Court halts march pending Thursday hearing

SELMA, Ala., March 9, 1965 (UPI) - A federal court issued an order Tuesday barring a scheduled mass march on the Alabama capital, but Negro leaders said they would go ahead with the demonstration. "The march is on. We are going to get it organized right now," declared C. T. Vivian, one of Dr. Martin Luther King's top aides.

Sources said King will lead the march.


"We will go as far as we can," declared the Rev. Andrew Young, another of King's aides.

Just before Negroes made the decision to march, President Johnson made a plea for both sides in racial dispute to observe law and order. However, the President sharply condemned police "brutality" against Negro demonstrators in Alabama last Sunday.

The order barring the march was issued in Montgomery by U.S. District Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr. He said this protest should be delayed pending a court hearing Thursday.


High Negro leaders apparently had some inkling what Judge Johnson's order might contain but the ban against marching came as a surprise to the rank-and-file.

About 500 Negroes were openly angry at the order and gathered outside a church to get a "march anyway" movement going.

Nearly 2,000 persons, many of them out-of-state white clergymen, were on hand to participate in the march on Montgomery, which was called to protest alleged discrimination against Negro voter applicants.

After the Negroes milled around the church, waiting for word from their leaders. Young arrived on the scene and said a march would start "as soon as we can get organized and Dr. King will lead it."

"We will go as far as we can," Young told reporters.

The news sparked open resentment among many of the younger Negroes. They gathered on the front steps of Brown's chapel here and cheered wildly when John Lewis, chairman of the student Non-Violent Coordinating committee, told them:

"We are not going to let anything or anybody stop us."

The young Negroes stood swaying and singing "freedom" songs while waiting for others to join their ranks.

Police cars began drifting through the area in increasing numbers as the tension continued to mount.


Dr. Martin Luther King was to have led the march to protest alleged discrimination against Negro voter applicants. Alabama State Highway Patrolmen used tear gas and clubs to halt a similar march last Sunday.

President Johnson's views on the Selma situation were relayed by Justice Department officials to Gov. George C. Wallace and King.

"We will continue our efforts to work with the individuals involved to relieve tensions and to make it possible for every citizens to vote," the President said.

"I urge all who are in positions of leadership and capable of influencing the conduct of others to approach this tense situation with calmness, reasonableness and respect for law and order."

Mr. Johnson said the administration had made every effort to prevent a repetition of the Sunday violence.

He added:

"I am certain Americans everywhere join in deploring the brutality with which a number of Negro citizens of Alabama were treated when they sought to dramatize their deep and sincere interest in attaining the precious right to vote."

Mr. Johnson said he expected to complete work this weekend on recommendations for voting rights legislation. He said he will send a special message to Congress as soon as the bill is drafted.


Negroes had asked for Judge Johnson to restrain Gov. George C. Wallace, Highway Patrol Director Al Lingo, and Dallas (Selma) County Sheriff Jim Clark from interfering with Tuesday's march.

But Johnson ruled the Negroes would have to go through the normal judicial process "in order to protect the integrity of this court and to prevent the judicial process from becoming frustrated..."

He noted the temporary restraining order had been requested without formal notice to the state officials.

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