Police officers escort the marchers along Broadway and Main Street (today Martin Luther King Drive) to the municipal recreation center where they allow a tent encampment.
Copies of northern newspapers aren't available in rural Mississippi and most marchers are too busy with voter-registration, tent setup, canvassing, dinner, rallies, blistered feet, and mass meetings — and too exhausted — to catch the national TV news broadcasts, syndicated talk shows, and network "special reports." So they have little sense of the stormy media sensation sparked by the "Black Power" call.
At the time the Meredith March enters the Delta, mechanical equipment is now harvesting almost 95% of the cotton crop, replacing Black "pickers," and herbicides are clearing the weeds that "choppers" used to control by hand with hoes.
In every drama there has to be an antagonist and a protagonist, and if the antagonist is not there the press will find and build one. — Martin Luther King.
In 1966, the is still the most liberal of that city's major daily newspapers, yet in a June 9 column titled "Black Power on the March," Pete Hamill comments from Senatobia:
The idea of Martin Luther King marching against fear in Mississippi was an idea whose time had come, and many people responded from throughout the state.
The question was not whether one should use his gun when his home was attacked, but whether it was tactically wise to use a gun while participating in an organized demonstration. — Martin Luther King King, Deacons, CORE, SNCC, MFDP, and most of the others in the room come to a consensus that for strategic and tactical reasons the actual marchers on the road will be unarmed and nonviolent in the face of police harassment or attack — but the Deacons will guard them from white terrorists like Aubrey Norvell, Byron de la Beckwith, and other Klan killers.
Considering what we have learned of the role they have played in the aftermathof the assassination of the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King and VincentFoster, the temptation to engage in sarcasm at this point is almostirresistible.
And the defamation was quickly snatched up and embellished by all those newspaper columnists and radio and TV commentators who march in closed ranks behind the Communist party line.(p.
The keynote speeches are given by NAACP leaders Thurgood Marshall and Roy Wilkins both of whom snub King, SNCC, CORE, and SCLC by completely ignoring the roll of protest and direct action in the Civil Rights Movement while posing legislation and litigation as the only legitimate and viable civil rights strategies.
King convenes another summit meeting of Meredith March leaders in Yazoo City to address the "widening split in our ranks" — particularly the increasingly bitter division over Black Power between SNCC and SCLC staff and the strident condemnations of nonviolence and calls for aggressive Black violence by some of the most militant speakers at recent mass meetings.
When it is not our security that is at stake, but questionable and vague commitments to reactionary regimes, values disintegrate into foolish and adolescent slogans." — Martin Luther King.
As both the war and the anti-war movement expand, the different positions championed by King and CORE/SNCC are visibly evident at the large mass marches opposing the war that take place with increasing frequency in Washington, New York, San Francisco, and elsewhere.
I further urge that the United Nations be empowered with the authority to mediate this conflict in negotiations involving all parties, including the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam." — Martin Luther King. Compared to the recently released "Declaration of Conscience" from the Assembly of Unrepresented People and the uncompromising of the McComb branch of the MFDP, King's positions are mild and well within the scope of traditional Christian, pro-peace, anti-war theology.