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Maryland Restaurant Owner that Smeared Egg on Demonstrator: “I Was Wrong”

July 13, 1963 - Something extraordinary happened to Robert Fehsenfeld (pictured center), 42, this week: he saw himself in his worst moment with the world standing witness. Furious because of integration demonstrations at his Cambridge, Md., restaurant, “Dizzyland,” he kicked a Negro man who would not raise a finger in self-defense. Then he smashed two eggs on a white youth, who also did not retaliate. The event was recorded by television cameras and newspaper photographers. Seeing himself on television, Mr. Fehsenfeld was horrified. “It was disgusting,” he said today. “I was wrong. Yes, I was. I’m ashamed. I’ll never forget it. It makes me feel very small — less than a man.” When asked about a report that he was president of a local white citizens’ council, he laughed bitterly. “I’m not president of anything. There is no such thing, no council here. I’m not a leader in the community. I have put everything I had into this business. I have to do this to provide for my family. I have hypertension, and I guess I can’t take the pressure of things. I took it up to here, and then my temper got the best of me. It was terrible. But they drove me to it.” He is convinced that Negroes in Cambridge were moving along very well in achieving their goals, but that they got stirred into extreme action by outsiders. He resents any suggestion that he might hate Negroes. “Mine is not racial hatred. Lord knows I never had it,” he said. “I don’t know how this is going to end. I think there’s going to be a lot of trouble.”

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