Freedomways Reader: Prophets in Their Own Country

By Esther Cooper Jackson; Constance Pohl | Go to book overview

3
Southern Youth's Proud Heritage, No. 1, 1964

AUGUSTA STRONG

Augusta Strong, a Freedomways editor, had been a member of the Southern Negro Youth Congress. This is an excerpt from a longer article.

. . . One summer in 1931, a frail tubercular youth was stopped on a Birmingham street by a cruising police car; an accusing finger within pointed him out as the man who had shot three white women, killing two. The sole mark of identification was the hat he was wearing. Guilt was a matter of course.

Only testimony by doctors that he was in the hospital ward bed at the time of the crime saved him from the death penalty. But before this point was reached, seventy Negro men and women had lost their lives, victims of white mob violence in the ensuing hysteria. As for the youth, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by his southern judges.

A few miles away in Paint Rock, Alabama, nine boys from fourteen to twenty-two were seized by police on a freight car they were

-16-

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