July 3, 1964: Lester Maddox and several of his supporters swinging ax handles forcibly turned away three black activists. A photograph of the scene ran on the front pages of newspapers across the nation, creating an image of Maddox as a violent racist.
Maddox would both shun and cultivate this reputation at various points throughout his career. Maddox closed the Pickrick on August 13 and reopened the business on September 26 as the Lester Maddox Cafeteria, where he pledged to serve only “acceptable” Georgians.
During a trial for contempt of court on September 29, Maddox argued against the charges because he was no longer offering service to out-of-state travelers or integrationists.
On February 5, 1965, a federal court ruled that Maddox was in contempt of court for failing to obey the injunction and assigned fines of two hundred dollars a day for failing to serve African Americans.
Maddox ultimately closed his restaurant on February 7, 1965, rather than integrate it; he claimed that President Lyndon Johnson and communists put him out of business.
Lester Garfield Maddox, Sr. , was a politician who was the 75th Governor of the U.S. state of Georgia from 1967 to 1971. A populist governor and Democrat, Maddox came to prominence as a staunch segregationist.
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