‘Civil righters’ here Monday confer with county officials (July 9, 1964)
Wednesday, May 12, 2004 11:16 AM
July 9, 1964
Sixteen “Civil Rights” workers visited Philadelphia, Monday of this week on what they described as “a personal investigation of the ‘civil rights’ movement and to observe first hand the conditions which exist where three of their workers are reported to be missing.”
The group came here from Jackson and Canton and arrived about 4:15 p.m. They parked in front of the courthouse and met with county attorney Rayford Jones in the courtroom.
When asked how they proposed to conduct their investigation, a spokesman said they wanted to see the burned station wagon and see the site where the church burned.
They were told by the county attorney that the burned car was locked up and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had concurred with local officials that it would not serve any useful purpose to view the car or for the entire group to visit the church site. They were told that an escort would be provided for one of their group to see the church site and report to the others in the group. They refused that offer.
They were told that the burned car was being treated as evidence and they would not be allowed to see it.
When the group came out of the meeting and started to get into their cars to leave, it was evident that they wanted to be seen by the crowd of about 150 persons which had gathered. There were no incidents of any kind.
One of the group in particular, Charles Evers, field representative of the NAACP for Mississippi and formerly of this city, seemed reluctant to leave when the others wanted to and had to be coaxed by others in the group to get into his car.
The group, some of them Negroes and some whites, inquired of the county attorney as to whether the new “civil rights” law was being observed here and was told that we have never had any reason to violate the law and didn’t expect any. Among some of the other questions asked was whether eating places here would serve everybody and were answered that the local owners of such places would determine themselves whether all races would be served.
The group made no attempt to enter or be served by any local place of business and left about 5:15, presumably for Meridian.
County Attorney Jones had each one of the group to sign his name and give his address.
A copy of those names is reproduced below, and as much as possible typed for clarity.
R. L. Smith, Jackson, Miss.
Dr. Claud Hudson, Jackson, Miss.
Solon F. Davis, Jackson, Miss.
Clavit Lewis, Wichita, Kansas
Robert L. Carter, New York, N.Y.
L. Joseph Quenton, 312 West, 125 Street
Mr. Charles Evers, Jackson, Miss.
Eugene T. Reed, Amatyville, N. Y.
Kivie Kaplan, Boston, Mass.
Eileen Lewis (Mrs. Alfred Baker, Connecticut Council of Churches, Old Greenwich, Conn.)
Alfred Baker Lewis, 172 Shore Road, Old Greenwich
Gloster B. Cunsent, 20th West 40th St. NYC
Maurice T. White, 20th West 40th St. N. Y. C.
(Unreadable), SLC, (Salt Lake City) Utah.
Loula L. Grisham, Jackson. Miss.
Thomas John, Queens, New York