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.c.t.–ar Inside the Church at Plaquemine The letters requested conferences with merchants on the subject of employing Negroes in jobs above menial levels. They were ignored. Negroes began picketing the Food Town supermarket and West Brothers department store in Plaquemine. When city ordinances were passed to prevent mass picketing and blocking entrances to stores, the Negroes withdrew all but two pickets. An attempt by several white CORE members from Indiana University and about 20 Negroes to desegregate the Plaquemine free ferry led to the arrest of the entire group. Three days later 150 Negroes and two whites marched on the courthouse in Plaquemine to protest the arrests. They were allowed to sing “We Shall Overcome” and pray on the sidewalk outside. Mounted state police with cattle prods and tear gas broke up a march of 800 Negroes on the city hall after they had failed to disperse as ordered. The next day several demonstrators conducting sit-ins at four white cafes and a laundromat were arrested. Sit-ins continued, and jails bulged in Plaquemine, Port Allen, and other small towns in the area. Emmett Buell A second appeal to white merchants to confer with Negro leaders about job opportunities was made by W. W. Harleaux, head of the Iberville Industrial Voters’ League. His open letter requested a meeting on a Sunday. Not a single merchant showed up. Kneel-ins were staged at nine white churches that day. On Saturday, August 31, another Negro march was stopped by combined state, city, and parish police. White onlookers cheered and clapped as mounted police chased the Negroes back toward their chief meeting place, Plymouth Rock Baptist Church. The next day the Negroes marched in a square of fifteen blocks. Back at the church, Negro leaders were served with a restraining order issued in Baton Rouge by Federal Judge E. Gordon West banning any further demonstrations. Na tional CORE figure James Farmer, who had participated in several of the events of the past week and in the first march that night, was noticeably absent. The Negroes, disregarding the order, marched a second time and were met by police and broken up. Most of the crowd fled back to Plymouth Rock Church and began hurling bricks and rioting. A pitched battle then ensued for about 45 minutes in which the church, which had be come a fort for the demonstrators, was gassed and washed out with fire hoses. After the quelling of this riot, the total number of prisoners num bered close to 400, some of whom were im prisoned in a sugar storage barn on the Iberville Parish Fairgrounds outside Plaquemine. Negro activity since then has been somewhat subdued. Rallies to whip up flagging support and to institute economic boycotts against white merchants have taken the place of demonstrations. ACCOMPANIED an Associated Press staff writer from Eaton Rouge to cover a Negro night rally in September. The meeting was to be held in Freedom Rock, until very recently Plymouth Rock, Baptist Church on Court Street. Our first stop after emerging from the hot, sticky night was at the city hall, to sort of “check in” with the local police. Only a woman radio dispatcher and an off-duty patrolman were in the office when we entered. Conversation rambled over the whereabouts of James Farmer and the possibility of future demonstra . tions. The patrolman expressed sincere re Emmett Buell is a young reporter. He is a student at L.S.U. in Baton Rouge. gret several times that Farmer had not been turned over to the local police when he was arrested for demonstrating. Five officers filed into the office, shook hands around, expressed determination to hold the line, and warned of the inherent perils that lay in “giving anything to the niggers.” They casually passed out tear gas grenades and left for patrol duty. We drove down Court Street to Freedom Rock Church, where things were warming up with songs and chants. Although people were filing into the old wooden building in twos and threes, the crowd inside was very small as compared to the packed throngs of a little more than a week before. Tolbert Harris, who had served 35 years in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of captain, was the first speaker. Harris had been arrested on a charge of throwing a brick at a state trooper during the August 31 riot. He emphatically denies the charge, and his denial was the primary theme of his speech. Wearing a T-shirt with the words “Freedom Now” emblazoned across the front, he told his followers that the white man had lied to them since slavery days and was lying to them now. “You must save America,” he told them in a pronounced southern Louisiana accent. “You must save the world.” “You not asking for something that belongs to the white ,man. You not begging [amens from the crowd]. They are lying on youthey lying on your children. They want to keep you so they can walk on you . . . so they can continue to spit on you. I fought for 35 years to straighten out the world and come back to find more slavery in Louisiana than anywhere else in the world.” Unless America recognized its dream of equality for all peoples, he told them, it meant destruction for all peoples of the earth. Harris is a task force worker for CORE; he is not, he told us, the Negro in a UPI photograph shown hurling a brick at a state trooper during the riots. Young minister Levert Taylor told the ever-increasing crowd, “nothing can stop us.” The pastor of Freedom Rock, J. W. Davis, vowed that “until every man can be recognized as brothers, God our Holy Father, we will not stop until we get everything we are entitled to. There are some things you can’t kill . . . you can’t kill a movement. God says march! [cheers and thunderous applause]. When you knock one of us off, somebody else is ready to die [uproar and wild applause]. I have nothing to fear but fear itself. No one will kill this freedom movement [shouts of that’s right] . . . no ‘one, because Christ said, ‘I have come.’ We been suffering so long we know how to suffer!” Christ’s crucifixion, he told them, was one of “the greatest demonstrations.” October 4, 1963 Plaquemine, La. Plaquemine, the seat of Iberville Parish, is a small town of about 7,500 located 17 miles south of Baton Rouge, the state capital. Since last July local Negroes have been pressing demands and demonstrations all over the parish. The major points in their list of grievances are formation of a biracial committee, integration of public facilities, employment of Negroes in jobs “above the mop and broom level,” desegregation of the public schools, and incorporation of two Negro slum neighborhoods, Seymourville and Du Pont Annex, into the city of Plaquemine. The last demand is made in the hope of obtaining sewage facilities for the two blighted areas, which are almost absorbed by the town. The first of a long chain of events in the Plaquemine fight began with letters sent to eleven prominent merchants by CORE task force worker Tolbert Harris.