finally the Texas of the earth has built a brand new law school. I have never seen it but I understand there's a beautifully equipped place with all facilities and everything else but that kids wind up Supreme Court the Supreme Court said there was an equality because in the law school every citizen had a right to mix with any of the people who was studying to be lawyers and they were the people that were going to practice with and against. And the judges of whom there would appear would come out of these
schools. And it was Nichol ity. And there you are a Mac Lauren kid from Oklahoma. Where they were and to the extent they are that Michael are in the Negro and had a seat in the same class with the other students and he attended the same lectures and read the same books and still the same examinations but he had a reserve seat of one somewhere on the sun. That was his alone. A little railing in front of it and that separated him from the rest of the class. Perhaps a little better treatment because he had CMC there Ricky. He went to the cafeteria and the cafeteria he didn't have to stand in line like most students do and take his chance. He had a reserved table so that Michael Oren was really getting a little better of separate but equal but Supreme Court said there was no equality. My concern was no better or no worse than the rest of the students and he was in total to be treated
as an Oklahoma student. That's all still the never mentioned press again for they just went ahead and went around it and avoided. Then came the avoiding cases where they had protected the white vote through various subterfuge just poll taxes won and that began to peter out because the the for tax was was a restriction and a burden on the poor whites as well as on the negroes. So the resentment among the for poor white people having to pay a poll tax to vote and the politicians found they couldn't get them out and vote them on Election Day because they had to pay for it and cost politicians a lot of they had to be the poor Texas. So that didn't work so well. Then they had what they called a grandfather clause. And that was that if your grandfather had voted you could vote. But if my grandfather hadn't voted I couldn't vote but of course none of the niggers that had
grandfathers who voted so they've affectionately got rid of him. But there were two great objections there. The first was that new people came in the state didn't have grandfathers that voted or perhaps didn't know who their grandfathers were. And the second was that the Supreme Court said is the tail illegal and you couldn't place it on genealogy. Voting was an individual right. Still the never mentioned place again for them the best refuge was the white primary. And the prime rink in the southern states is really the election of the primaries in most of the other states don't amount to too much. In the southern states and I was familiar with it in South Carolina it was practically the same in all of those states. The primary is the re-election. And they had a complete code of laws they had very elaborate and
strict laws regulating qualification for voting in the primary a registration on own party books. All Democrats of course there's only one party in this. I have the time and the government and the primary was run as an election. And only people who could vote in the primaries. And that was in the primary law. Now that began to be challenge then that was first cranked in Texas again in the case of Smith against all right. And in that case the Supreme Court held that the. Election law was even in a primary. They're selected for public offices governors and congressmen and senators and presidential
electors who are attributes of citizenship and that you couldn't judge it and segregate it according to you. Jenny ology or your racial background. And they declared that the Texas primary was were unconstitutional. So that was that was my first baptism by that time I'd gone on the bench as a federal judge. And I'm just after that was my first baptism in the. Boring cases I have had some racial cases before I was two schoolteachers in South Carolina. They had two rates of pay for schoolteachers one for white and one for Negro. And it didn't matter but qualification. If you go to teachers exactly the same or practically the same
qualification time of teaching and passing examinations that sort of thing. The one that taught illegal school got a lower rate of pay than the one in the white schools simply because the board said so. I had I had two cases of that kind I don't knock those and those went along all right there was a much quicker border to people I think realize that the thing was so unfair they accepted that and it didn't make any association cost a lot more money but that's all. But to go back to the to the primary keys the governing body of the South Carolina the governor and the political set up generally rail eyes at Smith against all raids was the death of the primary as it had been conducted. So they devised what would on its face looked like a rather clever scheme.
They called a special for the named an extraordinary session of the General Assembly of the legislature and they had I say devoted entirely to primary laws. So they were AP utils every statute on the South Carolina law books relating to primaries. So then the Democratic Convention met again. I haven't met before. And now there being no law governing them they adopted a party. Set of rules a code for primer of ordering and the only differences between that and the one that had they have had two years before was that for ever
the word election had occurred before they changed it here to primary. And of course a few dates and places were changed because it was two years later and having done that adopted in a fake the old election laws would call them primary rules of the Democratic Party. They ordered the primary election to go forward. A case was brought in the federal court from Columbus of Richland County. That in that negro applied to be enrolled and the right to vote and that came before me. And I have all of that. The Democratic Party you know adopting these rules and running a
primary was in effect running an election and that was the only realistic choice of our vs. county state and federal. I held that the whole thing was in violation of the law and that they had to open the books and enroll rattled. There was a great storm of abuse and but it only affected one county at that time. So that the janitor didn't take it so much to themselves excepting that they complained bitterly that this thing had been passed. So the following year as in 1947 following here in 1948 in the big elections coming up members the presidential year Governor Sam as a
congressman everything practical and I heartily action app was coming up. Now the the party convened and they were in somewhat of a quandary as to what to do now they devise this seems a very remarkable scheme. They referred to the to the case of Elmore Genscher I said as the theme of the the plane before it was a Negro name Elmore and race was the chairman of the board in Richland County South Carolina chairman of the dam the Democratic Party County Democratic Party and the case of course was against some members of the committee. But the case was called after the chairman whose name was first they referred to this case and it said in view of that case they said the negro could vote in the primaries. But he would not be a member of the party so as to join in
electing county and state offices of the party of become or handle the managers or handle into the machinery of the party. You can only go to the polls and vote provided that each negro was regularly enrolled and redfish to vote on which whites were not required to be and also provided that he took an oath saying that he was a poor choice to any and I quote so called FEC PC law and believed in segregation of the races that kids then came into the federal court and came in very late. A man named Brown David Brown down in Buford County South Carolina and David Brown
went into a place where the enrollment books were in Buford County. They had them Geralyn stores and places where you public places he went in and put his name on books. And the County Committee when they discovered there had a meeting and struck his name off because he had no right to be enrolled and be a member the party under their ruling. And so David Brown brought a kid in the federal court and the case was known as Brown against Baskin B S K and Baskin was the chairman of the state Democratic Executive Committee in South Carolina each county has a county chairman and executive committee man and the committeemen of the various
counties meet and form the State Executive Committee and they elect a chairman. And that's a body that runs elections. So Brown brought his case and the and the CPA handle it for him and his case was brought against it is Sam defendants. All of the chairman and the executive committee men including the chairman basking throughout the state with two exceptions three exceptions. And we had a hearing just in a very unpleasant in a very hot hearing because the election was a very short time off a boat three weeks and it was a protest election ever jammed at the training
of a Santa very long campaign. And then the presidential election was up and you had to Dixiecrat movement. Which was in great part of South Carolina movement for the South Carolina governor being the nominee of the Dixiecrat Party Thurmond and you had vilification of Truman exam a critic nominee and of course everybody hated the Republicans so that they you have a situation that was bristling at ladling in fandom. But the tears came and reserved by me. I decided right from the bench and announced in substance what the order would be. And said I should file a written opinion explaining this
and we'll do it in the next day it seems I can and but the order will be issued and I inform them that the order would provide that the books of enrollment would have to be opened forthwith. I would have to be an ordinary public places available to anybody within the usual business. Was he in every county in every part of the county where they had been accustomed to be before. And moreover I insisted and said I wanted the people present in court now to revise that. These offices it accepted as chairman and committeeman involved personal responsibility and obligation
and that if the order was not to be it and there was a default in the opening the books in accordance with the decree. The fault over Sade's. Of clerk host no reform or employee would be no excuse as I was loading the name defendant's personal responsibility to see that the order was carried out in their respective districts and then I added I think you should know that under the federal laws I have the power to sate for contempt if this order is disobedience and if anyone is cited for contempt and found guilty I then but they have the power to punish but I find I'm presuming
there will be no fines imposed but owned a street in prison. And I think you ought to know that before you leave the courtroom where I thought we probably would would have some trouble. So I announced publicly that the newspapers were that I would be in chambers would not be the engagement for the election. And that if any reports were made to the court I would be available for the molder I had no other get well down Mr. Raikes. The lesson of that is not so much what anyone did but the results their results were fine. I had nothing to do the whole election. There was no violation. There was no complaint.
And the city of Charleston where they usually will have some disturbances around pools to do every father gets drunk or gets obstreperous. It was the police didn't arrest the person at the pools on that day and it was perhaps the quietest and best run election that we've ever known in that city because everybody was on it and they the lesson of that story is that where you me is a determined stand not saying I wish and I hope that this will come out all right by saying this is the law and it's going to be enforced. People will it be it. Now the next lesson of that is a better one. The following year in
1949 the legislature of South Carolina realizing that this was a law that had been declared that was going to be enforced. And there was no longer any dodging it. And Mack did a new voting code. Governing primaries again. And I better code than do in which no racial classification was named mentioned or hinted at. And a good registration system a 10 year aged ration system was put in. And they have elections and the primaries in South Carolina have been reformed. I have no serious criticism of the legal conduct of the primaries in South Carolina. Now of course they're
ingests in some counties back in rural counties people are frightened of from going to the pools and suffer some economic deprivation. And since the terrible flare up and vote the school cases there's a good deal more of it now. But legally the voting thing has been simplified and clarified it hasn't been that way in all the states. It's only in some of them but it worked and it worked because it was the use of the force of law. The force of law is Privy Seal. If it's administered justly fairly and sincerely. Thank you Judge Waring. You have been listening to comments on a minority. Today we heard Judge Jay Waite he's wearing formally United States district judge for the
Eastern District of South Carolina. Judge where his comments were taken from a longer interview recorded in New York City by our producer E-W Richter in connection with the production of the last citizen a series of programs produced under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center were invited to join us again next week when our guest will be Miss Lillian Smith well-known author of a number of controversy of books on Southern themes. Miss Smith will share with us her views of the South and relation to the negro comments on a minority was produced and recorded by radio station WBA a radio University. This is the end E.B. Radio Network.
- Comment on a minority
- J. Waties Waring
- Producing Organization
- Purdue University
- WBAA (Radio station : West Lafayette, Ind.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- Episode Description
- This program features an interview with J. Waties Waring, a United States federal judge who was involved in the early lawsuits of the American Civil Rights movement.
- Series Description
- This series explores minority issues in the United States in the mid-20th century.
- Broadcast Date
- Social Issues
- Media type
Guest: Waring, Julius Waties, 1880-1968
Interviewer: Thompson, Ben
Producer: Richter, E.W.
Producing Organization: Purdue University
Producing Organization: WBAA (Radio station : West Lafayette, Ind.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-51-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Comment on a minority; J. Waties Waring,” 1960-10-14, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 5, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-513tz62d.
- MLA: “Comment on a minority; J. Waties Waring.” 1960-10-14. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 5, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-513tz62d>.
- APA: Comment on a minority; J. Waties Waring. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-513tz62d