Page 9


The Texas Observer JAN. 22 1965 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to The South 25c TWELVE. DAYS IN ALABAMA New Forms of the Resistance Jim Byrd Commerce, Tex. December 19, 1964 U.S. 80 from Texas crosses Louisiana and Mississippi into Alabama. Three miles from Toomsuba, the Mississippi-Alabama line is marked by the residence-office of “Rev. Sister Cane, Divine Healer” on the left and three large billboards on the right. The first of the three proclaims between painted U.S. and Confederate flags, “Welcome to Historic Alabama, Heart of Dixie. George C. Wallace, Governor.” The second says: “750,000 Alabama Baptists Welcome You. There is a Baptist Church Near You.” The third: “See Alabama’s Famous Prehistoric Indian Mounds, Moundville, Alabama.” A fast-driving motorist can read only the largest red print as the signs flash past: “Alabama . . . Baptists . . . Prehistoric.” December 20 Montgomery The Montgomery Advertiser is to South and Central Alabama what the Dallas News is to East Texas. Letters to the editor are printed under the slogan “Tell it to Old Grandma.” One has the theme: “We are very proud of our Confederate flag . . .”: I wish someone would tell certain people that this happens to be the Deep South; and if these people don’t like it and our policies and opinions in regard to some matters, they should go North where such opinions are prevalent. Every section of the country should realize that there are differences in the people, morals, opinions, and feelings caused by the way of life in other sections . . . The lead editorial, “Sick Continent,” is a blast at Africa. Even the pale and acquiescent Adlai was moved to say: “Never have I heard such irrational, irresponsible, insulting and repugnant language in these chambersand used to contemptuously impugn and slander a gallant and successful effort to save human lives of many nationalities and colors.” December 21Troy The Troy Messenger is a daily published in the hometown of Troy State College Great Society,” states: What is so disturbing about the President’s speech is what he proposes to do to the people of this country. “It is our task to carry for ward nothing less than the full assimilation of more than 20 million Negroes into American life.” Our dictionary defines “assimilate” in this manner … “2. to be absorbed and incorporated: as minority groups often assimilate by intermarriage.” President Johnson said it .. . Webster’s dictionary defined it. Is an executive order next?” December 22Luverne Billboard motto : “The Friendliest City in the South.” The friendly, massive woman runs the best motel with an efficient and heavy hand. “Where is it all going to end?” she asked rhetorically as I glanced at a copy of A Texan Looks At Lyndon lying by the TeeVee. “Today a nigger stooped and was talking to my maids when I walked out. He asked them if the rooms were clean. That made me mad. Then he asked me if I’d rent him one. I said, ‘Listen you goddamed son-of-a-bitch, you get off my land’ excuse me for cussin,’ but I’m mad. I’m not against niggers, but I’m not going to have one sleeping on my beds. Do you blame me?” “Do you believe this Haley book?” I asked to change the subject. “Hell, no. Excuse me. but I’m mad. I’m good to my maids but I’d a shot that nigger if I’d a had a gun.” She is, and she would, I knew. “Where is it all going to end?” I asked. it December 23Red Level The middle-aged white woman operated the gas pump herself. “Whur you from in Texas?” . . . “Is that close to Dallas?” .. . “Didje see Kennedy shot?” . . . “I b’lieve he got the wrong man. They may be another shooting before these four years is up.” December 24 Montgomery According to the Alabama Journal: Edgar L. Hardin has been paroled after serving less than seven months of an eight-year sentence for embezzlement. . . . State law requires that an inmate must serve one-third of his sentence to be eligible for parole, or . . . may be released earlier if three board members vote unanimously . . . The board voted unanimously in favor of the release because of receiving more letters and telephone calls in favor of the former official than in any case in recent years. . . . No paper states that Hardin is white. The governor’s name is not mentioned. December 25 Montgomery The Alabama flag and the Confederate flag fly over the state capitol. A tag painted like a Confederate flag is on the front of most cars. Some bear an additional metal plate on the rear: “Governor’s Staff. Stand Up For Alabama.” An M.D. looked at his television as “Operation Mississippi” came on. “That sonofabitch Gregory. He and Pearson are trying to make people think everybody in Mississippi is poor. I don’t care what your politics are, listen to that newsman. They all slant the news.” While frozen turkey was unpacked on the screen, he turned away and mixed more whiskey and water. It was a strange brand. Canadian Club and other well known brands are not sold in Alabama’s state-controlled liquor stores ; the manufacturers reportedly boycott them because of the tax situation. December 26Selma The former “Splendid Cafe,” which looks like “the City Cafe” of dozens of Southern towns, is now the Downtown Dinner Club. The door is marked “Private. Members Only.” The slender blonde girl used her card to open the door. Asked “Are these people with you?” she answered “Yes.” Not mixed drinks, but chicken-fried steak was obviously being served to a noon crowd. “It keeps the niggers out,” the blonde explained. “Do the other cafes do this?” “Not yet. but they will. I did see three colored people in the movie yesterday. Nobody said anything.” The bus station lunch counter was integrated last week, she said. I looked, but apparently the counter had been completely removed since last week. Negroes, but no whites, almost filled the waiting room. The usual restroom obscenities were racial rather than sexual. “Nigger, don’t sit.” “White son of a bitch.” “Nigger’s come to `Mississippi’ and you will be ‘kill” \(sic,