James Wiley Testifies At Ala. Hearing
The Justice Department has flown James W. Wiley II '65-3 to Selma, Ala, to testify against four Dallas County officials accused of depriving Negroes of their civil rights.
Wiley, who conducted an adult literacy program for Negroes in Selma this summer, testified Tuesday about his arrest in July which occurred when he sought service at a local restaurant. He was shocked with electric cattle prodders at the time of his arrest, and subsequently spent a week in jail.
The federal lawyers are seeking to enjoin the four officials, including Sheriff James G. Clark, and the city of Selma from "interfering with Negroes in the implementation of the Civil Rights Act." A three-judge Federal panel--apparently the first such panel in Alabama under the Civil Rights Act--will hear the testimony.
The case is the first one the Justice Department has brought in Selma, long a civic rights trouble spot. The Department has been researching it for over a year.
Wiley was optimistic last night about the outcome of the case and expects that a favorable decision would greatly aid the rights movement. "The Justice Department has a beautiful case," he said. "If it's won, it will be a tremendous precedent in preventing future harassment and in bringing corrupt officials to justice."
He was fearful, however, that the publication of the names and addresses of the witnesses in the local newspaper would lead to reprisals against them by hostile white citizens.
Approximately 150 other witnesses will testify during the week-long trial. Many, like Wiley, have been flown in from other parts of the country.