Excerpt from an Interview with Governor Faubus

Guest: Orval Faubus

Questions to consider:
According to Faubus, why did he intervene in the integration of Central High School?
What does Faubus believe his duty is as governor? Do you think he upheld it?

FAUBUS: Eighty-two percent of the people of Little Rock itself concurred, in the belief that disorder and violence would have occurred had I not taken the action which I did.

WALLACE: And therefore you would take the word of a survey to the effect that eighty-two percent of the people thought that you were right and defy a Court Order... defy an order of the Federal District Court.

FAUBUS: We are not defying a Court Order.

WALLACE: How do you say that, sir?

FAUBUS: Because the paramount obligation is to keep the peace and good order of the community. If it interferes for a time with certain other liberties, then that has always been the case. In the case of floods -- when we used to have the great floods on the Arkansas -- the federal authorities could make a decision to dynamite and breach the levies and flood hundreds of people out of their homes. Weren't those people deprived of certain privileges and liberties for the benefit of their whole, in that particular case?

WALLACE: Let's confine ourselves to this specific...

FAUBUS: All right, but I'm getting you a parallel. 

WALLACE: Governor, tell me this. You called out troops to prevent a handful of Negro children from integration. 


WALLACE: Well, if you let me state my premise and then you can answer. All right, sir?

FAUBUS: All right.

WALLACE: You say that you did this to prevent violence. Now, let me ask you this; Why did you not, instead, assign a dozen troops to escort each Negro child and to and from classes, thereby preventing violence and obeying the order of the Court at the same time?

FAUBUS: Because the best way to prevent the violence was to remove the cause. You would not have removed the cause by that type of activity; you would have had the imminence of disorder and violence within the school, and outside the school. And, whether or not it breaks out in the school, it could break out in other sections of the city.

WALLACE: Governor, the plan for gradual integration in Little Rock, Arkansas, was drawn up by the Little Rock School Board back in 1955. Now, how is it that in the past two years, you, as Governor, have failed to see to it that the road was properly paved for integration here in Little Rock, as other cities throughout the border States of the South have done?

FAUBUS: Our School Districts are an autonomous part of government -- they are an independent part of government in themselves. -- And there are eight public School Districts within the State that have integrated. The State Colleges, of which I appoint the Board Members, have integrated, the University has integrated, all the public transportation systems, both city buses and all, have integrated.

WALLACE: You said that...

FAUBUS: And that has been left alone to the decision of each one that was affected.

WALLACE: But this you would not leave to the decision of the Board of Education of Little Rock.

FAUBUS: Watch, watch, watch carefully. Because there was the eminence of disorder and violence.

WALLACE: According to you... according to you, sir. According to...

FAUBUS: Yes, according to me and according to the belief of eighty-two percent of the people.

WALLACE: But according to the belief of no city official of Little Rock.

FAUBUS: Well, I have here a statement from eight of the aldermen, signed.

WALLACE: After the fact.

FABUS: But their signature is saying that if I had not taken the action which I did that there would have been disorder and violence.

WALLACE: Governor, what's your opinion of the crowds of white adults who gather outside of Central High School each weekday morning, they curse at any Negro who happens to pass by, they call Negroes animals, and almost to a man they say, "Governor Faubus has done the right thing," what do you think of these people?

FAUBUS: Well, malice, envy, hate is deplorable, in any place or in any circumstances, but as President Eisenhower has said himself, you can't change the hearts of people by law. Now, in view of the progress that we have made, all I ask for in this situation, and all I've ever asked for, is some time for the situation to change for it to become acceptable, so that there would not be disorder and violence. And if so be that this right, which was ruled as proper by the Supreme Court for 80 or 90 years, and then was upset all at once in 1954. If it is right, it will come about. So, why should we be so impatient as to want to force it, because force begets force, hate begets hate, malice begets malice. But, if time was given for an adjustment of the attitudes and the feelings of people, then it can be peacefully accomplished, which would be better for all concerned.
If you would like to watch the whole interview, click here.
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