The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 429
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The Wiley-Bishop Student Movement
New developments in the Doxie Wilkerson drama also emerged by late
Wednesday. Subsequent to a meeting with white Dallas philanthropist
Carr P. Collins, chairman of the fund-raising campaign for Bishop
College's relocation to Dallas, Bishop President M. L. Curry advised a
shocked Wilkerson to resign. Curry's prior knowledge of Wilkerson's
communist past notwithstanding, Collins and other donors pressured the
Bishop president to release him in an effort to curtail adverse publicity.
In light of Wilkerson's reluctance to resign, Curry issued a letter of dis-
missal to the education professor the following day, although the institu-
tion continued to pay his salary until his contract expired on July 1."
The dawn of Thursday, March 31, turned the national spotlight on
Marshall. News media, including the Associated Press, the United Press
International, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Shreveport Times, the Texas
Observer, the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Times Herald, and NBC televi-
sion crews, converged on the East Texas town. Even Richard Davy, an edi-
tor of the London Times, called to request updates on the situation. The
outside press received a glacial, unsouthern reception. Many, including a
Shreveport radio newscaster, blamed the prolongation of demonstrations
on excessive media coverage by outsiders. One Marshall woman told an
AP photographer that God should strike him dead for photographing
the black protesters. By Saturday, tempers had flared so that first
Assistant District Attorney R. P. Watson and the Texas Observer's Ronnie
Duggar narrowly averted a fistfight over the reporter's incessant prying.
Some law enforcement officers, such as J. O. Burt, hid to avoid having
their picture taken while others cursed or threatened photographers."2
Most of the local media failed to sympathize with their colleagues as
well. In fact, some conspired to limit coverage of events in Marshall. H.
A. Bridge, owner of the local radio station KMHT, declined to aid out-
side reporters by refusing to offer his facilities for communication pur-
poses. In addition, at the beseeching of prominent local bankers Bill
Palmer and Charles Fry and the Citizens' Advisory Council, an organiza-
tion of local business elites, Bridge, in conjunction with Marshall News
Messenger editor Millard Cope, agreed to avoid "feeding the fire" by lim-
iting coverage of the sit-ins."3
Citizens wondered if Marshall would become another Little Rock.
Estimates of 50 percent declines in downtown commerce prompted calls
to reconvene the Harrison County Inter-racial Commission, which had a
rather successful track record dating back to the 191os. The commis-
sion, however, became a casualty of tense race relations as the summons
"Dallas Mornng News, Mar. 31, 1960, Apr. 1, 1960.
a Marshall News Messenger, Apr. i, 1960; Texas Observer, Apr. 8, 1960.
"H. A. Bndge to Donald SealsJr.,July 9, 200oo, interview.
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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/m1/497/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.