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Scores of Civil Rights Demonstrators Arrested at World’s Fair

Apr. 22, 1964 - Civil rights demonstrators were arrested by the score today as they attempted to block doorways and climb exhibits in pavilions at the New York World’s Fair. Most of the opening-day crowd seemed to pay little attention.

The first arrests took place at 11 a.m., two hours after the initial wave of demonstrators had entered the fair behind James Farmer, national director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). During the day, more than 200 young demonstrators were arrested.

Mr. Farmer was one of those arrested. He sat on the pavement before an entrance to the New York City Pavilion and refused to move. He was blocking the door as “a symbolic act,” he said, that Negroes have been blocked from good jobs, houses, and schools in the city.

“Then you are under arrest,” said William Kimmins, chief of detectives at the fair. Would Mr. Farmer help the police by standing up or would he risk a charge of resisting arrest?

“I cannot voluntarily cooperate with what I consider to be an injustice,” Mr. Farmer declared.

“Be as gentle with him as you can, men,” Chief Kimmins said. Mr. Farmer was then carried off and placed in a patrol wagon.

The younger demonstrators, many of them shivering in a cold drizzle, shouted “freedom now” during President Johnson’s dedication of the Federal Pavilion and the playing of the National Anthem afterwards. This brought jeers from the audience.

Some of the demonstrators cried “police brutality” as they were carried off. Those watching said they had seen no policemen using undue force.

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