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When one reads the history of the state of Alabama, “courageous judicial decisions” appears to be an oxymoron because there have not been many such decisions. Most that did occur were related in some fashion to the racial problems that have existed in Alabama from the very beginning of statehood. It is important that we understand just what we mean when we speak of courage. Sustained courage emanates from character, which in itself takes a lifetime to build. Courage can be defined as the moral strength that permits one to face fear and difficulty. Courage requires a certain amount of leadership, and this leadership behavior is admirable and excellent. Making judicial decisions that changed ways of living in Alabama during the days of segregation required courage. These decisions could have severe consequences for one’s safety and could affect one’s family. Yet despite the potential consequences, there were at least four judges in Alabama who made decisions based on what they thought was the right thing to do and would lead Alabama in the right direction. The judges whose names come immediately to the forefront are George Stone, Thomas G. Jones, James E. Horton Jr., and Frank M. Johnson.

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