March 12, 1956. 101 southern congressmen (19 senators and 82 representatives) sign the Southern Manifesto to Congress, the “Declaration of Constitutional Principles.”
The manifesto is a response to the Supreme Court’s decision of May 31, 1955, which implements the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, above, that declared segregated schools unconstitutional. The Southern Manifesto criticizes the Supreme Court desegregation decision and pledges to overturn it by lawful means.
LBJ and Sam Rayburn did not sign the manifesto. LBJ reports that he has neither seen the document nor has he been asked to sign it. He says it is a statement issued by individual senators and concludes his comments by saying,
“In my opinion, the solution of the problem cannot be found on the federal level, for it involves basic values reflected in the sovereignty of the states. It’s my hope that wise leaders on the local levels will work to resolve these differences.”