Gary Rothberger

SNCC, 1965, Mississippi
Current Residence: Cambridge, MA

Summer '65; SNCC put out a call to come to Mississippi. We answered. 10 days in jail in Jackson, MS. We ended up being held in an exhibition hall at the fairgrounds. After a couple of days some of us attempted to "integrate" the hall. As a result, I was taken to a cell at the county jail which was filled with previously busted demonstrators and spent another week or so there. As opposed to myself, they had been in the south for a long time.

Upon being requested to do so by SNCC, some of us refused bail. (Part of the point was to embarrass the Dem/Kennedy/Johnsonites for their appointment of racists to the southern federal courts.) After a day or so, the other demonstrators who refused bail were also brought over to the jail.

I was a minor so they called my dad in Detroit and told him that because of my age he could legally bail me out. They got me on the phone with my dad who said that he was going to do so. One of the Guild lawyers suggested that I tell him that I would simply go out and get myself arrested again; however this time I would not be with other civil rights workers. Instead, I would be alone in a drunk tank with a bunch of southern white boys. That seemed pretty harsh to say to my dad, sorta putting him on the horns of a real dilemma. But I did it.

My abiding memory is that what I did was trival compared to what others on this list have done. But when when SNCC called, we answered.


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