Softer wed s Nib Sc wok. Ovr. sa. OiteR SeMetet IleLONit SOIsTiN41 .ST0 HMG* sm..* IP m Al4item—-0. C1/4,T. Me MC 4 .4. a 21c Spoors** 0 “nines Ott. Xi roeiernos tftr ‘hum 5 viesTeNt. ?Veit’s. 3 op Scitetays Al OCT. i\( *1 %V: d 4-a TATMAi 4t. LAME CAIRolti \(R4i ssivo 114 THE SCENE of the VIOLENCE Boy Murdered in East Texas so pitiful so, so we took him with us.. an’ look what happen to him !” Mrs g Lewis said. On the way to the cafe, Johnnie Merl:recalls: “We saw four boys in a black 1951: Ford when they passed us on the bridge going toward Longview. They, was hollerin’ soinethin’ out the window, but we couldn’t hear what it was, they was rennin’ so fastI guess 95.” Joyce Faye, the younger sister, agreed about the speed. They said it was about 9 :30 at night. Johnnie Merl said they were white boys. Mrs. Lewis dropped the youths off at the cafe and ‘went to town. On the way, she said, she saw the same car stopped, with two white boys working at the back.’ “Now I think . it was about Wheah the license.plateS would be,” she Said. “If they wax fixin’ to do what: they did they might’a been takin”em off.” Tatum Drive-in is a cafe for whites near the edgei of Longview. The Observer made inquiries ttere. “Mama” Tatum, wife of the proprietor, said of the night of Oct. 22: . “Two men came in Aim about 11′ and .I wouldn’t serve ’em. They got up and left.” Her daughter Janice, a waitress at the cafe, sa t id these two men, Who she said wereJi -om Tatum, are mean characters; one of them once hit her over the head with a gin bottle when she refused to take a swig, she said. Janice said they clrlye .a darkcolored 1950 or 1951 Ford and have a The killing happened Saturday night a week ago, Oct. 22, ten . miles from Longview in Gregg County on Highway 149. The rest. of the shooting wasalong farm road 782 in Rusk County. The .boy’s name was John Earl . Reese. He was a good, boy and had harmed no one. The morning of the day he was shot he had returned from three, weeks of cotton picking .and turned over -$30 to his guardian grandmother. They went to town to gether to buy him some school clothes for Monday morning. The clothes -were never unfolded. The wounded girls were sisters, Johnnie Merl Nelson; 15, and Joyce Faye Nelson, 13.. They were both shot in the arm. Joyce Faye was dancing with the boy, who is their cousin, when the shooting occurred. The story has been reported very briefly in the LongvieW paper, with no mention of the racial implicationS. It was distributed in a similarly cryptic Associated Press story. . The boy was buried Thursday. Of the possible connection between the school bonds and the shootings, Beckworth, the . Negro principal. said : . “I’m positive that it had to do with it. I know that’s right. They don’t . Want us to have no schoOl. .They have robbed us from the beginning and don’t ‘Want us to have nothin’.” Shaw, the white superintendent, said of the first shooting of the Negro school bus: “That was an aftermath outburst of tempers. That’s the way we felt. Kind: of a scare deal, that’s the way’we felt about it.” Sherif: . Herman Orr of Rusk County, asked about the motive for the first ,school bus shooting, said: “We thought _active_ -was the On the most recent shooting; Shaw said: “It’s possible that it could be the same set-up, the same people inspired the other thing, and the possibility that the people got drunk and went too far with it.” “I don’t think, . believe there was any race hatred a part of it,” Shaw said. “The white opposition dislikes Professor J. C. Beckworth, they feel like he leads his. people; they vote in the electiopssomething tells me they Might have thought they were shooting into his house.when they shot into his brother’s.” \(John Beckworth’s house was shot into Oct: 22. He is J. C. Beckworth’s brother. Principal Beckworth’s house is on the other side of the road at the end of a dirt trail leading off the “There is no .race hate” around Tatum, Shaw said, “except there -might be some animosity against that nigger leader out there.” Sheriff Crawford seemed angry about the killing. “Sons a bitches drivin’ along a higli s way!” he said. “If, it was one man against another you could weigh it, but they were nothin’ but the kids, that’s the bad, the sad thing.” Asked about possible motives, Crawford replied ;. “Well, some figger it was the school bond election,. All right, suppose it was. The only ones interested in that would be grown men. You can take that an’ fit it in well an’ good if you’re lookin’ for somethin’. If a man blew up the .school bus ..or dynamited the school, all right but a man -interested enough in civic things to be interested in a bond election taking a .22 and shooting a bus or car and into people’s homes and into a cafe at a bunch or kids dancing It’s hard to put it together.” He also mentioned a theory that “communists” might have done the e shooting to stir up trouble. “I just don’t believe it’s ‘communists. I just Won’t believe it’s communists,” he The Texas Observer Page 4 ‘NOV’. 2, 1955 . . said…. But, he said, “some people bebullets were fired into the home of lieve that.” -Mrs. .Bready Hendricks, down . the afternoon : “We haven’t any suspects two houses down from. Thompson’s. . . ford said Monday that “not a thing in same :boys were picked up by Rusk and haVe made no arrests. We have. Deputy Sheriff.: King said of this n’t got no leads…. Well, we, got two case : :”I got them :13bYs.. They were or three,but they hasn’t materialized nigger boys, name of :Wallace. They t.. We’re still workin’ on it.” Crawwere prosecuted and fined.” These the ‘world, not nothin’ in the world” County’ officers after the Oct. 22 had been turned up. , Orr said from Henderson Monday house is. road a bit. MCKinney’s .. ‘ shooting . but were released inimedi a . t. of the bonds. for the .. … … new Negro school was delayed when the Beckville Independent -School District sued the Tatum district on a boundary question. On Oct. 13, the Court of Criminal Appeals -upheld a lower court judgment for Tatting.. “We got the news. Oct. 14; and’ that’s a week before the shooting the twenty-second, which gives time for the news to get -around-the community,” Shaw, the white superintendent, said. “It could be an outburst when .22. grandmother. \(He . told her he had rifle. tion,” Beckworth said. averaged $7 \(The Observer notified Sheriff No Before the bond election, Shaw grandmother’ raised him. His His ble of the -Tatuins’. testimony, and he . said,’a window in the home of M rs. father has not lived at home in seven Sent :a deputy there to check. He said. . Mary Shearon, tax assessor-collector Monday there was. a lead and that it or eight years and,..Mrs. Hughes says, for the school district,. was painted he did not work when he did. Mrs. obscenely with ari accusation . that she Hughes took him in three months af Eight’ or ten miles down the road, and $hawwere “nigger-lovers.” Shaw ter he was born so his mother could. at about 10 or 15 minutes past 11 ongview and earn . moneyas o’clock that same night, a similar Ford caused mostly by a desire that the go into says opposition to the bond issue was a. cOo -,,,….!..1r-t . -,-.,77′-_, :77-7,73ril. stroke. Tatum in passed Buddy Hughes’s place, and Negro school be built in .,.1/4 _ _. bullets spewing trom its windows stead of -Mayflower. 4.0,,,?’c’tirday rritirmi-ig——Ave boy 1,;77 -en t t Ci . killed Tolin Rees -e —cZ . after the trils_t,e..e elf_1 .17,–its H. C. by white resident, and plowed his gar -:…_ .1.:,-jmounded the On Sunday night, April 3,.2-4—ficiu’r s .. the home of Adolph Williams, a near two sisters. . ‘.1.1-ps -ol -, the .Negi:o; bus driver, re-. den. While Mrs. Hughes fixed lunch NShinin ‘ Lak Fre calls it a passing car .fired bullets into he cut some sorghum came for the his bus and car, which Wc.re parked in hogs and “put ‘ern some water,” Mrs. front of his house on farm road 782. Hughes said. “We got ready. then an’ . Seven bullets were fired into a cafe went to town so he could get near the Negro school, two miles on school cldthes for startin Monday. “his down the road. John Earl Reese Late Saturday . evening, Johnnie was in’that cafe that night, and his ..Merl and Joyce Faye Nelson and 57-year-old graildmother, Mrs. Carrie ,.spine other children were sitting up at Hughes, remembers that “he came the school house, Johnnie Merl said, home runnih’, an’ he said, ‘Mom; they when “some. boysfour white.boysput seven shots in that cafe’.” passed eatin’.. We were sittin’ on a . The police of Rusk,County say they rock, sewin’.” She said she could not have no records Of these April shootrecognize them again, but that they ings. Deputy-Joe King investigated; were, “just teen-agers.” . he said there is no officers’ report on As night came on, Mrs. Annie file, and he “guesses ” he lost his notes Lewis, 47-year-old aunt of the two on it. He says.they had no suspects at sisters; decided she would go to town thattime. Shaw says that no one was and drop the girls . off at Buddy found, but “we had :our opinions.” Hughes’s place, a . Negro cafe on One Saturday night last June, along Highway 149 ten miles from Longabout 11:15, as Mrs. Mary McKinney view. . recall’s, a bullet was fired into . her “On . the way we saw him \(John home on farm road 782, and sever Smoot’ am Mr* CAPE; RAM 7 NOM& OP rarill WovtiOtO G arcs Dir . &Mr OR 1411M111 6 730,
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