Excerpts from J.L. Rainey’s Journal, Selma, Alabama, March 1965, from the novel, The Clock Of Life, by Nancy Klann-Moren.
My posts will include both J.L.’s journal entries, and actual articles from The Selma Times-Journal each day until he reaches Montgomery.
This was day four after he arrived in Selma to take part in the right-to-vote march to Montgomery. The day after Turnaround Tuesday.
Wed, Mar 10, 8:30 pm ― Stayed on the couch for another day of rest and recoup. We’re in a holding pattern while we wait for a decision from Judge Johnson. Some think it’ll take as long as a week.
Spam’s neighbor came by with the latest news to spread through Selma. Three white men were beaten with a 2 by 4 last night outside Eddie’s place―not long after Spam and I left.
The next afternoon, March 11, 1965, the Selma-Times Journal reported:
Four Make Bond Here In Assault On Ministers ― Four men charged by both city and federal authorities in the assault of three out-of-state ministers in a Negro section of Selma Tuesday night are free under bonds totaling 12,500 for each defendant.
Three of the men were arrested Wednesday and the fourth surrendered himself with his attorney at the city jail early this afternoon. Police identified the men as Elmer L. Cook, 407 Crestwood Drive; William Stanley Hoggie, 915 Old Montgomery Road; R.B. Kelley, 137 Water Avenue, and O’Neal Hoggle, 1315 Old Montgomery Road.
O’Neal Hoggle, 30, was the last man given into custody. He received a preliminary hearing before City Recorder Edgar Russell around one p.m. Thursday and immediately make $7,500 bonds required by city authorities on three assault with intent to murder charges. Hoggle then was arraigned before a U.S. Commissioner and made $5,000 bond on the federal charge violating another person’s right to exercise constitutional rights.
Cook and the other Hoggle, facing the same charges, made city and federal bonds shortly after midnight Wednesday. Kelly, who remained in jail overnight in lieu of $2,500 bond on one count of assault with intent to murder, was arraigned in city and federal court today with O’Neal Hoggle, and then made bond.
The defendants, according to the attorney who represented them have declared that they are innocent of any involvement in the affair. “Their only knowledge of the assault on the ministers has come from reading of it in the papers and hearing about it in news reports,” the attorney quoted them.
Cook and William Hoggle made bond last night of $2,500 each on the charges, but they were re-arrested by FBI agents as they left the jail, the second arrest being made on federal charges of violation to Title 18, Section 241, of the U.S. Code which deals with conspiracy to intimidate, threaten or oppress a person in the free exercise of his rights under the laws and the Constitution of the United States.
A hearing was held before U.S. Commissioner Marion Wallace, and the men were released on bonds of $5,000 each, the FBI reported today. A warrant charging Kelley and another unidentified white man with the same offense is being held by the FBI, again said.
One victim of the attack, the Rev. James J. Reeb, of Boston, is hovering near death at the University Hospital, Birmingham where he was taken for treatment following the beating.
The Rev. Mr. Reeb and two companions, the Rev. Orloff F. Miller, 25, of Boston, and the Rev. Clark Olson, 32, of Berkeley, Calif., all ministers of the Unitarian-Universalist Association, were attacked by a group of five white men as they came out of a Negro cafe on Washington Street Tuesday night, police reports show. The Rev. Mr. Olson and the Rev. Mr. Miller suffered minor injuries in the affray, it was stated.
The three ministers were a part of a group of some 450 clergymen from across the nation who converged on Selma to protest the violent treatment of Negroes here Sunday afternoon.