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LETTER FROM MAGNOLIA

By Bob Moses.

(Editor's Note: this is a letter that appeared in THE LIBERATOR, a publication put out by the student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. It was written in November, by a member of the Committee)

"I am writing this letter from the drunk tank of the county jail in Magnolia, Mississippi. Twelve of use are here, sprawled out along the concrete bunker. Curtis Hayes, Hollis Watkins, Ike Lewis, and Robert Talbert, four veterans of the bunker, are sitting up talking--mostly about girls. (Charles) McDew...is curled into the concrete and the wall; Harold Robinson, Stephen Ashley, James Wells, Lee Chester Vick, Leetus Eubanks, and Ivery Diggs lay cramped on the cold bunker; I'm sitting with smuggled pen and paper, thinking a little, writing a little; Myrits Bennett and Janie Campbell are across the way wedded to a different icy cubicle.

"Later on, Hollis will lead out with a clear tenor into a freedom song, Talbert and Lewis will supply jokes and McDew will discourse of the black man and the Jew. McDew, a black by birth, a Jew by choice, and a revolutionary by necessity, has taken the deep hates and deep loves of America, and the world, reserved for those who dare to stand in a strong sun and cast a sharp shadow.

"In the words of Judge Brumfield, who sentenced us, we are "cold claculators" who design to disrupt the racial harmony (harmonious since 1619) of McComb into racial strife and rioting; we, he said, are the leaders who are causing young children to be led like sheep to the pen to be slaughtered (in a legal manner). "Robert" he was addressing me, "haven't some of the people from your school been able to go down and register without violence in Pike Country?" I thought to myself that Southerners are most exposed when they boast.

"Its mealtime now: we have rice and gravy in a flat pan, dry bread and a 'big town cake'; we lack eating and drinking utensils. Water comes from a faucet and goes into a hole.

"This is Mississippi, the middle of the iceberg. Hollis is leading off with his tenor, 'Michael, row the boat ashore, Alleluia, Christian brothers don't be slow, Alleluia; Mississippi's next to go Alleluia.' This is a tremor in the middle of the iceberg--from a stone that the builders rejected."

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