Interview with John Doar
QUESTION 46
INTERVIEWER:

COULD YOU TALK ABOUT HIS DEATH A LITTLE BIT IN TERMS OF OF, COULD YOU TALK ABOUT THE FUNERAL, AND THAT MASS MARCH, AND, AND THE, THE CONFRONTATION THAT CAME THAT DAY?

John Doar:

Well, I went to the funeral. And uh, because I knew Medgar. And uh, he was a friend, and uh, then uh, the his friends, people from all over the country came to the funeral wanted to have a march and they wanted to march up the main street in Jackson. I can't remember the name of the street, but it was, Jackson had one main street principally. And the police officials didn't want them to do that, they said that they could walk across and then walk into a side street where the uh, black restaurants and the black stores were where blacks congregated a side street which was the typical pattern in a Southern town in 1960. There was a street for whites and a street for blacks – and the black street was a side street and a 2nd class street. And the police permitted the par—the marchers, the memorial march to cross the main street, but then finish up in the side street where the b—the black shops were. And it was a nice day, warm day, summer day, and uh, uh, I remember that there were a lot of kids around, and uh, and uh, uh, it was a friendly, but there was a lot of people milling around the streets and then some kids, I don't know who they were decided that they would march up the main street. And so they started back along toward the main street of Jackson and when they got to the corner of this side street that I've described, and the main street, the police put up a road block, put up a line of people and, and, block, and said you can't, you can't march on the main street of Jackson, Mississippi. And, so you had a line of police and you had a line of kids, or 3 lines of kids, and they were 2 or 3 feet apart and the, the kids were singing and agitating, and yelling and shouting and complaining and, and uh, then who pushed who first, I can't tell you but the police started to reach out and grab one, five, six of these kids and throw ‘em in the paddy wagon. And uh, uh, they uh, got the… that stopped. And then they decided that they would clear the street. This, this is the city police of Jackson. And they started to move along this side street uh, and to disperse the crowd. Uh, as uh, they moved further and further into the side street, and I was there observing as a representative of the Justice Department, and, and as they moved farther down the street, kids started to throw bottles and rocks from nobody was uh, close to getting hurt, and the city police were disciplined and controlled and moving slowly up the street in a line across the entire block. And when they got about a block up the street, the uh, the county uh, Sheriff's Office, uh supplemented this line of police with County Deputies and they had guns, shot guns, and uh, my, I didn't think that uh, they had the discipline that the City police officers did. And uh, so half a block down the street, a, a, black kid had come out of the crowd and throw a bottle and it had bounced in front of this line of police and the glass had skidded into them, or a rock had come out or a brick had come out and it had hit, hit the street in front of ‘em and skidded into em, and uh, I was just afraid that if this kept on that somebody was really going to get hurt because I didn't have any confidence in the discipline of those county officers. So I walked through the, the uh, the line of police and walked out and persuaded everybody to stop.