Monthly Archives: January 2012

Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #45: Change in the Wind

“On July 2 [1964] President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act which heralded the beginning of some of Greenwood’s most trying times. The state leaders as well as the local leaders had done everything in their power … Continue reading

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Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #44: Freedom Schools

“The students, black and white, poured into Greenwood and fanned out all over the Delta to conduct Freedom Schools, teaching reading and writing, and assist Negroes in registering to vote. They came from prestigious schools such as Harvard and Yale, … Continue reading

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Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #43: The Long Hot Summer Begins

“As soon as school was out black and white college students from the North and East began heading South to help in the civil rights drive. They were being trained in Oxford, Ohio. A press release from Oxford on June … Continue reading

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Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #42

“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 … Continue reading

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Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #41: Preaching and Picketing

“Spring came again to Greenwood in 1964 and with it came the marches. Richard Frey, a 27-year-old white Pennsylvania civil rights worker, announced that a march for registration drive would be staged on March 25 with plans for 300 Negroes … Continue reading

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Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #40: Itta Bena Action

“We started off the year [1964] with a case in County Court involving 45 Negroes arrested and convicted in Justice of the Peace Court in Itta Bena the previous June. They had been charged with breach of the peace and … Continue reading

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Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #39: A Year to Remember

“After De La’s arrest things were fairly quiet in the summer and fall of 1963. The Negroes continued to come to the Courthouse to register but there were no more marches, and it was hoped that the worst was over. … Continue reading

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Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #38: Pleas from Prison

“The arrest of De La threatened to bring on more demonstrations by the Negroes. About 50 showed up at the Court House at noon and decided to eat lunch on the steps. Sheriff John Ed Cothran advised his deputies the … Continue reading

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Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #37: Threats

“De La continued to fight integration and to show up whenever there were any racial troubles. He later became more obsessed with Jews than Negroes and was always telling me that I was working for a ‘Jew newspaper’ and that … Continue reading

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Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #36: Welcoming Trouble Back Home

“During De La [Beckwith]’s trial District Attorney Bill Waller, later Governor, read a letter written by De La on April 16, 1957, which read: ‘When I die I’ll be buried in a segregated cemetery. When you get to heaven you’ll … Continue reading

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