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Demonstrators Arrested in Greenwood, Mississippi

Apr. 3, 1963 - In Greenwood, Mississippi today, police broke up a voter registration march led by comedian Dick Gregory and arrested all 19 Negro participants except the nationally known comic. Mr. Gregory promptly announced he was cancelling all his nightclub engagements and would remain in Greenwood to “fight this thing until the Government sends in troops.” The Negroes, including teenaged boys and girls and elderly men and women, were stopped just a few blocks from their voter registration headquarters by a cordon of police. City Commissioner B.A. Hammond ordered them to disperse. He told the Negroes they could go to the county courthouse and take the voter registration tests, but only individually or in small groups. The leaders refused to break up the group. Suddenly, a young Negro spoke up from the rear rank and urged his companions to stand fast. Police lifted him bodily into a bus. The officers then asked the marchers whether they preferred to “go home, go to jail, or go to register to vote alone.” Most refused to move and were arrested and herded onto the bus.


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