Patti’s Journal Entries

July 31, 1964

7:40 A.M.

waiting for bus to leave Memphis Depot. The lady I spent the night with on the bus - had breakfast with her - her comments were interesting - and I told her I was visiting relatives in Jackson.

“Boy, that’s where all that trouble is” she drawled - “What do you-all parents feel about this? Course I probably shouldn’t ask - their bein’ from Mississippi”

“No, no” I explained “They’re from Iowa. I never knew Negroes ‘til I went to college”

“You’re lucky” she shook her head - “that’s all we see down here” -

We talked about the young service men on the buses - “Yes, it’s a horrid thing - havin’ to do somethin’ you don’t want to. Course I guess we all are now - with this civil rights stuff. It’s not fun havin’ to do somethin’ you don’t want to”

I stood for the longest time - outside the bus in line - staring at a young fellow - “typical stereotype” of the liberal of today. I stared at his guitar - at him visiting with the well-dressed young Negro man with the typewriter. They’ve just got to be.............I kept thinking - but what if they’re not. I found an empty seat in the front. They went toward the back - then the young man got off the bus. When he came back, I couldn’t resist stopping him - I’d seen his ticket said Jackson.

“Are you going to Jackson?” I asked.
“Yes”
“For what reason?”
He looked down - sorta stuttered and stammered....”Why - why do you ask?”
I knew!
“COFO?”
“Yes!” His face brightened.
“Me too” And we shook hands -
This makes more than one trip for him. - He’s going to call the office in Greenwood.
“I’m so glad to know you’re aboard” -
He smiled - then left.
My 1st “contact”


9:20 A.M.

These shacks along the road are just like I remembered them - the one visual image I haven’t been able to rid myself of since 2 years ago. - small shacks - no paint - many of them.....no trees - grass - just in the middle of nowhere - except now instead of being in the middle of a barren field, they’re amidst crops - and the people - instead of being concentrated on their front porches are concentrated in the fields ---hot - dusty - but life -----manual labor. This is deplorable!!! Yet I don’t know the persons - sensitive people - I know.

(In Mississippi now)

10:00 - Huge sign board reading SAVE OUR REPUBLIC
(picture of an American flag)
For information write: The John Birch Society

2 gas stations - one in Memphis -- one in Mississippi
Colored Restrooms (with an arrow)
White Restrooms ( with an arrow)

10:15 -
Clarksdale---sounds familiar - and our one rest stop between here and Jackson. I checked my book (little black!) and sure enough - the minister from a Disciple Church in Des Moines whom I visited with before he left - is here in Clarksdale. My “contact” and I called the office here. . He told them to call Jackson and let them know we’re coming. I talked to Rev. Thomason, He said things are fine. They’re very much at home in the Negro community and very safe. ---- It’s going to be a very valuable month.This guy (contact) is a wonderful fellow. One common bond - and a friendship is formed. It’s like I’ve known him all my life.

11:00 -
Tutwiler, Miss. ---Big colorful sign: ATTEND YOUR METHODIST CHURCH TOGETHER (ha ha)
“White only” restrooms

11:40 -
Greenwood, Miss. Sign at RR Crossing (in square)
Mississippi
LAW
STOP

What Mississippi Law???!!!

Sections from a pamphlet on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
excerpt from campaign literature - Gov. Johnson 1963

“A Division of Conservative Mississippians into 2 Political Camps, as now being attempted by these self-styled Republicans - would give the balance of power in Mississippi to our Minority Group. This would be the end of our way of life in Mississippi and the peace and tranquility - law and order we now enjoy in all of our communities would soon come to an awesome end.”

Next entry: August 3 »

Back to top of page