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Box 3 contains fragile original materials and is restricted; reference photocopies must be used instead.
This collection consists of correspondence, legal documents, legislation, pamphlets, and newsclippings pertaining to the Tougaloo Nine library sit-in and other Mississippi civil-rights demonstrations and protests, especially during the early 1960s. Assembled by the Tougaloo College Archives, the collection focuses on three subject areas that are defined in the following series: Tougaloo Nine Sit-In Papers; Tougaloo Nine Reunion Papers; and Related Civil-Rights Issues Papers. Series one focuses on the Tougaloo Nine sit-in at the public library in downtown Jackson in 1961; series two concerns the Tougaloo Nine reunion in 1991; and series three pertains to other civil-rights demonstrations by Jackson State or Tougaloo students.
Cite as: T/031: Tougaloo Nine Collection.
The Tougaloo Nine were a group of students who attended Tougaloo Southern Christian College (now Tougaloo College) in Tougaloo, Madison County, Mississippi, during the early 1960s. The members of the group were Ethel Sawyer (Adolphe), Meredith Coleman Anding, Jr., James Cleo Bradford, Alfred Lee Cook, Jeraldine Edwards (Hollis), Joseph Jackson, Jr., Albert Earl Lassiter, Evelyn Pierce, and Janice L. Jackson (Vails). On March 27, 1961, the Tougaloo Nine students staged the first sit-in at the downtown branch of the public library in Jackson, Mississippi. The municipal library system was segregated, and certain branches were off-limits to African Americans. The nine students were members of the North Jackson Youth Council of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
When the librarians asked the students to leave, they refused to obey and were arrested and jailed for thirty-two hours. The Tougaloo Nine students were tried in municipal court and found guilty of disturbing the peace. They were each given a thirty-day suspended sentence and ordered to pay a fine of one hundred dollars. Demonstrations and protests erupted in Jackson following the Tougaloo Nine incident. On March 27th, fifty students from Jackson State College (now Jackson State University) met that evening to protest the arrest and jailing of the Tougaloo Nine students. Police officers were sent to break up the campus demonstration. The next day, three hundred students from Jackson State and Tougaloo assembled at College Hill Baptist Church in Jackson and staged another demonstration. On March 29th, one hundred Jackson residents assembled to protest the trial of the students. Police officers were again dispatched to break up the demonstration, and their crowd-control measures included the use of police dogs.
In response, many state legislators argued for the allocation of additional funds to the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, an agency that promoted segregation and investigated the activities of civil-rights groups. State Senator Earl Evans, Jr., however, believed that sit-ins were inevitable and criticized the Sovereignty Commission for provoking civil-rights activism. In contrast, Tougaloo president Adam Daniel Beittel acted benignly towards the students, allowing them to return to school and refusing to punish them, even when pressured to do so by white business and church leaders in Jackson. Tougaloo chaplain John Mangram, advisor to the Tougaloo Nine, publicly supported the students. During the 1960s, Tougaloo students worked closely with the NAACP Youth Council and were involved in various civil-rights protests. In the fall of 1961, Tougaloo students held a rally to protest segregation practices at the Mississippi State Fair.
A year later, Tougaloo students and their advisor, Professor John R. Salter, Jr., demonstrated against segregated businesses on Capitol Street in downtown Jackson. In 1963, an integrated group of Tougaloo students staged a sit-in at the Woolworth lunch counter in Jackson to protest against unfair seating at the facility. That same year, three Tougaloo students, Ida Hannah, Bette Poole, and Julie Zaugg, attempted to integrate the Capitol Street Methodist Church in Jackson. The students were arrested, jailed, fined, and sentenced to a year in jail on trespassing charges. They appealed their convictions in United States District Court case Bette Poole, et al., v. Ross R. Barnett, et al.