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Federal Government Calls for Release of Negro Prisoners in Mississippi

Mar. 30, 1963 - The Federal Government stepped into a simmering civil rights controversy in Greenwood, Miss., today and sought a court order to stop interference with Negroes registering to vote. City officials said they would continue their normal routine — accepting Negro voter applicants in small groups but turning back mass marches. In its injunction suit, the Justice Department charged Greenwood and LeFlore County officials with using intimidation — including “arrest and prosecution” of Negro registration workers — to discourage them from registering. The Government called for release of eight Negroes jailed during a demonstration march. The 8, sentenced to 4-month jail terms and $200 fines yesterday on disorderly conduct charges, had vowed to stay behind bars until the Federal Government took action. Their jailing climaxed a tense week in this delta cotton land where Negroes, who outnumber whites about 2 to 1, have pressed a voter registration drive. There are some 400 Negroes on the county vote rolls compared to 6,400 whites.

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