Thursday, July 23, 1964: Civil Rights Act arrests

GREENWOOD, Miss., July 24 -- The FBI has made its first arrests under the public accommodations sections of the new Civil Rights Act yesterday.
     Agents of the bureau charged three Greenwood white men with a conspiracy designed to keep a Negro from going to a movie theater. ...
     The FBI charged the three with "unlawfully conspiring to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate" Silas McGhee, 21, of Greenwood, "in the free exercise of his right to full and equal enjoyment of a motion picture picture house, the Leflore Theatre."
     On July 16, Mr. McGhee staggered into the Greenwood FBI office, bleeding from head wounds and suffering from shock.
     Mr. McGhee, a staff worker with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committe, said the three, in a pickup truck, forced him at the point of a gun to accompany them.
     He said they asked him if he had been to the movie the previous night, When he replied yes, he said, he was beaten with a pipe and a board.
     -- Associated Press (full story: @)
     -- Photo of Leflore Theatre in the 1940s; from www.aboutgreenwood.ms.com (link: @)

Note: The men were indicted, tried and found innocent.
     * "Federal Jury Indicts Three" (United Press International, January 1965): @
     * "Find Mississippians Innocent in Beating" (UPI, October 1966): @

More about the incident and the McGhee family
* "Freedom Summer Incident Summary by City or County" (Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive; scroll down to Greenwood): @
* "Miss. Woman Arrested After Punching Cop In Nose" (Jet magazine, September 1964): @
* "The McGhees: If You Don't Fight For It, You Don't Need It" (from "I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle," Charles M. Payne, 1995): @
* McGhee and his family are mentioned in several passages in "Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years" (Taylor Branch, 1997; search for "McGhee"): @
* Passage from "The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement," Bob Zellner, 2008): @
* "The Shooting of Silas McGhee" (Linda Wetmore Halpern, 2010): @
* Passage from "Student Activism and Civil Rights in Mississippi: Protest Politics and the Struggle for Racial Justice, 1960-1965," James P. Marshall, 2013): @
* "Freedom Summer, 1964: Did It Really Change Mississippi?" (Nikole Hannah-Jones, The Atlantic magazine, July 2014): @

Other resources
* "Saturday, July 6, 1963: Greenwood, Mississippi" (earlier blog post; I'm fairly sure, though not absolutely certain, that the event featuring Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan took place on the McGhee family farm): @
* "Greenwood Theatre Torn Down By City" (Jackson Daily News, January 1969): @ 

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