From Cape Charles to Corpus Christi, the word had spread: the election-year plan of the anti-Truman Democrats would be launched by Virginia's Senator Harry Byrd when he spoke at Selma, Ala. Advance billing implied that many of the Southland's big shots would be there.

The appointed day was bleak and drizzly. Only 2,700 people turned out, and they included few notables. Georgia's truculent Herman Talmadge and Mississippi's Fielding Wright, a lame duck, were the only governors present. Other than Byrd, there were no Senators.

The poor showing seemed to portend a lack of fervor toward the states' rights cause. "We must not,"...

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