A Typical Week in Mississippi: COFO Hears of Many Incidents

notes from Mississippi

The telephone at 1017 Lynch St., Jackson, Mississippi, receives calls 24 hours a day. Here the headquarters of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) keeps in touch with its "freedom workers" throughout the state. Daily event summaries are mimeo'd in the office and sent out to all project members. Arrests, bombings, and beatings which are not printed by the local and national press are thus reported to those who are, COFO says, "on the front-lines."

Here is a summary of the events recorded in one week in Mississippi:

Monday, Sept. 28

Gulfport: Sandy Leigh, Gulfport COFO director charged with "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" and released on $250 bond. Later arrested for "drunken driving" and "driving without a license."

Biloxi: Mrs. Green, a Negro resident of nearby Ocean Springs, beaten by whites at a circus here. Her 15-year-old son also beaten. When she brought police to the scene, warned to drop the matter or face possible arrest. NAACP investigating the incident.


Ruleville: Bomb threat received by local Negro woman, active in voter registration.

Tuesday, Sept. 29

Batesville: Sam Echols, local Negro voter registration worker, arrested for perjury, tried, and sentenced. Now awaiting transfer to Parchman State Farm. Had filled out a voter registration form last month and stated in the form that he had never committed a crime. A year ago, however, was arrested for possession of liquor. Echols said he didn't know that was a crime. Lawyers are work on the case.

Columbus: COFO volunteer Clifford Trice fined $50 in court today, plus costs of $41.50.

Jackson: A caller threatened to "kill everyone in the COFO office" and "slit the President's throat." FBI notified.

Ruleville: 9:00 p.m. curfew placed on the country by Sheriff William I. Hollowell. The ban enforced in Indianola by white men with clubs and revolvers, who drove Negroes off the streets.

Wednesday, Sept. 30

Greenwood: Thomas Power, white COFO worker from Milwaukee, arrested for "reckless driving." Released on $50 bond.

Aberdeen: Two delegates from the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) to the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, James Carr and Cora Smith, served with summonses by the local Sheriff. They are to appear in Hinds County Court on Oct. 26 "to answer a bill of complaint" against them "by the state of Mississippi."

Tchula: Similar summons served