1960 General Assembly Committee on Schools


Origin: (House Resolution No. 369-801).
Type: A Resolution.

Whereas, there has been ingrained forever in the hearts and minds of all Georgians the custom of segregation of the races in the schools of the state, public as well as private, which custom has met and still meets with the virtually unanimous approval of all but a few persons of each race; and

Whereas, this custom has over the years manifested itself in laws requiring segregation of the races in schools and requiring the closing of schools if they are to be integrated; and

Whereas, this custom and the laws of Georgia giving force to the custom were for more than ninety years in harmony with the Federal Laws and court decisions on the subject, and with the principle that compulsory association is harmful to both races; and

Whereas, of late due to the views of those presently occupying positions as Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, and in spite of the fact that the Federal Congress has enacted no law to the contrary, the custom, and laws giving force to the custom in Georgia have become in irreconcilable conflict with the views expressed by the Justices of the Supreme Court; and

Whereas, relying in good faith on what was heretofore the prerogative of the states under the dual system of government in this country whereby certain rights were reserved to the states including the right of each state to control its schools, which systems has prevailed in this country since the adoption of the Federal Constitution, Georgia and her citizens have expended many millions of dollars to establish a vast and valuable public school system with equal but separate facilities for the members of each of her races; and

Whereas, of late some few members of one of the races instituted suit in the Federal District Court in Atlanta in an effort to be integrated into the public schools of Atlanta with members of the opposite race on the basis of rights allegedly accorded them by the Supreme Court of the United States; and

Whereas, the Honorable Judge Frank A. Hooper, Senior Judge of that court, a native Georgian who was formerly a Superior Court Judge and a member of the Court of Appeals of Georgia and who was formerly also a member of the Georgia General Assembly, has ruled that the plaintiffs in the Atlanta suit are entitled to attend schools established by Georgia Law for white children and this ruling may result in instances of integration in the schools of Atlanta, and Judge Hooper directed at the same time that the Board of Education of Atlanta submit a plan to the court ending segregation in the schools of Atlanta, which plan, being a so-called Pupil Placement Plan, has been submitted; and

Whereas, Judge Hooper further ordered the Board of Education of Atlanta to refer the plan to this General Assembly for consideration and action; and

Whereas, at a hearing upon the plan as submitted by the Board, Judge Hooper demonstrated patience and an understanding of the grave problems which may result in Georgia because of the difference between the views of the Supreme Court, and Georgia laws and customs; yet, nevertheless being bound by the decision of the Supreme Court, Judge Hooper suggested that the people of Georgia should decide whether to follow the court’s view of a plan of gradual elimination of segregation in the schools, or to close the Georgia schools; and

Whereas, this statement of Judge Hooper apparently recognized what the Constitution of Georgia provides, namely that:

“All government, of right, originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole. Public officers are the trustees and servants of the people, and at all times, amenable to them.”

and that they are and should be the final arbiters of the question giving rise to this grave crisis; and

Whereas, during the administration of the Honorable Herman E. Talmadge the Constitution of Georgia was amended to provide for direct tuition grants of state, county or municipal funds to citizens of Georgia for educational purposes in discharge of all obligation of the state to provide an adequate education for its citizens, and under this Constitutional provision Georgia is entitled to convert over to a system of direct tuition grants in an orderly way, provided no state or local governmental action in connection with such schools as are operated is entailed; and

Whereas, this General Assembly believes that the people of Georgia may wish to make a deliberate determination as to whether future education is to be afforded through direct tuition payments for use in private schools devoid of governmental control, or whether the public school system as it presently exists shall be maintained notwithstanding that the school system of Atlanta and even others yet to come may be integrated; and

Whereas, in order that this General Assembly may make a determination as to the wisdom of presenting this question to the people, it is necessary to receive the advice and counsel of the people not only as to the desirability of the presentation, but also as to its form and content; and

Whereas, the great majority of the members of this Assembly were elected on a pledge to maintain segregated schools at all costs and are not willing to retreat from that position; and

Whereas, it is the desire of this General Assembly to give good faith consideration to the order and judgment of Judge Hooper and to the Atlanta School Board plan submitted to this body at his direction:

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the General Assembly of Georgia that there be and is hereby created and established the General Assembly Committee on Schools which Committee shall be composed of the following: The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education; the Chairman of the Education Committee of the House of Representatives; the Chairman of the Board of Regents; the Chancellor of the University System; the State Superintendent of Schools; the present Presidents of the following: State Chamber of Commerce; County Commissioners Association of Georgia; Georgia Municipal Association; Superior Court Judges Association of Georgia; Georgia Farm Bureau; Education Cabinet of Georgia representing the Georgia Education Association, Georgia Association of School Administrators, Georgia Association of School Board Members, and the Georgia Congress of Parents and Teachers; the Georgia Press Association; the Alumni Society of the University of Georgia; two members of the Senate to be appointed by the President and four members of the House of Representatives to be appointed by the Speaker.

Be it further resolved that the General Assembly Committee on Schools shall proceed immediately upon the adjournment of this session to hold public hearings under such rules and procedures as may be promulgated by the Committee, and after ample notice thereof, to the extent of at least one hearing in each Congressional District of this State on the subject of maintaining public schools in Georgia in light of the order and judgment of Judge Hooper, or whether the people prefer a system of direct tuition grants under the Georgia Constitution for use in private schools, and that such suggestions as may be offered on or in modification of either course be received and considered, and that the Atlanta plan also be considered; and

Be it further resolved that the Committee shall make positive recommendations to the 1961 Session of the General Assembly regarding whether or not to submit the question to the people of Georgia for their determination, and in the event the Committee recommends such course, then the time, manner and form of the submission including its contents shall be recommended. The Committee shall also make such other and further recommendations as it may deem meet and proper. All recommendations of the Committee shall be made public not later than May 1, 1960, and shall also be transmitted to the presiding officers of the Senate and House of Representatives. The Committee shall stand abolished as of that date.

The members of the Committee and counsel to be selected by the Committee shall receive the compensation, per diem, expenses and allowances authorized for members of interim legislative committees not exceeding 60 days, provided, however, said time may be extended with the joint approval of the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. The Committee is authorized to employ clerical help and other personnel to assist it in the performance of its duties and to fix the compensation therefor. It is also authorized to obtain materials and supplies necessary for its work. The funds necessary for the purposes of this resolution shall be paid from the funds appropriated to or available to the legislative branch of the government.

Page: 1187-1191