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At a state level, black leaders confidently sought to prevent the notorious white supremacist Eugene Talmadge from being elected governor for the fourth time.In his campaign speeches, Talmadge asserted that "the election tomorrow is a question of white supremacy." Talmadge won the 1946 election through a combination of violence, fraud, and the vagaries of Georgia's county unit election system.Owing to the county unit system that gave disproportionate power to rural voters, and which would be abolished by the federal courts in 1963, however, Talmadge secured victory by winning the county unit vote 242 to 146. The resulting "three governors controversy" led to his son, Herman Talmadge, who had not even run for the office, being selected governor by the state the statute book, state officials sought to outlaw the NAACP, and vigilantes targeted local black leaders.Gilbert, despairing over the collapse of the state network of black protesters, resigned from the leadership of the NAACP.Brewer, who had received death threats from a local Klan member, was assassinated on a Columbus street in 1956 by an unknown assailant, and the group he had founded to oppose white supremacy disbanded.During the ensuing decade, defenders of white supremacy powerfully interlinked their attack on black insurgency with the more general fear of communism.The New Deal and World War II precipitated major economic changes in the state, hastening urbanization, industrialization, and the decline of the power of the planter elite.Emboldened by their experience in the army, black veterans confronted white supremacy, and riots were common on Georgia's army bases.
Yet even there, strict segregation continued and violent assaults on black residents were frequent. If urban protest was a common phenomenon across the region, however, each community had its own distinctive story to tell.presence certainly bolstered the scale of the existing protests, with up to 1,200 black residents spending time in jail (sources on the mass jailing numbers vary, from 750 to 1,200).Furthermore, the political tumult of the World War II era, as the nation fought for democracy in Europe, presented an ideal opportunity for African American leaders to press for racial change in the South.