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Brando Participates in Civil Rights March, Ignores Hecklers

July 27, 1963 - Actor Marlon Brando marched with 150 demonstrators today for 3 hours in an all-white residential tract in Torrance, Calif. Forty-seven of the Congress of Racial Equality pickets who attempted a sit-in in driveways of the tract’s sales offices were arrested on a trespassing complaint. The singing Negro and white protestors adopted passive resistance techniques, making their bodies limp and forcing a squad of 10 policemen to lift them bodily into a paddy wagon. Brando was stopped repeatedly by newsmen asking questions. He did not carry a placard, but many others did. Brando was followed by three American Nazis carrying a sign reading, “Brando is a stooge for Communist race mixture.” The actor said he was demonstrating because he hoped “this will communicate to others the truth that discrimination does exist. Anyone who believes in civil rights should demonstrate.” One homeowner complained to Brando that the newsmen and television crews following the actor had trampled over her lawns and shrubbery. “I’m sure some of the flowers are being stepped on today,” Brando said quietly, “but so are some people’s civil rights.” Another homeowner called him a Communist, but the actor declined to respond to the remark or any other barbs directed at him. He told newsmen: “Everyone is entitled to his point of view.” Marching with the pickets was another Hollywood personality, actor Pernell Roberts of the “Bonanza” TV series.


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