Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Virginia Durr- The Good War

Virginia Durr was among some of the first white southern women from Alabama to advocate for civil rights. It was not until she learned about the Holocaust that her views about men and the world being fundamentally good changed. Her life experiences after the war also really helped her to open her eyes in seeing the reality that Jews, Blacks, and Japanese faced during this period.
During 1939 and ’40 she fought against the poll tax, along with Mrs. Roosevelt who was a supporter and friend all throughout the war. They were able to keep the fight going even though President Roosevelt could not really do anything further on the issue because he needed the support of many southern senators for the war effort.
Durr took an English family as refugees in her home who had connections to the British fascist party. On top of that she had a Japanese butler, who was constantly monitored by the FBI as a possible Japanese spy and lastly she employed several black women as servants. She later went under suspicion and vigilance of the FBI and when the period of McCarthyism and the cold war started she felt the effect almost immediately. She bacame associated with the Communist Party.
After that she continued to work against the poll tax where they had many offices in the Railway Building for free but Senator Wheeler told them they had to leave because they had “too many blacks coming into the office.” She then started to work with all sort of organizations such as: women’s, church, CIO, AF of L, ACLU, NAACP and was never scared. When the whole Roosevelt coalition fell thru, and the red-hunt and the hysteria started to emerge her husband decided to resign from the RFC and the FCC, move to Alabama and start his own practice. When he opened his law office, they were able to get in the middle of the whole civil rights fight along with Martin Luther King, E.D. Nixon, helped to get Mrs. Rosa Park of jail where they lived an exciting and thrilling experience.