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New Mayor Installed in Birmingham

May 23, 1963 - The Alabama State Supreme Court unanimously upheld today the claim to office of a new city government pledged to resolve the racial crisis in Birmingham. Mayor Albert Boutwell and nine councilmen immediately took over from the three commissioners who had brought the suit in an attempt to serve the remaining two years of their elected terms. The court already had upheld the validity of a referendum last November in which voters approved the change in government. Both governments had been in office pending the outcome of the court action. The ruling raised hopes in Birmingham for the success of a token desegregation plan worked out between white business and industrial executives and Negro leaders. Although Mr. Boutwell is an avowed segregationist, Negroes say they do not consider him of the “fire hose and police dog” variety. Dogs and hoses were employed by the police in blocking anti-segregation demonstrators from the downtown area in the five-week integration campaign and in quelling one of two riots. One of the riots followed the bombings of a Negro integration leader’s home and a Negro motel. The decision’s most important result, according to Negro leaders, is the end of the 23-year reign as Public Safety Commissioner of Eugene Connor, who is listed as “Bull” in the telephone directory. Negroes have accused the police, under Mr. Connor’s command, of brutality. He has denied the accusation.


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