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Two Voting Rights Activists Arrested in Georgia

July 31, 1962 - In Georgia today, two field workers for a desegregationist organization were arrested on vagrancy charges after taking five Negroes to the Terrell County courthouse to register as voters. The two were identified as Charles Sherrod (pictured) and Ralph Allen, field secretaries for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), an Atlanta-based group working for civil rights in the South. Mr. Sherrod is a Negro from Petersburg, Va. Mr. Allen is a white student at Trinity College, Hartford, Conn. State charges of vagrancy carry a penalty of $1,000 in fines and up to a year in jail or both upon conviction. SNCC protested the arrest in a telegram to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. It asked that the Justice Department intercede to halt the prosecutions. “The U.S. Department of Justice has the authority to intervene in this case” under the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1960, the telegram said.


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