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Claude Sitton, "Sheriff Harasses Negroes at Voting Rally in Georgia."
The New York Times, July 27, 1962.

SASSER, Ga., July 26—"We want our colored people to go on living like they have for the last hundred years," said Sheriff Z. T. Mathews of Terrell County. Then he turned and glanced disapprovingly at the thirty-eight Negroes and two whites gathered in the Mount Olive Baptist Church here last night for a voter-registration rally.

"I tell you, cap'n, we're a little fed up with this registration business," he went on.

As the 70-year-old peace officer spoke, his nephew and chief deputy, M. E. Mathews, swaggered back and forth fingering a hand-tooled black leather cartridge belt and a .38-caliber revolver. Another deputy, R. M. Dunaway, slapped a five-cell flashlight against his left palm again and again.

The three officers took turns badgering the participants and warning of what "disturbed white citizens" might do if this and other rallies continued.

Copyright © 1962 The New York Times Co.  Selected from the Library of America anthology.  See  Reporting  Civil  Rights:  American Journalism 1941-1963.