The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 435
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The Wiley-Bishop Student Movement
companion, Thurgood Marshall of the Legal Defense and Educational
Fund, Incorporated, and requested the NAACP's assistance. Marshall
agreed that the students' "constitutional rights had been violated and
that his organization would assist as far as expenses and some assistance
on attorney's fees." To supplement these funds, student leaders deliv-
ered many successful fund-raising speeches in the major African
American churches of Marshall and Dallas, including Ebenezer, Fifth
Street Baptist Church, and Greater Bethlehem.46
By December 196o, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals vindicated
the protesters. In regard to the city cases, Judge K. K. Woodley ren-
dered the ordinance unconstitutional. The Marshall law greatly resem-
bled a Texas statute in Article 479, except that it allowed a maximum
fine of $2oo while the state law permitted a maximum fine of $25.
Woodley explained that "[t] here appears no reasonable classification of
persons which justifies the imposition of a $25 fine upon peddlers,
salesman, and solicitors, and a $2oo fine upon all other persons."
Therefore, the ordinance violated the demonstrators' Fourteenth
Amendment right to equal protection under the law. Judge Woodley
also dismissed the unlawful assembly cases. Because the statute charged
anyone who sought to impede another's business "through violence or
any other manner," Woodley rendered the law too vague to prosecute
the protesters.47 While these victories proved important moral triumphs
for the students, Judge Woodley evaded the larger question of the con-
stitutionality of segregation in public accommodations.
As the court cases wrapped up, the real controversy over the
Marshall sit-ins had just begun. Gov. Price Daniel had mandated
Department of Public Safety and grand jury probes into possible out-
side instigation of the sit-ins by the first week in April. These investiga-
tions came to fruition in an August 15, 1961, report released by the
Fifty-seventh Legislature of Texas. Full of unconfirmed allegations, the
fifty-seven page report accurately delved into the communist past of
Doxie Wilkerson and continued to make allegations of communist-
inspired sit-ins in Marshall. Nonetheless, no solid links could be made,
except indirectly through Doxie Wilkerson's past and the fact that the
Marshall demonstrations coincidentally fell "in line with communist
objectives." The report even asserted that "the conspiracy behind the
sit-ins and racial agitation exists not only on a national scale, but
4Affidavit of C. B. Bunkley, Aug. 29, 1961, State of Texas v. NAACP Case Records; Sweet to
Seals, Aug. 14, 2001, telephone interview.
4 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals opinion in Joel Rucker v. People of Harnson County, Texas
(Jan. 1, 1961), case no. 10283, Criminal Court Files (Harrison County Clerk's office, Marshall,
Texas); Dallas Morning News, Dec. 15, 196o.
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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/m1/503/: accessed September 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.