Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #8: Nelson Benton and CBS News

“About this time [early 1963] the first of the national news media began showing up in Greenwood. Hearing about the commodities issue, CBS sent a crew in to cover the story. Nelson Benton was heading up the crew of three, including a photographer. I met with Nelson and he said the police had followed them all day and that he had never had this happen before. He said that he was from Virginia and considered himself a Southerner, too, and was certainly not trying to start anything, but the locals were suspicious of every outsider and often were quite rude to the newsmen.”

Ed.note: Nelson Benton was one of the most prominent and visible network news reporters of the Civil Rights era, and Sara felt he was fair and open-minded in his coverage of incidents in Greenwood. He was a native of Virginia, graduate of Chapel Hill, and went on to cover the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam, the space program and Watergate. In the early 1970s, he anchored the “CBS Morning News.” He died in 1988 at the age of 63.

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About sec040121

Hello....I'm in possession of a priceless collection of memoirs and memorabilia left by my mother, Sara Evans Criss. She was a native and lifelong (88 years!) devotee of our small town, who covered this peculiar and volatile corner of the world for 30 years as the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Greenwood bureau chief, a job that started out with debutantes and high school football and wound up spang in the midst of one of the twentieth century's most enduring social upheavals. This blog is dedicated to her memory and the legacy she left behind, both for her family and her community.
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