Interview with Ruby Sales

OK, tell us, I assume this is your first arrest, so tell us a little bit about that.


Well, ah, we were at that demonstration that day in Fort Deposit because we had had a mass meeting the night before and the local people in Lowndes County decided that they wanted to demonstrate to, to bring to public attention the issues around voters' registration and the violence of the county there. So we went down to, ah, Fort Deposit, which was another county seat. And, ah, ostensibly, we, we thought that we were just going to go to a demonstration, we had no idea what would meet us when we got there. And when we got there, we meaning SNCC people, Stokely Carmichael, Bob Manns, myself, ah, Jean Wiley who came to, ah, report and to write up what was happening and when we got there, suddenly out of nowhere there were, there were White men with guns, with baseball bats, with the tops of garbage cans and they surrounded us and, and literally there was no place to go. You were sort of hemmed in by all of this. And I was on the tail end of the line when that happened. So I had an opportunity, I was faced with a choice at that point. I could have easily slipped away and pretended that I was a part of the crowd that was standing there or I could have continued to march around in the circle with the demonstrators. Well I decided that I would, I was really very afraid, but I decided that I would continue to march around in the circles with the, in the circle with the demonstrators. And I kept watching Jean Wiley because she had been my teacher at Tuskegee and I, I looked up to her. So I kept watching to make sure that she was OK, because she was outside of the circle. And I looked up and I saw her moving away from the crowd, moving away from the circle, ah, backing away with her front towards us but backing back. And later on I asked her what had happened. And she told me that, ah, some of the men there with guns had told her that she should leave or they were going to kill her. And she decided that she, she would leave but she would not walk with her back to them because if they shot her she didn't want her parents or her family to think that she had been shot running. So she, that's why she was moving that way and so, ah, they began to snatch and pull us and, and threaten us and told us that we were under arrest. And one of the guys there, I don't remember who he was, said that if we didn't come with him, he couldn't be responsible for what might happen. So we were all put on this truck and we were taken to jail. Ah,, and we didn't know where we were going. So of course there was that tremendous sense that something horrible was going to happen. We were--didn't know where we were going. We didn't know what jail we were going. But in some weird ways I think we felt some degree of relief because at least we had gotten away from that kind of mob scene that, that was happening there.


OK, let's just stop down--