Who Was Charles
Morgan, Jr.?

"Four little girls were killed in Birmingham yesterday. A mad, remorseful, worried community asks, who did it? Who threw that bomb? The answer should be we all did it. Every last one of us is condemned for that crime, and the bombing before it and the ones last month, last year, a decade ago, we all did it."

Civil Rights Involvement

The day after the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four black girls in Birmingham in September 1963, Morgan spoke out publicly at a lunch time meeting he was having with the Birmingham Young Men's Business Club, in the middle of the city's white establishment, to blame community leaders for their role in failing to stand up to the climate of racial hatred, stating that "Every person in this community who has in any way contributed during the past several years to the popularity of hatred is at least as guilty, or more so, than the demented fool who threw that bomb". Morgan stated: "Four little girls were killed in Birmingham yesterday. A mad, remorseful worried community asks, 'Who did it? Who threw that bomb? Was it a Negro or a white?' The answer should be, 'We all did it.' Every last one of us is condemned for that crime and the bombing before it and a decade ago. We all did it." Morgan accused Birmingham's white leaders of nurturing the violent air of discrimination that already existed. His statements harmed his legal practice and led to death threats against him and his family. These threats caused Morgan to have to close his law practice down and move his family out of Birmingham.

The two biggest points of democratic power Morgan focused on were voting and equal dealing of justice among all citizens but specifically for Southern blacks. As the Civil Rights Movement was progressing, separatism became a more prevalent and widespread idea. But Morgan did not support it, favoring integration over separatism. Morgan had always had close ties and favorable relations with groups he did not necessarily agree with, though, such as segregationists and "silent moderates".

Charles Morgan was a Democrat his entire life. He was attracted first to populist James E. Folsom, Governor of Alabama for two non-consecutive terms from 1947 to 1959. Morgan particularly supported Folsom's early beliefs in integration. Folsom stated, "As long as the Negroes are held down by deprivation and lack of opportunity, the other poor people will be held down alongside them," in 1949.

Harrison Salisbury wrote a controversial piece in The New York Times in 1960 that corresponded with Morgan's future tones and beliefs. Bureaucrats sued the paper on claims of libel. The court subpoenaed Reverend Robert Hughes, who was a white Methodist minister and also director of the Alabama Council on Human Relations, for records of those who supported the council; Hughes wanted to fight the subpoena, so he asked Charles Morgan to represent him. Because he represented Hughes (called a "nigger lover" by whites and racists) in the case, the Ku Klux Klan began to harass Morgan. He received anonymous phone calls, harassment in the courthouse from members, and various threats. Because of this, Morgan became more radical in his practices and beliefs. He represented Boaz Sanders, a black murder defendant, and sued his own alma mater, the University of Alabama, because they would not admit two black men to the school.

In 1964, he established the Southern Regional Office for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Atlanta. He fought three court cases concerning Vietnam War protests as a leader of the ACLU. Through these cases, he was responsible for directing international attention to the limitations placed on soldiers' free speech. In 1972, the ACLU named Morgan as the legislative director of its national office in Washington, D.C. Morgan led the ACLU's effort to have President Richard Nixon impeached from office. In June 1973, though there was little talk of impeachment among the public, Morgan predicted to his staff that Nixon would be removed from office “by the end of the year.” He edited and published a 56-page handbook entitled “Why President Richard Nixon Should Be Impeached,” explaining the process, which the public barely knew about. He circulated it to all members of the United States Congress.

The previous information was reposted from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Morgan_Jr.).

Video: A Time to Speak Speech by Charles Morgan, Birmingham, Alabama, September 16, 1963