after graduating from the University of Alabama. Always a colorful figure, energetic and unwavering in her devotion to the duties and responsibilities of a free press, she has consistently been involved in local controversiesas any editor worthy of the title will. Once she was held in contempt of court and given a suspended jail sentence for interviewing a witness in a district court trial. This ruling was reversed by the state Supreme Court also, when it was proven that the district judge had sentenced her in a fit of rage. Her real trouble with the people who were to eventually be leaders of the county’s White Citizens Council began during World War II, when she carried on a crusade against organized vice \(primarily bootlegging and military base was located near Lexington and local scavangers were making the most of it. Those who benefited financially from tha bootlegging and gambling that went on during and after the war did not take her editorial cries cf outrage too seriously until some of their candi-. dates were defeated. From then on she was a woman marked for destruction. Whispering campaigns were started and some unsuccessful attempts to initiate advertising boycotts were made. But it wasn’t until 1956 that her enemies found a way to reach her. Holmes County’s population is approximately 75 percent Negro and the 1954 Supreme Court school segregation decision created tension among the whites, where previously only the black man had to worry. siders don’t understand, you see.” So, strange as it may seem to most Americans, this woman who for 22 years had been a respected citizen of her community, suddenly became “a suspicious and controversial characte.” When the hospital board fired her husband it was because he was married to “a controversial person.” From the beginning of the smear campaign, Mrs. Smith’s printing business and advertising fell off. Several c-mntywide boycotts were urged, but never ear1 led out. Talk of starting another newspaper circulated, but never jelled. A reporter on a Jackson newspape, in Lexington covering a non-controversial story, was offered the job as editor of the new paper. He declined the offer and went immediately to Mrs. Smith. a friend of long standing, and informed her of the project for the first time. Feminine Frills Mrs. Smith does not look like P. crusading newspaper editor. Her Irish eyes are warm and reflect quickly her sensitivity to the misfortunes of othersthe same sensitivity which has gotten her into so much trouble. She wears female things, like flowery hats and dresses with feminine frills. She looks, as a matter of fact, much more like an energetic society editor in a small city than a crusading editor with a tough determination to either win or go down fighting. Visit her home on the outskirts of Lexington and you find that she is a gracious hostess of the Southern tradition. You sit in a friendly living room before a wide, much-used fireplace and chat about ordinary topics and you wonder: “Is this the tough editor seemingly reasonable men and women are calling ‘a menace to the community’? Is this the woman men with wild looks in their eyes have accused of being a ‘fellow traveler’ a ‘dangerous agitator’ and other, more earthy, things?” She is saying: “Mary Jane came by last Sunday just as we were leaving Sunday School and we stood right cut there in the yard and got to talking and were late for church. I was so embarrassed.” This is the same woman who was called some the most vicious , names imaginable r.n a pamphlet distributed statewide by the Education Committee of the Mississippi Citizens Council. This is the woman, you think, who after 22 years as a civic leader in her community of 2,800, overnight became a person to mistrust and avoid, and the change was made without her having altered a single facet of her personality or convictions. The change took place because her fellow Mississippians, with light skin had been taught to fear her fellow Mississippians with dark skin. And someone lined her up on the side of those with dark skin. And, as every good loyal Mississippian knows, “you gotta stand up and be counted on one side or the other.” J.M. Then, in September of 1956, the trial of J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant for the murder of Emmett Till was held a couple of counties north of Holmes. The tension stretched tighter. It didn’t take Mrs. Smith’s opponents long to figure how to begin chipping away at the respect she had earned in the community over the years. At the first opportunity \(her protest because the sheriff shot the Negro man for on her the label, “nigger lover.” In Mississippi, that is the ultimate sin, despite the fact that visitors are told repeatedly by plantation owners, public officials, and civic leaders that all good Mississippians “love our niggers . . . and take good care of them . . . That’s what you out SUBSCRIBE TO THE OBSERVER *’Pernicious’Ivan the Terrible *’Incorrigible’Ghengis Khan *’Unrealistic’Ethelred the Unready *`Devious’General Walker . Send $5.10 to: THE TEXAS OBSERVER 504 West 24th St., Austin, Lexington’s Lady Editor HOUSTON Announced plans to integrate the Gulf Coast AAU Junior Olympic track and field meet here this year were cancelled, apparently because the contestants are either too young or too old to be integrated, in the opinion of Houston officials. Houston School Superintendent Dr. John McFarland said the city’s compliance to the federal court order to integrate public schools had reached only the third grade now, so integration of the city-sponsored summer athletic events was not in order since contestants were of junior and senior high age. Horace ! Elrod, supervisor of athletics for the Houston Independent School District, pointed out that all previous integrated athletics in city school stadiums have involved “athletes who weren’t of school age. They were adults and grown men.” He referred to University of Houston events. Elrod said the decision to cancel the announced plans to integrate the junior olympics this year was not coerced. George S. Kadea, a Houston junior high school principal who directs the events as a. summer job, announced the integration plans on July 3 and the cancellation of those plans on July 6. “I pointed out to him that we have always had the colored and white track meets separately,” Elrod said. “The colored never liked to use Delmar stadium anyhow.” Stance Changed Kadera’s first letter stated, in part: “This is to inform you that the regional qualifying track and field meet and the Junior Olympic track and field championship meet will be integrated this year.” His second letter, three days later, said: “This is to notify you that the regional qualifying track and field meet and the junior olympic track and field championship meet will not be integrated this year. This change is necessary in that we have been advised that the stadium facilities will not be available for junior olympic meets on an integrated basis for school age children.” Elsewhere Segregationists have consistantly opposed the integration of younger children and athletic events with more fervor than they show in other areas. “Children don’t know any better than to take up with each other, even if they are of different races,” a White Citizens Council leader once pointed out in a speech. “They are the weakest links in our fight to maintain the Southern Way of Life.” Many Deep South colleges will not schedule athletic contests with schools having teams with Negroes on them. Mississippi State University has twice declined to advance to the national playoffs in NCAA basketball, after winning Southeastern Conference championships, because members of the state legislature protested that they would “have to play against Nigras.” Hot-Stove Speculation Negroes cannot play against whites in the New Orleans Sugar Bowl because a state law prohibits it. Because of this rule the Sugar Bowl is rapidly being reduced to a second-rate event, a rematch of a game already played by two Deep South college teams. In the “enlightened” Southwestern Conference, varsity teams may play against Negroes but not with them, although there is no state law prohibiting it and several state schools outside the conference \(North Texas State Negro players for several years. Some hot-stove league speculation has it that Texas Tech, the newest and therefore weakest football member of the SWC, will sneak in some Negroes soon to strengthen its teams. An interesting angle to the delay of integrating varsity sports in the SWC was tossed out recetly by an ardent alumnus of Texas University. “Southwest Conference football coaches are going to be against integrating their teams until all schools do it,” he said. “They don’t want to be put in the same spot Oklahoma University was put in a few years ago. Oklahoma was getting any high school prospect it wanted until it integrated. Then opposing coaches, during the recruiting season, would tell the boys, ‘You don’t want to go to O.U. and play with Negroes, do you?’ and it worked enough that O.U.’s teams, lost some games for the first time in years.” J.M. WHAT ABOUT SWC? Too Young or Old To Integrate 011001110041009011/111110111004110000114111/00110000011100000011 BOYCOTTS, BLACKLISTS LABOR TO DECIDE minutes, followed by questioning from the delegates on the convention floor. The Observer has good reason to speculate that labor’s political arm will make no endorsements In the lieutenant governor, congressman-at-large, and attorneygeneral races. Smith, Pool, and Carr are staunchly conservative Democrats with fairly straightforward anti-labor records. In 1961 organized labor adopted a hands-off policy in the TowerBlakely Senate race. Major interest centers on the decision in the governor’s race, and here the lines arc somewhat more taut. “About a third of our peo TII.E TEXAS OBSERVER Page 3 July 13, 1962 ple seem to be pro-Connally, another third seem to favor either hands-off or ‘support for Cox, and another thirdthe middle group might be expected to go with the leadership,” a labor insider told the Observer this week. Labor leaders have reiterated that every office is “up for grabs,” but the decision on Connally might very well embrace one of two alternatives: either a strong “endorsement” or a “weak” recommendation. A neutral policy is less likely, and an endorsement of Cox seems just about impossible. Sen. Ralph Yarborough will delive the keynote speech Monday. National and regional labor leaders will also address the delegates. an Op en D ice ussio on Abolition of Capital Punishment In Houston MONDAY, JULY 16 8 P.M. at Jewish Community Center, 2020 Hermann Drive HEAR Reps. Bob Eckhardt and Charles Whitfield THE PUBLIC IS CORDIALLY INVITED \(Sponsor: Texas Society to Abolish Capital 1114114141181118410111660000411110904111111004101114,00414104111110041414111111418111
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