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25th Negro minister arrested in Alabama bus boycott

MONTGOMERY, Ala., March 16, 1956 (UP) - Another defendant has been added to the list of more than 90 Negroes who go on trial Monday on charges of boycotting the city bus line, authorities reported today. Despite the mass arrests, the 14-week-old boycott against segregated seating arrangements was still under way. It was estimated to be about 75 per cent effective.

Sheriff Mac Sim Butler disclosed that the Rev. A. Edward Banks of nearby Clanton, the 25th minister to be arrested, was brought here Wednesday and released under $300 bond.

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Several other Negroes, indicted by a Grand Jury Feb. 21 for allegedly violating the seldom-used state anti-boycott law still have not been arrested.

The Negroes could draw up to six months in jail, $1,000 fines, or both if convicted.

The racial demonstration began Dec. 5 after a Negro seamstress was fined $10 for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person. Negotiations between Negro leaders, bus company officials and the City Commission to end the boycott broke down in January.

The boycott resulted in cancellation of all but two of 14 Sunday bus routes and a hike in bus fares from 10 to 15 cents. A 5-cent price was placed on transfers, which were previously free.

Before the boycott began, Negroes comprised about 70 per cent of the bus line's passengers.

Following the wholesale arrests last month, local Negroes staged a mass meeting to reaffirm their intention of maintaining the boycott. They drew support from Negro leaders throughout the nation, who joined them in terming the boycott a "spiritual" demonstration. Local Negro leaders said they would tolerate no violence.

The local boycott leaders said they did not seek to abolish segregation laws but want the seating law made flexible.

A "first come, first served" policy, that permits Negroes to sit farther forward when their section is filled, is already in effect in several Alabama cities.

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