Indeed, at least 103 southern cities had desegregated their lunch counters before Atlanta, and student leaders themselves wrote to Mayor Ivan Allen Jr.
in 1963, "Three years have passed without our having realized the goals which we set down."Protesters in Augusta also faced insurmountable, often violent, supremacist opposition, and black leaders in Columbus, still reeling from the murder of Thomas Brewer, were reluctant to launch a major campaign.
In the larger cities, notably Atlanta, Macon, and Savannah, local black leaders used their voting power to elect more moderate officials, forcing concessions such as the appointment of black police and higher spending for black schools.
Under the charismatic leadership of the Reverend Ralph Mark Gilbert from Savannah, the NAACP grew to more than fifty branches by 1946.
The segregation of public schools in Georgia and other southern states was declared unconstitutional in 1954 with the U. However, divisions among protest leaders (King's brief presence was resented by some student activists), tactical mistakes, the machinations of local police chief Laurie Pritchett, and the stubborn defense of white supremacy meant that the campaign was unable to force a citywide desegregation agreement in the short term.
Some black leaders commented ruefully that the civil rights movement stopped in Perry, a small town to the south of Atlanta.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.