Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoir #59: Fool’s Game

“In October, the Mayor told members of the Greenwood Rotary Club that there was nothing the city could have done about the incidents that had taken place at the theater. He said ‘We haven’t had too much racial trouble here this summer except for the few incidents at the theater, and there isn’t a thing the city could have done about it.’

“I don’t know who he thought he was fooling because everyone knew he and Hardy [Lott] had told the police not to break up the crowds at the theater. One Sunday night during all the trouble at the theater, I was at the Police Station, and the Reverend Jones Hamilton, rector of the Episcopal Church, who had stopped by on his way home from church, was standing by the counter talking to the police and [Mayor] Charley Sampson. The Mayor was rared back in a chair grinning about the whole thing, and Jonie, as we all called Reverend Hamilton, and I let him know that there was nothing funny about what was going on and that it was a serious situation. Of course, he just gave us a dirty look and remained seated like there was nothing 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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