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Well, the main opposition I've run into was the policemen, the police
force. That's the main one we had, because by then we had some merchants,
but you just couldn't pinpoint who they were. Take an instance, we had
a white storeowner right here on the corner of Seventh and Mobile, Mr.
Sellers, and the NAACP office was upstairs over his head. I took him to
be a nice man, and he conducted himself nice so far as I know. But when
I approached him about hiring a black cashier in there, well, things just
went to pieces. Of course, he didn't do any improper talk to me, but his
wife did while he was there, while he was talking to me. She told me, "They
ain't no niggers going to get on this cash register, I don't care what
happens." I said, "Well, that's no quarrel." He said, Fairley, this is
a family operation. This is the way we intend to keep it." I said, "That's
OK." So I went ahead, but that next morning we had a picket line around
his place. Started on Friday morning. Sunday evening at four o'clock he
had a van there moving out. We cut his business where he was making around
$800 or $900 a day on Friday and Saturday, boy, we cut him down to less
than $100. Very few people went by us on that.
He moved out, so ........them klansman over at Petal. We know Petal
was infested with the klan. They fooled him to move over there, and they
were going to buy-in.......have a big buy-in, and he got that week, and
he moved over there. They might have made one buy-in and that was all.
He went and fell dead on his face. He was man enough to call me after it
happened. He said, "Fairley, I'm going to have to tell it to you. I'm going
to admit to you," he said, "you won." He said, "This is a battle you flat
out and won." He said, "I ain't telling you if I had a revelation."
He said, "if I would have listened to you, " he said, "I was doing well
on that corner. And not let my wife run her mouth, I believe we'd still
been there doing well."
– J.C. Fairley, born in Greene County, Mississippi, was very
active in the civil rights movement on the local, state and national levels.
In 1961, he was elected president of the Hattiesburg chapter of the NAACP.
He organized voter registration drives, led efforts to desegregate public
accommodations, and worked to provide more employment opportunities and
services for the black community. He attended the 1964 Democratic National
Convention as a delegate of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.