Southern Manifesto

(1956)

On March 12, 1956, as the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education (1954) approached, Senator Walter F. George rose to the speaker's podium in the U.S. Senate to announce the creation of the latest weapon in the segregationist arsenal—the Southern Manifesto. It was a bold, brazen document, signed by 101 of the South's 128 congressional members. The Southern Manifesto, formally titled a Declaration of Constitutional Principles, denounced the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision, calling it an “unwarranted exercise of power.” The Southern Manifesto's signers pledged to “use all lawful means” to “bring about areversal” of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

The declaration of the Southern Manifesto was not the first act in the South's massive resistance campaign against school desegregation. It was, however, one of the most important. The Southern Manifesto's signers hoped to provide an ideological foundation for...

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Walter F. George (Library of Congress)

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