Full Citation

  • Title Summary of day three of a march by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and approximately 350 to 400 civil rights demonstrators from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama
  • Classification Level Secret
  • Imprint [United States: Federal Bureau Of Investigation, 1965]
  • Declassified Date June 5, 2002
  • Sanitization Unsanitized
  • Completeness Complete
  • Collection Declassified Document Reference System
  • Pages 4
  • Language English
  • Document Type Memo
  • Source Library Federal Bureau of Investigation
lei iep , Ilowt, Rfrr t)VA S 11 1 N 4;To N ,D. 4. 20;1 File No.M arch 24, 1965 MARCH FROM SELMA TO MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA MARCH 21-25,1965 The third day of the march resumed at 8:23 a.m., March 23, 1965, with the marchers being hampered by heavy showers throughout the day. Reverend Andrew J. Young, Executive Director, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), in the absence of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who was in Cleveland, Ohio, directed the group. At 7:35 a. m. , March 23, 1965, Reverend James Bevel, SCLC, was arrested for reckless driving by thle Alabama Highway Patrol on Highway 80 approximately twelve miles east of Selma, Alabama. He was allegedly driving at a speed of 90 - 100 miles per hour and after being released on $100 bond, joined the march at approximately 9:40 a. m., the same date. He told the marchers of his arrest and admitted driving too fast for conditions. At 2:11 p. m. , the marchers arrived at a farm owned by Mr. A. G. Gaston, Birmingham, Alabama, where they spent the night. This property is located approximately thirty-two miles from Selma, Alabama, on Highway 80. Due to the heavy rain, the campsite was a field of mud and the group spread straw and hay under their tents, The marchers are scheduled to encamp on the grounds of St. Jude', a Catholic institution, which is located near the Montgomery, Alabama, city limits on the night of March 24, 1965. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., is scheduled to rejoin the march on the morning of March 24, 1965. Group 1 3.6 Excluded from automatic 0;x I 10 downgrading and IA_$ declassification COPY UUJ LIBRARY During the day, one of the marchers complained about the drinking water. Military authorities tested it, found it was contaminated with creosote and impounded the water truck. Mr. Al Lingo, SCLC and coordinator of the march, advised SCLC had rented a water truck from the Travel Can Company, Montgomery, Alabama, and the truck had been in the custody of SCLC personnel during the entire march. He said hie had determined that prior to the march, the truck had been used to haul sewage water and SCLC personnel had put creosote in the water for purification purposes. Mr. Lingo feels SCLC personnel accidentally put too much creosote in the water. He said hie does not know of anyone who has- become ill from drinking the water. Military authorities have advised that fresh water is now being furnished, as required, to the marchers by the military. At 3:10 a. m. , Marcha 24, 1965, information was received that a group of approximately 200 persons en route from Washington, D. C. , to Montgomery, Alabama, by train was stranded in Atlanta,' Georgia. It was alleged that the train crew had been threatened and, j therefore, would not take these persons to Montgomery. Some members of this group were afraid to go by bus as they felt they would be susceptible to violence by this mode of travel. Inquiry determined that these persons arrived in Atlanta via Southern Railroad and were to proceed to Montgomery, Alabama, via Atlanta and West Point Railroad. Mr. A. P. McElroy, General Passenger Agent, Atlanta and West Point Railroad, advised he did not have a train crew available to take this train to Montgomery; however, no threats have been received by any crew. Subsequent arrangements were made to include the cars carrying these passengers on a regularly scheduled train leaving Atlanta this morning for Montgomery, Alabama. Appropriate state, local and military authorities in Georgia and Alabama have been advised of this information. -2- COPY UUJUUWARY -SSCRET On March 23, 1965, a SCLC official advised there would be a mass rally at the St. Jude's encampment on March 24, 1965, and entertainment for thle rally is being coordinated by singer Harry Belafonte. The leaders of the march estimate 5, 000 to 10, 000 persons will attend this rally. A source advised on March 23, 1965, that numerous entertainers including Nipsy Russell, Tony Bennett, Tony Perkins, Alan King, Mr. 'and Mrs. Leonard Bernstein, Shelley Winters, Floyd Patterson and others will go to Montgomery, Alabama, on March 24, 1965, to join the march. On the same date, a second source advised that Clarence Jones and Stanley Levison, New York City attorneys, and frequent advisors to Reverend Mr. King, conferred concerning the march. The source advised that Levison asked if he could go to Montgomery, Alabama, on March 25, 1965, with the Americans for Democratic Action group and Jones replied that it would be all right. For your information, Stanley Levison is a long-time communist whose secret membership in the Communist Party, USA, has been established as recently as 1963. Jones during the mid- 1950's held a position of leadership in the Labor Youth League, an organization which has been designated as subversive pursuant to Executive Order 10450. On March 23, 1965, information was received that ano .nymous bomb threats were received by the Greystone Hotel, Montgomery, Alabama. Immediate investigation was instituted, and it was determined that an unknown person telephonically contacted the hotel on March 22, 1965, asking if the hotel had a reservation for Reverend Martin Luther King. When a negative reply was given, the caller said, "You had better not or we'll put a bomb in there," and hung up. Two other similar telephone calls were received by the hotel the latest being at 1: 00 p.m., March 23,2 1965. Appropriate local and military authorities have been advised of these threats. -3- * COPWY L&B fRARY The most recent information received from our field offices reveals that approximately 11, 000 people are en route or anticipate going to Montgomery, Alabama, for the final days of the march. Of course, it is not known whether the plans of all those who anticipate going will materialize. We are continuing to cover every phase of this march and pertinent developments will be promptly furnished. -4- 3EC~1FT COPY LJUIMARY