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Byline: PETE BARLAS
In 1961 William Bootle, a federal judge in Macon, Ga., ordered the University of Georgia to admit two black students.
The white public reacted like a hornets' nest just hit by a baseball bat.
Desegregation opponents rioted on the campus and burned the judge in effigy. He was further burned at the stake of local public opinion.
But Bootle coolly ignored the heat. And he never reconsidered the decision -- not then and not years later. When asked about the historic ruling, Bootle said: "Someone asked me the other day, "Wasn't it hard to make the decision to let blacks in?' I said it wasn't hard at all. Once you decide what's right, the making of it is easy. Right is right."
Bootle (1902-2005) didn't stop there. During his career, the judge made historic rulings related to civil rights issues involving integrated busing, voter rights and segregation in public schools.