News from the Southern Conference Educational Fund, October 6, 1960

News from the Southern Conference Educational Fund, October 6, 1960

Transcript

NEWS from Southern Conference Educational Fund, Inc.
822 Perdido Street, New Orleans 12, La.
October 6, 1960
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--The Florida Supreme Court at Tallahassee has refused to free Richard F. Parker, a white student who is serving a 90-day sentence for taking part in sit-in demonstrations here during August.
Parker sits in jail with a broken jaw received when he was slugged by a segregationist after the riots which followed the sit-ins. Unable to eat solid food, he lost 25 pounds during the first 35 days he was imprisoned. Because of his belief in the philosophy of [nonviolence], Parker refuses to prosecute his attacker.
The student's attorneys plan to appeal to the federal courts to release Parker. They contend that his sentencing on a vagrancy charge violates his rights under the First, Fifth and and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Parker himself points out that he was in no sense a vagrant. He had funds in a local bank, was on vacation as a student from Florida State University, Tallahassee, and had a room in a local hotel when arrested.
Jacksonville police admit they arrested Parker when he was sitting along in a white restaurant waiting for a cup of coffee. They had been watching him for 10 days because he was the only white person who had the courage to join Negro students in sit-ins.
Parker took part in sit-ins on August 25 and 26. On August 27 the White Citizens Council brought on a riot by flooding the downtown section with hoodlums armed with ax handles and baseball bats. Police officials say they were unable to restrain these men because of a manpower shortage.
Parker was arrested the day after the riot by officers who had


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NEWS from Southern Conference Educational Fund, Inc.
822 Perdido Street, New Orleans 12, La.
October 6, 1960
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--The Florida Supreme Court at Tallahassee has refused to free Richard F. Parker, a white student who is serving a 90-day sentence for taking part in sit-in demonstrations here during August.
Parker sits in jail with a broken jaw received when he was slugged by a segregationist after the riots which followed the sit-ins. Unable to eat solid food, he lost 25 pounds during the first 35 days he was imprisoned. Because of his belief in the philosophy of [nonviolence], Parker refuses to prosecute his attacker.
The student's attorneys plan to appeal to the federal courts to release Parker. They contend that his sentencing on a vagrancy charge violates his rights under the First, Fifth and and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Parker himself points out that he was in no sense a vagrant. He had funds in a local bank, was on vacation as a student from Florida State University, Tallahassee, and had a room in a local hotel when arrested.
Jacksonville police admit they arrested Parker when he was sitting along in a white restaurant waiting for a cup of coffee. They had been watching him for 10 days because he was the only white person who had the courage to join Negro students in sit-ins.
Parker took part in sit-ins on August 25 and 26. On August 27 the White Citizens Council brought on a riot by flooding the downtown section with hoodlums armed with ax handles and baseball bats. Police officials say they were unable to restrain these men because of a manpower shortage.
Parker was arrested the day after the riot by officers who had

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Parker--page 2
been sent especially to look for him. Police accused him of instigating the sit-ins and thus bringing on the riots. On Aug. 29 he was given the jail sentence and taken to a temporary cage to await transfer to jail. He was sitting on a bench in the cage when he was struck by the segregationist, who shouted a racial epithet as he hit Parker.
The student's jaw was shattered and several teeth knocked out. His mouth is still wired up and he is unable to eat anything but food in liquid form. However, his spirits are good and he has been strengthened in his belief that he is doing right.
"I've always felt this way," he said. "I've always had a feeling for the Negroes. I've always thought they were not given rights they were entitled to as American citizens."
Friends in Orlando, Fla., who attended church and school with Parker say that the student "always had a feeling for the underdog. There was nothing he wouldn't do to help others. Some people said he was silly for feeling this way, but that did not stop him."
Two Negro attorneys here are contributing their services in efforts to free Parker. They feel that if his conviction is allowed to stand, it will constitute a threat to other sit-in participants in Florida and throughout the South.
These lawyers are Earl M. Johnson and Ernest D. Jackson, 410 Broad Street, Jacksonville, to whom funds may be sent to help in processing an appeal for Parker.
Parker himself needs books to read and money with which to buy extra milk. He also needs letters of encouragement from people who believe in him. His address is Duval County Jail, Jacksonville, Fla.
He will be there until the end of November unless the courts heed his plea for freedom.

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SOUTHERN CONFERENCE EDUCATIONAL FUND, INC.
SUITE 404, 822 PERDIDO ST., NEW ORLEANS 12, LA.
Miss Patricia Stephens
P. O. Box 1003
Tallahassee, Fla.
Form 3547 Requested

Source

State Archives of Florida: Collection N2015-1, Box 01, Folder 8

Description

This leaflet from the Southern Christian Educational Fund provides updates regarding the condition of Richard Parker, a white civil rights activist in Jacksonville whose jaw was broken by segregationists. Parker was unable to eat solid foods during his time in jail, having received poor medical care to mend his jaw.