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Dan Carter, author, on
Wallace's battle for segregation

Dan Carter Q: Was Wallace sincere in his battle against segregation?

A: Anybody who had an ounce of sense must have realized by '62, '63 that the battle for segregation was over. Certainly, George Wallace's predecessor only talked about maintaining segregation. He saw it as a holding action. But I'm not so sure about that. I think Wallace really believed that if there was deep enough resistance, that if people really dug in their heels, that the federal government would flinch. That if there was too much violence, too much opposition, a kind of massive opposition on the part of white Southerners, that at some point, the federal government would simply, if not throw in the towel completely, back off, in terms of its supports for black citizens' efforts to integrate public schools. And that is, of course, wrong. But I think actually Wallace did believe that.

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