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Responses to the Civil Rights Act of 1964

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964.

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Halifax County, VA

This Story Page will highlight some of the reactions to the Civil Rights Act and the integration attempts that followed.  The documents are taken from the Gazette-Virginian.       
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"Racial Bars Fall In Eating Places; Pool Incidents Averted"

Halifax County, VA

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The first article details the initial attempts at integration after the act.  The article states that "the racial bars at most eating places in the city and environs were dropped without incident."  On Sunday afternoon several African American youth stood outside of the all-white city pool in swim trunks and towels.  The youth did not attempt to enter the gate of the pool or purchase tickets and left with out incident.  Later in the afternoon a group of African American youth played basket ball on a court near the pool for over an hour.  Police kept watch in cruisers and a group of White teenager boys clustered near the court.  An unnamed public official stated that if attempts were made to integrate the pool the city would likely close both the White & Negro pool indefinitely.
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"Restaurant Owner Wants To See Law"

Halifax County, VA

Page 1

The second article explains the reaction of restaurant owner John Vonetes.  Vonetes stated that "he would not admit Negroes until he obtained legal advice".  African American David Gunter was refused admission on Friday night. Gunter was a Virginia State College official who led a month-long boycott against segregated businesses.  In Hopewell two drug stores closed their soda fountains rather than desegregate.  

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"Hotel Closes In Jackson"

Jackson, MI

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The third article states that Jackson Mississippi's Robert E. Lee Hotel closed down on Monday rather than submit to the Civil Rights Act.  "%u2018This business, privately owned, was named in honor of Gen. Robert E. Lee, a renowned Confederate hero and a true gentleman of the Old South,' a statement said."
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"Negroes Integrate White Pool; No Pool Policy Made"

Halifax County, VA

Page 1

Nineteen Days after the Civil Rights Act was signed into law four African American Youth integrated a white swimming pool.  The pool was closed for three days for cleaning.  Vice-Mayor Sam Patterson served as acting mayor while Mayor Wyatt W. Wall was on vacation.  The pools were to remain open as long as segregation was maintained.  If any integration attempts were made again, the police had orders to shut down all city pools until the City Council could develop a policy on the issue.

"Under the law, Patterson said, the city cannot stop Negroes from entering the pool.  He indicated, however, that the city is under no obligation to maintain public swimming facilities."

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"Pools Closed After Second Attempt By Neroes to Wade-In"

Halifax County, VA

Page 1

"Two Negro girls showed up at the white pool off Hodges Street about 1:30 pm, Tuesday, and pool lifeguards, acting on orders, immediately began draining the pool and later locked the gates."

"Bystanders at the white pool Tuesday heard a white youth ask the two teen-age Negro girls if they didn't know that both pools would be closed if they used the white pool facilities.

"They were heard to reply: 'We don't give a [illegible] we're going swimming anyway.'"

 

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"Riot Follows Integration Attempt As Negroes Cut In On White Girls At Dance"

Medford, Mass.

Page 4

50 African American Males attended a dance in Medford on Tuesday night. The young men attended the dance with out female companions and stood in a stag-line without incident.  The trouble began when one of the young men tried to cut in on a white couple.  "Immediately, fists began to fly and the dance turned into a nightmare of battling boys."  There were 1,200 white youth at the dance and several hundred of them were involved in the fight.  12 teenagers suffered minor injuries and Joseph W. Sacco was hospitalized for his injuries.

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