The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 13
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The Passage of the Civil Rights Act of I964
of the sit-ins and any Communist influence they might have had.
Records indicate there were no jury trials of those involved, and local
judges-either city, county, or district, depending on the offense-con-
victed some of the marchers, but all the cases were reversed on appeal.
As was the practice with many southern newspapers, the Marshall News
Messenger tried to show that local blacks were happy with the system as it
existed, and that Communists and outsiders were to blame."0 The bias of
District Judge Sam B. Hall Sr. was evident. "'These occurrences were not
the child of the local citizens,' [he] told the [grand] jurists. 'If you can
carve out any indictments against outsiders that brought about this
unfortunate situation you will be doing a service to your county and to
the local Negroes.' The difficulties were brought about by outsiders who
did not have the welfare of the community or the local Negroes at
heart," the story continued. It is difficult to tell, several decades after the
fact, if the comment following Hall's statement is his opinion or that of
the newspaper reporter. It was more than likely both.1
Weeks of headlines about racial strife were not pleasing to the town's
white leaders, who apparently went to Harrison County District
Attorney Charles Allen and told him he would have to find another way
to be reelected, for they never again wanted to see Marshall make head-
lines for racist reasons.3s2 Lunch counters in all three establishments
where the demonstrations occurred were closed rather than integrated,
0 The resulting document was found to be without merit by Texas Attorney General Will
Wilson and Harrison County District Attorney Charles Allen, but not before its unsupported accu-
sations filled the columns of the Dallas News, Fort Worth Star Telegram, and Marshall News Messenger,
Aug 14 and 15, 1961, and the Texas Observer, Aug. 18, 1961, among other regional publications.
Although there had been no Freedom Rides in Texas, the House GIC Report committee included
information on them, including the passage naming James Farmer as the leader, and a mention
that "Farmer's white wife embraced him warmly for the benefit of the television cameras," upon
his return to New York from his incarceration in Parchman Prison." See "General Investigating
Committee Report to the House of Representatives" (Austin: State of Texas Legislative Library,
1961), 49 Dismissal by Allen and Wilson, Dallas News, Nov 25, 1961, Marshall News Messenger,
Nov. 25, 1961. Wilhe Morris, editorial, Texas Observer, Nov. 25, 1961. Dallas News clippings in clip-
ping files, legal reference division (Texas State Library, Austin, Texas).
"' "Sit-Ins: Occurrences Not Local Says Hall," Marshall News Messenger, April 4, 1960. Despite
District Attorney Charles Allen's efforts to secure an indictment of a local attorney, Romeo
Wilhams; a local physician, Isadore Lamothe; and Shreveport dentist and civil rights leader C. O.
Simpkins, the Harrison County grand jury returned no indictments of anyone other than stu-
dents. Pubhsher Millard Cope shared Hall's opinion, judging from his editorials, including one
on the front page during the sit-ins, that the demonstrations were the work of outsiders. Marshall
News Messenger, April 4, 196o, sec. A, p. 1.
*. Accounts of the activities, the names of all the arrested students, the names of the individu-
als who made their bonds, and photographs of them in prayer in front of the Harrison County
courthouse appeared on the pages of Millard Cope's Marshall News Messenger, usually on the
front page, from Mar. 27 to Apr. 4, 1960, and in the Dallas News on the same dates. Dismissal of
all cases was reported m the Dallas News, Dec. 15, 1960. The conversation regarding the district
attorney's activities occurred in Marshall m 1989 between former city commission member Max
Lale, then-congressman Sam B. Hall Jr., and the author. Hall's father, Sam B. Hall Sr., was the
district judge at the time of the sit-ins and sentenced many of them to jail, fines, or both. All the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/41/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.