Long, Hot Summer '64; Episode Two
[Ted Mascott] Elliot Norton Reviews will be heard next Monday evening at 6:00. Long Hot Summer '64, a weekly summary and in-depth report on the struggle for civil rights in the south. This is Ted Mascott, producer of Long, Hot Summer '64. This week two stories have been in the headlines: the mysterious disappearance of three civil rights workers in Mississippi, and the wade-in attempts in St. Augustine, Florida. We will have reports on both these stories on tonight's program as well as some interesting letters to the editors from a Mississippi newspaper and the St. Augustine, Florida newspaper. First here is a report from Oxford, Ohio, the location of the Council of Federated Organizations, known as Co-Fo, and its training program for Mississippi civil rights workers. [Paul Callan] This is Paul Callan from Oxford, Ohio. Looking more like volunteers for the Peace Corps, than young people about to undergo two tough months in what some SNCC workers call the hell-hole of America, potential teachers and community center organizers on the Mississippi summer project arrived, arrived here in Oxford,
Ohio Sunday night. Almost immediately after they came, they began to attend sessions on their particular projects and most grew visibly excited. I could hear them talking enthusiastically with their friends or on the phone with their parents describing the curriculum of the freedom schools, or a new method of teaching the semi-literate. But something else was happening on Sunday evening. At around 9:00 p.m. reports began to come in from Meridian, Mississippi about three missing COFO workers. At that time no jail nor any hospital official in Neshoba County claimed any knowledge of their whereabouts. Then the next morning the reports about Mickey Schwerner, Andy Goodman, and James Chaney, that the whole country now knows, began to come in. We volunteers first heard about it at the end of a general orientation meeting. Bob Moses, the summer project's director had just finished a speech describing the political and social conditions in Mississippi and emphasizing the potential danger of going there. Someone came in and whispered something to him. He paused, he stood momentarily suspended, then he bent
over, almost prayerfully. After a moment he asked Rita Schwerner, the wife of one of the missing men, to tell us the news. Though volunteers immediately wired their congressmen and senators asking for help, the information itself took a longer time to assimilate. For that reason Monday night and Tuesday morning was a period of curious contrast. While COFO staff was working as hard as possible to locate the missing men and to establish ways of responding to the incident, the volunteers were calmly studying their particular assignments and resting in their off-hours. But after a speech yesterday by Charles Morgan, the lawyer who left Birmingham after a frank talk about the killing of the four children last fall, the mood of the volunteers underwent a decided change. Morgan had been telling us of the dangers of Mississippi, but he had been talking with enough humor to soften his message. Several questions were asked, none of them pointed directly at the danger we would face. After several of these questions, James Proud, a negro field worker stood up. "You listen to that man," he said. "Mr.
Morgan knows what he's talking about." For 10 minutes he told us with tremendous passion, of how hard, how dangerous, how destructive Mississippi was, how people who work there have to stick together, how all they had was each other. Then he finished and we applauded. He stood half visible at the side of the door. His hand was moving. Obviously he was fighting to control his emotions. Soon a negro girl, another member of the COFO staff, stood up to silence us. She held up her hand we stopped applauding. "You don't want to applaud," she said. "Jimmy wasn't giving a speech for that. You see, he's lucky to be alive. Last year," she continued, "he and Bob Moses were traveling in a car that was submachine gunned. Jimmy caught one of the bullets in the back of his neck." After that the meeting was effectively over and people began to leave. Most of us walked up to the building to the orientation building, the administrative headquarters of the project. At that time some of the SNCC workers who were going to Neshoba County to help out the
workers who were in Meridian right now began um, began to leave. As they got in their cars, we started to sing freedom songs. We held hands and sang "We Shall Overcome," we sang "Ain't Going to Let Nobody Turn Me Around." We sang and sang as they got into their cars. Then, as Rita Schwerner, the wife of Mickey Schwerner began to drive toward the airport to the plane that would take her back to Meridian, we marched down singing "We Shall Overcome" to the gate of Western College. We stood there continuing to sing until Mickey drove out. During the evening more sessions on particular projects went on. But now, concern about what would happen to all of us this summer was spreading. There was a story about three church bombings in McComb, Mississippi, and we all heard about it. And today there was a decided change in our mood. This morning the Reverend James Lawson began to give a somewhat academic talk on nonviolence and what people would have listened
to very carefully yesterday. They questioned very hard today. There were precise questions: what we do in Mississippi when the family that we were living with was threatened? Could we remain nonviolent then? New rumors began to spread and there was a quickening for all of us of the need to analyze and analyze everything that might happen in Mississippi before we go out there. The striking thing about the project is that no one is pulling out. My own impression is that the news that we received has strengthened our desire to go to Mississippi. Has strengthened our sense of dedication. For example one student at an Ivy League college said this is the first time in his life he felt he was part of a real cause, a mission that made sense. And I think I think there's a strong sense among all of us that we can't let what appears to be a reign of terror and attempt to drive the project out, we can't let that succeed. [Mascott] That report recorded yesterday from Paul Callan in Oxford, Ohio on the mood of the COFO workers there in light of the
disappearance of three fellow workers in Mississippi. Before we hear from an eyewitness demonstrator in St. Augustine, Florida on the wait-in attempt in that city, here's the latest news from the Associated Press on the three young workers. The massive search for the three missing civil rights workers in Mississippi stepped up today when President Johnson ordered 200 sailors from the Meridian Naval Air Station into the hunt. The first contingent of 100 sailors led by two naval officers and an FBI inspector moved into a swampy area six to 10 miles long near the spot where the missing trio's burned-out station wagon was found Tuesday. A Navy helicopter buzzed overhead. A White House statement earlier today that 200 Marines would join the search was withdrawn as having been made in error. Presidential news Secretary George Reedy said there was no plan to send in Marines. President Johnson kept in close touch with the Mississippi search today, making telephone calls to Governor Paul Johnson, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, many civil rights leaders, and the parents of
the missing men. News Secretary Reedy says the president got a telephone briefing on the fact finding mission of former CIA chief Allen Dulles, Johnson's personal representative on the scene. Meanwhile a drive-in restaurant operator in Marion, Alabama has reported he saw a man Tuesday night who resembled pictures he saw later of one of the civil rights workers missing in Mississippi. The FBI and the Alabama Public Safety Office are checking the report although neither appears to put much stock in it. And in another development a congressman from Mississippi, Arthur Instead told the House today the disappearance of three civil rights workers may be a hoax, a hoax intended to produce unfavorable publicity. In a release from Noel Day's office, Noel Day running for U.S. Congress from Congressional District 9 in Boston, yesterday he accused President Johnson and the justice department of irresponsibility and failing to protect adequately US citizens working for equal rights in Mississippi. Day said there was absolutely no
excuse for the disappearance of the three COFO workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi. The federal government has traditionally used troops to protect U.S. nationals in foreign lands, yet it has consistently refused to offer the same guarantees to American citizens in the south. On Tuesday Day continued, President Johnson assured the parents of two of the missing boys that he would do everything possible. Day went on to say "yet twice within the past two weeks he has asked to assigned a force of federal marshals to Mississippi as a preventive measure. The president has not responded to either of these petitions, yet he should have been aware of the danger, even without these attempts to call his attention to the possibility of death and violence in Mississippi this summer. Surely an intelligence system capable of securing information in Cuba and South Vietnam can secure information in Mississippi." And Noel Day went on to suggest three things that Johnson should do. Number one assignment of a force of federal marshals directed and empowered to make arrests as well as to investigate; two, a directive to the Department of Justice to open and maintain
an office in Mississippi under the personal supervision of Attorney General Kennedy Burke Marshall or Nicholas Katzenbach; and three, a directive to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to hold extended public hearings in Mississippi this summer. Day went on to say the proposed conference between Allen Dulles and Gov. Paul Johnson will not prevent lawlessness at this point, but it might have done so when COFO urged such a conference last month. But the president failed to respond then too. Those are the words of Noel Day in a release from his office yesterday. Now for a report from St. Augustine, Florida. Here is a telephone conversation recorded late this afternoon between myself and Jim Jackson, leader of the local Negro youth council in St. Augustine and today himself a participant in the the wade-in attempt at St. Augustine's public beach. Now, did you go up to the beach today? [Jackson] Yes I did. [Mascott] Could you tell us what happened? [Jackson] We started in to the beach and to the water, and we were blocked by this group. [Mascott] About how many of there were you? [Jackson] It was close to 50 of
us. [Mascott] Were there are any whites with you? [Jackson] We had two whites. [Mascott] Who are they and where were they from? [Jackson] It was Dana Swann, he's from Gainesville, and Mike Geison, he's from Gainesville also. [Mascott] I see. So what happened when you got there? [Jackson] When we started on the boardwalk into the water, this crowd of segregationists, they blocked us, they blocked our entrance into the water. And I heard a patrol saying over a portable PA system to move back and let us into the water and he said that three or four times until he said eventually that if they didn't move that they would be arrested. And so we moved further down the beach towards the boardwalk, and our group, they moved back then, and our group yknow entered the water. And as soon as they entered, this white female she started the attack, and then just all hell broke loose there. [Mascott] What do you mean? [Jackson] Well when she started towards, and the rest of them followed her and started to attack then. [Mascott] They
And hit you and so forth? [Jackson] No, I didn't get hit this time. [Mascott] But other other Negroes who were in the water did get hit? [Jackson] Yes they did. [Mascott] And then what did the police do? [Jackson] The police moved directly behind that and arrested everybody and all of us off the Beach. [Mascott] Did they arrest -- how many would you guess they arrest, Jim? [Jackson] Well I know for our group it was 13 of us and I would say for their group it would be about the same size, so thats about twenty-six, twenty-six to thirty. [Mascott] And Jim, you've been holding these, what the press called these wade-in attempts at the beach for a number of days now haven't you? [Jackson] Yes. [Mascott] And is what happened today similar to what has been happening all week? [Jackson] No, it's different from what's been happening all week, today the police tried to give us protection. They made them move back to let us into the water. [Mascott] And what had happened in the past? [Jackson] Well what's been happening in the past, they've been staying up on the beach and then when they start
beating on us, then they would move in, but today they tried to make some precautions against that, they went right down to the water where we had an escort from the boardwalk all the way down to the water. [Mascott] I understand that, someone told me that the two leaders of your group were arrested, is that correct? [Jackson] Yes we had two leaders of our group arrested, C.T. Vivian and Laverne Taylor. And also one other guy, Willie Bolton, from Savannah. [Mascott] Why were the Negroes arrested, were they nonviolent? [Jackson] We were nonviolent, but this is the same procedure they've been going through since we started the wade-ins, if you were being beat you would be arrested also for fighting, even though you're not fighting back. [Mascott] That's interesting. Could you tell me what the -- do you know in the past what Judge Mathis has been setting as bond for these people, for the negroes? [Jackson] For myself they set a bond of each $25. [Mascott] $25.
Well that's a lot different from in past weeks, isn't it Jim? [Jackson] Yes it is, from our group we've had $25 a week, we've had $2500, we have one boy they pulled an assault with a deadly weapon charge, after he was arrested, and that was the day afterward, so I don't know. But the Klan, their bonds have raised from $25 to $200. [Mascott] And is that, those bonds hold true for the white segregationists? [Jackson] Right. [Mascott] That was a phone conversation I had late this afternoon with Jim Jackson, leader of the local Negro youth council in St. Augustine and who today as you heard took part in the second wade-in attempt of the day. The Associated Press comments on this demonstration this afternoon. It reports, "another attempt by Negroes to stage a wade-in at the St. Augustine, Florida beach produced a brawl today. The fighting broke out when close to 100 negroes accepted the dare of 75 white segregationists to enter the water. State police rushed in with swinging clubs and arrested a dozen persons including two whites.
Several negroes were beaten." That's the Associated Press report. This afternoon I also spoke with Fred Martin in St. Augustine, Florida. The last time we talked you was a week ago which was the day before the grand jury handed down their recommendation. I wonder if you might tell us what that recommendation was by this grand jury investigating the situation in St. Augustine and what was Dr. King's reaction to it and why? [Martin] Well the grand jury said essentially, at least I would interpret it, and Dr. King interpreted it this way, that the negroes should cease demonstrations for 30 days and then they would consider forming a biracial committee, which wasn't really much of a decision to hand down. It wouldn't take five days of deliberation to decide this sort of thing. So we felt there really hadn't been any serious consideration given at all to the real problem and I think that's essentially what Dr. King said in his press conference that
followed that. We might consider halting demonstrations if they would set up a biracial committee immediately and we would halt demonstrations say for a period of seven or eight days if the biracial committee meant business, but to say "halt all demonstrations for 30 days and then we'll consider doing something" is really no kind of a, it just really isn't anything and is merely a statement of the segregationalist feeling about the problem, and that's all it was. I mean we we have good information, reliable information on the head of this committee and other things that he himself is a die-hard segregationist, so it's understandable that the grand jury would come down with such a recommendation. [Mascott] Was this grand jury appointed by a state official, attorney general or something like that? [Martin] I can't recall if-- [Mascott] It came from the state office somewhere, didn't it. What was the reaction in St. Augustine to
Dr. King's statement after he heard what the grand jury said? [Martin] Well I think it was a pretty typical white reaction. "Good Lord what do you want you know after everything we've done for you and after everything you turn around and bite the hand that feeds you" sort of reaction. "Here we set up a grand jury to investigate the situation and here we came out with the statement that, that didn't" if you recall the grand jury that sat last year came out with an outright condemnation of the negro leadership and this year it was not quite that strong segregationist and they felt they had really accomplished something but I believe if they would read the statement of the grand jury they would see that it really didn't offer anything to the negro. [Mascott] So the lines have somewhat hardened then, you would say? [Martin] I would say, I mean there seems to be more tension in the community in some areas, in other times it seems to ease off,
I don't know, it's kind of a hard thing to judge, you know, depending on the kind of person that you run into, I know that the Klan and the white citizen's council, the national association for the advancement of white people and all these organizations are better organized than they were a week ago, they seem to be able to pull out larger numbers at a specific time. They have better coordinated movement than they had a couple weeks ago. [Mascott] All three of those organizations are present in St. Augustine now? [Martin] Yes, and also, I can't remember the name of it. There's one other organ-- all these are working together here in a coordinated effort. One of our civil rights workers who had his car torn up at the county jail by Klan types that were hanging around there got it back when it was fixed with a big poster inside saying "Dr. Looney King why don't you take your niggers back to Africa before we take them to the gas chamber" and it was signed by the
National Association for the Advancement of White People and the other organization which I can't recall the name of at the moment. So all these organizations have sort of coordinated their efforts here, and that's what's leading to one of the major problems. [Mascott] So it's becoming a real confrontation down there, isn't it? Have these organizations set up any offices and stations in St. Augustine or telephone numbers where we might talk to them, I think it might be interesting-- [Martin] No, I don't, not, well I don't believe they're listed, I couldn't tell you for sure. I mean we know of certain persons who are in charge and certain persons who are coordinating efforts say through you know, in Citizens' Band radio and all this sort of thing, but as far as a formal office organization, well... [Mascott] They tend to stay underground, do they? [Martin] Yeah. [Mascott] Is J.B. Stoner, this white attorney from Atlanta, still in town? [Martin] I'm not sure I haven't heard anything today, I know he was in a while
ago but I'm not too sure where he is at now, I couldn't say for sure one way or the other. I wouldn't be surprised if he was here because they seemed to be, the rumor is out now, the rumor sort of gets, but this fairly basically sound rumor, if there is such a thing, The rumor that the Klan is planning sort of a major invasion here this weekend and all last night a line that marched through the negro neighborhood, there was a lot of people from Jacksonville there, people here that live in Jacksonville were visiting recognized a lot of them. So they seem to be getting some assistance at least from Jacksonville. [Mascott] Jacksonville, as I remember it, did have sort of a much stronger Klan element or leanings than St. Augustine did. [Martin] Well this whole area has become a really well-organized Klan area, I mean these people are really equipped using short wave radio and all that sort of thing to keep in touch. [Mascott] Yes, I know about that. I saw that radio-- shortwave radio organization when I was in St. Augustine. [Martin] The Hoss Manucy's
Raiders are sort of coordinated by this-- [Mascott] Is he lined up in that organization? Is he tied in with the radio, shortwave radio people? [Martin] Well, he's the one who directs them, if you see him out at the beach his car is always sorta parked off one side and he kind of calls the shots, in the way of getting people in there and moving them around and things like this on the shortwave radio. He's certainly not a member of the power structure or anything but he is a good hatchet man in this particular area. [Mascott] here's an interesting article in Life magazine-- [Martin] It was a good article, a very good article, one of the first articles on the national scene I think that is really sort of got to the basis of the problem in St. Augustine and didn't cover just one facet. [Mascott] Are those magazines available in St. Augustine? [Martin] I don't know I've never checked, I don't make a habit of going downtown, I suppose some of the people have picked them up, so I don't know if they're getting them here or in Jacksonville,
I assume they're getting them here. That was the telephone conversation I had late this afternoon with Fred Martin, a young white man who has been working with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in St. Augustine, Florida for a little over a month now. We mentioned the beginning of tonight's program that we would have some interesting letters to the editor from some of the Southern papers. We have time now for a letter from the St. Augustine Record of last Sunday June 21st and it will become obvious it was written by a white resident of St. Augustine. "Editor of the Record. How would you feel if you had been a resident of this community for over four years, see the same people every day that profess to be your friends and your employer has to relieve you of your job and your so- called friends renounce you in a few hours? If I had committed a crime I could understand but to stand up for my own rights as an American, I cannot see the reason for it. The colored people are winning when they succeed in getting our race to fight among ourselves. I'm a resident on the beach. I mind my own business,
work, or did work, take care of my home. I haven't been down to the demonstrations. I could care less about them. The first day Negroes came to the beach I felt they were invading my personal property. Why should I leave, giving them the privilege of knowing they were the cause of it? I am certainly not an integrationist. Why should such demonstrations deny me of my everyday life? I was on the beach with my 2 year old son when the negroes arrived. I was not about to have them run me out of the water. As a result I have been fired, received many threatening phone calls telling me to leave town and I'm a nigger lover. I'm not supporting Martin Luther King but the people who are fighting against our own race are. My employer also had calls of the same nature. So that is why I am unemployed. Are these people now going to support my baby? The whole majority must live in harmony with each other now to set a good example before the world and the community they are live in. Tranquility and harmony will never be reached unless a white person ignores demonstrations and
wild fist fights and uses nonviolent tactics and sensible reason. Should such a person be condemned as an integrationist? A stone thrower is admired. A silent watcher is slandered. The world watches." The letter is signed Mrs. D Gibbs. That letter to the editor appeared in last Sunday's edition of The St. Augustine Record, St. Augustine, Florida. Now we just have time to hear a small portion of an interview conducted by Barbara Miller, a young student at Radcliffe College who interviewed a very unusual student at Harvard. He's a liberal from Mississippi. [Miller] Mississippi will have many visitors this summer. After an orientation in Ohio there will be many student groups going down to Mississippi to teach in the freedom schools and also, how do you think most of the white Mississippi citizens will react to these visitors? [Guest] Well I'm afraid that they're not going to react well, this is something that that you
know of course and you're already expecting it but I'm of the opinion certainly that what white Mississippians think of the students coming down is really of far less importance than what colored Mississippians think of the students coming down. And I really think that the reception that the students will get this summer will be good from this angle, there's going to be some violence I'm afraid but I hope not much. [Miller] There's some people who say the northerners can do more for integration by staying home than they can by going down south and stirring up feeling. What do you think? [Guest] Yeah I've heard this view and certainly it has some some merit. But as a matter of fact I stand diametrically opposite this, I think for instance that Mrs. Malcolm Peabody's recent journey into the South did one heck of a lot of good and I have told people this before and I-- after seeing the effects of the students who
worked last summer in Jackson, Mississippi I think that the good that they did far offset any stirring up of the white community, you know, most people who talk about getting Mississippians stirred up, what they really mean is getting white Mississippians stirred up. And this is only half of the story. Now I saw these people speak in churches and I saw that when they talked to Negro Mississippians, called them Mr. and Mrs. that the little things like this which seem so unimportant to us who live in a world of communications and newspapers that tell about foreign countries and such things, we don't realize how much importance a young white college student can can have in the life of a colored person who's never known a white person who will actually treat him as a human being or expect him to react as an intelligent person. So I think that Northern people and people in general can do the most by coming where the-- down to where the problem really is.
[Miller] What do you think will be the effect of this summer's activities on both the white community and on the colored community? [Guest] Well on the white community I think that they're going to be very mad. They already know that people are coming down, as you know in Mississippi they've began to train what they're calling an army and they have a baby blue tank which I guess you people will come into contact with, which has flame throwers and machine guns and this sort of thing. And there's going to be a lot of self-righteous talk about "we don't come to New York telling you how to run your problem so stay away." If however violence is averted and the students can learn to to simply take it lying down and not fight back then I think they'll be able to get through the summer. Now as far as the colored community this of course is the real key and this is the reason for the movement as I see it, going down this summer. I really do hope that they can
make contact with as many colored people as they can. And I think that that they, not through anything that they will do in registering voters and not through anything that they will do in actually breaking down segregation barriers. But mainly through just talking with and giving hope and inspiration to colored people, they can can give this country a big step forward this summer. [Mascott] That was a junior at Harvard, a liberal who was from the state of Mississippi, a most unusual person. He was talking with Barbara Miller who was a student at Radcliffe College and who is now in Mississippi gathering some reports that we will hear in future weeks. You have been listening to Long, Hot Summer '64, a weekly summary and in-depth report on the civil rights movements and developments in the south. Long, Hot Summer '64 is heard each Thursday evening at 7:30. It is written and produced by Ted Mascott of the WGBH-FM staff. This is the Educational Radio Network.
- Long, Hot Summer '64
- Episode Two
- Producing Organization
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Contributing Organization
- WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- The second in a series of weekly news reports documenting the civil rights movement during the summer of 1964 includes a report by Paul Cowan from an Oxford, Ohio, Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) training program to prepare teachers in the Mississippi Summer Project and reactions there to the news that three colleagues, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner have mysteriously disappeared. Latest Associated Press news on the workers. A telephone conversation with Jim Jackson, leader of local youth council in SA, wadein. Blocked by group. Close to 50, two whites from Gainsville. White female attacked. Hell broke loose. Police arrested and order us off beach. Wade-in attempts at beach. Two leaders of group arrested. Why? NV, bt if beat, arrested for fighting. AP comments: another attempt produced a brawl. Accepted a dare. Spoke with FM. Grand jury handled down recommendation. Said that N should cease demos for 30 days and would then consider an biracial committee. Info that head is a segregationist. Reaction to Dr. K?s statement: typical white reaction. Bites hand. Groups better organized now. Read letter to editor. Interview by Barbara Miller. A liberal from Mississippi. Q about whether could accomplish more by staying home. Produced for the Educational Radio Network. For information on the St. Augustine movement, see David J. Garrow, ed., St. Augustine, Florida, 1963-1964: Mass Protest and Racial Violence (Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing, 1989). What will be the effect in both community. Hope they can make contact with blacks. By talking with them can give enthusiasm.
- Broadcast Date
- Created Date
- African Americans--Civil rights--History
- Media type
Interviewee: Hayling, R.B.
Interviewee: England, Bill
Interviewee: Dawson, Eugene
Producer: Mascott, Ted
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
Production Unit: Radio
Reporter: Conley, T.F.
Reporter: Brown, Jonathan
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: 64-0037-06-25-001 (WGBH Item ID)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- APA: Long, Hot Summer '64; Episode Two. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-02c86fs0