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Race Tension Builds Up in Virgin Isles

By UPI

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas, V.I. (UPI) Racial tension tension built up in the predominantly Negro U.S. Virgin Islands Thursday following the arrest arrest of a militantly anti-white islander on charges of slaying a white magazine publisher.

Allen Grammer, 38, of Lake Hopatcong, N.J., editor and owner of the Virgin Islands View, was shot and killed Wednesday night when he stepped outside his house to investigate a fire in his car.

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Less than 10 hours later, police arrested Arthur Arthur Bevan Niles, 29, a taxi driver, and charged him with Grammer's murder. Niles also was charged with arson, for the fire mat lured Grammer to his death and the burning of a house and two rental rental cars parked at the airport.

Niles' first run-in with police came on the day of Dr. Martin Luther King's funeral when his cab was ordered off the streets because it was covered with "inflammatory statements" such as "kill the white pigs."

Police said they also had a charge of attempted arson pending against Niles in connection with an unexploded firebomb found earlier this week at the St. Thomas office of the International Telephone and Telegraph Company.

Grammer came to St. Thomas in 1954 from New Jersey. He was one of the island's most controversial figures, publishing strong attacks on what he termed "local insanities."

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