American States' Rights Association

From Bhamwiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The American States' Rights Association (ASRA) was an anti-integration political group which was formed in March 1954 as a counter to the efforts of the Jefferson County Coordinating Council of Social Forces and its Interracial Committee, which were attempting to weaken some of the city's segregation laws and entrenched business practices.

The group was founded by attorney Hugh Locke with insurance executive William Hoover, attorney and U.S. Pipe presdient Hugh Morrow, contractor Hugh Daniel, financier F. B. Yeilding Jr and real estate executive Sidney Smyer. About 600 people attended their inaugural meeting. Other members included Black belt State Senators Sam Englehardt and Walter Givhan. By November 1954 the group claimed to have a mailing list with 5,000 names.

Olin Horton, a colleague of Hoover's, was chosen to head the organization, along with vice-president William W. Walker. They kept offices at 2112 1st Avenue North. Along with the general goals of preserving segregation and protecting "states' rights", the ASRA specifically opposed the Fair Employment Practice Committee, worked to remove "United Nations propaganda" from schools, and from the Girl Scout Handbook, and called for the firing of teachers that it considered "subversive".

The ASRA hired WILD-AM radio personality Asa Carter to handle the group's public relations, and sponsored his radio program. Soon Carter's show, which was marked by virulently racist and neo-Nazi sentiments, was syndicated to more than twenty other stations. His denunciations of National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1955 eventually led the station to cancel the program. The group also placed regular quarter-page ads in newspapers and, in February 1955 published and distributed biologist W. C. George's booklet, The Race Problem from the Standpoint of One who is Concerned about the Evils of Miscegenation.

As organized white resistance to integration grew to counter the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Carter and Horton turned their attention to supporting the growth of the Jefferson County White Citizens Council, which was also founded in 1955.