Page 6


WHAT A QUAINT PLAGE… HOW YOU MUST WORK TO KEEP /6\\1ID HOW PROUD YOU MUST E. Blacks, bootleggers, and boycotts Situation tense in Nacogdoches Nacogdoches In Nacogdoches there are niggers and there are Negroes. The niggers are shiftless and no-count. They get drunk on bootlegged booze and their white employers have to bail them out of jail. The Negroes, on the other hand, hold steady jobs and go to church \(segregated, their place, but the niggers are getting a little uppity, or so one hears in the comfortable homes of Nacogdoches’ city fathers. The view may be stereotyped, but it is nonetheless securely held by many members of the white majority. What makes such a complacency startling is the fact that Nacogdoches is not a typical sleepy East Texas town. Its population of 22,316 has nearly doubled in the last decade. Much of the population growth is due to burgeoning Stephen F. Austin State University, which has increased from 2,000 students in 1960 to more than 8,700 toclay. The town also has grown because of . its citizens’ zealous boosterism. Letters to the editor in the Daily Sentinel are signed, “Yours for improving Nacogdoches,” “Yours for a better Nacogdoches.” The letterwriters have something to be proud of. The city is one of the oldest in this part of the country, . founded in 1716 by the Spaniards. Settled comfortably in the Piney Woods, Nacogdoches exudes a quiet gentility with its brick streets and treeshaded homes. On the southeast side of town on Orton Hill \(ironically named after one of the live in not-so-idyllic conditions. The main thoroughfares are paved, but many of the residential streets are not. The East Texas soil is bright red because of its heavy iron content, and the saying goes that one can tell when he’s in niggertown by noting the red dust stirred up by passing automobiles. According to James Steele, a government instructor at SFA, “the Piney Woods area is another Appalachia, only it’s hidden.” In 1960, the average black family was earning 40% less than other families, and nobody was making a whole lot. At that time, median income for black families was $2,135; for white families, $3,482. EDUCATIONAL facilities, for the most part, are still segregated. Freedom of choice simply has not worked. Steele said that junior high school students in Nacogdoches are given the Iowa tests each year. Last year the children from the white high school averaged a little above the national median in all five tests areas. Children at the black school scored about one-half of the national average. \(One prominent white explained that black students do not do well because “clinical tests” have proved “conclusively” that blacks experience a severe drop in learning “This community is tied to the facade that nothing is wrong here. Every newspaper report ends with a pat on the back,” Dr. Stanley Alexander, an SFA associate professor of English, complained. He is among the group of SFA professors and students and Nacogdoches blacks who are trying to point out inequities and injustices in the city. They believe that blacks and long-haired college students are less equal than other citizens in Nacogdoches, and their recent activities have exposed the raw nerves of the city. The tension began April 24 after the arrest of a black SFA student, Cubbie Nell Dorsey, on charges of forgery and passing a forged instrument. A crowd of approximately 40 SFA students gathered outside the police station to protest Miss Dorsey’s high bond of $6,000 and the fact that no one was allowed to see her. Dr. Alexander said that three of the women demonstrators went across the street to a service station to use a pay telephone. The white attendant refused to let one of the women finish her call, and he chased them off the premises brandishing a chair. The arrest was the catalyst for ensuing marches and the boycott of downtown stores. Tension and accusations and recriminations have escalated. The white merchants are nervously armed and the blacks are angry. MANY WHITE residents say that the Negroes have been riled up by outside agitators, namely by SFA professors such as Alexander and Steele who are not natives of Nacogdoches and by Mickey McGuire, 31-year-old field organizer for the National Association of Black Students, headquartered in Washington, D.C. McGuire arrived in Nacogdoches on April 20 at the invitation of Rufus Woodrow and other black SFA students. It was McGuire who organized the rallies, June 12, 1970 5