Interview with Casey Hayden
QUESTION 27
INTERVIEWER:

JUST RECONSTRUCT, YOU'RE MANNING THE PHONES WHEN THE FIRST REPORTS COME IN THAT, THAT THE GUYS ARE, HAVEN'T CALLED BACK.

Casey Hayden:

I'd come down from Oxford, came down on the bus with a bunch of volunteers, remember I was sitting at the front of the bus with Mindy Sampstein who I did a lot of work with, and uh, he and I were in the office in Jackson, we were in the, the Freedom Summer office which was a storefront, uh, somehow we had gotten a storefront together back during the freedom votes and for the summer we'd put in a lot of telephones and a lot of desks, we had these cubicles, it was real hot, it was super hot, we didn't have any fans. I remember somewhere later in the summer we got fans, which was a big deal. So it was very hot, and uh, the, you know the phone was ringing, people were calling in with reports and we got a call from Philadelphia, I guess I took the call, that uh, these guys had gone out and uh, hadn't called back. We had a system where people were to call in every half hour or to call in at appointed times, and if the call-in didn't come, then within fifteen minutes, whoever was receiving the call-ins was to call the Jackson office. And we had a security system we would then put into operation which involved calling the FBI and calling the Justice Department, calling the local police, uh, and in this case calling backup to Oxford where people were still training. So we did that and uh, we asked the people to call back in half an hour, let us know what was happening. And uh, they did, nothing was happening. And at that point, Mindy was in the office, uh, and at that point we uh, assumed that they were either in real danger or dead. Um, and we got the folks in Oxford on the phone and said "Well, it's almost an hour now and we really think that, you know, this is real trouble." And uh, Bob at that point, I unders—you know, started trying to do what he could and they—then they sort of took a lot of it over from Oxford and started calling Washington and trying to put pressure on the FBI through Washington to send some people out to check it out. And uh…