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800 Lydia Street, Austin You are Invited to CASA LOMA `Austin’s Beautifully Different RestaUrant’ Ne4Excel In Mexican and American Food Attentive and Courteous Service Prices Everyone Can Afford -People of All Nationalities Most Welcome Private Roonifor Parties Phone 7-0680 Open 11 a.m. -2 a.m. daily, 11 a.m. -3 a.m. Saturday. Closed Wednesday. INQUIRY WIDENS Statements Compared A Chronology Opinions Differ on Rate as Factor, and on Diligence Of the Incidents Of Local Officers in Mayflower Shootings Postal Agents on Scene the Department of Public Safety . in Austin, said Oldham had been assign ed to the case full-time since Oct. 24. Crawford said he does not call in Rangers on ordinary cases, : but asked if he could say whether it Was a racial shooting or not, he replied, “I would not.” The same day, Nov. 12, he told United :Press, “I don’t think that voLved.”, He said the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Public Safety had been working “closely” with him “on the possible theory that there is a racial issue in:volved.” . Ranger .Oldham told the Observer in Palestine: “I’ll tell you This, it’s ‘awful hard, people down there . won’t tell you nothin’. I been down there since it happened, an’ we got everythin’ working we,can. It wasn’t anythin’ interracial, you know what I mean, it’s a possibility, little ol’ nigger cafe there, an’ a car pulls up an’ shoots nine bullets in it an’ hits two little ol’ girls an’ a nigger boy. It wasn’t interracial, though some are tryin’ to Make it so.” Asked if this fitted with Craw -: ford’s .assumption that the other shootings. in Mayflower, the same night were done by the same gun from the same car, Oldham replied: “Well, I just don’t know whether to tell you it did ‘or not, there were shootings in Rusk County; an’ people are trying to make it look like the ones that done it come out a Rusk, but the *facts don’t say one way the other now.” Sheriff Herman Orr of Henderson, asked if he would assert that there .wa,s no racial motivation in the shootings, as Shepperd and Gregg County District ,Attorney Ralph Prince had done, replied: “No. I don’t know. A man go ahead. and say those thingsI won’t till I find out.” Orr and Crawford said they had no suspectS SatUrclay. Crawford said he had been questioning both whites and Negroes and had done everything he knew IOW. “We want’ to -find the killer 4s’ much as anyone,” he said. “This ‘,is, life invollred, and, more especially, jus’ kids.” ‘ He said he needed : help on the case and welcomeS *any other investigators. He said hehad no further leads”When I say nothin’, I mean nothin’.” The Observer’s interview with Ralph Prince, the district, attorney in Gregg County, was ‘rather brief. Prince said he would not answer any “double-barreled” questions “like you asked :me before.” He was told he didn’t have to answer any questions he didn’t. want to. Asked how closely he had worked with Shepperd’s of fice, he .replied: “I don’t know what business’ that is of ‘yours. If you’re a newspaperman,’ ,I’don’t see what ycitere stirring upsuch! a stink as you are for.” The Observer terminated the interview: ?r ,r . B :ty .4 ECKWORTH, in revealing his plan to ask fort federal inter . vention, commented: feel like that we need some MOM help, absolutely, I just can’t conceive the idea something going on in the sarne direction for eight months an’ they can’t find nobody. Maybe that if they get out an’ work hard they hurt`’ somebody’s feelings and they get out an’ work against ’em next election.” Thompson said that they were afraid the car would come again. He said ad vised the white superintendent, had a4vised him to “get down low” if they . come back, and he said he ” ‘MI% Shaw, they’re.shootin’ low.’ ” R.D. AUSTIN , Here is a comparison of ‘what local . and state law enforcement, officers and local school officials have said on two key questions in. the case of the murder. of 16-year-old John Reese and other night shootings over a sixmonth period in the East Texas Negro community of Mayflower: Wass there a racial issue involved in the shootings? . Sheriff Orr, Rusk County : Oct. 25, he.. thought the motive in the first shooting April 3 was “the school thing,” that is, the passage of a bond issue on April 2 for a new school for Negroes at MayfloWer ; Nov. 12, he Said,”I d6n’t know. A man that go ahead and say those thingsI won’t till I find out.” Sheriff Crawford, Gregg County: Oct. 26, “It could be whites just as well as could be niggers, no point to duck it,” but he discounted the newschool theory ; Nov: 8, “I’m afraid to even say. We’ve foiind no-connections Would not say”‘; Nov. 12 \(to Texas Ranger Dick Oldham, Palestine, called into the case by Crawford: Nov. 12, “It wasn’t anythin’ interracial, ‘you know what I . mean, it’s a possibility, little ol’ nigger cafe there, an’ a car pulls up an’ shoots nine bullets .in l’ , it an’ hitS two little o girls an’ a nigger boy.” Atty. Gen. Shepperd, Nov. 8: “So far as I have been able to determine, this was Blot a case of reprisal nor an act of terrorism involving race relations.” He said local authorities, including Gregg County D.A. lialph Prince,. told him this . was the case: Shepperd’s aides said no investigators hadbeen sent to the .scene from Shepperd’s office. . Gregg County D.A. .Ralph Prince: Nov. 8; “I can see no possibility of a racial factor” \(he said the shootings in Rusk. were “not in this county and AUSTIN More daily newspapers began reporting the Oct. 22 John Earl Reese murder in its racial:conText last week. The Longview Daily News on Nov. 8 quoted -a Longview Negro, I. S. White, to the effect that the shooting . in Mayflower had “stirred up no racial tension,” but, said the report, .”he did not minimize the grave implications of -the shooting.” The retort quoted local officers as not ac 7 cepting “various interpretations of race conflict” that “have been put on ;the shooting.” The investigation of the shooting “is at a standstill for want of clues,” Deputy , Sheriff J. W. Sweatt was quoted. ‘ This same report appeared the next . day in the Dallas Morning News, Worded almost exactly the same way. , Persons on the scene in Longview, Tatum; and MayfloWer said they had been interviewed by representatives of Time Magazine and the Houston Post. The Kilgore News-Herald in nearby Kilgore ran a story Nov. 11 quoted Gregg County Sheriff Noble Crawford as saying he would welcome any aid in the investigation of the Reece shooting. White’s comments about racial tension and “grave implications” ‘were reprinted. 1No newspaper except the Observer .has quoted either’ white or Negro officials of the Mayflower district. They have said the shooting was obviously racial. I Nov. 12, he said to an -Observer reporter that he wouldn’t’ answer any ‘”double-barreled” questions “like you asked me the last time.”. R. A. Shaw, superintendent of the “Tatum-Mayflower Independent 26, the first shooting April 3 was “an aftermath outburst of tempers . . Kind of a scare deal,” and of the latest shootings, he said “It’s possible that it could be the same set-up”; Nov. 4, “It’s a scare campaign and coercion. They’re trying to scare the Negroes out of their citizenship.” J. C. Beckworth, principal of the Mayflower school that was shot into had to do with it. I know that’s right. They don’t want us to have no school. They robbed us from the beginning and don’t want us to have nothin’.” Have local law enforcement offi co’s investigated the case diligently? Shaw : Oct. 26, “We need a good .. detective, that’s what we need”; Nov.. 12, “I just don’t know. They haven’t come up with anything yet.” _Beckworth : Oct. 25 : They had been “pretty slow” and had not given the Negroes “proper protection”; Nov. 4, if they had worked harder after the shooting, “it would have made them more careful in continuing to do it”; Nov. 12, he_said he was going to Tyler to call on the federal district attorney and the F.B.I. Shepperd, Nov. 8: “The local authorities, including Mr. Ralph Prince, have made a thorough investigation. Sheriff Orr : He says he has several men on the case. Sheriff Crawford: Nov. 10, he_and Orr have”worked ceaselessly” and “have gone about as far as we know how”; “I feel bad that we haven’t been able to get some sort of lead on it.” The editor of the Henderson Daily News said he has nor published anything thing about the; shootings “because nobody’s given me anything,and because if there’s any interest around here whatever -they’re doing they’re keeping quiet about it.” Crawford was quoted by United Press Nov. 12 as stating that an intensive investigation of the Reese shooting had disclosed no indication of racial trouble. “I don’t think -there is any at all involved,” he said. This story did not mention the shootings in the nearby community of Mayfl6wer in Rusk County, which Crawford told the Observer he has assumed were done from the same car. Sarah McClendon, Washington correspondent for several Texas newspapers, wrote Nov. 12 in the El Paso Times that several Texans had called the case to the attention of the Justice Department, civil rights section, and that they told her sadly that justice “begins at home.” She said that sev. eral Texans told the Justice Department Mayflower “has now a record far surpaSsing the-Till murder in Mississippi.” An editorial appeared in the Daily Texan Nov. 9. The Associated Press sent out a dispatch on Sutherland’s first protest to state officials. KTSM-TV in El Paso wired the Observer for permission to reprint certain photographs it has published. Permission was granted: The Pittsburgh Courier vas granted similar permission. MAYFLOWER Here is a calendar of what has happened in the Mayflower area since the issue of a new school for -the Negroes at Mayflower -was posed: Before the $200,000 school bond election : racial obscenities were written on window of the home of white tax assessor-ocllector of school district saying she and the white superintendent were “nigger-lovers.” March 3, 1955: bond issue passed, 462 to 311. Before April 2: the white school at Tatum, near Mayflower, was painted with obscenities. April 2: a school trustee election was carried in a way interpreted as confirming the bond issue. April 3: bullets from a car passing on farm road 782 at night penetrated H. C. -Thompson’s school bus -\( for parked in the Negro school at Mayflower. Among the occupants of the cafe that night : John Earl Reese. June 19: bullets from a car palsing on farm road 782 at night penetrated the houses of two Negro families on the same stretch of road where Thompson’s home is. June 22: A. -W. and Filton Wallace each paid a fine of $15.50 in Henderson for “disturbing the peace” in connection with the June 19 shootings. They have been cleared of all suspicion in the Oct. 22 shootings. Oct. 14: litigation that had been delaying construction of the Negro school was thought to be cleared up. Oct. 22 : bullets from a car passing on highway 149 at night killed John Earl Reese, 16, and hit two younger Negro girls, 13 and 15, in the arm as they. drank soda water and danced in another Negro cafe; shortly thereafter, a few miles awgy, bullets from a car passing on -farm road 782 again penetrated Thompson’s school bus and car, ripped through a Negro’s mailbox on the road, riplied into . the Negro home beside the Negro school at May, flower and narrowly missed a’middleaged woman kneeling by her bed saying her prayers, and broke windows in five places in the Mayflower school. The Texas Observer Page 5 Nov: ’16, 1955 PRESS TAKES NOTE