THE WOOLWORTH SIT-IN (WITH
NEW MATERIAL, 2012)
Our Woolworth Sit-In, Jackson Mississippi, 5/28/63 was
the most violently attacked sit-in of the '60s and the most publicized. Involving a
White mob of several hundred, it went on for several hours while hostile police from
Jackson's huge all-White police department stood by approvingly outside and while hostile
FBI agents inside (in sun-glasses) "observed." Seated, left to right are
Hunter Gray (John R. Salter, Jr.) -- Native American; Joan Trumpauer (now Mulholland), a
White Southern student at our private Black college, Tougaloo College [one of two White
students at Tougaloo]; Anne Moody, Black, from Wilkinson County, Mississippi. I,
Gray [Salter] was a very young Tougaloo professor; and Joan and Anne were my
students. All of us are covered with sugar, salt, mustard, and other slop. I
was beaten many times -- fists, brass knuckles, and a broken glass sugar container -- and
am covered with blood.
We have published -- on this page and the next --
three of the best photos of the sit-in.
This first photo is the most famous sit-in photo of
the '60s -- frequently depicted over the decades in exhibits, television documentaries,
books and magazines -- and has recently appeared in many "end of the Century"
photo books [e.g., Life The Way We Were: Decades Of The Twentieth Century, Time
Inc., 1999 -- where it is The civil rights photo in the book] and extensive
narrative/photo discussions of the times [e.g., The American Century, by Harold
Evans, Knopf, 1999], and many others.
The new enlarged and updated
edition of my book, JACKSON MISSISSIPPI: AN AMERICAN CHRONICLE OF
STRUGGLE AND SCHISM, is now fully available for purchase. The
publisher is Bison Books/University of
BOOK IS THE ONLY FULLY DETAILED ACCOUNT OF THE HISTORIC AND MASSIVE JACKSON
MOVEMENT OF 1962-63.
(FOLLOWING THAT IS MORE COMMENTARY ON THE WOOLWORTH SIT IN -- AND MORE PHOTOS ON
THE FOLLOWING PAGE.)
The new enlarged and
updated edition of my book, JACKSON MISSISSIPPI: AN AMERICAN
CHRONICLE OF STRUGGLE AND SCHISM, is now fully available for
purchase. The publisher is Bison Books/University of
The initial Introduction in the two earlier editions has been
replaced by one written by me: "On The River Of No Return." This is, in
many ways, a large, additional chapter [about 9500 words] which
up-dates Mississippi, discusses our family's always
interesting experiences since the first edition of JM appeared
in 1979, and contains supplemental autobiographical material. And, of
course, it also contains something of my reflections as a life-long
social justice organizer.
For Eldri and the Family -- truly a Golden Horde
And in memory of Doris and Ben Allison and Medgar Wiley Evers
Thus this will likely be my basic
autobiographical memoir. As a corollary to that, however, I must
say that my health is fine.
The University of Nebraska Press is one of the largest
university presses in the country.
Here is their announcement of Jackson, Mississippi: (Click on
the photo and it'll get bigger.)
Hunter Bear (Hunter Gray / John R. Salter, Jr.)
James Loewen (author of Lies My
Teacher Told Me and other works), November 9 2012:
presents a vivid insider's view of the Jackson boycott movement,
the demonstrations that led to mass arrests, the actions of
courageous young people, and the murder of Medgar Evers and the
incredible tension of his funeral march. As you would expect,
given that Salter was and is a sociologist and a radical, it
also contains penetrating analyses of the role of each acting
group, including the national office of the NAACP, black
ministers, the city government and police force, White Citizens
Council, etc. And it shows the important role played by Tougaloo,
some of its students and faculty members (including Prof.
Salter), and its president, A. D. Beittel.
MARTIN LUTHER KING AND FOUR NATIVE
RIGHTS ACTIVISTS -- INCLUDING MYSELF -- HONORED BY NATIONAL INDIAN
GAMING ASSOCIATION (INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY, JANUARY 16, 2012)
Thanks very much indeed
to Ernest Stevens, Jr. and NIGA (National Indian Gaming
Association) for honoring Dr King and the four Native civil
rights activists and leaders. I'm greatly pleased to be
included in this group, some of whom I've met and with whom
I've worked at various points. Hunter Gray (John R Salter,
COMMENT BY HUNTER GRAY/JOHN R SALTER JR ON MAY 23 2005 [TO LOUIS PROYECT AND
FRIENDS OF HUNTER BEAR]
Thanks very much, Louis, for posting this and
for your kind accompanying
comment. It's a well known photo, appearing regularly over the decades --
mostly in the 'States but often abroad. Here in Pocatello [and much
elsewhere as well] a well known high school history book carries it
This and other photos of the "situation" involve a mostly youthful group of
vigorous physical critics -- at least at that moment, thugs -- but also
adult Klan types and, wearing dark classes, what we have always been sure
were FBI agents. In the milling throng was Lucy Komisar, spending several
months with our Movement and the Mississippi Free Press [which a number of
us had launched late in '61], and now a well known journalist out of NYC.
[She is clearly seen in the background of another photo, one of several on
our large website.]
The hostile throng, inside and out, came to number several hundred at least.
I have always found it difficult to blame the kids in the mob -- at least
beyond a certain point. One of the things I consistently did was to study
Deep South history, sociology, culture. I knew where they were coming from
and that awareness, which convicts the Big Mules and their opportunistic
racist political allies, also makes it tough to be too hard on those kids.
Beba [John] in more recent times has been with me when we have had
interesting discussions in Mississippi with former adversaries. In long
time, even former Gov. Ross R Barnett used to convey his regards and
sympathy through a mutual friend to "Professor Salter" --" 'way up there in
that awful North Dakota". [Southerners of whatever ethnicity have been
consistently horrified by the N.D. winters.]
And then, of course, there are those to whom Rhett Butler's comment to
Scarlett certainly applies, "The Old Guard dies but it never surrenders."
Soon after the Brown deseg decision in '54, the white Citizens Council
movement -- middle and upper echelon class-wise -- began in Mississippi and,
quickly pervasive, captured the state with its clarion call, "States'
Rights, Racial Integrity." It spread across the South, not always
pervasively, but in consistently sinister and influential fashion. In due
course, among its many poisonous branches and leaves, was its "curriculum"
for the white grade schools. In early years, kids were taught that "blue
birds play with blue birds only" and "chickens do not mix." Quack nonsense
then explained this latter by indicating that, if one took 100 chickens, 50
of them white and the other 50 black, they would naturally segregate
themselves. In lessons designed for the later grades, kids were told that
"[White] Southerners built America," "[White] Southerners are the true
patriots", "Race-Mixers are Communists," "Race-Mixers want to destroy the
South and America."
And the products of that hideous catechism graced that Woolworth Store [and
many other battle lines] for hours on that fateful day, May 28, 1963, at
As Ever, H
(Our very full page on my book, Jackson
Mississippi, plus some more on the Woolworth Sit In, can be found at
LOKI'S BLOG: THE VIOLENT JACKSON SIT-IN --
AND HIS LAST WEEK'S VISIT TO US GRAYS
(HUNTER GRAY JULY 30 2011)
These are two
not-long blog posts from Loki Mulholland. Loki, who lives in
Utah, is the son of Joan Mulholland, well known for her role in
the Freedom Rides and our Woolworth Sit-In at Jackson [and for
many other good things.] Loki is a quite accomplished
film writer and director with several very good pieces of work
to his credit. He is presently working on a film, "An Ordinary
Hero." based on his mother's most interesting career. It's
expected to emerge in 2013.
A week ago, Loki and his good
spouse, Shieleen, came here for a very pleasant visit. It's not
often that people from afar make it up here to us. Admittedly,
our life on this hill has become somewhat insular and, given
some very hostile reactions to our existence here in Idaho, we
are reasonably watchful and wary. [All of my several firearms
are discreetly out of sight, however.] We hadn't seen Loki for
awhile but, although a few years can sometimes pass between
direct visits, good friends, upon meeting again, can always
bridge that superficial chronology. That certainly happened in
Sitting Down to Take a Stand
on Jun 21, 2011 in
“Right there at my feet was Memphis Norman. They were
kicking his head in.” The scene was still vivid for Bill
Minor forty-eight years later as he retold part of the
The Woolworth Lunch Counter Sit-in… there were others
before it but this one seemed to set the world on fire
because of Fred Blackwell’s visceral photographs. You could
almost hear the screams and taunts from the angry crowd as
those at the counter seem to almost pay them no mind.
John, Joan and Anne… just sitting there and taking it.
John Salter (he would later change it to his ancestral
name – Hunter Gray) is one of the coolest cats I know. He’s
not a small guy. He’s tough as nails and could’ve taken any,
if not all, of the mob. He had been through worse. Blood
(from brass knuckles to the head) mixed with salt and
ketchup run down his neck and shoulder.
Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, her head turned possibly
saying something to Anne, as someone is about to pour
something else on her.
And Anne Moody looking tired and almost resigned to
the fact that they just might not making it out of there
This was just a snapshot, a moment in time and that’s
how I, like many others, came to know of the sit-in. This
photo was just one moment of three people trying to make
life better. There were, I think, 13 people in all. When
others were dragged out more came to take their place.
They volunteered for this. From what I understand, the
mob was already there when Joan, John and others heard what
was happening, came down, saw the mob and worked their way
through so they could sit down and take their beatings. I
always thought they came in, sat down and then the mob
showed up (which did happen with the first wave of
protestors) but no, this group had to work their way through
the mob for the privilege of being attacked.
Joan was pulled by her hair and dragged out. She
wrestled herself free and went back through the mob and sat
back down at the counter. It went on for more than three
This is what I know of my mom and the Civil Rights
Movement. The other sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, death row at
Parchman, the Klan threats, etc. are all relatively new to
me. Maybe I heard the stories before and just didn’t
remember them but the sit-in with its photographs… I
Returning to Jackson, Mississippi for the Freedom
Riders 50th Anniversary I was able to walk over
to Capitol Street where Woolworth used to stand. It was torn
down in the name of progress with some gleaming office built
in its place. I was disappointed. I don’t know why I thought
it would still be there or why I was hoping it would.
There’s no marker to tell you it was once there or
what took place but it was there and it took place.
Forty-eight years ago Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, along with
others, knowingly risked their lives, voluntarily walked
through an angry mob and sat down at a lunch counter to
stand up for their fellow man.
Loki Mulholland – Writer/Director
(Read Anne Moody’s and John Salter’s books – “Coming
of Age in Mississippi” and “Jackson, Mississippi”)
The Great Bear
on Jul 25, 2011 in
When John Salter, of Scottish and Native American
ancestry, was 18 he shot his “coming-of-age” bear in the
mountains of Arizona. It was a massive specimen that took
six bullets to bring down. It wasn’t going to go down easy
and definitely not without a fight. Only one of them was
going to make it out of those mountains alive. I’m sure some
of the Spirit of that animal passed to John because John
truly is one of the great bears.
There are some people out there that no matter what
they’re going to fight to the bitter end. They’re going to
do whatever it takes to make certain they did all they
could. You have to admire people like that. It takes a
special kind of character to see things through and to never
give in on what you know is right. Sometimes there’s a
stubbornness to them that can be seen as almost irrational
but when you truly understand that person you know it’s just
who they are and you probably wouldn’t want them any other
way. John Salter is one of those people.
My wife and I took the opportunity to see him and his
wife, Eldri this weekend. Life got busy and too many years
had passed but when I recently spoke with him on the phone I
knew I had to pay him a visit. For several years John had
Lupus. The operative word in that sentence is “had”. I
guess, genetically, it will always be there but all his
blood tests would say otherwise and his doctors couldn’t
tell you why. And so we took off for Idaho to pay an old
friend a visit.
I had hoped to interview John for the documentary
because of his massive involvement in Jackson back in the
1960s but had written that off when I first realized I was
going to do this in the Spring of last year but a few weeks
ago I wrote a blog post mentioning John and felt impressed
to call him. To my surprise he sounded like the old John,
the one before Lupus, and I told him as much. He chuckled
and said, “Well, didn’t your mother tell you?”
Back in the 90s, I had the privilege of spending a
summer with John and Eldri when they were still in North
Dakota. John was teaching at the University in Grand Forks
and was very active in righting some injustices. He has a
long history of that, dating back to his work fighting the
mining companies. You spend enough time with someone and
they’re bound to either grow on you or send you running in
the other direction. We decided we liked each other.
And so, here I was with my wife in John and Eldri’s
living room catching up on things when I asked John when he
knew things were changing with his Lupus. He said it was
around April of last year. I looked at my wife and she
smiled back at me.
John and I hold the same belief that things happen for
a reason even when we don’t always know why but there’s a
Creator and He knows what He’s doing and that’s alright by
us. You see, I had written off ever interviewing John for
the documentary because of his Lupus (he had been at death’s
door at least a couple of times with it) and lamented that
fact because, aside from my mother, Joan Trumpauer
Mulholland, John was the one person I really wanted to
interview. So, when I called him several weeks ago you can
imagine my surprise when he sounded great and he related his
Alas, our visit was a short one. We only had a an hour
or so since I had to be back in Utah for a shoot that
evening but it was the best hour and a half I’ve had in some
time. We talked about a lot of things. Some related to the
Civil Rights Movement and some were just catching on each
Next to me on a table were two magazines John receives
as a member of their organization. I laughed when I saw them
because I thought they summed up John pretty well. One was
for Lupus and the other was for the NRA.
Loki Mulholland – Writer/Director
AND FROM MY NEWSPAPER EDITOR SON, PETER
When I was working as a writing coach in St. Louis in
September, my old boss saw the sit-in photo on my laptop. I'd downloaded it
from a stock photo site. We talked for a few moments about the picture, and
how I'd tried contacting the photographer for a bigger print but hadn't
heard anything. Entire conversation took less than a minute.
Today, this came in the mail. My old boss worked with
his successor -- the current vice president for news for Lee Enterprises --
to get this printed, matted, framed and sent to Lincoln. A very nice gesture
indeed. I brought it home for the night to show Dawn and the boys, but I
plan to hang it in my office.
(I keep a small framed version of it, torn from the
New Yorker, on the wall of my cubicle in the middle of the newsroom, where I
spend most of time. It's right next to Carl Gorman's wild horse sketch.)
Later [Peter Gray Salter, copy of sit-in photo
HUNTER WRITES ON MARCH 19 2008
[EXCERPTED FROM A LARGER POST]:
Generalizations are inevitably
challenging when it comes to Humanity -- and certainly to the
behavioral positions of
the protagonists in a Cause as intense
as the Southern Civil Rights Movement whose legacy and the issues it
obviously remain very vital and viable
to this very moment, nationally.
In the wake of its greatest intensity
and a number of highly significant victories, people -- being people
-- began to
"rebuild" in the quite emotionally
drained South. And they have been doing so in the context of some
-- some --
new social arrangements. And, although
much distance -- regionally and nationally -- remains to be traveled
negative ethos of "the skeleton hand of
history" remains at one remove, those changes have been truly
And those changes will continue --
again, both regionally and nationally.
I've always felt -- and have tried to
act in accordance with that feeling -- that, while we learn much
from the past, it's critical
that we look to the future and the Sun.
Years ago, I wrote and placed this on the frontal portion of our
"We cannot run away from the Winds
of Challenge and Change. We have to take History and ride with it.
Always ahead, always toward the Sun. And always aware that Democracy
is natural and, given half a chance, it will always flourish. We
have big fish to fry and we're going to have to do it in an American
skillet -- over a long-burning fire from the timber of our own
That leaves, at least for me -- but also
for many other veterans of intense struggles of many kinds -- no
room for hate. And no room for a backpack loaded with old grudges
and old recriminations. Fight hard for sure -- but never forget or
ignore the essential Humanity of all of us.
So, again Bob, I much appreciate your
comment. That, along with the brief correspondence with the great
niece of the late Chief Deputy Sheriff of Madison County,
Mississippi, ["Out of a Strange Past, a Human Concern"], can be found
in the lower portion of this page:
Solidarity, Hunter [Hunter Bear]
AND THIS RESPONSE FROM PETER GRAY
I can't disagree with you, Pop. And there's probably
little good carrying around a backpack of new grudges,
But when I was younger, I used to study the sit-in photo
in the New Yorker, and fantasize about seeking revenge
against the punks in the crowd converging behind you.
Heading down to Mississippi and looking them up, one by one,
and letting them know who I was, who you were, and why I was
there. There was one in particular whose expression and
posture repulsed me. (Years later, I even thought it would
make a good magazine story pitch.)
But when I passed through Jackson two years ago with my
18-year-old son, we made a visit to the Woolworth site. It's
a grassy lot surrounded by high-rises and parking ramps,
gone like a rotten tooth. People were walking by drinking
Starbucks and talking on cell phones and not for a moment
realizing the gravity of the place.
And I thought: Well, shit. And then I thought: Well, this
is gone, and those faces in the photos have faded into old
men, but you're still here. Maybe not in Mississippi, or in
'that awful North Dakota.'
Continued With Additional
Photos And Commentary On Next Page