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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Septima Poinsette Clark, July 30, 1976. Interview G-0017. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Highlander Folk School workers receive protection from the federal attorney general and local police

Highlander Folk School representatives turned to the federal attorney general for protection after the Klan tried to disrupt one of their meetings. They were also attacked at the local courthouse by a White Citizens Council member.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Septima Poinsette Clark, July 30, 1976. Interview G-0017. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

EUGENE WALKER:
Aside from Tallahassee, can you recall any other area of the South whereby you encountered great difficulty in trying to recruit or establish schools?
SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
In Natchez, Mississippi, I went down there to recruit and to establish schools. And while I was down there, one night in a Baptist church the Ku Klux Klan surrounded us and had planned to come into the church. The Deacons of Defense from Louisiana had come over that night for the program.
EUGENE WALKER:
Do you recall the year?
SEPTIMA POINSETTE CLARK:
That was in the early part of '65, because in '64 we went to Europe and we had just come back. Anyway, at that place we were really having a lot of trouble, but the Chief of Police came out and asked the Ku Klux Klan to go back into their home and asked the colored people would they go to their homes. The reason why I think the Klansmen surrounded us that night at the church was because that day we had carried a large number of people up to the courthouse to register to vote. And while there, one of the white men of the White Citizens' Council kicked a white boy who was working along with me. And when he did that, I called Washington to get the Attorney General to see if we could peacefully work at that courthouse. That's where we had to register. In a few minutes, he called the Chief of Police of Natchez, and when he did that we got protection at the registration office.