Morris Dees himself had never really thought about segregation up until
now. He had believed in it and never objected because it was the majority
opinion. He was told his skin color automatically made him better than
blacks. And he never questioned or even doubted the system in his mind,
until now. Religion was still a big part of his life and he was the
superintendent of a Baptist congregation on the campus of the school.
That Sunday, Morris went to church and read a piece from First John
in the Bible. "If a man say, I love God and hateth his brother, he is
a liar; for he who loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can
he love God whom he hath not seen?"
Then Morris Dees looked up from the Bible and said: "Something really
disturbs me. How can we profess to be Christians and really hate our
brothers? Autherine Lucy tried to get on this campus, We don't know
her and we might not have been out there opposing her, but I think all
of us didn't want her to be there. So how can we be good Christians?
Do you remember when Jesus gave the Pharisee woman the 'water of life'?
What are we to think of the courthouse here in Tuscaloose where there's
one drinking fountain for white folks and one for colored? Were Jesus
here, would he not say to a black woman, as he said to the Pharisee
woman, 'Here drink from the same water?' "
As he said that, he saw his father drinking from the same bucket as
Miss Perri Lee had that hot summer. A week later, the Reverend Williams
of the congregation sent a letter to Morris saying that they needed
someone with more experience to be superintendent then Morris. Morris'
speech about Autherine Lucy wasn't mentioned in the letter, though it
was the cause for the letter.