Document 68: Elayne DeLott, "Affadavit," Hinds County, Mississippi, 15 December 1964, Elaine DeLott Baker Papers, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University. 2 pp.
One of the objectives of running African American candidates for local ASCS elections was to further document their disenfranchisement. After the election, movement lawyers collected affadavits from people who had been harassed or jailed for their participation in the election process. These affadavits were then used to apply pressure on the Department of Agriculture, in an effort to get the federal government to address discriminatory practices in the administration of their policies.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI COUNTY OF HINDS
I, Elayne DeLott, am 22 years of age, and engaged as a task force worker for COFO, in Jackson, Mississippi.
On December 3, 1964, at about 8:30 A.M. I arrived at the RAM Grocery on highway 51 North of Canton, to serve a a pollwatcher for the community election of the ASCS (Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service). I was introduced as a pollwatcher by the County ASCS Agent, Mr. Hodges, who was present when I arrived, and was serving in this capacity when Mr. Couthen and Mr. Nobole, the sheriff and deputy sheriff of Canton, come into the store and told me to step outside. They said I could see what I wanted to from outside, so I left. On the outside I reported to Eartiss Crawford what had happenned and he called our Canton base on his walkie talkie. Meanwhile one of the men running the election came outside and I told him it was in his own interest to have me inside because if I were thrown out chances are it would invalidate the election. He told me to come back inside and I returned. About five munures from the time I came back in this same man asked me to call the Canton base and tell them I was back inside because they had already complained to Washington, and Washington had called them. I agreed and told Eartiss to call and say I was back inside.
At about 10:15 Mr. Gouthen and Mr. Mable returned and began to quarrell with the local men running the election about whether I should stay or not. I overheard Mr. Noble say, "You may be afraid of Washington, but we're not," and later, "You may take orders from Washington, but we don't." While Noble and the committeemen argued Couthen came ever to me and asked, "Do you know why I'm telling you to leave?" I told him I didn't. He answered, "I'm in charge of keeping the peace here, and it may be if you stay here four or five white men may come in and decide to rough you up a bit. Then I would be responsible, so I'm telling you to stand outside." I asked, "What makes you think I'd be safer outside?quot; He answered, "You can run there." I left the building, and reported to base that I was ordered to leave again. George Raymond and Jesse Morris come by in the car and told me to go back in.
About 11:00 A.M. I was inside the polling place again when Sheriff Couthen came in and told me I was under arrest. I left with him and was brought to the county jail.
While I served as pollwatcher I was allowed to assist people in voting. The only disagreemet with the others was that they told everyone," Vote for five," and I said, "You can vote for as many as five." They continued to say," vote for five."
About 5:00 P.M. I asked to make a phone call, and was told I could call after the sheriff had called the jail.. At 6:30 P.M. I requested again and was told I could not make the phone call. I asked to speak to the jailer and got no response.
Aboat 7:15 Mr. Noble come to the door and asked George to come out. George went out and than I heard a scuffle and he shouted my name. After that I heard scuffling and hollers from George lasting about 20 minutes. One of the prisoners was looking over a partition into the anteroon where they were and told me he was handcuffed. George was saying that his arm was broken and that he wanted to see his doctor and his lawyer. At one point he said, "You all see your preacher. I want to see my doctor and my lawyer."
About 7:40 George returned and I asked to make phone call from Mr. Noble, who let George back into the cell. He disappeared into the anteroom for about 10 minutes and came back and told me to come out and make my call. I did.
I was released from jail about noon on December 4, 1964. The bond was made by Frank Jones, of Jackson, who represents Carsey Hall, a Jackson attorney.
I understand that willful misrepresentation of facts to a federal official may be a violation of federal cirminal statutes.
Witnessed by me this 15th day of December, 1964.
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