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Eric Etheridge @eetheridge
, 15 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
Hunter Gray, a Civil Rights leader in JXN, MS, in the early 1960s, died earlier this week. He is most famously known for taking part in the 1963 Woolworth sit-in in JXN, which yielded this iconic photo. Gray is sitting at the counter, on the left. #Mississippi #NonViolence
In 2015 Gray wrote an account of the day for the @guardian: "That’s me in the picture. . . . They cut my face with sharp brass knuckles; someone cut the back of my head with the jagged edge of a broken sugar container. There was a good deal of blood."…
The picture of course went instantly everywhere. “Friends across the country called to say they had seen it, and we got letters from people all over the world.”

The image’s ongoing value, said Gray, was in reinforcing the idea that “change comes” from “grass roots people.”
In 1963 Gray was teaching at #Tougaloo #HBCU and working in the Jackson movement. His 1979 account of that time -- "Jackson, Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism" -- is a great and heartbreaking narrative account of that time.
Looking online just now, it appears that Gray's book (originally published when he went by the name John Salter) is out-of-print (ie, available copies are way too expensive). Seems like time for a new edition, eh @upmiss?
Southern Foodways @southfoodways made a terrific short documentary about the Jxn Woolworth sit-in as part of its Counter History series. It includes an interview with Joan Mulholland, who sits next to Gray in the photo.
Joan Mullholland was a #FreedomRider in 1961, and after getting out of #Parchman, she went to college at #Tougaloo #HBCU and continued to work in the movement. You can watch a terrific video about her Civil Rights work on Amazon:
The other woman at the counter in the photograph is Anne Moody, a native of Mississippi, also a student at #Tougaloo. In 1968 she published "Coming of Age in Mississippi," her deeply moving autobiography.
Hunter Gray grew up in Arizona,"half Native American, half white." He & his wife, Eldri, moved to MS in 1961. Below both are being arrested in Dec '62 in the "first picketing in the history of downtown Jackson." The action led, in time, "to the massive Jackson Movement."
Reminder for those still here: Hunter Gray went by the name John Salter in the '60s. That's Eldri, his wife, in the center, above, and John partially obscured by the officer.
Two more from Gray's online archive, both from "the Rose Street March on 6/13/1963 -- two days after Medgar Evers was shot and killed. I was badly bruised all over and cut up in several places. It helps to have a thick skull and tough hide." (This is two weeks after the sit-in.)
Ok, one more from Gray's archive, which I should say he also called his scrapbook. Charles Moore's photograph of the Medgar Evers funeral procession, annotated. (Salter = Gray.)
Gray ct'd to work in the movement in MS, then around the South, then in Chicago. He also worked with the Teamsters and on numerous Native American campaigns. And a lot lot more besides. Dive into his world:
"I've been a bona fide working organizer since I was a teen," Grey once wrote. "I will be to the day I pass into the Spirit World." //endit
Ok dang forgot about this, from just 2017. Gray grew up in the west, part Native American, a lifelong outdoorsman. He could tell all he needed to know about AL pol Roy Moore just by looking at Moore’s hat: What a “drugstore cowboy!” What a “greenhorn!” What a “jelley bean!”
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