Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoirs #13: Foot-in-Mouth Disease

“Mayor Charles Sampson, later our backdoor neighbor and good friend, and the city attorney Hardy Lott were both staunch segregationists and members of the Citizens Council. They loved to issue statements saying that the Federal government had taken law and order out of our hands and forbidding people to gather on the streets and lambasting the Kennedys for all of our problems. Once when NBC invited the mayor to appear on the Today show, he said Hardy and his law partner, Stanny Sanders, had coached him not to say ‘n—-r’ on national television, but then he got on and said, ‘We have lots of good n—-rs who have been voting a long time, such as the janitress at the City Hall,’ referring to my friend Winnie Baskin, who lived to be 100. All the time trials were being held almost daily in City Court, poor Winnie was crouching behind the stairway and asking me what was going on.”

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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