Interview with Evelyn Smith Munro
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Can you tell me about the near lynching in Earle with Howard Kester and Goldberg.


Well, another one of my adventures in the field was the day that I went with Howard Kester, who was an Evangelical preacher, Presbyterian I think, and Goldberg, who was the union's lawyer. We went from Memphis to a little town, Earle, Arkansas where there was to be a meeting of the union in a small church. I wanted to go in but Kester and Goldberg insisted that I stay in the car and lock the car securely before they went in. They knew that there might be violence. I knew that there might be violence, because the night before we had met with some people and they were afraid. They had wanted to fight back and we had counseled them to be absolutely passive, passive resistance if anything, but at least not to fight back. So as I was sitting, they'd just gone into the church, I saw a group of riding bosses, men dressed in khaki and carrying clubs coming down the road, and I knew this was going to be it. Almost immediately after they went in to the little church the windows burst open, and the glass was shattering and people were jumping out, and in a little while, I saw them strike people. I saw them strike one old man. I vividly remember that. People were just running and getting away as fast as they could. And then two men came out, one on each side of Kester and Goldberg, and brought them to the car, put them in it, got on the running board
** —we still had running boards in those days—and drove us out of town. I remember it because I had the feeling, and I know we'd heard of lynches and seen pictures of them, but this was the first time I knew what it might be really like, because there was a palpable feeling of hate and fear.
** It was pretty terrible. They stopped, finally, out of town, near the border, and somehow reason prevailed, and they threatened us with worse than death if we ever came back and left us at the border between Arkansas and Memphis.
** We left. I think it was possibly because I was a woman and all that legend of Southern chivalry that may have prevented there being a lynching, but I was as close to one as I ever want to be.