Article by James Hicks -

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Attack Is Described by Negro Newsman
Acton Helped Students to Enter, He Says


By James L. Hicks
Little Rock, Ark., Sept. 23 (AP)—The appearance of four of us Negro newspapermen helped the Negro students get into Central High School today—but we honestly didn’t plan it that way.

When I got to Little Rock from New York last night I went straight to the home of Mrs. L. C. Bates, local president of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People.

I met Alex Wilson of the Memphis Tri-State Defender and Moses Newsom of the Afro-American papers from Baltimore. We hired Early Davy, a Little Rock commercial photographer, to make pictures for us today.

Looked at Us Hard

It was agreed that the children would assemble at Mrs. Bates’ house at 8 o’clock this morning and go to school together.

This morning we showed up and intended to accompany the kids to the school but Mrs. Bates wouldn’t agree to it, saying it would cause too much attraction for the four of us to be with them.

We said, “Well, let us get there first.”

In Wilson’s car we drove to within two blocks of the school. It was about 8:30 a.m. by this time. The four of us started to walk up the hill to the school. On the way up there we met quite a few groups of people but no one said anything, just looked at us hard.

‘This Is Our School’

The big mob at the corner of the school ground caught sight of us approaching and someone said, “Here come the niggers.” They rushed at us. We stopped and a man told us, “Go back. You’re not coming in here. This is our school and we’re not letting any niggers in.”

I told him we were not trying to get into school, that we were newsmen. One man said, “They’re niggers. Let’s kill ‘em.”

A man with a rock in his hand swung at Wilson. Another clouted me behind the ear. We started backing up. Then Wilson was knocked down and got kicked. We started to run. The mob yelled to those we had passed to catch us.

Dragged Back

Davy was tripped and his camera smashed. He tried to crawl up a bank away from the men hitting him but two dragged him back. I ran on and saw Newsom and we both ran two more blocks and saw a cop come along on a motorcycle. We headed for him.

A white man kicked Newsom in the back in sight of the policeman and the cop told him, “Let that boy alone.”

A one-armed man was in front of the mob and kept urging them after us. When we rounded a corner the mob stopped but the one-armed man kept coming. We stopped and started back toward him. He yelled for help and then retreated.

Later we heard that while this was going on the kids slipped into the school safely.


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