They were different times, and good riddance

March on Tuscaloosa County Courthouse, summer of '64

A spy force specializing in repression. Police beatings. Documents hidden away for decades. Wild accusations with no merit leading to harsh crackdowns.

In a land where individual freedom is supposed to be so important, it’s hard to believe that less than 50 years ago, state-sponsored activity like the above took place. Against people that simply wanted to live the American dream.

In files found in the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office just recently, that’s exactly the story that they tell. Fearful of integration and spurred on by Edgar J. Hoover’s nutball theory that the members of the Civil Rights movement were raging communists, Alabama Governor George Wallace created “the Commission to Preserve the Peace.” Robespierre would have been proud. When it came to fighting integration, the commission could basically do whatever they wanted…And they didn’t want to hand out candy.

Here’s an article from the Tuscaloosa News on the release of the documents, and what that information does to fill in some important holes in the Civil Rights Era:

Old Files Show City’s Role in Civil Rights EraTuscaloosa News, 26 April 2011.

Confidential Report from Alabama Legislative Commission to Preserve the Peace to State, County, and City Officials April 30, 1964: http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/assets/pdf/TL22560425.PDF

Wallace blocks the entrance

What Wallace should have done

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