Interview with Erle Johnston
QUESTION 41
INTERVIEWER:

YOU SEE WHAT I'M TRYING TO GET AT, BASICALLY. HOW DID PEOPLE FEEL ABOUT ALL THESE STUDENTS, FOR THE MOST PART, COMING INTO THE STATE IN '64?

Erle Johnston:

Mississippi in general they were, of course fearful of the students coming in from Ohio after they'd been through a staging area because they didn't know what to expect, they didn't know whether they were going to come in here and be violent or they were going to come in here and not be violent or what they were going to do to incite violence, or what they were going to do to cause any further tension among the races that already existed. For the most part, I think that Mississippians did leave to law enforcement personnel, but their responsibilities did arise when they came in, because what they were trying to do was integrate in groups anything that that time was segregated whether it be a, a restaurant, or a library, or a swimming pool or whatever, and fortunately, I think that the the violence was held to a minimum. Many of them really just wanted to go through the motions of doing it, and then when police would come along and lead them away, why that was okay, they, they had a lot of them down at the fairgrounds I believe, they created some temporary detention facilities, I'd call it for a lot of those people because they willingly went along, they didn't fight the police, they just went ahead and made their pitch and made their stand, and I think we were really very fortunate that there was not more violence than did occur.