Interview with James L. Hicks
QUESTION 5
INTERVIEWER:

NOW GETTING BACK TO THE TIME PERIOD OF THE FIFTIES, WHEN YOU SET OUT AS A REPORTER TO COVER THE TIL TRIAL. WHAT KIND OF PRECAUTIONS DID YOU TAKE BEFORE GOING INTO THE SOUTH. CAN YOU DESCRIBE FOR US, WHAT IT WAS LIKE FOR BLACKS IN THE SOUTH AT THAT TIME.

James L. Hicks:

Well, you asked me how, what situations that we encountered going in, a, after the war. This was a situation that we sighted up, one of the greatest editors I've ever seen, who, he was a black man who trained in Heidelberg for some reason, I don't know, but he was the publisher and editor of the Afro-American papers and one of the rays, on, one of the things that we agreed upon was that, number one, if I were going to a city or town that was, loaded with race hatred, that the first report that I would get into was to go to the FBI office and ask them, could I make a phone call from there. I mean I would ask them, what was the, what was the situation regarding so and so and so and so, but the point of actually visiting was that I would ask the agent to allow me to use his phone and then I would call Carl Murphy in Baltimore and I would say that I'm in the FBI office and I wanted to know so and so, and so and so, and we'd go ahead on with that. So he said, he would say, you in the FBI office, and a, you in Memphis, or wherever it was, that I was there, and this would be recorded and so that when and if I would disappear, the paper would be able to say the last word that I heard from him, was, he was in the offices of the FBI. And this was something that worked out to a good degree because I think the FBI knew what we were doing at that time.