Interview with Ivanhoe Donaldson


Ivanhoe Donaldson:

Well, you always have trouble with the law in Mississippi and especially people who work in direct action, and voter registration or blacks who were struggling for any sense of justice and human rights. We had a few adventures. One of them was prior to Christmas of ‘‘62 when Ben and I arrived in Clarksville with a truckload of food in the wee hours of the morning around 2:00-3:00 a.m. in the morning we got there. And everyone had gone home and gone to be the store was locked, we didn't remember how to get to Doc's house so we simply parked the truck in front of the drugstore and cracked the windows and went to sleep. About two or three hours later, around 5:00 a.m. the police woke us up we were harassed and juggled around and thrown in jail. And were locked up there for about five days before anybody even knew that we were locked up and people knew that we disappeared. We had sent a note and the county jails in Mississippi they use prisoners to do local labor. And one of the jobs was collect money out of the parking meters. And I met this guy in a bunk beside me who was going to collect money on Fourth Street where Doc's store is; I gave him a little note—saying you know, "Doc, I'm in jail, help, Ivanhoe." And [laughter] about three or four days later he was later to get a message back to us. It eventually became a fairly large case down there but we were gotten out of jail by a writ of habeas corpus by the NAACP Inc. Fund, filed in federal court and we had a $15,000 apiece bail bond and we got beat up a couple of times while we were down there. The charges were based around the concept that we were taking narcotics across state lines but what we had were aspirins and bandages as parts of first aid kits for people who might need, you know some kind of medical help.