The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 424
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The genesis of what ultimately evolved into a prodigious controversy
also emerged on the first day of demonstrations. Patrons at Woolworth's
recognized Bishop professor Doxie Wilkerson as he shopped in the gener-
al store portion of the business when the first students arrived. Although
the light-skinned Wilkerson earnestly denied allegations of directing the
protests-he attended only to observe his pupils in action-the appear-
ance sparked an investigation into his background that ultimately proved
deleterious to his career, Bishop College, and the movement.'"
Sunday night, March 27, movement leaders drafted plans to strike
Woolworth's, the Union bus terminal caf6, and Fry-Hodge Rexall drug
store the next day. By 10 A.M. Monday, three groups arrived at their des-
tinations, but the Union bus terminal demonstrators found the bus sta-
tion caf6 locked. The other two teams sat at their respective lunch coun-
ters and requested, but failed to receive, service. After disregarding
requests by management and local law enforcement to vacate the
premises, Marshall police arrested and transported the students to cor-
poration court for a meeting with District Attorney Charles Allen. Allen
cautioned the students that their actions could instigate violence, and
assured them of the futility of their protests. He further insisted that
peace in Marshall would be maintained at all costs and threatened to file
charges if sit-ins continued. A press release by the newly coined Wiley-
Bishop Student Movement alleged the first instance of abuse during this
lecture by a local policeman who poked an inattentive student in the eye
and "brutally" grabbed his collar while slapping him. Allen immediately
reprimanded the officer and demanded he "not be rough."17
Members of the city commission took heed of the situation and met
Monday afternoon to issue a formal statement of policy, which stated:
We must have law and order in Marshall, regardless of who the citizen is, he is
going to be protected in pursuing his legal rights in Marshall. Under this coun-
try's free enterprise system, and under our laws, a merchant has a legal right to
select the persons he serves. Certainly he is going to be protected in that right,
likewise, a customer has the right not to be forced to trade with the merchant
with whom he does not want to deal. He is going to be protected in that right.
We recognize the right to demonstrate; but we call attention that the right to
demonstrate, in all cases, is limited by the fact that if there is any clear and pre-
sent danger that the demonstration will incite public disorder, it is unlawful, and
will be handled as a violation of the law.
Thus, the city commission, hence Marshall, elected to follow the proto-
typical path of southern resistance.18
l Marshall News Messenger, Mar. 27, 1960; Fleming to Seals, Aug. 20o, 2oo1, telephone interview.
'7Dallas Mornmg News, Mar. 29, 1960; Texas Observer, Apr. 1, 8, 196o.
" Shreveport Times, Mar. 29, 1960.
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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/m1/492/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.