Governor Hodges


Luther Hodges became the Governor of North Carolina in November 1954 after Governor William B. Umstead unexpectedly passed away. Hodges presided as governor during a crucial period of racial uncertainty. When he became governor, the most pressing issue facing the state was what to do with the Supreme Court's order to desegregate public schools. How would North Carolina respond? Hodges believed in the principles of segregation, but sought a "moderate" compromise.


Hodges urged African Americans in North Carolina to practice "voluntary segregation." Knowing the Supreme Court decision threatened racial barriers in society as well as in schools, Hodges and other like-minded Tar Heels believed that "their Negroes" were satisfied with the system and urged people to maintain order.

Resistance to Change
Governor Hodges