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University of Georgia Desegregated (Jan) Rock Hill SC, "Jail-no-Bail" Sit-ins (Feb-Mar) Tougaloo Nine and Jackson State Protest (Mar) Freedom Rides (May-Nov) Frame-up, Escape, & Exile of Robert F. Williams (1961-1969) Mississippi — the Eye of the Storm Voter Education Project (1961-1968) Direct Action or Voter Registration? (Summer) Voter Registration & Direct action in McComb MS (Aug-Oct) Herbert Lee Murdered (Sept) Desegregate Route 40 Project (Aug-Dec) Albany GA, Movement (Oct 1961 - Aug 1962) Savannah Boycott Victory (Oct) Christmas Boycott in Clarksdale MS (Dec) Baton Rouge Student Protests (Dec 1961 - Jan 1962)
University of Georgia Desegregated (Jan)
In the summer of 1959, Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes apply for admission to the Athens campus of the Unversity of Georgia (UGA). They are recent graduates of Turner High School, the elite academic institution of Atlanta's segregated Black school system. Despite their obvious qualification and the Supreme Court's Brown v Board of Education ruling UGA denies them admission. Represented by Constance Baker Motley of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (known as the "Inc Fund"), plus Atlanta attorneys Donald Hollowell and Horace Ward (who had himself made an earlier attempt to integrate UGA), along with law clerk Vernon Jordan, Holmes and Hunter fight their case through the courts. Each quarter they submit an application and each quarter they are denied on various flimsy pretexts such as "No room in the dormitories."
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On January 6, 1961, a Federal judge orders them admitted. Georgia's appeal to the Supreme Court is quickly denied a couple of days later. When Hunter and Holmes arrive on campus white students jeer and taunt: "Two, four, six, eight. We don't want to integrate!" After a sports event on January 11, a mob attacks Charlayne Hunter's dormitory and has to be driven off by police tear gas. Instead of punishing the white rioters, UGA suspends Holmes and Hunter "for their own safety and the safety of other students." It is later revealed that some university and government officials hope to repeat the tactic that worked for the University of Alabama when they expelled Autherine Lucy after a white riot in 1956. But this time their strategy backfires. More than 400 UGA faculty (a majority) sign a resolution condeming both the violence and the suspension, and calling for the return of the two Black students. Within days a new court order is handed down and they return to class. Hunter and Holmes are joined by Black graduate student Mary Frances Early, who transfers from the University of Michigan and in 1962 becomes the first Black to receive a degree from UGA. Hamilton Holmes becomes the first Black admitted to Emory University School of Medicine and caps a long career as medical director of Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital and associate dean at Emory. Charlayne Hunter (today Charlayne Hunter-Gault) graduates from UGA in 1963 and builds an honored career in journalism working for The New Yorker, The New York Times, the PBS MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, National Public Radio (NPR), and Johannesburg bureau chief of Cable News Network (CNN). For more information on school desegregation: Books: To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement, Charlayne Hunter-Gault Schools and School Desegregation Web: School Desegregation University of Georgia, Desegregation of
Rock Hill SC, "Jail-No-Bail" Sit-ins (Feb-Mar)
At the October 1960 SNCC strategy conference in Atlanta, some activists
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argue for "Jail-No-Bail" tactics. They take a Gandhian position that paying bail or fines indicates acceptance of an immoral system and validates their own arrests. And by serving their sentences, they dramatize the injustice, intensify the struggle, and gain additional media coverage. There is also a practical component to "Jail-No-Bail." The Movement has little money and most southern Blacks are poor. It is hard to scrape up bail money, and sit-in struggles are faltering — not from lack of volunteers to risk arrest — but from lack of money to bail them out. Moreover, paying fines provides the cops with financial resources that are then used to continue suppressing the freedom struggle. By refusing bail, they render meaningless the no-money-for-bail barrier and by serving time they put financial pressure on local authorities who have to pay the costs of incarcerating them. In the Fall of 1960, CORE field secretary Tom Gaither — who as Claflin student-body President had led the large Orangeburg sit-in movement — arrives in Rock Hill SC. Sit-ins began in Rock Hill almost a year earlier, but have made no headway against the intransigent resistance of the White Citizens Council — there have been many arrests, over $17,000 in bail money has been posted, and the media no longer covers the protests. Tom and students from Friendship College (a 2-year Baptist institution) decide to intensify the struggle with "Jail-No-Bail" tactics. On February 1, 1961 — a year to the day after the Greensboro sit-in — Gaither and 9 others are convicted of "Trespass" for sitting-in at the McCrory lunch counter. They are sentenced to fines of $100 each or 30 days hard labor on the county chain-gang. They begin serving their sentence on February 2nd. Four days later on February 6, four SNCC leaders — J. Charles Jones, Diane Nash, Charles Sherrod, and Ruby Doris Smith (later Ruby Doris Robinson) — journey to Rock Hill and stage a solidarity "Jail-No-Bail" sit-in. The "Jail-No-Bail" tactic re-energizes the Rock Hill movement, 300 Blacks attend a mass meeting, and picket lines grow to over 100 protesters. The media resumes covering the demonstrations, including full-page spreads in the Baltimore Afro-American. More SNCC reinforcements arrive from Nashville on February 12 for a weekend of direct action culminating in a Sunday motorcade of 600 people to York County Prison Farm. Inside the prison, the students are placed in solitary confinement as punishment
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for singing the song, "Oh Freedom — Before I'd be a slave, I'd be buried in my grave." As further punishment, they are restricted to bread and water. When the students complete their sentences they are honored by a mass meeting in Rock Hill — they are the first the first group to serve their entire sentence for a sit-in arrest. Says soon-to-become SNCC field secretary Charles Sherrod: "You get ideas in jail. You talk with other young people you have never seen. Right away we recognize each other. People like yourself, getting out of the past. We're up all night, sharing creativity, planning action. You learn the truth in prison, you learn wholeness. You find out the difference between being dead and alive." Meanwhile, picketing, rallies and mass meetings continue throughout February and March. But while "Jail-No-Bail" temporarily revives the Rock Hill movement and garners a new wave of media coverage, it is not enough to force Rock Hill to desegregate. As exhaustion begins to sap the Rock Hill protests, Gaither proposes a new idea to push the struggle forward — a Freedom Ride through Rock Hill and other states of the Deep South. As the Freedom Movement continues into the future, the "Jail-No-Bail" tactic is tried again by many of the Freedom Riders. More than 300 of those arrested in Jackson MS, refuse to pay their fines and instead serve sentences in Mississippi's notorious Parchman Prison. But in later years, "Jail-No-Bail" is rarely used as a tactic-of-choice. Instead it is mostly used as a tacticof-necessity when there is no money available to pay bail or fines. There are a number of reasons for "Jail-No-Bail" becoming the strategy of last resort: In the Deep South, racism and segregation do not yield to moral witness or appeals for decency and justice. As the Movement progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that only a political movement and political power can force an end to racial and economic injustice. As a result, in the years to come, student activists evolve into community organizers, and tactics shift from students courageously dramatizing the iniquities and abuses of segregation to building popular mass movements for justice. Drama and media coverage become less important than broad participation and stubborn, long-haul determination. To organize and sustain a mass movement the organizers and community leaders have to be out in the community organizing and leading — not
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It is simply too risky to leave anyone in jail if there is any way to get them out. it becomes possible to use an old Reconstruction-Era law to move some civil rights cases out of state court into Federal court when evidence suggests that a fair trial in state court is impossible. the bail money is sequestered by the state and unavailable to the Movement for new actions. Alfred Cook. Samuel Bradford. rapes. For more information on the Rock Hill Civil Rights Movement: Web: Rock Hill & Charlotte Sit-ins (J.crmvet. Charles Jones) Dynamics of Protest Diffusion: 1960 Sit-In Movement [PDF] (Andrews & Biggs — Oxford Univ. so they cannot afford to remain in jail as a show of defiance if there any way to get them out. After very lengthy process. Geraldine 5 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM .htm#1961williams sitting in jail. UK) Tougaloo Nine and Jackson State Protest (Mar) Tougaloo College is a private Black institution that in the 1960s was just outside the Jackson MS city limits (it has since been incorporated into the city).History & Timeline. But adults have jobs to keep and children to care for. When the Movement expands out of college centers into the impoverished and oppressed rural counties of the Deep South. nine members of the NAACP Youth Council — Meredith Anding. By the mid-60s. it encounters sheriffs and jails far more vicious and dangerous than those faced by the student sit-ins. The advantage of this is that protesters don't have to appear in court and are not faced with the choice of either financially supporting segregation by paying fines or having to serve prison sentences. The disadvantage is that in situations where the defendants are bailed out of jail before the cases are removed to Federal court. But good leaders and organizers are unwilling to be bailed out while those they led into jail remain there. the Federal courts either dismiss the charges without a trial or place the matter in some legal limbo from which it never emerges. and ultimately murder. Freedom fighters in rural jails face beatings. 1961 http://www.org/tim/timhis61. After careful planning and training. Mass movements have to include adults as well as students.Civil Rights Movement -.
Four students. For more information on the Jackson Civil Rights Movement: Books: Mississippi Movement for partial list of books. The cops attack these bystanders with clubs and dogs. Janice Jackson.) When the the the Tougaloo Nine arrive at the courthouse they are cheered by a small crowd of Black supporters who had not been able to squeeze into the "Colored" section of the courtroom. Evelyn Pierce. despite threats of retaliation against Tougaloo and himself. 6 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM ." Tougaloo President Daniel Beittel — who is white — courageously refuses to expell the student protesters. (A few blocks away several thousand white marchers in Confederate uniforms carrying rebel battle flags are being reviewed by Governor Ross Barnett to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mississippi's secession from the union in 1861. Jackson State is a segregated state institution and demonstrations — in fact. knocks one of the students to the ground. while the Tougaloo Nine languish in jail. in a rage.Civil Rights Movement -. They sit quitely at different tables reading books that are not available in the "colored" library. civil rights activities of any kind — are forbidden.htm#1961williams Edwards. and then march towards the jail where the Tougaloo Nine are being arraigned. That night. Boycotts for continuation. Hundreds of people attend the prayer which is broken up by Jackson State President Jacob Reddix backed by a squad of cops. Myrlie Evers latter says of the Tougaloo Nine: "The change of tide in Mississippi began with the Tougaloo Nine and the library sit-in.org/tim/timhis61. When the nine refuse to leave.History & Timeline. Jackson State students boycott class. Later that day. Albert Lassiter. including the Ladner sisters. hold an illegal rally. President Reddix. Joseph Jackson. and student President Walter Williams. Jackson State College students including Dorie and Joyce Ladner organize a "prayer vigil" in their support.crmvet. they are arrested for "Disturbing the Peace" and become known as the "Tougaloo Nine. more than 1.000 people — many of them adults — attend a rally in support of the Nine." See Jackson MS. and Ethel Sawyer — attempt to use the white-only Jackson public library on March 27. The following day. are expelled for their activity in support of the Tougaloo Nine. The Jackson State marchers are attacked by club-swinging police using tear gas and dogs to disperse them. 1961 http://www.
History & Timeline.) 7 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM .] In December of 1960." was met by violence and arrests for violating local segregation ordinances. called the "Journey of Reconciliation. Virginia). That ride. (The Boynton decision reaffirms and extends Morgan v Virgina which formed the basis for the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation.Civil Rights Movement -. 1961 http://www. 1961) [This article covers the Freedom Rides of 1961.org/tim/timhis61. and that as a matter of Federal law integrated travel on interstate buses and trains is a legal right. that segregation in interstate travel is illegal. the Supreme Court rules in the Boynton case (Boynton v.htm#1961williams Web links: Jackson Municipal Library (Mississippi Heritage Trust) Mississippi Movement Freedom Rides (May-Nov) Photos Map See also Freedom Riders — 1961 Contents: The First Ride Burning Bus in Anniston Mob Attack in Birmingham SNCC Students Resume the Freedom Ride Mobs in Montgomery Arrests in Jackson Freedom Rides Roll Across the South A New Generation of Leaders Freedom Rides — Important Points The First Ride (May. and sit wherever they wish. Separate white and colored toilets and dining rooms for interstate travelers are no longer allowed. travelers have the right to use whatever facilities they choose.crmvet. An earlier freedom ride organized by CORE occurred in 1947.
Burning Bus in Anniston. Al Bigelow. and slashing the tires.Civil Rights Movement -. the Carolinas. But in Alabama and Mississippi. He pulls his gun to force the Klansmen back. a mob of more than 100 Klansmen ambush the Riders in Anniston AL. a 12 year old white girl who lives nearby defies the taunts and insults of the Klansmen to bring water to the bleeding riders who are still choking from the smoke. halting it on the outskirts of town. The plan is to ride through Virginia. 8 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . With the cooperation of the cops. but the attackers give chase. and CORE activist Tom Gaither proposes a "Freedom Ride" through Rock Hill and elsewhere in the Deep South to test and implement the Boynton decision. and Winnsboro SC. Louisiana. For daring to help the injured riders.History & Timeline. SNCC student Hank Thomas is beaten with a baseball bat to the head while other riders are assaulted. When the violence subsides. The Alabama Highway Patrol has an undercover cop on board.htm#1961williams By early '61. The bus tries to flee. the Rock Hill SC sit-in movement has run into a stone wall of racist resistance." the Supreme Court.crmvet.org/tim/timhis61. local police arrest some of the Riders in Charlotte NC. Little trouble is encountered as they travel through Virginia and North Carolina.Atlanta — without incident. 6 white) out of Washington on Greyhound and Trailways buses. on May 15 (Mothers Day). AL Photos White political leaders in Georgia choose not to defy the Supreme Court ruling by arresting the riders. CORE Director James Farmer leads 13 Freedom Riders (7 Black. she and her family are later ostracized and forced to leave the county. and the Federal government. Nor do they incite racist hysteria or mob violence. railing against integration. attacking the Greyhound bus. and Mississippi. 1961 http://www. smashing the windows. Alabama. "race-mixers. segregationist politicians seize on the Freedom Ride as a political opportunity. Georgia. and Genevieve Hughes are beaten in Rock Hill. then setting it on fire." "Communist-plots. Their final destination is New Orleans. On May 4. and the passengers tumble off the bus — barely escaping with their lives — just before the gas tanks explode. The mob holds the door shut to burn the Riders alive.Athens . Most of the Riders are from CORE — many in their 40s and 50s — and two are young students from SNCC. The Riders cross Georgia — Augusta . Defying the Boynton ruling. SC. but John Lewis.
clearly. the CORE Riders decide to fly to New Orleans to attend a previously scheduled rally at which they are the main speakers.org/tim/timhis61. they make no arrests. Jim Peck of CORE requires 53 stitches to close his wounds. 1961 http://www. Shuttlesworth is arrested twice on trumped up charges. Photos and news reports of the burning bus in Anniston and the mob violence in Birmingham flash around the nation — and around the world — to the great embarassment of the Kennedys. leaving them bloody and battered. At the hospital. He blames "extremists on both sides" for the violence.htm#1961williams Mob Attack in Birmingham. Greyhound and Trailways drivers refuse to drive any bus carrying Freedom Riders. do nothing to enforce the Supreme Court ruling. Yes. AL Photos When the Trailways bus reaches Anniston. and the CORE Riders reach New Orleans. The bus manages to escape Anniston and reach Birmingham where Commissioner of Public Safety Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor encourages another KKK mob to savagely attack the Riders again.Civil Rights Movement -. The FBI knows in advance that the two busses are going to be attacked in Anniston and Birmingham.History & Timeline. Fred Shuttlesworth and activists from the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) defy the mobs to rescue the Riders. do nothing to protect the Riders from assault. Freedom Movement activists are both dumbfounded and outraged. But the nonviolent Freedom Riders are peaceful. and they are harassed by another Klan mob as they wait hour after hour at the airport. the airline manages to get a flight off the ground in the dead of night.crmvet. Attorney General Robert Kennedy calls for a "cooling off period" (meaning that CORE should halt the Freedom Ride). SNCC Students Resume the Freedom Ride 9 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . smashing peoples' skulls with baseball bats and trying to burn them alive in a hijacked bus are the acts of extremists. but they do nothing to prevent the violence. and their actions are entirely legal under Federal law. Rev. under pressure from Attorney General Robert Kennedy. the mob boards the bus and beats the Riders with fists and clubs. Though they well know who the mob leaders are. Bomb threats prevent the plane from taking off. Unable to proceed to Montgomery. Finally. By what measure of justice and common sense can they be labled "extremists?" The next day.
" says one driver. All night — hour after hour — the Riders wait for a bus while constantly harassed and besieged by a racist mob led by Robert Shelton. and I'm not going to give it to NAACP or CORE. the two young SNCC members of the original Ride — take bus from Nashville to Birmingham on May 17. activists from the SNCC-affiliated Nashville Student Movement (NSM) won't allow the KKK to defeat the Ride. 1961 http://www. their sirens screaming. Just before the bus arrives.crmvet. screaming "Get the niggers!" They attack with baseball bats. all the cops who had been guarding the Greyhound terminal also disappear. Mobs in Montgomery AL Photos Under intense public pressure. the bus streaks south towards Montgomery at 90 miles an hour escorted by Alabama Highway Patrol cars. reinforce them. Greyhound is forced to provide a driver. the Kennedy administration extracts a reluctant promise from Alabama Governor Patterson to protect the Freedom Riders on their journey from Birmingham to Montgomery. 2 white) — including John Lewis and Hank Thomas. Now 19 strong (16 Black. including Ruby Doris Smith from SNCC in Atlanta. Again. When the Freedom Riders step off the bus. community leaders. The students are not deterred. On the morning of May 20. But when the bus reaches the Montgomery city limits the Highway Patrol suddenly disappears.History & Timeline." Their elders — teachers. Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. pastors — are certain they will be killed and try to dissuade them. 3 white) they return to the Greyhound terminal. hundreds of Klansmen swarm over them. When they arrive. Shuttlesworth: "The students have decided that we can't let violence overcome.Civil Rights Movement -. We are coming into Birmingham to continue the Freedom Ride. they are arrested by "Bull" Connor who transports them in the middle of the night to the Tennessee border and dumps them by the side of the road.org/tim/timhis61. broken bottles.htm#1961williams Though they know they are putting their young lives in deadly peril. and lead pipes. Afraid of a Klan ambush. They manage to make their way back to Birmingham where more Riders. Reporters are beaten and their cameras smashed (which is why no photographs 10 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . the Freedom Ride resumes. Student leader Diane Nash tells Rev. Ten Riders (8 Black. the drivers refuse to carry them — "I have only one life to give.
htm#1961williams exist of this murderous attack). Alabama Public Safety Director Floyd Mann pulls his revolver and stops the Klansmen who are kicking and stomping Zwerg.. James Farmer of CORE begins recruiting more Riders to head south. the police finally show up. Lewis. now grown to over 1." and Robert Kennedy orders Federal marshals to Alabama to protect interstate commerce. .500 Black citizens pack Reverend Abernathy's 1st Baptist church to honor the Freedom Riders.) After allowing the Klan its reign of terror. saying: "We are prepared to die.. . Jude's hospital will treat wounded Riders of any color. William Barbee tells reporters: "As soon as we've recovered from this. Jim Zwerg is beaten to bloody unconsciousness. Under the segregation laws.000. JFK issues a tepid "statement of concern.. Outside. No city or state cops are in sight. they clogged every roadway.org/tim/timhis61. May 21st. John Lewis is felled by a wooden crate to the head. From his hospital bed. The cops make no arrests. his teeth knocked out. and burning the Riders' luggage in a bonfire. and white drivers won't. down from Birmingham. (When Governor George Wallace takes office in 1963. The mob. The streets were full of roving bands of short-sleeved white men shouting obscenities. though they lurk near by and some in civilian clothes have joined the crowd. As we got close.. he immediately fires Mann.crmvet. setting one teenage boy on fire." In Washington. expands outward from the Greyhound terminal attacking Blacks on the street. When Justice Department official John Seigenthaler tries to rescue two of the women Riders. The crowds grew thicker as we approached the church.History & Timeline. some 1. waving 11 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . The following night. Instead they serve the Freedom Riders with injunctions blaming them for the violence. and William Barbee — probably saving their lives. he too is beaten unconscious and left bloody on the pavement. a mob of more than 3. Sunday.000 whites heckle and harass Blacks and the handful of Federal marshals protecting the church. Dr. Shuttlesworth. Only the Catholic St. Meanwhile. and replaces him with "Colonel" Al Lingo. 1961 http://www. Zwerg agrees. Acting against orders from his political masters. braves the mob that now completely surrounds the church to escort in James Farmer. Black cab drivers cannot take white Freedom Riders to the hospital. we'll start again.Civil Rights Movement -." And from the white side of the segregated hospital. a rabid segregationist. King speaks in their support. pressure intensifies on the Kennedys.
1961 http://www. It was. . blocking the entrances to the church.History & Timeline. "Let me through. . who rescued many of the Freedom Riders at the Montgomery bus depot and also played a crucial role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56. Dr. Suddenly.htm#1961williams Confederate flags and shouting rebel yells. they all reappeared.. Black men draw hidden pistols from their pockets and prepare to defend their families if the mob manages to break down the doors..crmvet. About an hour passed. King knows that armed Blacks confronting the white mob and their police accomplices will result in a horrendous blood bath. And yet..." The mob obeyed. The marshals desperately try to protect the church from assault and fire bombs.. Inside. elbowing the hysterical white men aside. Shuttlesworth just plowed in. This was no small miracle." — James Farmer. There was an unforgettable silence as they passed out of the church. Looking back.. "Out of my way. don't mess with him.Civil Rights Movement -. that nigger is crazy. He calls for volunteers to walk with him — unarmed — through the white crowd to dissuade the cab drivers from meeting violence with counter-violence. King had convinced the cab drivers to abandon their mission. out of the darkness. As rocks shatter the stained-glass windows and tear gas seeps in. I was sure I would never see them again. leave him alone. the crowds grabbed hold of the car and began rocking it back and forth. . the mob didn't touch them — such is the power of nonviolence. heavy-footed the accelerator and zoomed backwards. for all the yelling. the children are sent to the basement for protection. As we stopped. King showed through this act of courage in this most harrowing moment of the campaign that fear was not a factor for him. ... but we were too late. the people of Montgomery sing hymns and freedom songs in defiance. unharmed. The cab drivers. We shoved the car into reverse." he said. Dr.org/tim/timhis61. We watched as they walked through the howling crowd. are a kind of unofficial security and patrol service for the Black community. the mob was already there. I can only guess it was an example of the "crazy nigger" syndrome — "Man.  The mob overturns a car and sets it ablaze. at that point in 12 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . Black cab drivers and military veterans in the community begin arming themselves and assembling at a nearby gas station to fight their way through the mob and defend those trapped in the church. The only approach to the church was through a graveyard. But Dr.
1961 http://www.  Slowly. the bus heads west on Highway 80 in a caravan of more than 40 vehicles. the greatest lesson he could have offered.crmvet. — Freedom Rider Bernard Lafayette. Arrests in Jackson Photos The next day more Freedom Riders from CORE and SNCC arrive in Montgomery. but the Alabama National Guard — the "Dixie" Division with the Confederate flag as its shoulder patch — forces them at bayonet point to remain inside the sweltering. President Kennedy moves towards committing federal troops. the Kennedys cut a deal with the governors of Alabama and Mississippi." 13 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM .org/tim/timhis61.Civil Rights Movement -. Meanwhile. Surrounded by Highway Patrol and National Guard. The governors agree to have their state police and National Guard protect the Riders from mob violence — thereby ending media coverage of bloody lawlessness which is humiliating JFK at home and embarrassing the U. around the globe. In return. reluctantly. Blacks try to leave the church. a dozen Freedom Riders board a Trailways bus for the 250 mile journey to Jackson MS. 14 more Riders board the mid-day Greyhound for Jackson. Says Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett in defense of segregation: "The Negro is different because God made him different to punish him. When the weary Riders arrive in Jackson and attempt to use "white only" restrooms and lunch counters they are immediately arrested for Breach of Peace and Refusal to Obey an Officer. May 24. Behind everyone's back and hidden from public view. tear gas filled building for the entire night. With the mob finally being broken up. On Wednesday morning. back in Montgomery. They pass through Selma at top speed without stopping — there will be no bus-depot rest stops until Jackson seven hours from Montgomery. but Governor Patterson forestalls him by declaring martial law and sending in the Alabama National Guard to disperse the mob.S.htm#1961williams the Freedom Rides. the Federal government agrees to look the other away and allow the states to illegally — and unconstitutionally — arrest the Freedom Riders even though they are lawfully engaged in interstate commerce protected by the Supreme Court's Boynton decision.History & Timeline.
The Alabama Guardsmen are unable (or unwilling) to prevent a mob from attacking the Riders with thrown rocks and bottles. a Greyhound from the east arrives with yet another team of Riders including Charles Jones of SNCC and Yale University Chaplin William Sloan Coffin. After 39 days. While 96% of Blacks support the Freedom Rides. they file an appeal and post bond. only 23% favor pushing for equality in the "near future. Defying the Kennedys and majority public opinion. the Riders announce "Jail No Bail" — they will not pay fines for unconstitutional arrests and illegal convictions — and by staying in jail they keep the issue alive. CORE.htm#1961williams From lockup. When directly polled on integration. Freedom Rides Roll Across the South Photos The Kennedys again call for a "cooling off period" and condemn the Riders as "unpatriotic" because they embarrass the nation on the world stage. By overwhelming margins. Attorney General Robert Kennedy — the chief law enforcement officer of the land — is quoted as saying that he.History & Timeline. that's why it's called the "Justice" Department. white southerners oppose the rides as do more than two thirds of whites nationwide. Each prisoner will remain in jail for 39 days. They are uneasy at thoughts of racial integration and equality. trials. But 70% approve of Kennedy using federal marshals to quell white violence in Alabama which is seen as upholding law and order rather than defending Black civil rights. But the majority of Americans share the president's attitudes. of course). and convictions. Shuttlesworth.crmvet. Rev.org/tim/timhis61. 7% nationwide are adamantly opposed (much higher in the South. Wyatt Tee Walker. they are all arrested. Back in Montgomery. and Bernard Lee join them at the bus terminal's "white only" lunch counter. and direct action agitation disturbs and disrupts their tranquility.Civil Rights Movement -. Abernathy. the maximum time they can serve without loosing their right to appeal the unconstitutionality of their arrests. and SCLC 14 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . only 24% of the population as a whole approve." Civil rights supporters across the nation retort that defending the Constitutional rights of American citizens is part of the department's job. SNCC." and fully 61% support only "gradual" progress someday in the vague future. "Does not feel that the Department of Justice can side with one group or the other in disputes over Constitutional rights. 1961 http://www. When SCLC leaders Rev.
forcing them to sleep on hard concrete and steel. Finally. toilets. In the Deep South states of South Carolina. The riders must endure poisonous hatred. 1961 http://www." Murders and rapes are common. more than 300 have been jailed. A New Generation of Leaders Many of the Freedom Riders are moved to Parchman Penitentiary. Alabama. When the Riders won't stop singing freedom songs their mattresses are removed. passengers are permitted to sit wherever they please on the bus. and the guards use shotguns and leather whips to enforce absolute rule. inedible food. Kwame Ture (Stokley Carmichael) later recalls: "When [the prod] touched your skin. and the prisoners are tortured with agonizing electric cattle prods. at once a jolting shock and a burn. They emerge from prison — Parchman and Hinds County Jail — stronger and more committed than before.Civil Rights Movement -. the windows are closed and the fans stopped to create sweltering. Fire hoses are used to smash bodies against the steel bars. suffocating heat. Most of the rides converge on Jackson.org/tim/timhis61. where every Rider is arrested. Georgia. the Mississippi prison farm notorious for its brutal treatment of inmates — where prison life is described as "worse than slavery. Mississippi. But rules put to paper in Washington must be enforced on the ground in the 15 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM .History & Timeline.crmvet. separate drinking fountains. the pain was sharp and excruciating. a crack has been forced open in the solid wall of segregation. a commitment to freedom and justice that shapes the rest of their lives. the Kennedy administration has the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) issue another desegregation order. and the lunch counters begin serving people regardless of color.htm#1961williams reject any "cooling off period" and form a Freedom Riders Coordinating Committee to keep the Rides rolling. what began as a simple protest has been forged into a vocation. You could actually see (puffs of smoke) and smell (the odor of roasting flesh) your skin burning. "white" and "colored" signs come down in the terminals. and Louisiana. Mississippi intends to halt the growing Freedom Movement by breaking the Riders' spirit. including 41 local Jacksonians busted for joining the Riders at segregated lunch counters. It's summer in the Delta. and waiting rooms are consolidated. When the new ICC rule takes effect on November 1st. June — July — August — more than 60 Freedom Rides criss-cross the South (see map). By the end of the summer. And for many of them. and vicious beatings." Mississippi fails to break the Riders.
Victories have been won in some mid. The time for caution and safety has passed.and upper-south college-towns. and the Federal government. the student sit-ins are flagging." The young. At the crucial moment when violence halts the Rides in Birmingham and the adults of CORE hesitate. the Movement escalates the confrontation. it becomes a bedrock principle of the Freedom Movement that violence and repression cannot — must not ever — be allowed to deter an action or suppress a struggle. mob violence. Rather then retreat. And from that seed of defiance grows the Albany Movement which goes on to challenge segregation throughout Southwest Georgia. One day they're children.org/tim/timhis61. They are denied. and the next day they're going off to Birmingham. That the response to violent repression has to be 16 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . nervous about going to jail for the first time in Nashville. After the Rides.crmvet. now-former students. and on that same day nine Black students in Albany GA try to use the bus terminal's "white-only" facilities. it is the young. Kelly Miller Smith: "They've all grown up. Young people seize the initiative. The new order is signed on November 1st. and Jackson Mississippi. Courage and determination trump violence. Says beloved Nashville leader Rev. I've watched them for a year. The Freedom Rides directly and publicly challenge segregation in its Deep South strongholds. but in the Deep South little progress has been made. See Albany Movement and Desegregate Route 40 Project for continuation. By the winter of 1960.History & Timeline. the Citizens Councils. and they've grown up in front of me. intuitively grasp what is to become a cornerstone of SNCC philosophy — that only through crossing the line into danger can change be made. Parchman Prison.htm#1961williams South — and that requires men and women of courage to defy generations of custom and a century of terror. 1961 http://www. don't falter — escalate. and the greater the risk the greater the change. now it's time to put your body on the line. King and most other adult leaders who fear (with good reason) that they will be killed. Freedom Rides — Important Points When the going gets tough. SNCC-affiliated students in Nashville who pick up the torch and carry the Rides forward against the advice of Dr.Civil Rights Movement -. The Freedom Riders up the stakes by defying the Klan.
she is one of the first to step forward. I often heard about the freedom riders on TV and read about them in the newspapers. the Klan. the Freedom Rides are a blow from an ice-pick that begins to crack the block. And I would wonder if they would ever come to Holly Springs. tells an interviewer: "I was working at a private home during the time and would turn on the TV and see all the riots. The Rides inspire the Black population. If segregation is a frozen iceberg in the Deep South. And I was glad when they came through. Their courage so inspires hope in Black communities across the South that for years thereafter Mississippi Blacks refer to all civil rights activists as "Freedom Riders. Even when Movement supporters disagree with the original action." When SNCC organizers finally arrive. I would meet with some of my friends. The Riders boldly and publicly defy the worst that the cops.Civil Rights Movement -. Mississippi sharecroppers have no money for restaurants and lunch counters. In 1966. because that's what I wanted to do. for example. and I just couldn't wait to get involved. but I didn't know how to go about it. 17 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM .History & Timeline.crmvet.htm#1961williams determination to continue regardless. I always pictured them coming in a bus with "FREEDOM" written on it. they rally in support if it encounters violent repression. She and her husband both become SNCC staff members.org/tim/timhis61. And that's what I said I wanted to be: a Freedom Rider." She becomes a voting-rights activist in the Mississippi Delta. and seeing the "white-only" signs come down in the terminals sparks dreams of a better life for their children. and the Citizens Councils can do — hard prison & deadly violence — and they emerge undaunted. all Movement organizations and leaders oppose the Meredith Mississippi March Against Fear. and we would go up to the bus station and wait for them so that we could welcome them in. Hattye Gatson. but Blacks from all walks of life ride the buses. 1961 http://www. a rural resident of Holmes County." The rides force the media to expose the true depths of southern racism which advances the long. But when James Meredith is gunned down on the highway south of Memphis. slow process of breaking down the isolation and fear that have kept people in political and economic bondage for generations. every organization and leader mobilizes to continue his march to Jackson. Rita Walker later recalled: "I always wanted to work for my freedom.
Domestically.htm#1961williams Politicians and power-elites foment the racism and violence. is competing with the Soviet Union for the allegiance of the new nations emerging out of anti-colonial struggles. But the truth is that he is mainly interested in foreign affairs. SCLC. particularly the Cold War against Communism. but absent encouragement from the power-elites they do not mobilize mobs. the Freedom Rides are. segregationist Southern Democrats control Congress. 18 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM .History & Timeline. The Rides expose the hollowness of JFK's "freedom" rhetoric. The Riders encounter no violence or arrests in Georgia because on this occasion the Georgia power-structure chooses not to whip up hate. hysteria. Emergence of the big-three. The violence and arrests occur in South Carolina. military.crmvet. The Freedom Rides brings to public prominence the "big-three. Just weeks before the Rides begin.org/tim/timhis61. the U. The White Citizens Council and Ku Klux Klan are just as strong in Georgia as in the other Deep South states. and fear." And to the growing Freedom Movement.S.Civil Rights Movement -. and their refusal to enforce Federal law and Constitutional protections. is a betrayal — the Kennedys are part of the problem. They are grouped together as the direct action and community-organizing wing of the Movement in comparison to the litigation & legislation wing led by the NAACP. He also believes that he cannot be re-elected in 1964 without support from the white-only Democratic Party in the South. And absent Council and Klan demagoguery and threats. and Kennedy fears that if he antagonizes the South they will cripple his legislative agenda and thwart his plans to double the size of the U. not part of the solution. in his words: "A pain in the ass." organizations that will shape the Movement in the years to come: CORE. and TV images of racism and repression in the South put the lie to Washington's "freedom" sales pitch. 1961 http://www. and Mississippi where powerful politicians such as Senator Strom Thurmond and Governors Patterson and Barnett seek political advantage by fanning the flames of racism. ordinary white citizens do not spontaneously erupt into violence because Blacks and whites sit together on a bus or at a lunch counter. Media stories of racial strife and mob violence in the South embarrass him before other world leaders and undercut America's posture as leader of the "Free World. Alabama. the Kennedys' opposition.S." In Africa and Asia. As far as JFK is concerned. President Kennedy proclaims his commitment to justice for American Blacks. and SNCC.
htm#1961williams Effect on CORE. and their arguments are central to many SNCC activists. became SNICK!" A new direction for SNCC. with active chapters in almost every major Northern city. CORE and its leader James Farmer are propelled into the public spotlight. They conclude that breaking the power of the all-white Democratic Party of the southern states is fundamental to ending segregation and creating equal opportunity. but know little of SNCC as an organization. so does the gut-wrenching courage it takes to willingly face mob violence harden college students into life-long social activists such as Diane Nash.C. as one Movement veteran succinctly put it: "S. uncertain of their roles in the southern struggle and generally conventional in their political orientations. As the searing. white-heat of forge-fire hardens iron into steel.C. The public and press are aware of the various student sit-in movements. At the end of 1960 SNCC was still a loosely organized committee of part-time student activists. As discussed below in "Direct Action or Voter Registration?" SNCC resolves to do both. Others in SNCC are committed to continuing direct action as SNCC's primary strategy.org/tim/timhis61.Civil Rights Movement -. Local Black community leaders also believe that voter registration is a key to freedom. 1961 http://www. CORE quickly becomes the largest and most important direct action civil rights organization outside the South.' a series of assaults on southern segregation that for the first time brought student protesters into conflict with the Kennedy administration. Its militant identity was forged during the 'freedom rides. SNCC became a cadre of full-time organizers and protesters. Before the Freedom Rides. new CORE chapters are formed in the Carolinas.crmvet. Yet within months.N. and Louisiana. Effect on SNCC. And serving time in 19 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . — Clayborne Carson  Or. SNCC as an organization is little known outside Movement circles. And in the South. The combined results of the sit-ins and Freedom Rides convince some in SNCC that a strategy of voter registration and community organization is needed. A new generation of leaders emerges from jail.History & Timeline. Little known to the general public before the Freedom Rides. Florida.
Ruby Doris Smith. Led by Williams. the city closes the pool. and many.T. Bernard Lafayette. Stokely Carmichael. led by Robert Williams. the Thompson sisters (Alice.500 chants "Get the niggers! Get the niggers!" The local police. A white mob of 2. Doris Castle. the FBI. Landy McNair. C. Jerome Smith. many others. Paul Brooks.htm#1961williams Mississippi's worst prisons forges bonds of commitment and shared determination that can never be broken.Civil Rights Movement -. In June of 1961. James Bevel. Out of Parchman and Hinds County Jails step young men and women whose names will become Movement legend in the coming years of struggle: Zev Aelony. Robert Williams. Escape. NAACP Personal stories of the Freedom Rides: Terry Sullivan The Freedom Rides: Were They in Vain? Stephen Green Freedom Rider Diary . Jim Farmer. & Exile of Robert Williams (1961-1969) See Robert Williams & Armed Self-Defense in Monroe NC for previous events.org/tim/timhis61. Charles Jones. For more information on the Freedom Riders: Books: Freedom Rides Web: Freedom Rides (this website) Freedom Rides (other websites) Documents: Swimming Pool Showdown. the Black community of Monroe NC. Cordell Reagan. 1961 http://www. Joan Trumpaur. Bill Mahoney. Travis Britt.40 Years Later Frame-up. Hank Thomas. Dion Diamond. Williams and his wife Mabel carry pistols to defend themselves against the mob. Charles Sherrod. Black teenagers picket the segregated pool. and the Department of Justice do nothing (as usual). resumes the struggle to integrate the city-owned swimming pool so that Black children have a safe place to swim in the sweltering summer heat. Jim Forman. Genevieve Hughes. Southern Exposure The Single Issue in the Robert Williams Case. 20 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . Vivian. Catherine Burks. White racists attack them. & Shirley).History & Timeline.crmvet. John Lewis. Dave Dennis. Jean. Rather than integrate. Mimi Feingold.
htm#1961williams Williams requests that Jim Forman (soon to be SNCC's Executive Director) and Paul Brooks of SCLC arrange for an integrated team of Freedom Riders to come to Monroe and picket the courthouse in support of the Monroe struggle. Williams takes the couple into his home to protect them. With young people active in the newly-formed Monroe Nonviolent Action Committee. but when a white couple accidentally drives into the neighborhood they are threatened by angry Blacks. The Crusader. They are not harmed and leave as soon as it's safe to do so.) On Sunday.History & Timeline. In August. The police arrest some of the pickets and let the attackers go free. they are attacked.000 racists is mobilized by the KKK to surround and attack the nonviolent pickets at the courthouse." The mob attacks. Williams writes Negroes With Guns which greatly influences the Black Power movement and the founders of the 21 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . both of which advocate armed self-defense. his wife Mabel. a huge mob of 3." before they can defend themselves in court. Jim Forman is clubbed in the head with a shotgun and others are injured. While there. local activists Harold Reape and Richard Crowder. August 27. (The iconic photo of a young woman holding a "Justice" sign is from one of these protests. they begin picketing in support of broad desegregation demands. In the Black neighborhood around Williams' home. The cops use the incident to frame Williams. the Freedom Riders arrive in Monroe. The nonviolent demonstrators are harassed and limited by the police and repeatedly attacked by racists.org/tim/timhis61. and fires shots at Black bystanders.crmvet. Movement supporter Mae Mallory. More than 20 of the pickets are arrested for "Inciting a riot. There is a tense stand-off with the KKK who are supported by the police. The city council enacts anti-picketing laws restricting not only how citizens can protest but what their signs are permitted to say. 1961 http://www. The others are eventually arrested. local Blacks arm to defend themselves from the Klan. No one is killed or injured. and white Freedom Rider John Lowry on phony kidnapping charges. Because Freedom Riders are so much in the news he hopes that their presence will bring media attention to the Monroe situation. Shortly after the picture is taken.Civil Rights Movement -. or "shot-while-trying-to-escape. and after a four year legal struggle they are cleared of the absurd kidnapping charges. Robert and Mabel Williams are forced to flee the country to escape these false charges and the threat of being lynched. For five years Robert and Mabel Williams live in Cuba where they broadcast "Radio Free Dixie" and publish a newsletter.
Kentucky. Arkansas. by 1960 that number has declined by 75% to around 250. Monroe NC Movement. Texas). to Mississippi and the Black Belt areas of Alabama. almost 60% of southern Blacks live in urban areas (compared to roughly 30% in 1930). In 1966. Self-Defense. Williams and his family move to China where they live until returning to the U. and Louisiana). most of the South experiences enormous economic changes.History & Timeline. For more information on the Monroe Civil Rights Movement: Books: Robert Williams. Robert Williams. government which wants to learn more about Communist China from Williams. By 1960. the "Mid South" (Virginia. North Carolina. the Williams family return is paid for by the U.000 — resulting in a huge migration off the land into the cities both North and South.S. in a class by itself — the absolute deepest pit of racism. & Self-Defense Documents: Swimming Pool Showdown. NAACP Mississippi — the Eye of the Storm It is a true-ism of the era that as you travel from the north to the south the deeper grows the racism.htm#1961williams Black Panther Party. Florida. Missouri. the East Shore of Maryland. Duing the post-Depression decades of the 1940s and 1950s. if at all. and the "Deep South" (South Carolina. In 1920.crmvet. Louisiana). And then there is Mississippi. almost a million southern Blacks work in agriculture. and poverty. "King Cotton" declines as agriculture diversifies and mechanizes. the worse the poverty. Ironically. Tennessee. Southern Exposure The Single Issue in the Robert Williams Case.Civil Rights Movement -.org/tim/timhis61. violence. and the more brutal the repression. In the geography of the Freedom Movement the South is divided into mental zones according to the virulence of bigotry and oppression: the "Border States" (Delaware. Alabama. Georgia. Georgia. and the urban areas of Maryland). 1961 http://www. almost 70% of Mississippi Blacks still live in rural areas. But those economic changes come slowly. & Monroe Movement Web: Robert F. and more than a third (twice the 22 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM .S. In 1960. in 1969 to contest the kidnapping charges which are eventually dropped in 1976. Williams.
$18.org/tim/timhis61. And they are determined to keep that labor cheap and docile.394 bales of cotton.) The Black men.Civil Rights Movement -. 60-hour week.000 (equal to about $6. This system of agricultural feudalism is maintained by Jim Crow laws. On average. and assasinations. in some cases by large majorities. More than 85% of Mississippi Blacks live below the official Federal poverty line.89 to educate each white student and only $0. the median income for Mississippi whites is three times higher. It is no surprise then that only 7% of Mississippi Blacks finish high school. He sells this cotton for $890.000 in 2012). hoeing. and they are ruthless in doing so — using rigged "literacy" tests. Pike County.000 in 2012 dollars). Segregated education for Blacks is severely limited. white-only primaries.480. It costs Eastland $566. and children who labor in his fields under the blazing sun — plowing. 23 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM .History & Timeline.30 in 2012). The average funding for Black schools is less than a quarter of that spent to educate white students.htm#1961williams percentage in the rest of the South) work the land as sharecroppers. for example. white terrorism. spends $30.76 cents per Black pupil. economic retaliation. poll taxes. and in the rural areas where children are sent to the fields early in life. the median income for Blacks in Mississippi is just $1.00 for a six-day. Klan violence. Given these demographic realities. seven Blacks are lynched or assasinated each year in Mississippi since the 1880s. women. arrests. That's $3. the power elites know that to maintain white supremecy they have to prevent Blacks from voting. 1961 http://www. This represents profit of 57%.444 (equal to $11.000 (equal to $2. In 1960. tenant farmers. (For comparison. While whites outnumber Blacks in Mississippi overall. state repression. Mississippi is still dominated — economically and politically — by less than 100 plantation barons who lord it over vast cotton fields worked by Black hand-labor using hoes and fingers the way it was done in slavery times. his huge plantation in Sunflower County produces 5. and the systematic disenfranchisement of Blacks. and picking — are paid 30 cents an hour (equal to $2. And in a number of rural counties Blacks outnumber whites.00 for a 10 hour day. a modern corporation is doing well if it returns 10-15% profit. In 1961.crmvet. and in rural areas the ratio is even more skewed. functional illiteracy is widespread.000 to produce his cotton for a profit of $324. and farm laborers.830. planting.000 in 2012). the ratio of Blacks to whites is higher than in any other state in the union. The arch-segregationist Senator James Eastland provides a clear example of the economic riches that underlie racism in Mississippi.
the VEP begins operations in early 1962.000 (equal to $6. SCLC agrees to incorporate and expand the program. the self-declared leader of the "Free World. Alabama. but in 1961 no more than 5% of them are registered to vote — in many Black-majority counties not a single Black citizen is registered. See Direct Action or Voter Registration? for continuation. Directed by Wiley Branton.htm#1961williams According to the 1960 Census. Behind the scenes. CORE." The Movement rejects his call for a "cooling off" period and the rides continue. and John Lewis. This systematic denial of Black voting rights is replicated in the Black Belt areas of Louisiana. SCLC. And across the state. and he promises that the Federal government will provide protection and legal support for Blacks engaged in registering voters if the students will just stop protesting. not even decorated military veterans.000 in 2012 dollars) is distributed to Movement organizations across the south. the VEP continues until 1968. With the state of Tennessee on the verge of shutting down the Highlander Center as a "subversive organization. JFK thinks that if the students turn to voter registration rather than sit-ins and Freedom Rides there will be an end to racist violence and embarrasing media attention. of those few on the voter rolls.History & Timeline. Under subsequent directors Randolph Blackwell. New World.800. Voter Education Project (1961-1968) By June of '61. Using VEP money." a home has to be found for the Citizenship Schools project led by Septima Clark. and Southwest Georgia. Under the auspices of the non-profit Southern Regional Council (SRC). 1961 http://www. and Taconic foundations for voter registration. he arranges for financial grants from the Field. South Carolina. and SNCC to receive the foundation money and disperse it to the organizations doing the work on the ground.Civil Rights Movement -. Between April of '62 and the end of '64 almost $900. only a handful dare to actually cast a ballot. the Voter Education Project (VEP) is established by the NAACP.org/tim/timhis61. Blacks make up 41% of Mississippi's population.crmvet. adding Dorothy Cotton and Andrew Young to the leadership team and moving the location from 24 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . Stern Family. Vernon Jordon. Freedom Rides are rolling across the South and news stories documenting southern racism and student courage are blazing around the globe — humiliating President Kennedy.
Mississippi. Instead of diminishing. Registering voters was always an NAACP focus.Civil Rights Movement -. SNCC is initially divided over the question of voter registration versus direct action.org/tim/timhis61. The many promises made by the Kennedy administration that the federal government will provide legal support. SCLC also sets up a seven-state voter registration program under Jack O'Dell. It is only after passage of the Voting Rights Act in August of 1965 that significant numbers are registered in those states.htm#1961williams Highlander to Dorchester Center in Georgia. and Georgia.History & Timeline. shootings. are not kept. 1961 http://www. is interested in adding registration to its programs. In its first two and a half years (mid-1962 through the end of 1964) VEP funded projects manage to register large numbers of Blacks in the upper and mid-southern states. fire bombings. But little progress is made in the five Deep South states of Louisiana. Other Movement organizations also begin devoting more attention to voter registration. and the Carolinas. news stories of brutality. and South Carolina. The Department of Justice and FBI do almost nothing as a reign of terror — arrests and other forms of police harassment. Alabama. Direct Action or Voter Registration? (Summer) 25 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . Now the availability of foundation money combined with the increasing activity — and increasing militancy — of NAACP youth groups opens new opportunities. but in the Deep South little progress had been made against the entrenched opposition of the white power-structure. To his astonishment. CORE too. it has active voter-registration projects underway in Mississippi. But by 1962. bombings. Mississippi. and murders increase as the Klan and White Citizen Councils use every form of terrorism and economic retaliation to prevent Blacks from voting.crmvet. assaults. Alabama. murder. Florida. and they use VEP funds to begin building up a Southern field staff in Louisiana. Georgia. Kennedy's plan to tame the Movement shatters on the rock of racist resistance. and economic warfare — is unleashed against Blacks across the South. he discovers that the southern white power-structure is even more furiously — violently — opposed to Blacks gaining the right to vote than they were to desegregating lunch counters and bus stations. and protect Blacks who try to register.
In August." devoting their lives to the struggle in the rural areas and small towns of the south. building courage. it will be the SNCC field staff from projects in Mississippi. long-time. then Bob Moses. They argue that poor. Staunch. first Charles Sherrod. Amzie Moore. In September.htm#1961williams See Mississippi — the Eye of the Storm for background. Alabama. After three days of passionate debate. rural Blacks have no money for lunch counters or other public facilities and what they need most is political power that in Mississippi has to begin with winning the right to vote. Her suggestion is adopted. Increasingly. Other SNCC leaders — many just released from Parchman Prison and Hinds County Jail — argue that the Freedom Rides and other forms of direct action must continue. and in July he begins voter registration work in McComb. Diane Nash is chosen to head direct action efforts and Charles Jones is chosen to head voter registration activity. and they are unwilling to abandon the tactics that have brought the Movement so far in so short a time. Back in the summer of 1960. Movement supporters such as Harry Belafonte and many of SNCC's student leaders also believe that SNCC should focus on voter registration rather than direct action such as sit-ins and Freedom Rides. They are deeply suspicious of Kennedy's demand that they switch from demonstrations to voter registration. Georgia. raising awareness. Virginia and Maryland who will shape and lead SNCC in the years to come. SNCC is split right down the middle — half favor continuing direct action.org/tim/timhis61. Ella Baker proposes a compromise — do both. SNCC as an organization is rapidly evolving away from its campus/student roots. Amid the fires of the Freedom Rides and the heat of debate.Civil Rights Movement -. James Forman becomes SNCC's Executive Director to coordinate and lead far-flung projects and a growing staff. 1961 http://www. and other local Black leaders in Mississippi told Bob Moses that they needed help with voter registration more than demonstrations against segregation. With money raised by Belafonte. He promised he would return in the summer of '61. Medgar Evers. The protests are gaining momentum and bringing the Movement into the darkest corners of the Deep South.crmvet. More and more SNCC activists are leaving school to become full-time freedom fighters. then others are hired as SNCC "field secretaries. the issue comes to a head when SNCC meets at the Highlander Center in Tennessee. and inspiring young and old.History & Timeline. the other half favor switching to voter registration. Arkansas. 26 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . Both groups send activists to join Bob Moses in McComb.
For more information on SNCC: Books: Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Web links: Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Voter Registration & Direct Action in McComb MS (Aug-Oct) Photos See Direct Action or Voter Registration? above for preceding events. in a sense. Voter Registration Black voter registration in the Deep South is entirely controlled by the white power-structure.org/tim/timhis61.History & Timeline. and the growing political power of adults organized around the right to vote supports and sustains the young demonstrators. Movement veterans look back today and recall that SNCC was torn between direct action and voter registration. By respecting that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics — yet remain allies — they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole. repression. they forged a unifying compromise. Unfortunately. and legal restrictions to keep Blacks 27 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . some radicals and leftists in the North all too often adopted the opposite approach. See Voter Registration & Direct Action in McComb MS for continuation. in later years. For decades they have maintained a savage system of oppression.Civil Rights Movement -. Both direct action and voter registration are needed.crmvet. But instead of splitting the organization apart. The determination and courage of student protesters inspires and encourages their elders. And as the ferocious and violent resistance to Black voting rights by the white power-structure becomes evident it also becomes clear that. retaliation. An important point.htm#1961williams And as so often turns out to be the case when committed activists passionately disagree over strategy. voter registration is a form of direct action. both sides are proven correct. Each supports and strengthens the other. treating anyone who disagreed with them as enemies — thereby splitting organizations and undermining their effectiveness. 1961 http://www.
1961 http://www. doctors. The system is designed to allow the county Voter Registrars (all of whom are white. the "literacy test" consists in part of the Registrar choosing one of the 285 sections of the Mississippi constitution and asking the applicant to read it aloud and interpret it to his satisfaction.Civil Rights Movement -. He can assign an easy section. a few token Blacks — usually ministers. Some are murdered. Voter registration procedures in the Deep South — which vary from state to state and county to county — are based on a voter application and a so-called "literacy test" that prospective voters must pass in order to be registered.) In urban areas of the Deep South.org/tim/timhis61. of course) to rig the outcome however they wish. for example: Pike County (McComb) Adult Blacks 8. Voters are also required to be of "good moral character.5%) 28 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . Whites are encouraged to register regardless of their education (or lack thereof). often deadly. teachers. posses sufficient "moral character. but never enough to affect the outcome of an election. They are fired from their jobs and evicted from their homes. Many are beaten.htm#1961williams politically disenfranchised. The "Jim Crow" schools and school attendance laws systematically and deliberately keep Blacks illiterate and ignorant of government and their political rights while at the same time literacy and civics are made the essential requirements for voter registration through the so-called "literacy tests." and again the Registrar has sole authority to decide who does." Brutal violence. for example." Blacks who attempt to register in defiance of the white power-structure are harassed and threatened. and swift economic reprisal are used to deter and punish Black men or women who dare attempt to gain the political franchise. In the three Southwest Mississippi counties around McComb. Then it is entirely up to the Registrar to decide if the applicant's reading and interpretation are adequate. See Voting Rights for more information on literacy tests and denial of voting rights.crmvet. or does not. In the rural counties. In McComb.000 Registered 200 (2.History & Timeline. or a dense block of legal baffelgab that even law professors cannot agree on. particularly those with large Black populations. only a handful — or none at all — are permitted to register. and other professionals — are allowed to register. while applications from most Blacks are denied even if they answer every question correctly.
000 residents.org/tim/timhis61.C. is still a major employer of both Blacks and whites. According to the 1960 Census.0 (0%) (0%) With 12. McComb's mayor is Chairman of the White Citizens Council. He takes them to the South of the Border Cafe owned by Aylene Quin. Klavern #700 of the United Klans of America has over 100 members. Blacks comprise 42% of McComb's 12. From these union ranks emerge activists and leaders of the Pike County Voters League and the local NAACP chapter. McComb is the largest city in Pike County. money.000 Registered . The railroad. Before begining work. Founded in 1872 by Henry McComb. and the Pearl River region on both sides of the state border is known as "Klan nation." Financed by a wealthy oilman. and housing for the civil rights workers.000 Adult Blacks 3. Bob Moses writes to the U.crmvet. and the county sheriff participates in their meetings.1 Registered . Black railroad workers cannot be summarily fired for opposing segregation or advocating Black voting rights. Department of Justice 29 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . now part of the Illinois Central. Culturally and economically.htm#1961williams Amite County Walthall County The McComb. Pike county is similar to adjacent Washington Parish Louisiana (Bogalusa). a virulently racist white-supremacy organization.S. it's a gritty railroad town in the state's southwest corner.000 residents. Bryant invites Bob Moses to begin a voter registration project in McComb. Moses is soon joined by SNCC members John Hardy of the Nashville Student Movement and Reginald Robinson from the Civic Interest Group in Baltimore. to be a regional hub and repair depot.History & Timeline. you feed 'em whether they got money or not" he tells her. NAACP leader Reverend C. a retired railroad man and Treasurer of the local NAACP chapter introduces the SNCC organizers to people in the Black community and urges them to support the voter-registration project with donations of food. Project Adult Blacks 5. Mississippi. president of the Mississippi Central Railroad. "Whenever any of [the SNCC workers] come by. you feed 'em. In July of 1961. the police chief heads the local chapter of Americans for the Preservation of the White Race (APWR). not far from the Pearl River. Webb Owens. and because they are protected by union contract. 1961 http://www.Civil Rights Movement -.
H. a 15 year old high school student in McComb. the DOJ replies that it will "vigorously enforce" Federal statutes forbidding the use of intimidation. Charles Jones.History & Timeline. He is brutally beaten in the street by Bill Caston. She is also expelled from Burgland High School. Curtis Hayes is Vice President.org/tim/timhis61. In response. Steptoe. and all 285 sections of the Mississippi constitution have to be mastered. Moses files charges against Caston who is quickly found innocent by an all-white jury. more than 200 Blacks attend the first Civil Rights Movement mass meeting in the town's history to protest the arrest of the students and the beating of Moses. To awaken and inspire the adults. On the last day of August.htm#1961williams (DOJ) asking what the Federal response will be if Blacks are prevented from registering. That night in McComb. In late August. But this is the first time since Reconstruction that a Black man has filed charges against a white for racial violence in Amite County. after training in the tactics of Nonviolent Resistance by the SNCC direct action veterans. They vow to continue the struggle. In line with the Kennedy administration's promise to defend voting rights if the students will turn away from direct action. McComb's Black students form the Pike County Nonviolent Movement — Hollis Watkins is President. More SNCC workers arrive in McComb direct from the Highlander meeting: Ruby Doris Smith.Civil Rights Movement -. Marion Barry. Bob Moses takes two Blacks to the Amite County courthouse in Liberty Mississippi. canvasses the streets with the SNCC voter-registration workers. For the crime of ordering a hamburger. cousin to the sheriff and son-in-law of E. and the project spreads to cover adjacent Amite and Walthall Counties. 30 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . she is sentenced to a year in the state juvenile prison. Bryant introduce Moses to Amite County NAACP leader E. All 21 questions on the application form have to be studied and understood. and coercion against voter aspirants. two local teenagers — Hollis Watkins and Curtis Hayes (Muhammad). 1961 http://www. she leads other students on a sit-in.W. SNCC workers in McComb begin teaching Blacks the complexities of the voter registration process. and others. 16 local Blacks journey through a century of fear to the Pike County courthouse in Magnolia. Hurst the State Representative. In August. Brenda Travis. Six manage to pass the test and be registered. Rev. both of whom go on to become SNCC field secretaries of renown — sit-in at the local Woolworth's lunch counter.crmvet. threats. After attending the class. They are arrested.
Unable to raise such a huge amount. he is murdered by State Representative E. SNCC sets up "Nonviolent High" for the boycotting students with Moses teaching math. Shotgun blasts from a Klan nightrider almost kill Dion Diamond and John Hardy. but bail is set at $14.crmvet. CORE Freedom Riders are brutally attacked by a white mob when they try to integrate the McComb Greyhound station. SNCC workers John Hardy and Travis Britt are beaten by whites and arrested on trumped up charges when they bring Blacks to the courthouse to register in Walthall and Amite counties.000 in 2012 dollars). The arrests. and Chuck McDew teaching history. White "night riders" armed with rifles and shotguns cruise through the Black community at night. arrests. Hurst." a serious felony. Paul Potter and Tom Hayden of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) are dragged from their car and beaten in the street when they come to McComb to support the Movement. In late September. Kennedy.000 each (equal to $107. Bob Moses. Despite their repeated promises of protection for voter registration. H. and the boycotting students are accepted by Campbell Junior College in Jackson. they languish in prison. When they kneel in prayer at City Hall. Dion Diamond teaching science. Herbert Lee is one of those working with Moses. Meanwhile. and racist whites in general react violently to Blacks beginning to assert their rights. Nonviolent High cannot continue.Civil Rights Movement -.htm#1961williams The Klan. the Justice Department. In Amite County. the reign of terror. More than 100 students boycott the segregated Burgland High School rather than sign a mandatory pledge that they will not participate in civil rights activity. Chuck McDew. Late in October. they are arrested. With their SNCC teachers in jail. the Citizens Council. The SNCC workers are charged with "Contributing to the delinquency of minors. more than 100 Black high-school students led by Hollis Watkins and Curtis Hayes ditch school and march in McComb to protest Lee's killing and the expulsion of Brenda Travis. and Bob Zellner (SNCC's first white field secretary) are beaten. Nonviolent High is one of the seeds from which grow the "Freedom Schools" that spread across the state three years later in the summer of '64. an all-white jury convicts the SNCC members on the "Contributing" charge. as are the SNCC staff who are with them. The DOJ's legal efforts are feeble and ineffective. beatings. and shootings continue. Their attorneys appeal. 1961 http://www. and the brazen murder of 31 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . In early October.History & Timeline. and the FBI do nothing.org/tim/timhis61.
not just in Mississippi but in hard places across the South — places like Selma Alabama and Southwest Georgia. Hollis will lead out with a clear tenor into a freedom song. James Wells. 1961 http://www. Mississippi.crmvet.Civil Rights Movement -. Stephen Ashley. Leotus Eubanks. Lee Chester Vick. in December. brutality.htm#1961williams Herbert Lee by a state official. McDew — a black by birth.History & Timeline. Alleluia. are sitting up talking — mostly about girls. thinking a little. McComb is a defeat for SNCC — the project is suppressed and driven out by arrests.  Finally. Hollis is leading off with his tenor. four veterans of the bunker. Christian brothers don't be slow. the middle of the iceberg. Ike Lewis and Robert Talbert. 32 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM .. Alleluia. writing a little. But in a broader sense it is an important milestone. In a narrow sense. The McComb-area voter registration drive is suppressed — for the moment. — Bob Moses. all take their toll. a Jew by choice. the crucial lessons learned in McComb form the foundation for years of organizing to come. Charles McDew ("Tell the story") is curled into the concrete and the wall. and Ivory Diggs lay cramped on the cold bunks. and a revolutionary by necessity — has taken on the deep hates and deep loves which America and the world reserve for those who dare to stand in a strong sun and cast a sharp shadow. Harold Robinson.org/tim/timhis61.. Talbert and Lewis will supply jokes. SNCC manages to raise the bail money and the jailed SNCC staff are released on appeal. Hollis Watkins. . Myrtis Bennett and Janie Campbell are across the way wedded to a different icy cubicle." There is a tremor in the middle of the iceberg — from a stone that the builders rejected. Mississippi's next to go. Alleluia. sprawled out along the concrete bunker. Curtis Hayes. "Michael row the boat ashore. and murder. and McDew will discourse on the history of the Black man and the Jew. This is Mississippi. In November. Bob Moses manages to slip a message from prison to SNCC headquarters in Atlanta: We are smuggling this note from the drunk tank of the county jail in Magnolia. I'm sitting with smuggled pen and paper. Twelve of us are here. Later on.
crmvet. It's a liberating kind of experience. . And we could show up there unannounced with no money or no anything and there were people there ready to take care of us.htm#1961williams In McComb they discover that courage is contagious and that local people — particularly young people — will respond to outside organizers. 1961 http://www. Ike Lewis and Bobby Talbot — the first of many to come not from college campuses but from the red dust roads of the rural South. see: Council of Federated Organizations Formed in Mississippi. McComb — Breaking the Klan Seige For more information on the McComb Civil Rights Movement: Film: Freedom Song. One of the things that we learned out here [in Amite County] was that we could find family in Mississippi.. and we knew that somewhere down some road there was family. — Bob Moses. For continuation. but also much to learn from the community. And out of McComb they bring five young organizers on to the growing SNCC staff — Hollis Watkins. And from the community will come new leaders and new organizers to expand and sustain the struggle. They're going to see that you eat. We could go anyplace in Mississippi before we were through. That's what we had here in Amite. you don't really need transportation... .Civil Rights Movement -.  Out of McComb comes the hard kernel that transforms SNCC into an organization of organizers who in a few short years move the Movement from protest to social revolution. Emma Bell. Curtis Hayes. Building on the lessons learned in McComb. feed.org/tim/timhis61. It was an amazing experience. and nurture them. They discover that as student activists they have much to teach.History & Timeline. and that if they respect the community the community will in turn protect. 33 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . they shift the voter registration campaign into the Mississippi Delta — the most segregated region of Mississippi. I've never before or since had that experience where it's almost literally like you're throwing yourself on the people and they have actually picked you up and gone on to carry you so you don't really need money. One of the things that happened in the movement was that there was a joining of a young generation of people with an older generation that nurtured and sustained them.. Books: Mississippi Movement for partial list of books.
I really mean business. [See Brief Memorandum on Federal Civil Rights Authority. Hurst (white. Justice Department official John Doar learns that Hurst is threatening to kill voter-registration activists including Lee. begins arguing. Hurst runs around the truck and shoots Lee in the head. is a founding member of the NAACP in Amite County Mississippi and a close friend of NAACP county chairman E. They are friends and neighbors. no one in the Department of Justice takes any action. Hurst follows him.H. Lee is sitting in his truck when Hurst angrily walks up. "Put the gun down. 1961. The Amite County Sheriff surrounds Hurst with armed men — not to keep 34 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . "I'm not fooling around this time. Steptoe. In mid-September. Though intimidating or threatening a voter (or prospective voter) is a clear violation of the U.History & Timeline. According to witnesses. the Amite County seat. Lee takes a truckload of cotton to the gin in Liberty Mississippi. a Black farmer with 9 children. "I won't talk to you unless you put the gun down. 1961 http://www. State Assemblyman E. Lee is one of the few rural Blacks who dares to work on voter registration with Bob Moses and the McComb Project." shouts Hurst.org/tim/timhis61.Civil Rights Movement -. More than 10 people witness this murder. killing him instantly. of course) lives across the street from Lee.htm#1961williams Web: Mississippi Movement & MFDP A Discussion Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Mississippi Movement McComb MS Movement Herbert Lee Murdered Herbert Lee." responds Lee.W.crmvet.S. and pulls out a pistol. Constitution and Federal law. But trying to register Black voters is a challenge to white supremecy that Hurst cannot accept and he orders Lee to stop." Lee slides out of his truck on the other side.] On the morning of September 25.
See Louis Allen Murdered for continuation." and prevent them from aligning with the Soviet bloc.org/tim/timhis61. They know that the what happened to Lee can happen to them if they disobey. And it undercuts the State Department's effort to woo emerging nations into the "Free World. Desegregate Route 40 Project (Aug-Dec) See Baltimore Sit-ins & Protests and Freedom Rides and for preceding events.S government. US-1 and US-40 are the major highways used by travelers driving to and from Washington. An all-white Coroner's Jury is summoned while Lee's body still lays beside his truck. Hurst never spends a day in jail." Louis Allen and other witnesses are pressured to confirm Hurst's claim." All of this embarrasses the U. When the Freedom Rides force the issue of segregation in 35 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM .htm#1961williams him from escaping but to protect him from possible retaliation by Blacks. they send diplomats to Washington and the United Nations in New York City. As the owner of one establishment explained after refusing to serve the ambassador from Chad and then physically assaulting him: "He looked just like an ordinary nigra to me.crmvet. Dark-skinned ambassadors traveling between New York and DC through segregated Maryland are denied service and subjected to the same Jim Crow humiliations as American Blacks. The jury accepts the "self-defense" story — the typical result when a white Southerner kills a Black man. For more information on Civil Rights murders: Books: Mississippi Movement for partial list of books.Civil Rights Movement -.History & Timeline. Hurst (6'-3" over 200 pounds) claims that Lee (5'-4" 150 pounds) "attacked" him with a tire iron and he shot in "self-defense. PBS Martyrs of the Movement for web links. Web: Mississippi Movement & MFDP A Discussion Mississippi Movement McComb MS Movement Oh Freedom Over Me. 1961 http://www. As countries in Africa and Asia free themselves from colonial rule.
Movement (Oct 1961-Aug 1962) Photos. SNCC field secretaries Charles Sherrod and Cordell Reagan travel from McComb to Albany Georgia (pronounced All-BENNY) to begin a voter registration project. refuse to pay their fine. Students at nearby Black colleges dress as Africans and are served.History & Timeline. But to be recognized as foreign dignitaries they have to wear traditional garb.org/tim/timhis61. Albany — the bustling commercial hub of Southwest Georgia and seat of Dougherty County — is 40% Black but few are registered to vote. When CORE and CIG threaten a massive "Freedom Motorcade." with the Baltimore CORE chapter taking the lead. For more information on the Baltimore and Maryland Civil Rights Movement: Web: Baltimore & Maryland Document: CORE Route 40 Project Flyer [PDF] Albany GA. and gas stations to allow them to use the cleaner "white" restrooms. and then North Carolina (see Freedom Highways in the Tarheel State). They systematically protest at highway restaurants up and down the state. and go on hunger strike while serving a 14 day sentence. consumer boycotts. Adjacent to Dougherty are Black-majority "plantation" counties 36 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . and Maryland Eastern Shore Project). This sparks CORE's "Route 40 Project. CORE activists Wallace and Juanita Nelson lead a sit-in at a highway restaurant.htm#1961williams interstate travel to national and international attention." most US-40 and US-1 restaurants finally agree to desegregate. CIG begins organizing "freedom rides" into Maryland's East Shore (see Cambridge MD — 1962. demanding desegregation for all Blacks regardless of what they wear. direct action tactics including sit-ins.crmvet. the Feds pressure restaurants on those routes to serve African diplomats. pickets and other protests. They are arrested. Photos In October. Also involved in the Route 40 project are Baltimore's Civic Interest Group (CIG) — a SNCC-affiliated coalition of student activists from Morgan State and other local colleges — and the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG) from Howard University. The Route 40 Campaign uses a variety of nonviolent.Civil Rights Movement -. CORE then expands down US-1 into Florida and Virginia. 1961 http://www.
Mitchell. Nearby Shiloh Baptist and Bethel AME churches open their doors for meetings. 37 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . Sometimes we'd walk down the streets and the little kids would call us Freedom Riders and the people walking in the same direction would go across the street from us." said Sherrod. "We drew young people from the colleges. There was fear in the air. the people were afraid. and the students were the answer. trade schools.. NAACP. .. This is the ruling won by the Freedom Rides.. The explicit defiance inherent in the student's action galvanizes Albany's Black community. and if we were to make progress we knew that we must cut through that fear. and from the street. because they were afraid. not just that relating to interstate travel. they leave without being arrested when ordered out by the police and then file immediate complaints with the ICC under the new ruling.History & Timeline. Every night we grew larger and larger. 1961 http://www. — Charles Sherrod  Now joined by Charles Jones.Civil Rights Movement -. SNCC begins working with students at Albany State College for Negroes (today.crmvet. afraid that their churches would be bombed.htm#1961williams Baker. the Negro Voters League.. The Albany bus terminal is located in the Black section of town and on November 1st — with a neighborhood crowd watching — nine Black students attempt to use the terminal's "white-only" facilities. Albany State University). They set up an office in the Black section of town where they conduct voter registration classes for the adults and teach the strategies and tactics of Nonviolent Resistance to the young. Monroe High and Carver Jr. Lee. A coalition of the Ministerial Alliance. they didn't want to be connected with us in any way. Many of the ministers were afraid to let us use their churches. "They were searching for a meaning in life. Federation of Women's Clubs. As planned.. But we had not been training in nonviolence in a vacuum." November 1st is the day the Interstate Commerce Commission's new prohibition against segregated bus terminals is to go into effect. and Terrell where fear lies heavy on the land and Black sharecroppers and day laborers endure conditions of feudal semi-slavery toiling in cotton fields and pecan groves.org/tim/timhis61. November 1 was to be the date. Sumter. High. that their homes would be stoned. . and high schools. We thought and we thought. really afraid.. and SNCC meet to form the Albany Movement — whose goal is ending all forms of segregation and discrimination. When we first came to Albany.
released a kind of power and required a level of concentrated energy I did not know I had. rivalries. A mass meeting — the first in Albany history — packs Mt." Albany State students Bertha Gober and Blanton Hall are expelled for disobeying the dean's orders to use the "Colored" waiting room.. they — like all organizations — have jealousies..History & Timeline. Somehow this music . and training in Nonviolent Resistance pick up momentum. and a lifetime of subservience. eight SNCC Freedom Riders (4 Black. chooses to remain in jail over the holidays to dramitize their demand for justice. more than 100 Albany State students march from campus to the courthouse where they picket to protest the trial of those arrested at the bus depot.crmvet.Civil Rights Movement -. one of the Albany State students.htm#1961williams Significantly. and Jones make it possible for these disparate groups to come together in The Albany Movement. Zion Baptist church to protest the arrests. But Chief Pritchett does not charge them for violating segregation. Students march to the college President's office to protest the expulsions and 40 more are expelled for daring to disagree with the administration. disagreements over strategy and tactics. each organization surrenders some of its individual identity to become part of a common united organization. On November 22. segregation. "We Shall Overcome.org/tim/timhis61. After the holiday. the courage of the local students. Five young people — 3 from the NAACP Youth Council and 2 from Albany State — defy the dean. instead they are charged with "Disturbing the Peace" after they 38 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . SNCC's galvanizing presence. Reagan. 4 white) led by SNCC's new Executive Director James Forman are arrested after integrating the Albany train station. "When I opened my mouth and began to sing. and all the other human elements that make achieving unity in action so difficult. 1961 http://www. Early in December. along with 3 Albany Movement activists who are there to greet them. While they mostly agree on goals." Student song-leader Bernice Johnson (Reagan) describes the effect. when students go to the bus terminal to return home for the Thanksgiving holiday. They are arrested. and the leadership provided by Sherrod. there was a force and power within myself I had never heard before. At the end of the meeting they rise to sing. an Albany State dean — whose job depends on the all-white Georgia Board of Regents — is stationed there to direct them to the "Colored" waiting room. Bertha Gober. Organizing. a century of oppression. voter-registration classes. and the orders of Police Chief Pritchett to leave the white waiting room.
the Albany Movement asks Dr.org/tim/timhis61.htm#1961williams leave the station.History & Timeline. Enough bail money is scraped up to free a few leaders to continue the struggle and raise funds. More than 1500 people pack both Shiloh and Mt. They are all arrested. King and SCLC for support. Albany agrees to abide by the ICC order ending segregation of interstate travel facilities. With King in jail. She and the others — mostly adults — are arrested. Georgia Governor Vandiver sends in National Guard troops to suppress the growing freedom movement. 267 college and high school students march in nonviolent protest.crmvet. all protesters except the original Freedom Riders are released without bail.000 in 2012 dollars). but money for bonds is desperately short and there is no way to get majority released. A verbal agreement is announced between some Albany Movement leaders and a few white officials. These huge sums are almost impossible for the impoverished Black community to raise. the glare of world media focuses on Albany. "We can't tolerate the NAACP or the SNCC or any other nigger organization to take over this town with mass demonstrations. King is transferred to Sumter County jail in Americus. With close to 600 already arrested. Two hundred more are arrested on another nonviolent protest march. the $100 bail is posted. Inspired by the young peoples' courage. no money left for bail. as is her husband who leads a similar prayer protest. bringing the total number of arrests to over 750.Civil Rights Movement -. and the city promises to address 39 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . They are all arrested. Pritchett transfers arrested demonstrators — who are guilty of nothing more than exercising their Constitutional right to free speech. Dr. King leaving town. In return for the Albany Movement halting the demonstrations and Dr." With the Albany jails overflowing. For some adults with families and jobs. The next day King and Abernathy lead 265 marchers to City Hall. Zion churches (across the street from each other) to hear King's address. and facing the National Guard. Bond is set at $200 each for a total of $2200 (equal to $1300 each and a total of $17. 1961 http://www. and have not been convicted of any crime — to lockups in the surrounding plantation counties notorious for police brutality and abuse of prisoners. Police Chief Pritchett states. Marion King — wife of Albany Movement leader Slater King (no relation to Martin Luther King) — leads a protest prayer at City Hall. On the day of their trial. Along with others. but King announces that he will remain incarcerated over Christmas to protest segregation and denial of basic human rights.
"Yeah. but never before have I been thrown out of jail.Civil Rights Movement -. Marion King. Week after week arrests continue.org/tim/timhis61. Charles Sherrod is beaten to the floor for sitting in the "white" section at the front of the courtroom." [Years later it is revealed that the fines were paid by Albany Mayor Asa Kelley as a ploy to divide the movement and diffuse media attention on King's imprisonment. and arrests increase. SNCC workers are arrested for integrating the Trailways terminal. and the City Commission denies the Albany Movement's petition for redress of grievances. In January of 1962. five months pregnant. SNCC worker Bill Hanson's jaw is broken while he's in jail. Blacks boycott the bus company and put it out of business. In March.crmvet." In July. In the following months. nonviolent protesters also increases. Again the glare of national publicity focuses on Albany.B. park. 18 year old Ola Mae Quarterman is arrested for sitting in the front of a municiple bus. Marches. 1961 http://www. demonstrations. verbal promises of future consideration are too little to warrant ending the direct action protests. as are those who participate in lunch counter sit-ins. Dr. I knocked hell out of the son-of-a-bitch. Per Laurson. the original Freedom Riders arrested in December go on trial. is beaten unconscious by a sheriff's deputy and the child is lost.. "I've been thrown out of lots of places in my day. and white SNCC activists Bob Zellner. pickets urging people to boycott stores that refuse to hire Blacks are arrested. SNCC criticizes the truce — the city's vague. I wanted him to know . Says Abernathy.] 40 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . Sandra & Tom Hayden are violently dragged from the courtroom when they sit in the "Colored" section at the rear. Students trying to use the "white-only" city library. The white power-structure fails to follow through on its promises and the truce soon breaks down. Abernathy are sentenced to $178 or 45 days in jail for leading the march back in December. and swimming pool are arrested.htm#1961williams grievances of the Black community in the near future. and I'll do it again. and Southwest Georgia's only Black lawyer — is brutally beaten by Dougherty County Sheriff Cull Campbell who brags. mounting to over a hundred. They refuse to pay the fine. King and Rev.History & Timeline. I'm a white man and he's a damn nigger.. Violence against peaceful. King — brother of Slater King. King and Abernathy are released when an "unidentified person" anonymously pays their fine. as spring turns into summer. and C.
htm#1961williams Late in July. and the injunction is eventually lifted. Demonstrations. because it tended to deny equal protection to white citizens. Robert Elliott a Federal judge appointed by Kennedy. J. First Amendment protected or otherwise. sit-ins. The city library is finally desegregated by court order. it slows momentum and weakens the movement. the press loses interest in the Albany struggle for justice. though not in the mass numbers of 1961-1962. Though arresting people for peacefully exercising their Constitutionally protected free-speech rights is a form of violent repression — and holding them in prison is also an act of violent coercion — the media accepts his self-serving distortion of reality and lauds him as the South's "nonviolent" lawman. but Dr. — C. King reluctantly decides that he has to obey a Federal court order because it is Federal court orders that are (very. Dr.  SNCC argues that the injunction should be ignored. the demonstrations were denying other citizens — white citizens — equal protection of the law. An argument which was essentially this: that demonstrations require the presence of policemen. 1961 http://www.Civil Rights Movement -. Charles Jones.crmvet. policemen who are present during demonstrations could not handle other complaints of other citizens in the community. segregationist groups all over the South invite Chief Pritchett (a graduate of the FBI National Academy) to consult with them and speak on his tactics of suppressing Black protest. issues an injunction against mass marches. though the chairs are removed to prevent Blacks and whites sitting together. In early August. protests. In the years after the Albany protests of 1961-62. Though marches and protests led by SNCC and others continue. and arrests continue in Albany through 1963 and 1964. He describes his methods as "nonviolence" — meaning he orders his cops to avoid and prevent the kind of bloody physical brutality that attracted media attention during the sit-ins and Freedom Rides. very slowly) forcing school desegregation. Lacking dramatic images of violence. The city then got a temporary restraining order from the district court using a very strange legal concept of the Fourteenth Amendment. King withdraws from Albany without having won any specific desegregation victories from the Albany power elites. So we should be restrained from engaging in any activities.History & Timeline. therefore. And in early 1964 the city finally repeals all segregation ordinances. And when 41 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM .org/tim/timhis61.
nor do they effectively enforce the rulings of their own Interstate Commerce Commission or Federal Courts. The power of mass song Freedom songs energized and sustained the courage of student sit-ins and Freedom Riders. making a 42 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . "After the song the differences among us would not be as great. but the Department of Justice (DOJ) lacks the political will to offend the southern power-structure by enforcing the ICC ruling and overturning Pritchett's blatantly illegal arrests. momentum is lost and nothing is won. verbal promises. 1961 http://www. A child can see through this trick. Trusting the powerful to keep their promises in good faith is an exercise in futility. the Albany City Commission ignores the grievances of the Black community once the pressure of protests and media attention are ended. Get it in writing. the national press declares it a "defeat. Shuttlesworth insist on public. Despite their soaring rhetoric. deeply rooted in the music and lyrics of the Black church. Somehow. When the Albany Movement halts mass marches in December of '61 in return for vague. shared group singing unifies and strengthens the entire community. Says song-leader Bernice Johnson (Reagan). Chief Pritchett arrests integrators for "Disturbing the Peace" rather than violating segregation ordinances.crmvet.History & Timeline.org/tim/timhis61. but unwilling to protect freedom for American Blacks in Albany Georgia. King does not make that mistake again. but it is in Albany that the true power of mass-participation singing manifests. though the only peace that is being disturbed is the "peace" of racial segregation. Dr. Led by the students. it is through song that many adults bowed by a lifetime of oppression and fear voice their first defiance and affirm their human dignity.htm#1961williams Dr. President Kennedy is eager to proclaim "freedom" in occupied Berlin. Without a clear. the DOJ does not lift a finger to protect their Constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech." Albany Movement — Important Points Federal government failure. More than speeches and sermons. publicly announced official agreement. A year later in Birmingham 1963. When Pritchett arrests hundreds of Albany Blacks who are peacefully marching or praying for redress of grievances.Civil Rights Movement -. the Kennedys do little to ensure Constitutional freedoms and legal rights of Blacks in Southwest Georgia. in writing. King withdraws from Albany without having won specific concessions from the city. written agreements. he and Rev.
. .History & Timeline.. . King also sees Albany as a short-term defeat: There were weaknesses in Albany.  43 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . King. But I don't mean that our work in Albany ended in failure. and are instrumental in SNCC fundraising efforts in the North including sold. but revealed that Albany was far from an unqualified failure. Betty Mae Fikes from Alabama. . Our protest was so vague that we got nothing. They must taste defeat as well as success. performers second. They must make mistakes and learn from them. To some extent. The mistake I made there was to protest against segregation generally rather than against a single and distinct facet of it. Human beings with all their faults and strengths constitute the mechanism of a social movement. and Cordell Reagan. — Dr. thousands of Negroes were added to the voting registration rolls. Wazir Peacock from Mississippi.. We attacked the political power-structure instead of the economic power-structure. Dr.. the Freedom Singers spread the Movement song and spirit in mass meetings and protests across the South. When we planned our strategy for Birmingham months later. make more mistakes and learn anew.Civil Rights Movement -. later joined by other SNCC song leaders including Bertha Gober and Emory Harris from Albany.htm#1961williams song required an expression of that which was common to us all. Matt and Marshall Jones from Tennessee... Our appraisals not only helped to make our subsequent tactics more effective. the national press declares it a defeat. 1961 http://www.org/tim/timhis61.. Though lunch counters remained segregated.out performances at New York's Carnegie Hall.. we spent many hours assessing Albany and trying to learn from its errors. When Dr. King and SCLC withdraw from Albany in August of 1962 without having won any concessions from the city. and the people were left very depressed and in despair." Out of the Albany Movement emerge the SNCC Freedom Singers — initially Rutha Harris. . Charles (Chico) Neblett. long-run victory. Song leaders first. Short-term defeat. and many others.crmvet. You don't win against a political power-structure where you don't have the votes. Bernice Johnson (Reagan). and discover how to live with each. and a share of the responsibility belongs to each of us who participated.
but as far as we were concerned. King might have felt. And the following spring. But African Americans in Albany disagreed. any of the groups. — Howard Zinn. the city commission removed all the segregation statutes from its books. That always seemed to me a superficial assessment. Georgia was a defeat for the Movement.crmvet. We didn't skip one beat. NAACP. and have been lifted. their Movement was not defeated.. the protesters are momentarily defeated but not crushed.htm#1961williams But to the Black community of Albany." In fact. As summed up on the Albany Civil Rights Movement Museum website: From King's perspective the Albany Movement was a failure and he admitted as much.. & SW Georgia Movements 1961-1964 Personal memories of the Albany Movement: Randy Battle The Great Pool Jump. CORE. a mistake often made in evaluating protest movements.any of the rest of them in SCLC.Civil Rights Movement -. "Now I can't help how Dr.. the success of black voter registration efforts led to African American businessman Thomas Chatmon's securing enough votes in his election for a city commission seat to force a run-off election.  Historian and activist Howard Zinn concluded: It has often been said. Social movements may have many "defeats" — failing to achieve objectives in the short run — but in the course of the struggle the strength of the old order begins to erode. by scholars. by journalists.History & Timeline. the minds of people begin to change. or. 1961 http://www. heartened by their ability to fight back. that Albany. however things looked the same when the situation quieted down. two months after King left Albany. Because King failed did not mean that the Movement failed. Americus.org/tim/timhis61. things moved on. because there was no immediate victory over racial segregation in the city.  For more information on the Albany Civil Rights Movement: Books: Georgia Movement — Atlanta — Albany Web: Albany. Albany was changed forever by the tumultuous events of 1961 and 1962. Joan Browning Albany Freedom Ride Letters and Chronology 44 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . SNCC field secretary (and later Albany city commissioner) Charles Sherrod remarked..
." Henry is arrested and convicted on a phoney "morals" charge.History & Timeline.org/tim/timhis61.htm#1961williams Cathy Cade My Family. Movement for continuation. Baton Rouge Student Protests (Dec 1961 . The convictions are appealed and the boycott continues. a pharmacist and drugstore owner — and the Coahoma County NAACP organize an effective Christmas shopping boycott in Clarksdale. 45 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . 1961 http://www. but they refuse to even meet with Black leaders. See Savannah GA. and Me Peter de Lissovoy Albany GA in 1963 "Outside Agitator" and other terms. the Movement. Coahoma is a Black-majority county (68% Black. After a 19-month boycott (March 1960-October 1961) of white-owned merchants. the city agrees to desegregate a number of public facilities and the boycott is ended. King's Campaign for Congress Savannah Boycott Victory (Oct) See Savannah Sitins & Boycott for previous events. 31% white) but the white-owned stores refuse to hire Blacks for anything other than the most menial and low-paying jobs.Civil Rights Movement -. A Confrontation Remembering C. The boycott economically cripples the white merchants.crmvet. Christmas Boycott in Clarksdale MS (Dec) Aaron Henry — President of the Mississippi state NAACP. Aaron Heny and half a dozen other Black leaders are arrested and convicted for "Conspiring to withold trade.Jan 1962) See Baton Rouge Sit-ins & Student Strike for previous events. the county seat. B..
All 14 are incarcerated in East Baton Rouge Parish Jail for a month until their release in mid-January.htm#1961williams With the assistance of New Orleans CORE leaders Dave Dennis. and Beverly Redford. In mid-December. 1961 http://www. With the other CORE leaders in jail. they ask Baton Rouge's major downtown merchants to negotiate with them regarding segregation. The next day the Louisiana Board of Education bans all student demonstrations — on and off campus — at all Louisiana colleges. some CORE leaders become full-time field secretaries. Early in December. Clark closes SU four days early for the Christmas break. Jarvis Thompson. U. and other expelled SU students are hired for voter registration projects with 46 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM . After their expulsions. The cops attack the marchers with dogs and tear-gas. More than 50 students are arrested. On December 15th. and CORE launches a merchant boycott similar to those underway in New Orleans. and mass expulsion of students who participate in the Movement succeeds in suppressing student activism at Southern University until protests again erupt in 1969. 3. The stores refuse to meet with them. Federal Court Judge Gordon West — a segregationist appointed by Kennedy — issues a sweeping injunction against CORE banning all forms of protest of any kind.History & Timeline.000 students on a march to the campus residence of SU President Felton Clark who promises not to expel students arrested on sit-ins as he had done the previous year. D'Army Bailey leads 3. In immediate response to their arrest. Judge West's unconstitutional injunction is not overturned by a higher court until 1964. a Federal court injunction. Among them are Theda Ambrose.500 Black students attend a protest rally at SU. Doris Castle.200 students march five miles to the state capitol to protest the arrests and segregation. Weldon Rougeau and Patricia Tate begin organizing a new CORE chapter at SU in October. When students return to SU in mid-January." State police troopers occupy the campus to quell any further protests and 40 more students are expelled. 1. Julia Aaron and Jerome Smith.S. Southern University (SU) students Ronnie Moore. At a faculty convocation next day. SU President Clark denounces the demonstrators as "hoodlums" and "anarchists. The combination of repression by the state police.org/tim/timhis61. A thousand students protest the expulsions. they discover that seven CORE leaders have been expelled. Claudia Smith.Civil Rights Movement -. 14 CORE activists — 7 men and 7 women — are arrested for picketing in support of the boycott. Early in January 1962.crmvet. Janetta Gilliam.
In Struggle. Emily Stoper.org/tim/timhis61. Beacon Press. SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960's. Web: Justice (CORE ~ Online Archive California) 1961 Quotation Sources: 1.. Jr ~ M. I've Got the Light of Freedom: . SNCC The New Abolitionists.Civil Rights Movement -. Pete Seeger & Bob Reiser. Clayborne Carson 2. & New Orleans for partial list of books. King Research Institute at Stanford University 5. For more information on the Baton Rouge Civil Rights Movement: Books: Louisiana. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King.crmvet. 9... Bogalusa.org (Labor donated) 1962 47 of 47 3/11/2013 12:20 AM .History & Timeline. 2011. SNCC: The Growth of Radicalism in a Civil Rights Organization. You Can't be Neutral on a Moving Train. 8. The Siege of the Freedom Riders. 1961 http://www.htm#1961williams money distributed by the Voter Education Project (VEP). Howard Zinn. Charles Payne 4. See "Criminal Anarchy" in Louisiana for continuation. Everybody Says Freedom. New York Times May 19. 1960 © Copyright Webspinner: webmaster@crmvet. 1994 7. Albany Civil Rights Movement Museum 6. Howard Zinn 3.L. Bernard Lafayette.
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