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Militant Segregationists Decry Birmingham Agreement as “Sellout”

May 9, 1963 - White business and civic leaders who have been negotiating with Negro leaders in Birmingham, Alabama to resolve racial strife are facing continued pressure from local racists, who have raised cries of a “sellout.” For the first time in the five-week-old controversy, there were well-founded reports of increased activity among such white-supremacist organizations as the Ku Klux Klan and the National States’ Rights party. The reaction of some militantly segregationist circles to the possibility of a compromise was reflected in the comments of Mayor Arthur J. Hanes, head of the City Commission voted out of office last spring. He and Eugene (Bull) Connor, Public Safety Commissioner, are still holding office pending a hearing next Thursday before the Alabama Supreme Court. Mayor Haynes said today that white forces in Birmingham had Dr. King “whipped” and “on the run.” He said “it breaks my heart” to see some whites negotiating with the minister. “If they would stand firm, we would run King and that bunch of race agitators out of town,” he said. “If this negotiating committee is doing such a grand thing for the white people of Birmingham, why are they ashamed to release the names of those on the committee?” the Mayor asked. “Is it because they’re ashamed of the fact that they are selling the white folks down the river? They call themselves negotiators. I call them a bunch of quisling, gutless traitors!” Mr. Hanes criticized Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. “It’s incredible to think that King could be coddled by the Attorney General,” said the Mayor, a former agent of the FBI. “It’s his duty to put down riots and apprehend subversives and not encourage them and pat them on the back.”


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