Original, handwritten diary [large PDF file]
See SCOPE Summer Projectfor background & more information.
See also Short History of the Freedom Movement in Barbour County, Alabama
Names of Barbour County SCOPE volunteers as used in this diary:
Bob, or Bob F. = Bob Friedman
Bob Smith = Robert Smith
David = David Hoon
Dick = Richard Hutch
Geraldine = Geraldine Robinson
Jeannie = Jean Allen
Lolita = Lolita Jones?
Scot = Robert Scott Chambers
Su = Sue Kenderdine
June 11 and 12, 1965
We left Carlisle [PA] about 5:30 Friday afternoon, Mike had to bring his girl, Susie Capello with him. Right outside of Carlisle we disconnected the exhaust and the muffler and we had to stop and fix it. We found out then that Geraldine had been a mechanic — worked three years in a garage. God, is there anything or anywhere that she hasn't done or been? Susie couldn't find her home when we got to Arlington and that made us late further. We were two hours late in picking the girls up — Su and Jeannie [Allen?].
But most of the excitement of this is the anticipation. We were on our way! Su was like me she couldn't hold it in. On our way South we decided to spend the night at a beach. That was our end. After searching and getting scared at one place we drove around Virginia Beach for a while. Yes, many mile out of our way, but it was worth it. I stood at the sea's edge and felt the breakers coming in. I waded in a little. I actually felt challenged by the sea. And even more ludicrous than that I felt it couldn't beat me. Then the tide would go out and the sand crumbled beneath me and undermined my support — but gently. A humbling experience, perhaps — but without thing I again faced the sea.
We decided to drive all night. Everyone drove but Geraldine who didn't bring her license. We started the mile countdown for Atlanta at almost 4:00 Sat after continual driving — and stopping for repairs. The detours around the city were bad. We got in about 9:00. After some time we went to Freedom House and finally wound up at the Butler Y.M.C.A. — a negro Y. I didn't know they segregated, even de facto. I've showered and brushed my teeth and shaved and best of all put on clean clothes!
Do I feel any anticipation about the coming week! Well, I don' know how the director and I (at Freedom House) will get along — he took charge of the girls and I was tired as for as the job ahead — I think much of it will be similar to migrant work. As for accomplishing anything — perhaps some registered, but God so little that really can be done and so much to do. Tomorrow we start.
June 13 - Sunday
Woke up this mornin' with my mind on freedom — what else would it be on in a Negro YMCA in Atlanta, Georgia. Went to the Freedom House and with a little northern efficiency we organized two assembly lines to get packets together. CORE people are the best workers. Went to orientation session after we registered — a lot of introduction, but best of all there was a lot of singing. They sang two gospel songs that the migrants sang. Great. Not much to put in the journal tonight. I feel sort of satisfied. A bad feeling. I think. Mostly because there are so many of us on an island here in the South. A good feeling is the fact that I want to be a lug in the wheel, not the axel.
Met the Gettysburg group today and was glad to see them. Saw them after Rev. Abernathy spoke. Every time Bayard Rustin introduces someone or just talks I go wild. He's great. Abernathy spoke about the "Salt of the Earth" speakers and more speakers and discussion groups. I'm tired. But the presence of a lot of the great men is exhilarating — Robert Moses was there. King was supposed to be but was delayed a day.
I think the chapter will work out real well. I found out tonight while Sunshine, "a rights worker from Alabama," and some of us were looking for some beer that Henry County [Alabama] has not even been considered. They were expecting 3,000 people and got 300. Well, I guess we'll do what we can. But for some reason I feel I've go to go to Alabama. The front line idea I guess.
The new guy from Gettysburg is Richard Hutch. He looks like he should be at a fraternity convention instead of with us. Just shows you again not to judge a person by their skin whether it be color or the way its arranged.
Today was the day! The speeches were about nonviolence. Rev. Andrew Young and Rev. James Bevel. It was great. They never mentioned [pacifist?] though. Not so strange when you think about it though. There are too many semantic problems rather that you use creative nonviolence to solve social problems. I talked with and ate lunch with Bevel later and we talked about "someone raping your mother." The violence is done, the attitude of the people is geared toward violence. The problem is created by the society and the whole outlook there must be changed. What about slapping a child — No, again the child would grow up with violence. Speaking of rape — Bevel told us at lunch he was raped by some women.
Woodward spoke in the afternoon about Southern history and then came the workshops which were great.
Rustin introduced Dr. King. As usual his charisma served in good stead. But I heard some of his speech at A&M although he did speak to contemporary world problems.
Had a beer party beside the dorm. I cut out early and after that the girls decided to stay out overnight. When I got back and found out what they did I was anxious and went to find them. Su was in the car with this cat and she was having a bit of a problem handling the guy and it was fortunate that I came along. Jeannine we couldn't find. I was out until 4:00 looking for her. We found her all right, but I gave both of them hell, which will add to my new nickname of "Big Daddy."
I slept in this morning and just made the afternoon session. Not much happened, but I had a B.S. session with my roommates before we hit the sack.
The tenseness is beginning. Since everyone seemed to want a party, I bought a fifth of bourbon and one of scotch. We went to the football stadium and broke out the drinks there. I was with Dick [Richard Hutch], Bob [Friedman], Jeannie and Scott [Chambers]. Everyone was tired so we got high quickly. Scott especially was funny. He looked at the world through a hole in a church-key. Everything broke up sort of early and we went to bed.
["Church-key" is a slang term referring to a once-common metal opener used to punch drinking holes in aluminum beer cans or pry off bottle-caps.]
This was the day. We finally got Henry County — all of us. The morning was filled with fill-in speeches and the like. We were supposed to meet the Alabama delegation at 1:00 but everything was so confused we went to lunch. We were to leave at 4:00. I was frantic trying to get everyone and everything together. My typewriter is missing. Great! The girls were missing. Finally turned up sleeping in another room. Finally got everyone together and at the gym.
We were going to form a caravan and keep together for self-protection and so we started out. I was driving a 1965 Avis rent-a-car-Ford, red. With the Rev. in lead the whole dozen cars started out. He got lost and the whole caravan went through the suburbs of Atlanta. We were out on the open road now. I was the second car in line and the Rev. stopped and told us to go on, one of his riders had to go to the bathroom. We did and finally got separated. We stopped at La Grange to eat and chanted Freedom at people we saw on the street. At Tuskegee we stopped at an all negroe service station — he gave me a flashlight. Outside of Montgomery we stopped at a white service station. They looked at us rather funny. Each person was scared in their own way. I [unclear] the speed limits faithfully. The thing that seemed to be bothering most of us was that it seemed as if the night had eyes.
We went to the Freedom House in Montgomery on Day Street. There were two of them, one back of the other. We were the last to go in. Everyone had been waiting for us. The cops had cars stationed on the four corners near the house. They gave us the devil at the Freedom House for stopping and getting separated. We felt it wasn't our fault, but...
About a hour later we all started up the Selma Road for Camden in Wilcox County — the Antioch Baptist Church. This time we all stayed together. It was "scary" in the childish sense. No more funning for us — "Brick" the negro boy with us had hidden himself in Montgomery and when we had finished asking a white couple for directions had popped up and said, "Thank you so very much." The cops was in Camden to meet us. We all went to the church and went in and spread ourselves around. Most of us selected a spot that would be safe if someone hurled a bomb through the window. Asleep on the floor between the pew's.
[Albert] Turner woke up everyone at about 5:00 in the morning. God! two hours sleep.
[Albert Turner, a Perry County farmer, was SCLC's state director for Alabama.]
While we were getting up I got the "wonderful" news that I was driving the VW bus back to Atlanta. It was a church nursery bus and they needed it. "Sunshine" told me to turn right and go down the hill. I did that. With the red Ford and the Ford Bus. I kept on going. We drove until 6:30 and I stopped the staff member in the Ford behind me to ask why we were going into S.W. Alabama to go to Atlanta, Georgia. Since I was in the lead he thought I knew where I was going. Great! We turned around and found on the way back the other bus, had had a flat and no spare. They were with a white tow truck — and this in Lowndes County. I got the girls in my bus. They decided to go with the tow truck although we were hesitant. At the church (the staff member went on ahead — he was scared) they decided to keep the bus for a while so I was putting the kids in the home they would be in for orientation. The poverty is beyond belief. Mules beside shacks on stilts and scrubby fields. Sticks is too urban of a word for these places.
[Note that as used in this diary "kids" may refer to either northern or local SCOPE volunteers.]
At about 1:30 I got a sandwich and some ice cream and we decide to leave soon for Atlanta. First we took the Rev.'s wife back — that meant we had to go by way of Selma. We took a 45 minute nap at the place she stayed. I couldn't keep my eye's open. Then after dumping some well water over our heads and drinking some we began.
I decided to have Dick go with me to keep me company. He is good company. Going into Selma we saw a White Citizens Council sign which Dick wanted to photograph. I went behind it into a graveyard while Dick crept through the bushes to photograph it. I was getting apprehensive — some white toughs were cruising the graveyard. Dick finally got back — he got stuck in the bushes. We got out of there fast. Going through Selma he snapped a photograph of the bridge where the marchers were beaten. I was wide awake now.
Approaching Montgomery we were sleepy and hungry so we decided to go to the Freedom House. The cops were watching us. No one was there. We left on Route 80 which Dick told me went to Atlanta — it didn't, it was the long way around. I was tired and afraid of falling asleep at the wheel. We had to go off the highway to get gas once and the stores we got — I was in jeans and a Levi jacket — woke me up for a while again. About 11:30 (Alabama time) we got into Montgomery and had a hell of a time finding the Freedom House. Everyone was up because the staff was getting ready to move out. I took a quick bath — heaven — and after wandering a bit (they were playing cards in the dormitory) I went to sleep.
I'm laying in the aisle of the Antioch Baptist Church [Camden, Wilcox County] on my sleeping bag. I hope the day is over, but I'm not sure. Five folks were arrested here today for trying to register. Tonight right before we came someone shot a number of times at the church. They day was a full one. We slept until 9:00. I got a chance to do my laundry which — sorry for the interruption a truck (KKK by the look of the occupants) went by very slowly and we scrambled — felt real good. We went back to the Freedom House then and waited for a number of hours. They (Ben Clark [SCLC staff]) called Dick a white Tom because he smiled so much and I was so groggy from lack of sleep that he was sure I had no sense and was crazy.
Hosea [Williams] gave us money to eat — also kidded us because we loaded up two new girls who were to work and they weren't even suppose to go to Alabama. We ate at Pic's restaurant in Montgomery-hard ships, and we had an air conditioned car, what luxury until we got back here. Major John is here now-he really takes charge and lets everyone know it. Well tomorrow is a new day, but the night unfortunately is still young.
Got up early this morning — sleeping is hard on the church floor, went to breakfast up the street. There hasn't been much to do today except to get to know the folk and talk. We decided to go swimming at a hole up the creek — about seven of us went — I "waded" in my jeans. Water was bad, but cool. Met Saul [a local activist] who seems to be a pretty good guy. I wish that we could work with him for the summer.
White folk have been driving up and down all day gaping at us. For supper we bought some watermelon and cottage cheese. We ate it on the lawn and we thought the white folk were going to wreck with all their starring.
Had a mass meeting tonight. It filled the church. Not much spirit, but then you need a firey speaker and we didn't have that. They're going to boycott Camden and send children down to the saw mill area to register people. The SCOPE people were arrested who went last time.
I guess 5 and will be staying the night at the church-we'll be sleeping on my sleeping bag. We were expecting trouble tonight, but everything is quiet.
Rev. Major John [SCLC staff] got those of us who slept in the church up early. We policed the area and then had breakfast. We didn't do much today. We hurriedly canvassed a small area, but that was all. Geraldine didn't even come in. Most of us played around. Saul is as strong as an ox, but I beat him in sit-ups. We were worried about Rev. Harrell [Black leader in Wilcox County]. He had been gone over two days and not called. My people were extremely restless. I did manage to make a contact in Henry County and I believe (hope) we'll go tomorrow.
We received several bomb threats last night, and car loads of white men kept cruising the area. After the meeting Charlie (staff) decided we weren't going to sleep in the church because of the cars cruising. So we decided to leave with him. We were walking across the lawn and all of a sudden some shots rang out. I stopped and listened. And then it dawned on me. That if they were shooting at anyone — it would be those standing where I was. I grabbed my bag and ran. We ducked behind the church and then started down a little path over some boards thrown over a creek and up into the Masonic Hall (Dance Hall). More shots rang out. I wasn't really scared, just relieved in a way that the boredom was gone.
These Klu Kluxes are fantastic cowards. Their only weapon is terror in the night. Rational discussions are off limits. A man across the street in the International Company spends the whole day, and I mean that, watching us through binoculars. All day! I grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and started writing while I was looking at him. He saw what I was doing and ducked behind his counter. These white folk are so bad that you wonder if parts of their brains aren't yet infancy.
David Hoon fell in the creek on the way over. I think every outhouse opens into it. He wanted clean clothes and I wanted a bed. No blankets — just me and the cold concrete, sleeping.
I woke up this morning about 5:00 and Saul had not slept. We woke up all night — Saul hadn't slept either. I smoked my pipe for the first time in a week. We finally got started from Camden about 12:15. Mike finally got his car started — that is he got the springs fixed.
The Rev. had to take some people by Samson, Alabama. The cars were packed. Geraldine decided to go back — I was P. o'ed. But that's Geraldine. She's going home, I guess she'll leave Saturday.
As we drove through Henry County it seemed almost deserted. Barbour County is where we are now in a Baptist [academy?] which will be our headquarters. We stopped for Mike's 3rd flat tire at the gas station. There was a water fountain there with a sign — for Whites only. The colored girl in the car slipped on my high school ring backward and this "married couple" went in and got a drink, No problem! Just stares.
I get the feeling that the people in this town are accepting their [unclear] as the "master's best friend." Reports have it as a happily settled community. But the schools are segregated so are the lunch counters and the people don't seem to want to vote. I hope we can do something here. They seem to be afraid of rocking the boat too much. With no Negro commercial interest the community is pretty much at the mercy of the whites. Well, the guys want to turn out the lights in the hall we're sleeping in. So cockroaches and all — good night.
Slept soundly last night. But as normal got up tired. Finally got ready and the Kelly's had us to breakfast. We have no homes yet except for the girls and I think the woman there doesn't want to feed them — she already feeds 13. We had supper here — sandwiches again — and then Mr. Kelly told me when I went to see him that his wife had a vegetable dinner for us. This morning the kids got very organized and clean. Dave Hoon and I went downtown to buy some supplies and get a post office box — 131 Eufaula, Alabama.
We then went to see the mayor. His jaw dropped about an inch and his face froze when we introduced ourselves as workers from SCLC-SCOPE. He was scared I think. It was the same as in Carlisle CORE. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the man. In the past five years they got up to 12% their eligible negro citizen registered. New industry is coming in and he is afraid for this town. Rev. White, a negro minister and Mr. Robert (?) young man from borough council were quickly called and came over.
The young lawyer was afraid of our disturbing his social structure in his precious town. He didn't consider the negro folk — only his locality. Southerners have the most [unclear] attachment to their locality. Our meeting with him lasted over two hours. He wanted us to leave his town, but ... His definition of liberal and mine are quite different. He had [unclear] picture of Wallace and himself behind his desk. Well, we found out after he left that he called a council meeting. Since the mayor wanted to leave with his national guard unit at dawn he didn't want to leave him in town alone. The police chief, sheriff and police commissioner came at the SCLS hq here and repeated promises of safety and protection for us and that they didn't want trouble. They took our names and addresses to have checked by the F.B.I. Oh well.
We next went to Clayton — the county seat and Wallace's home town. Rednecks were in evidence at the courthouse. We didn't get the map we wanted. We left.
Bob Friedman maybe [unclear]. He's kept addresses in his pocket that shouldn't.
Hurrah! At last. The canvassing will start in N. Barbour tomorrow morning at 6:00am.
Slept in Mike's car last night. After today it'll by the last time any of us sleeps outside or alone. The kids were out all morning canvassing. I straightened up the office, typed a couple of stencils and tried to work the mimeograph machine. I gave myself a good sponge bath and washed my hair — great.
Rev. Harrell drove up in a new car today. Somebody in the movement has money. They're going to give us a budget of $1500 per county. We'll be able to buy a car and some supplies. Rev. also brought us [to] a gas store and we bought some groceries $25 worth — which is squashed in the top of the pop machine.
We asked questions of the Rev. and the kids seem more enthused especially since he'll be speaking at the mass meeting Tuesday. We toasted with a bourbon — after he left.
We ate dinner for the last time at the Kelly's and came back over here for our first songfest. They didn't even know We Shall Overcome. Our work is cut out. We had a meeting to decide what to do and one of the ladies will be going with us when we hit the county churches.
Mike brought back some beer and we were all sitting (in the dark) on the front porch when the telephone rang and they hung up when I answered. Some cars drove by slowly. And then the cops came. Two car loads of them followed by a carload of white boys, the ones who had been by before. The chief warned us about making ourselves conspicuous — we carried all 9 of us over to the Kelly's in Sybil-Mikes car. Someone complained. The word is out that we're here. This should get very interesting.
After the cops left the colored folk almost like shadow began moving toward us in the dark to find out what the problem was. They'll be watching for us also. I'll sleep better with that knowledge.
We traveled today. The kids went out canvassing. Sam Rhymes came in his pick-up. He took about 12 of us out. We were gone about 3 hours and we got 40 homes. Sam is amazing. He and his wife really helped us and the kids enjoyed it. One old lady didn't know who Martin Luther King was — thought he was the President. God, let it be so.
Rev. Harrell was here in the afternoon and we had a conference. It seem that he fixed our eating problem by buying us a camping gas stove from Sears. We are now chefs. NO!
Cupcake (Dick) and I stayed at the Academy last night. The others went to temporary homes.
I mimeographed up some canvass sheets and some other song sheets. And then hit the sack
We has the best dinner. The Watson's had some of us over for fried chicken, black-eyed peas, [unclear 2 words] and all the extras. I stuffed myself and the home was air conditioned. What luxury.
I had just woken up when I heard the girls coming. I had to get dressed quick. We waited for some more cars but none came. We went to Clayton, the home of Gov. Wallace to see the mayor. We were stopped by a cop on the way over. After he tailgated us for about six miles. He wanted to know about Mike's Penney tags, A guy in regular clothes with the cop asked Mike if he had the receipt for the Plates — God!
The mayor was so cool he must have known we were coming. Again, he was very courteous. But we were outsiders. The Selma march was horrible immorality, "some of my best friends are niggers." Don't cause any trouble. We're a peaceful town. Everyone get along. 25% of the colored are registered (a lie!)
Scott, whom we met afterwards, [unclear] for a pair of boots with an old couger [unclear] amazing.
That afternoon we sent the team to Clayton. Dick got part of the dinner — squash and beans and it was good. The girls fixed scramble eggs. Dinner was good. Mrs. Robinson sent me some muffins and fried chicken. Great. We had a song fest after dinner. And for the first time since I left Carlisle, tonight I sleep in a real bed with sheets after a bath — Good Night!
I can't believe how well I slept last night, Miss Dennis got up and got breakfast for us which was good. Went to the office and got two car loads of kids off to Clayton and Louisville. In the latter they caught hell from the local residents. I had a talk with Charles Robinson this morning and he told me about the Klan activity in Baker Hill. He saw them meeting there about 1 1/2 months ago. Looks like the same action.
Rev Harrell and his wife and James Wilson came for the Mass meeting tonight. I cooked lunch for them. A reporter can from the Eufaula Tribune — God! What a paper no state or national news, just local scandal.
We had about 230 people at the meeting tonight — not too bad for the first one. The state cops, the local "boys" were on hand to observe. They took the license numbers of everyone here. You can just see them trying to restrain themselves. Some more were parked over by the Assembly of God. We seem to be able to get more help now.
Today we hope to go to Baker Hill area. Should be interesting. Some guys must have been touched by our lack of nourishment because they went out and bought us some hamburgers and watermelon. I spoke tonight and surprised some people who didn't expect the style from a Northern white — John 8:34 was the scripture. Must sleep now.
Today was the most amazing day. We had ham and eggs for breakfast and got off to an early start. Relatively. We had 28 canvassing Eufaula this morning. We didn't technically break our agreement with the mayor. None of us went. James Wilson worked out real well. He went canvassing since he isn't really one of us.
One of the kids had some white men in a car point a pistol at him and tell to get the hell out of here and don't come back. The boy did. We complained to the police, F.B.I. and the justice department.
We still have a bad problem with transportation. Some boy who cooked us dinner sort of got tricked into letting us use the car. We sent 30 out in the afternoon. Some of the older boys are coming by now. We were singing tonight and got invited to a party. Great, because the tension was building. Some of the staff was run ragged the others just sat there.
Tonight we are staying in another ladies home. She's sanctified. Well... Come on... I think she doesn't trust me too much. I told her I preached in a [unclear] church. She doesn't want any trouble — just to fulfill her duty. Well its good bed time.
Didn't get to the Freedom House until after 9:00. Rev. Harrell, the Mrs. and some cat named Donald were there about 20 minutes after we were. Didn't send as many out today — but got 3 car loads one North, one N.W. and one to Louisville. Sent a few teams around town. The Rev. took a team to the N.W.
Had a mass meeting at the Zion Hill Baptist Church tonight. Avout 1/3 of the people were from Eufaula. These people are ready! I guess the farmers are still scared. I preached for about 5 minutes. It never fails to delight me to see the expression on peoples faces to see holiness or Baptist preaching from a Northern boy. I've got to admit that I enjoy preaching. Once I get started it seems that I'm not doing the speaking. Its amazing. If the lord is directing my tongue, I wish he would help us get some transportation for these folks.
I was a little hurt tonight because the guys all took off for some club. Not so much that I wanted to go to the club — there most all alike — but none asked me to go. Preaching has it bad points also. Well, on that note, I'll go to bed. I think I'm going to need a tension break soon. I'm not sure where to find it.
I was just thinking of Saul, I hope he's all right. What with 18 folk arrested in Camden, the church raided, two beaten in the church, and the church shot at, he could be hurt. God save all of them.
Sent out about 24 workers today that's fairly good. I got up at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 6:30, 7:00 etc. But I got there at 8:00m the appointed him. Jean showed up at 8:45. Dave and Saul at 9:45. I gave them hell. I was still depressed from last night but I felt sorry then. I cooked fried ham sandwiches and corn for them. Mary Choice acted as my secretary. We also cleaned the whole place up. It needed it.
The kids really liked the sandwiches. I sent Dick out in a new Chrysler and he called he had engine trouble and it looked like they might have harassment. I went over and all they needed really was money we found out when we got back that three drunks had been here and they had the police come and get rid of them. After witnessing a talent show that the kids put on for our benefit and eating a delicious dinner that somebody cooked for us we got a little beer and we sat around and talked — I told a ghost story. The tension is getting hard. Su & Jeannie were having problems and I read them the Song of Solomon. That's such beautiful poetry that I think it helps drain one.
Sam Rhymes decided to give us the truck with himself as a driver for the morning. He had a piece of the recap job fall off of his tire. But I didn't really care. I didn't even care that the Baker Hill road we covered had few people on it. I loved that ride in the back of the truck. The wind beating on my face and combing my hair. It was sensuous. I picked up some windburn, but that gives me the muddy look. We went to Flakeville than and canvassed.. But we ran into a nest of Jehovah Witnesses. 'How do you do ma'am, I'm working for the Rev. Martin Luther King." "I'm working for Jehovah God." I knew it was all over then. I argued a while with one woman. But..
Walking around a creek, one of the boys thought he saw a water moccasin. We tried to get at it, but couldn't.
We didn't do much that afternoon, but had a good spaghetti dinner getting home; the bed wasn't made. I don't thing Mrs. Corbin is happy with us.
Sunday! We must have hit about 20 churches. The girls went North, some went to Clayton and Mike and I went to some of the County churches we went to last week. We got lost. Also we found that we had bought gas at Baker Hill last Sunday without knowing it.
Sunday afternoon I sent the guys to a ball game. Unfortunately no adults. Jean took Johnnie home and then came back and we wanted to see a man about a bus. So I drove Mr. Kelly's car back out to Johnnies house. The country she lives in is much like the hills of Pennsylvania — beautiful. Saw an old tree down up the road with cops around it when we turned to go to her house. On the way to the man's home we passed the tree. The cop stopped us — we had freedom stickers on the car — he had been to a mass meeting where I preached. He looked at the car and decided the muffler was too loud. He took my license and after we waited a while — he was looking at the tree — we followed him to the Eufaula Court House. The judge said a minimum of $16 — with registration coming up we decided to pay. Last opportunity for jail as a rallying point, but it wasn't the right time.
We got a good meal — some ladies brought it in. Other verbal harassments. But nothing significant yet. Had to sleep at the academy because Mike went to Camden for his clothes and I had to wait until he got back. I slept on the table.
Other than some phone calls the girls got me out of the table when they came in. I sent out a team to Clayton just to check people. Things seem to be progressing. Jimmy Wilson was here. Ran off a stencil for him, gave him a birthday pie with match candles and a birthday bourbon drink. It rained.
But part of the afternoon was dry. We went to two picnics. The first we sang at, but the kids held back. The ice cream was homemade and good. At the second picnic the people seemed more receptive. They should have, many were drunk. We took time off with Johnnie and her brother to visit a man who owns a bus. On the way we saw the most beautiful sight. An old wooden bridge over a deep ravine with a small creek at the bottom lush vegetation all over. Tall trees on the sides, dripping with raindrops and Spanish roses.
The man with the bus wanted to talk about rent — God! But everyone doesn't swing with the movement.
[Since many poor Blacks had no car, having busses to transport voter applicants to the registration office would increase the turnout.]
No supper, but it doesn't matter. The tension is beginning to mount at a fantastic rate. Tomorrow is the first registration day — its at Clayton. The really bad areas are included in it. The kids are really excited, we had a meeting and talked about nonviolence. Bob F. was reluctant to discuss it. He'll fight if he can win. Otherwise — nonviolent. Ugh! Bob Smith and I are the closest in philosophy probably because of the orthodox Christian background we have. We accept more on faith I think than others do. But there are three C.O.'s for various reasons. Everything is getting organized. I really hope there's no trouble. I feel I want to get the job done and not go to jail. But I have this feeling.
Well, we had best get to Mrs. Corbin's if we want to be let in. God be with and in us tomorrow.
Woke up a little late this morning. I didn't get to the academy until 7:00. But we had a good breakfast — eggs, pork chops etc. It was the only meal we got all day. We left Eufaula about 8:00 and got to Clayton headquarters. A beautiful air conditioned home across from the Methodist Church. When I got to the courthouse at 8:40 there were already 20-30 people there and then they began to pour in. By 11:00, 80 odd people were there. I know we reached about 200 people there. The registrars denied folks who couldn't read entrance to the room. We took as many names as we could. I suspect that Mr. Charlie was little upset. The judge (Little) called me in to find out about section three. Only about 22 people actually were registered. The rest either were flunked — "do Indians pay taxes?" Questions about war. God, what jive.
[Concepts like "passing" and "failing" refer to the so-called Alabama "literacy test." One portion of this "test" was to force Black voter applicants to answer obscure questions about law and government. Whites were either not asked the questions at all, or always passed no matter what they answered. For more information on Alabama voter registration procedures and literacy tests, see Voting Rights: Are You "Qualified" to Vote?]
Knots of white people in cars and trucks watched us all afternoon including Governor Wallace. He sat at the auto repair shop place and talked and watched us. Some kid had a listening device — a big radar shaped thing so Johnnie and I talked Bertrand Russell and metaphysics.
There were blind people there, old and sick. Women that had just lost their husbands — and one old lady who was so crippled up she had to use a walker. She moved up the steps and walk an inch at a time. Glory, she was among the 22 that passed.
Mike almost got run over by a man in a pickup in reverse.
I spoke again with Rev. Harrell at the mass meeting. Lolita was there and she spoke well. Over 200 were at the meeting and we didn't thank we had canvassed at all. Our works just beginning.
[Lolita was a black college student from California who joined the Barbour SCOPE group after it arrived in Barbour County.]
Well, we had about 150 people [at the Eufala registration office] today. Only 16 people passed out of 100 plus that got through. Some lawyers who were racist were sitting there making cracks about the company I keep, my having the run of the courtroom, etc. The police chief requested that we do our work outside the courtroom now. Too bad, the courtroom is air- conditioned.
One pleasant thing that happened was that one of the white lady registrars was talking to me about, "The mess that the South was in." She thought education was the answer. She said the old people that come she know won't pass — she tells them to make sure their children and grandchildren are educated. I'm going to try and contact her later.
Had a blind man there today — he passed. One old man sat in his chair from 9:00 in the morning until 4:10 trying to pass the test. He didn't even go for lunch. The head white man registrar laughed at him a lot, made jokes about him. In a friendly way — like a man to his favorite dog. They almost gave it to him, but the man passed. Thank God for the patience of the man.
Some whites watched us from across the street — some of the same ones that were in Clayton — but no trouble. We were inside all the time and besides there isn't that much tension in Eufaula.
Had some registration classes tonight and a bull session wit some of the people in their late 20's and 30's. White people are beginning to look awful bland and worked out. Some of these colored folk have great physique and its refreshing to see color. I'm beginning to have a new concept of race. Why should I feed kinship with white folk any more than I feel kinship with folks who have brown eyes? I don't.
We got a late start today. Not as many people came either. We had well over 100 — 21 passed! There was much more hostility though — older people especially with comments like — you lookin' for trouble. Don't mess with me boy or you'll wind up in a river. "Trash! Trash that the federal government sent along to mess us up." The first real hostility we encountered.
Friday, thank God. The last day of the four days of voter registration. We had the usual amount of people. 19 people passed. That also was average. Had a meeting with the head of the registration and Judge Little. They were worried that our forms were showing that everyone was flunking the 3rd section which was true, but many were illiterate and some flunked because of the other sections. These people are so proud when they pass though. "It makes me feel like somebody." 82 people passed the test in all this week. Not bad! The civil rights voting bill [Voting Rights Act] passed the House today. Great! We'll wait for the federal registration now. Went celebrating the end of the week with two local boys and a local girl. all white. They'll make very valuable contacts in the community for us. We went to a state park in Georgia and drank bourbon and then came back and Jimmy Wilson and some people from Henry County were here so we celebrated with beer here. Got home about 2:30 or so. It was a lot of fun. Found out that Judge Little found that our case is already to court about the 3rd section of the test and he doesn't want to go over the forms. I think he might think we pulled a fast one, but we didn't. Slept part of the afternoon. I was bone tired.
Slept in the morning — had a little headache. Ben Clark from Atlanta was here on an evaluating drive. We had a good talk. Some girls cooked dinner for us. It was good meatballs. Spent the afternoon policing the grounds and getting the office ready. The kids [unclear word] Johnny Turner our newest addition to the staff went to Louisville to check on a mass meeting. The people there are really scared — they chickened. The church suddenly can't be used because another church has a revival meeting. Anyway that stopped Monday night's mass meeting; went to Baker Hill to visit Johnny's mother. Very original jolly person.
On the way there we heard that [CORE leader] James Farmer had put a call out to CORE people to go to Bogalusa, Louisiana for demonstrations. We decided to go for many reasons. Not all of them valid. He had called for us (but not mandatory as we found out through phone calls — he said it at mass meeting), we wanted some excitement, we needed a few days away from this place, etc. Unless something drastic happens I don't think it'll threaten the project here. We'll only be gone two days.
I decided that Horn and Friedman wouldn't go because they planned to leave on Wednesday. Friedman per usual gave me trouble. God help him. We're ready to roll. We're going about 4:00a.m. I'm not sure how I feel. A little dread, a little anticipation and a lot of "come what may" feeling.
Cooperated with the F.B.I. today. They came by investigating two complaints — the threatening with the pistols of two of the local boys and the man who tried to run over Mike. They seemed considerate and very thorough.
Put two benches together in the Academy Hall. Slept for two hours there. Got up at 4:00 or so. Geraldine [Robinson] had to threaten me to get me up. We finally left about 5:15. Traveled all day. Had trouble with the carburetor. Pretended we were [art?] students going to New Orleans. Saw impeach Earl Warren signs etc. Went through Mississippi. No problem.
When we got to Louisiana saw a few car loads of state troopers, but they didn't stop us. They had stopped others though. Saw a few dozen cars and trucks with — "Forget Hell," and confederate flags of all shapes on cars and trucks. I wasn't scared. It was almost like watching a movie. We tried to find the Negro section. Had some trouble finding it. Found out we were the first outside whites from another CORE Chapter. It was extremely dangerous, but we were the first so the KKK wasn't expecting us.
[See Bloody Bogalusa for a description of these mid-July events.]
Got to the Freedom House (a labor hall). The people were forming. James Farmer was leaning up against the door. We signed in with a negro woman, Tina, from Mike's hometown — Westburg, N.Y. She was amazing. Her face and speech really attracted me. She told us about the incident where the negro man shot the white man. The men were not [Deacons for Defense and Justice] but had applied [to be members]. A girl had been hit with a rock. She was taken to the back to be treated by the medics; they took her to a car where she and the nurse were being beaten. The driver asked them t stop, but they didn't so he shot them. The cop apparently fired the other shot into the man. The newspaper distorted it.
While we were marching someone set off tear gas, threw a rock, cherry bomb, etc, but the state cops with submachine guns made sure there was no real trouble. The people had the worst hate distorted faces I've ever seen. Since we were really the only concentration of whites we received special attention — trash, scum, white niggers, sex (my denim outfit) — kiss her — the negro girl next to me; your skin white, but your heart black, did you fall in the Mississippi river and get bleached. Their faces were horrible especially the young people and kids. How such a beautiful country — green [unclear word] on trees, Spanish moss and hate-filled people. Had a mass meeting — it was great. We were asked to sing in the freedom choir. The singing and preaching was great (Farmer)
We're all staying at one house — guarded all night by three Deacons of Defense and Justice with revolvers. I'd like a private police force just to protect home and workers. I talked with a Mr.____ who was a Deacon and walked us to the church. He is a responsible, respectable looking working family man. The Deacons include all kinds — older men and teenagers. No one knows who they are. Sometime I guess when the public police don't do their job, its necessary for citizens — within the law — to make sure folks are safe. We were impressed.
The homes across the street had been shot into and had bricks thrown into many times. The woman whose home we stay at, quit her job because her boss's husband help beat some people. She let it be known that if anyone bothered her, "she'd fill them full of lead" The people are ready here. They're great, so different from the apathetic, scared folks in Barbour County.
Well, one of the Deacons is talking with us and I'm tired so I guess I'll get some talking in and then get some sleep. In the front room. If anything happens we'll literally be in the middle of it. Just remembered, saw bamboo growing for the first time.
We woke up late this morning. Got a great sleep. The Deacons protected us all night. They say they feel personally responsible for our safety. I still can't agree with them, but its still sort of a warm feeling. The negro man seem to have regained his masculinity — at least that defined within this culture. We sat around all morning, but this afternoon we marched again. As yesterday there must have been 500 of us. We turned around at the barricade and marched back. They wouldn't let us sing "Aint gonna let nobody turn me 'round," I knew then.
Went to a mass meeting and heard Louis Lomax speak — just like a Baptist preacher. They've set up the Friends of Bugolussa in California, $15,000 cash and bond money — Great.
Went outside for a cigarette and a state cop just stood and glared at me. It was one of the worst hate looks I've seen. They've decided to march to City Hall! A line of police have blocked us up to now.
Went to a Deacons home for a little party tonight. Had a good time. The Deacon's were out front with rifles the whole time.
This was a fantastic day. We got up early and went to the Ebenezer's Church kitchen for breakfast. We finally got a ride to the labor hall where we milled around awhile, while we waited for instructions on where to picket. We got together with some of the kids who had picketed yesterday and talked to the ones beaten. On the way to the picket line while we were turning a corner a rather square built man, heavy set, crew cut, between 25-30 punched a girl of about 5' in the neck and ran. The police couldn't do anything because they didn't see it. Dirk was punched in the jaw — he made a complaint and some white woman became so hysterical with frustration she grabbed Su and just started ripping at her. No one bothered Louise and I. We were both rather large and formidable looking. She's from Frisco. Some typical comments — Look at Marlon Brandon (I wore all denim), white trash, white nigger, white face; black heart, scum, cocksucker, etc.
Went back to the hall, ate lunch at the church and got ready for the march. They let us go all the way today. We went across the bridge to the courthouse. were guarded by at least 400 state cops with submachine guns loaded and cocked. 3 squad cars in front, two squads of troopers in back. They were inline beside us. On the roofs of buildings, at every intersection and the helicopter overhead. And still the racists came. The red-headed woman who watched me picket all morning (she made obscene little signs) pointed me out in the march for special attention. She must be frustrated. The girls said the first time we marched here, some well dressed woman gave me an incredible bedroom look. Southern woman must really be inhibited.
After the march had dinner and tried to get one of the Deacons, Joe Hite, to get some rest. They must average 2-3 hours sleep a night. Met Mr. Sims after the Mass meeting — he's Pres. of the Deacons here. He didn't have much time to talk, but Joe said he didn't know how he was going to teach his little girl love when he sat on his porch with a rifle.
The Deacons came by at 4:00a.m. this morning to escort us out of the city. We took turns watching all night to make sure we stayed up. Got out of the city without incident. We were sorry to leave. Mrs. McGee had been so great, everyone there had been, including the tolerance the deacon shared to my disagreement with them and my kidding them.
Made the trip back all right thanking to one of the Deacon's going over Sybil and giving her some new parts — free of charge.
But when we got back we found the mayor had spoken at the Mass meeting of Eufaula and sugared all the people. He got a standing ovation God!
The mayor refused to talk with us. We wanted him to back up some of the generalities he made at the meeting. We figured that he could be mad that local people had canvassed Eufaula but more likely he was mad the [unclear] — Ed, Kathy and Don had contacted us. It was known — someone spotted us somewhere. Either at the picnic, or when the girls saw them. The mayor went to Ed's and Kathy's house and told them (the parents) that he wanted it stopped. Ed's parents were furious at him for disobeying their order, and his mother talked so nice, they were miffed that the mayor had the nerve to say what he said. Kathy's parent's denied it.
Set up mass meetings for next week.
Waited for Rev. Harrell — he didn't show. We have a new philosophy now. Bogalusa acted as a catalyst for what I felt. The men there were men. "They had a thing goin' on" The reason, there was a strong indigenous organization aroused over an issue with power to back up their demands. To organize the community here it will be necessary to get stronger leadership and hopefully the crisis situation will produce it. But being a ladies aid society to register voters is bad. Like strong organization to direct it. The young people want action. There is no sense of unity against an enemy. Although negative this can be an effective aid to organization. But we must talk with the Rev. first. This is not SCOPE philosophy. I firmly believe that they're wrong.
Waited for the Rev., he didn't show. Morale is low. We don't know what to do. Some folks had a barbeque for us tonight it was great.
Sunday! No Rev. yet. Sent the kids to churches to get ready for the mass meetings. The same folks fixed dinner for us tonight. They certainly like us — or at least the boys.
Very depressed. I wish the Rev. would come. Sat around mostly today. Sexual tensions are starting to work on some.
Felt like hell today. The cold I caught was really on the rampage. I sent the kids off to Clayton to canvass for the Mass Meeting. Laid down for a while and Gunsmoke came up to give me a back massage and wound up combing my hair. He seemed to get a kick out of it. I guess light, fine hair holds a fascination for some here.
The Mass meeting looked like it was going to be a failure, but folks began pouring in, we collected $10.65 and got 77 members for the Clayton Voters League. Most of them were women, but its a beginning.
Jeannie wanted to take us for something to eat. We went to the Holiday Inn where she proceeded to tell us she was going home. I was furious. First because of the childish way she did it; second because of her lack of responsibility to the group. But she's made up her mind.
Sent the kids out to Eufaula to canvass for the mass meeting here. They were tired, Dirk and Scott are coming down with the cold. They didn't go all out for the canvass job; but I couldn't blame them. I cooked dinner and cleaned up the place with Mary's help. We got some supplies — silverware, [unclear] and cigarettes — from our Air Force contact. Great. I get some use of the tax money I spent for the armed services.
The mass meeting seemed to be a success. Harrell phoned up in the middle of it. I spoke again — Juanita said afterwards that they'd make a negro out of me yet. Its like being an honorary Indian.
We had a long philosophical discussion with the Rev. afterwards. He thinks we're wrong, but he told us to go ahead and do what we think necessary to organize the community. Now we have a weapon to combat the sugar tit mayor. Things are going to get [unclear] around here now.
Today was a waste, except I got the financial matters straightened out with Mr. Kelly, found out why Johnny was in jail. We went to meet him in Clayton. He left the state while on bond among other things, no one showed up for the mass meeting in Sandville — that's what we get for not handling the canvass job. I'm so tired and it's bed time.
July 22 Our movement is becoming much like that in Bogalusa. We don't do much in the morning, but oh, the afternoon and evenings. I sent the kids to Clayton and the Louisville area to canvass for the Voter's League meeting there tonight. When we first got there, there weren't too many people there, but they started coming in. I was waiting behind the pulpit to start when I heard a bunch of kids outside singing freedom song. I was really excited, but as it turned they were SCOPE kids from Bullock County. They added a lot to the meeting. We set up a Voter registration committee and one on jobs and the youth squads.
The kids from Bullock came over to Eufaula and we sat around and talked. Their problem is too much leadership. I guess each county faces a unique situation, but the overall problem is the same.
As Dick puts it, our movement is getting into gear here. The morning was as usual but Rocky Mt. was canvassed in the afternoon. The folks up there are going to a revival meeting as are some of the ones in Eufaula — over in Georgia. After a while though, there were quite a few folks there especially young folks. We broke up into committees just like before. We got chairman and everyone seemed to very enthusiastic. The chief, police commissioner and a state investigator were there. Of course, Red was there with his tape recorder and his camera. He took pictures of everyone. Su was getting angry because of his intimidation of folks. He said that he dropped a line to Dave and Bob. God, were they gullible. He sweet talked them nicely. We had a policy meeting afterwards and we think we're rolling. Heard over the radio that King has called for us to demonstrate if they don't pass the bill by Aug. 1. We could turn the South upside down. King once said we should so that it would be right side up.
We found out that SCLC wanted to register as many people as possible so when they started action here they would have a power base already set up.
I gave everyone the morning off. We went to do our laundry. While we were there some white boys rode by several times and shouted something. At one point they said something to a white lady in a car. She shoved it in reverse and came back to the laundromat and gave the somewhat sheepish and thoroughly deflated boys hell.
The kids went up to Bullock County for a softball game with their SCOPE chapter and I typed letters. Reina and Elene and the the others brought food of all sorts Sat. night. Pork chops, meat loaf, okra, beans, lemon pie, cake, jello. It was great. I was stuffed.
Sunday we canvassed the Louisville-Clio area churches for the mass meeting Monday night in Clayton. At Clio all the white men had gathered outside a store and were gaping at us. There would have been trouble had we stayed.
Came back to the academy and had some leftovers and Su and Mike and I left for Atlanta. On the way we saw a car on fire — its gas tank was about to go, another over the bank and Su while she driving didn't slow down for a turnoff for us and close to killed us all. I felt sick the whole trip and had tried to sleep and while I was resting Su and Mike had a long philosophical talk about God and Heaven. They don't believe. I [unclear] them to some extent in my mind. They're intellectually oriented — have never imagined something on faith. Their way of being brought up is so different than mine.
Got back at 12:30 felt like hell. [Unclear] was here and brought us some supplies from the base. He's great.
I slept in today 'till about 10:00 an so. I got up to the Academy about noon. I just [unclear] around today. I feel worse. Took some medicine and rubbed on some Ben Gay.
Held a mass meeting at Clayton. The Voter's League there is coming along real well. Both committees (registering and jobs) are on their way and the youth are very enthusiastic. I set up two test cases — cafe and a library and formed a Freedom choir.
Had a flat on the way back. Su thought she saw a small coral snake as we got out of the car. Great night. Ha! I'm tired and sick and there is a busy week.
Nobody made the Academy on time today. No matter. We went to the post office, got a new tire and best of all went to the police dept; who sent us to the mayor; whose secretary sent us to the city clerk. We just wanted to check out information on a parade permit and picketing. Seems we've upset these complacent whites here. They'll find out soon enough that we don't except scraps when we should be eating at the table.
Went to Clayton this afternoon and integrated the restaurant. At the library the woman said come back tomorrow since she wasn't the regular librarian. At the restaurant they charged 90 cents for a hamburger and a coke inc. tax; charged Dick 50 cents for a piece of apple pie. No real trouble just groups of angry whites.
[In the mid-1960s, a cup of coffe at a lunch counter normally cost a dime and you could get a cheeseburger, fries, and Coke for around 60 cents.]
Had another Voter's League meeting at Eufaula and again broke up into committees. Red wanted to come into the back room with the kids and I, but I told him it was private and besides he was 21. He said he was under pressure to find out. As it turned out he went around to the corner of the building and listened. What a cheap trick.
We have the groups all set up now and even the freedom choir has been set up. Toni Franklin, a very pretty local girl, has captured Dirk's interest and vice versa. He had once told me in Atlanta that he'd never date or mix that way. Wow! Has he changed. Its beautiful. He's really interested. Too bad time is so short. I left a tired group tonight. Mike especially, is accepting less and less responsibility. I'm getting worried about him.
We were up early and here. Five kids were here before 8:00 this morning at 9:00 after breakfast we went to the 25 young people gathered in the hall and instructed them how to integrate cafeterias, etc. They were scared, but excited. I took five kids to Pappas Cafe. Lolita was with us. Harrell brought her in last night and we now have negro on our staff. Great! She's a fine girl. On the test cases, Scott couldn't get served because he was white, the negroes were served on paper at Walgreen's. Other than that everything was fine.
We went to Clayton in the afternoon to do the library and the cafe. The girls got books at the library. Then we decided to go to the cafe. Mike followed Pat [unclear] and I in her car. [Unclear] go to the center of town Pat slowed up to turn and Mike did likewise when a man in a jeep-truck screeched to a stop behind Mike, cursed him violently, got out of his truck and went up to Mike. He was getting so violent that Mike began to roll us his window at which point the man smashed open Mike's window. He grabbed Mike, tore his shirt halfway off; all this while the car was moving. The girls left Mike's car at this time. As the man went back to get something in his tool box I ran to the jail reported the incident to Deputy Anderson who wouldn't listen to me. A crowd of white men had gathered. Mike was trying to park his car. I saw Judge Little, he wouldn't, said he couldn't, et a warrant for the guys arrest. They said only the Sheriff who was out of town could do that. The City solicitor took the complaint.
Went back home. Left for the "Mass Meeting" at Sandville. Five people! We organized them to canvass for another, cops showed up. God, everyone from the folk at Sandville through the rest of the county heard what happened at Clayton. Coming home we stopped for ice cream and a 1965 Black Bonneville followed us and tried several times to run us off the road. Went to the cops.
Got to the Academy, Harrell was here. Got the order to march. Made plans till very late at night about the course of action.
Well, today I'm 22. They day started out well. In the morning we sent out five car loads of high school student to the north to canvass for the Rocky Mt. meeting.
In the afternoon, Mike, Dirk and I went to Clayton to start the kids canvassing. A cop was waiting for us outside and then went in. In front of the preacher's house they asked Mike to go up to the courthouse — state trooper. They got him for not changing his license plates to Alabama tags. $121.50 fine [equal to about $880 in 2012]. Mike's now in jail. By the way, the Rev. lost his job as a janitor at the white school. The people at the hearing said with a smile — "We just want you folks to obey our laws, like we obey the ones you make over us." Meaning Washington.
Had the mass meeting at Rocky Mt. Very well attended. Set up a Voter's League with Mr. Walker as President.
Scott who stayed in the office had phone calls about putting sugar in a man's gas tank. Another called, later saying everyone was [unclear]. When I got back another called said, "Hello Blacke."
Su, bless her, had a civil rights birthday cake — matches lit in an ashtray.
Went to sleep rather nervous for the project.
Today was a rather hectic day. Everyone showed up to canvass. There were a lot of high school students. We sent them all over Eufaula for the mass meeting. Su went out with Lolita to take some kids to Cotton [unclear]. She was picked up by the troopers. She called, "I'm in jail. Driving without a license" (She has a Virginia license), but she had been in the state.
[Alabama law required people to obtain an Alabama drivers license if they were in the state for more than 90 days. At this point, the SCOPE volunteers had been in state for half that time.]
Sent some more kids out in the afternoon, but kept the staff in so they wouldn't get picked up. Tried to arrange bond.
Kept making plans for march.
The mass meeting in Eufaula was not too bad — there were a lot of men, but in Clayton only 40 people showed. I tried to get the guest speaker — Ethel to Clayton but the cops followed Herbert and Caesar's car as we left and there was no way we could get to Clayton.
Roy Wilborn was elected President here. Great! He's a fine person even though he's on parole for being in a car running moonshine.
Got to the office a little late, but we sat all day waiting for the lawyer Solomon Seay to show up to get Mike and Su out of jail. He didn't show so we sat. Finally in the afternoon he came. He got them both out. Both Judges [unclear word] them. Judge Little was going to bring him some flowers the other jerk wanted to go fishing with him. Solomon said he'd never go out on Lake Eufaula with him.
The kids told us all about the jail tonight. Mike was bored out of his mind. He scratched Freedom Now on the wall and a [peace symbol]. He counted his pulse beat — normal, thinking about sex, violence etc. The men and women in the courthouse could watch him going to the bathroom. A trooper visited him and suggested he might land in the Chatahoochee River.
Su had a pretty good time of it. The old jailer even let her come up and wake Mike up. He brought her things and seemed anxious for her.
Well, today was the deadline set by Dr. King and Hosea for passage of the federal voting bill or we march.
This morning was wasted — no transportation. But this guy took Lolita, Scott and Bob over to Clayton to get ready for a Mass meeting we decided to have this morning. Not very many people showed, but it was good. Leon Gunther spoke and was good. More kids are turning out and that's a good sign. Estimates from kids about the numbers for the march range from 50-500. Great! Mr. Cole, was elected president and Mrs. Hammiter was V.P. She's worried about her school teaching job a little now. Rev. McCants wife is scared and has reason to be. Things are going to be rough over there. God be with them all.
Today was registration day at Clayton I sent Mike and Su to help the folks. The day got off to a lousy start because I got up late as everyone did. The kids didn't get there until 11:00 in the morning.
They had about 120 people there. A good showing.
That night Mayor John spoke in Eifaula and I tried to get Ethel Brooks.
[At this point Larry ceased recording diary entries and began working on his Short History of the Freedom Movement in Barbour County, Alabama.]
Copyright © Larry Scott Butler. 2013