Asa Earl Carter was a well known political speechwriter and author activist in Alabama and a very vocal opponent to the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. He is best known for working as a speechwriter for the segregationist Alabama Governor, George Wallace.
He started his career in radio broadcasting a show during the 1950’s that was sponsored by the “American State’s Rights Association” and was syndicated on more than twenty radio stations before the show was cancelled. Carter spewed the most hateful, racial, and anti-Semitic rhetoric everyday on his radio show then closed with “God Bless Us All” religious hypocritical hubris; much like Rush Limbaugh and others today embracing religious values after their daily hateful radio rants. (Yes yet another example of how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Odd isn’t it)
Asa Carter was eventually fired following the community outrage about his broadcasts and a boycott of the radio station WILD. Because he refused to tone down his anti-Semitic rhetoric, Carter broke with the leadership of the “Alabama Citizen’s Council” who would have preferred him to focus more narrowly on just preserving racial segregation of Blacks rants. Upon this separation of ways with the “Alabama Citizen’s Council” over this issue, Asa Carter started the “North Alabama Citizens Council” which really was nothing more than an independent Ku Klux Klan group; and started the pro-segregation monthly magazine titled, “The Southerner,” which touted the preservation of “Southern Values,” fighting and protecting from destruction of those “Traditional Southern Values” from outside and misguided sources.
By March of 1956, Carter was making national news as a spokesman for segregation when he was quoted saying, “the NAACP had infiltrated Southern white teenagers with Immoral Rock and Roll records” and called for jukebox owners to purge all records by those Nigger performers from their jukeboxes. “We need to protect our white children!”
Carter made the national news once again in September of that same year, where he was invited and gave an inflammatory anti-integration speech in Clinton, Tennessee. He was to speak out with a topic speech in the Clinton high school where they were enrolling twelve black students to attend this high school. Asa Carter could whip up the emotions and passions so well that after that speech in the high school, the aroused and whipped up mob of 200 white men ran out into the streets, stopping black drivers passing by in their cars, ripping out hood ornaments and smashing their windows in the attacks. Asa Carter along with the segregationist John Kaspar, where charged with sedition and inciting a riot for the activities that occurred that day.
From this national acclaim and notoriety of being able to motivate the passions and reactions from the masses, Alabama Governor Candidate, George Wallace, hired Asa Carter to become his speechwriter and is given credited with Wallace’s famous 1963 inaugural speech slogan of, “Segregation today, Segregation tomorrow, SEGREGATION FOREVER!!” But as history shows us more often than not, and as time marches on; the more sane minds become ever prevalent in these issues, and Asa Carter fell from grace and validity of his viewpoints waned. Even to this day his former employer, George Wallace, claims that he never knew Asa Carter. When he realized that he no longer had the voice nor the power to motivate the people, he relocated to Sweetwater, Texas, where he started to reinvent himself trying to hide from his past, and began to work on a novel. In the attempt to distance himself from his past, he began to call his sons his “nephews”, and renamed himself Forrest Carter, in honor of the Confederate Civil War General, Nathan Bedford Forrest.
One thing if nothing else, bottom line, Carter was a very good writer and won critically acclaim with his first novel in 1976 with the publication success of his western, “The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales,” and later followed up with the “The Education of Little Tree” as it too became an unexpected hit in the 1980s.