SPLC: Landmark Cases: Smith v. YMCA
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The Scene
The people in Montgomery were already talking about Morris Dees. Rumors said he was a 'nigger lover'. Now, having sold his company, that talk would flourish, especially with Smith vs. the YMCA.

It was July of 1969. The YMCA was still segregated and getting the Young Men's Christian Association to integrate it's Association would be difficult. Congress had forced integration on many institutions already, schools and Universities alike, all of which were government funded. However, if the courts forced the YMCA, a private organization, to integrate then to the whites of the South, all hell would break loose. It was their last stronghold on their Confederate ways.

These people held tightly onto their ways. The courts ruled that public education was not equal without integration. So most of the whites fled the public schools and went to private schools. And of course, no black could afford private school. In essence, segregation still existed. The idea of blacks and whites together was almost unheard of. Incidents like Morris and Millard's Christmas party at the Jefferson Davis Hotel were almost unheard of. To put adult blacks and whites in one room together was one thing, but to put black and white children in a room together was another thing. People were abhorred at the idea of black boys with white girls especially if it was half naked black boys with white girls in a swimming pool. This could be the case if the YMCA was to be integrated. Out of the eight swimming pools in Montgomery, all were owned by the YMCA. There was no public pool. Yet, Morris and Little Buddy had swam naked in the creek behind their house when they were kids.

These people would go to all lengths to keep their children away from black children. In June of 1957 a city ordinance called "Segregation" was passed. The ordinance said it was a crime for a black to be at a white pool or a white park. There were separate parks for blacks and whites. The blacks in the city responded by petitioning the city to integrate all 14 city parks in August of 1958. These parks contained numerous facilities including pools, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts. The City Commissioners denied them their right. In December of 1958 with the blacks filed suit requesting that the United States District Court order integration. But before the courts even took action, the City Commissioners closed all parks, black parks and white parks. This case would go to Gilmore vs. Montgomery as well.

Another such incident revealing their desperate ways to keep segregation, the whites removed all chairs from the public library when it was integrated so that blacks and whites may never have to sit together.


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