The South: Poorly Timed Protest

To most Birmingham Negroes, just beating the city's tough police commissioner, Theophilus Eugene ("Bull") Connor, in his bid for mayor seemed a major triumph. It was the Negro vote that gave former Lieutenant Governor Albert Boutwell a narrow margin of victory in the April 2 election. Connor had become such a symbol of the nightstick solution to race problems that local Negroes felt certain that they could deal more successfully with Boutwell, even though he is a segregationist too.

But the day after the election, into Birmingham came the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., hero of the 1956 bus boycott in...

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