“On April 9 there were 17 pickets, including five white ministers, arrested in front of the Court House. After they had picketed for 30 minutes, Chief Lary told them they would be restricted to ten and must be of voting age and a resident of Leflore County. The ministers were the first to refuse. Each picket was given a choice before being arrested and charged with unlawful picketing and refusing to obey police orders. Governor Paul Johnson had signed a new state law the night before prohibiting picketing of public buildings.
“At one time the number of pickets reached 24, including five children who appeared to be under age 15. Gray Evans, acting for Youth Counselor Charles Deaton, sent them back to school.
“Accompanying the pickets and advising them were two attorneys, one of whom was Jack Pratt of New York, attorney for the National Council of Churches, who told Lary he was violating their Constitutional rights. The ministers were from Warren, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Indianapolis. The charges against them were dropped the next day. After they were arrested, they were jailed at the City Hall and Carol Franklin, a reporter for the Commonwealth, and I went down there to try to talk to them. As we were talking, the mayor [Charles Sampson] walked over and told us not to talk to ‘those God damn preacher.’ I told him later that he had played right into their hands, I was sure, and that they would go back to their churches on Sunday morning and tell their congregations it was just like they had been told down here. I just got a dirty look from the mayor.
“Buff Hammond, the police commissioner, did talk to them and later received a letter from one saying he was sorry and that they had been misled about the situation. Reverend Eade Anderson of the First Presbyterian Church also talked to some of them. Once more I thought a little dialogue might have helped, but there was no way to get the mayor to listen to anyone except Hardy [Lott].