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.The men climbed into the car, and as it drove away one of the passengers smashed a bottle on the sidewalk in front of the church.I locked the front door with the slide bolt, and returned to the window.I watched the flaming cross until nothing was left but a dim glow of embers on the ground.Then I went to bed and fell asleep immediately.Chapter TenBy eight-thirty the next morning the bus boycott by Jax Negroes was approximately forty percent effective so far as we could determine.Dr.Heartwell was discouraged, but I was astonished by our success."Give it a few days, Doctor," I told him."We've only had one big meeting, and it takes time to get out the word.We haven't got our car pool fully organized yet, and these people have to get to work some way.By Monday the boycott should be one hundred percent.""I certainly hope so," Dr.Heartwell grumbled."Where is your faith?" I smiled and patted him on the shoulder."My faith is in the Lord, but if we want to win I suppose we had better get to work!""Now you're talking," I said cheerfully.The basement of the Southern Baptists of Saint John Church had been converted into a GHQ by the members of the League For Love, and with the help of many willing volunteers.There were ample desks, chairs, typewriters; and a dozen or more desk and floor lamps had been connected to the limited wall sockets by a maze of extension cords.A desk had been reserved for me in a back corner, and there was a stack of telegrams and air mail special delivery letters, brought in earlier that morning, waiting to be opened.Dr.Heartwell's church was centrally located in the Negro district of Jax, and the basketball-tennis court outside was in use as a motor pool.Assorted vehicles had been pressed into service: one panel delivery truck, two flatbed one-ton trucks, three half-ton pickups, and several large, vintage Buick and Cadillac town cars, including the big 1939 Buick owned by Dr.Heartwell and driven by his son, Tommy, were in constant shuttle.These were not enough, of course, to handle the waiting mass of patient passengers, but news of the bus boycott was spreading quickly by telephone and word-of-mouth, and car owners who were not in the pool stopped constantly at the curb and filled empty seats with passengers.Reverend Hutto, with his gift for organization, had a desk by the entrance to the large basement room.A large city map was tacked to the wall behind his desk and he had it divided into various zones.There seemed to be ten or more people about his desk and he was quite capable of carrying on a conversation with all of them at the same time.Two illegal extension lines had been wired in, brought down from Dr.Heartwell's upstairs office, and telephones had been connected; one on the doctor's desk and the other on Reverend Hutto's.The room was crowded with volunteers, men and women; there was a great deal of noise and confusion, and a lot of coffee drinking.Pleased by all the activity, I circled the room, smiling encouragement, slapping backs, shaking hands, and then sat at my desk to go through the wires and mail.A young girl in pedal pushers and a tight orange sweater brought me a cardboard container of coffee, and tiptoed respectfully away.The coffee was too sweet but I drank it anyway.Some of the wires and many of the special delivery letters were addressed simply to, Nigger Lover, Jax, Florida.But when I read them, they seemed all right.The wires were not too strongly worded, although they expressed dissatisfaction with my boycott activities, but the letters were vitriolic indeed.I wondered how anybody could get so worked up about such a basic problem.After reading the wires and letters addressed to Nigger Lover, I turned to the remainder of the mail.These wires and letters addressed to Reverend Deuteronomy Springer ran about fifty-fifty between hate and love messages.Two letters contained five-dollar bills, one included a twenty-dollar bill, and there were several letters containing singles.I decided to retain this money to supplement my income, and I slipped the bills into my wallet.This early mail was from southern states and all of it was special delivery.When the regular mail began to roll in from conscience-stricken northerners and the far western states, the take would be better.After composing a short, blanket-letter of thanks, I gave the handwritten message to one of the volunteer typists with instructions to send it out to all of the correspondents who had included return addresses.Dr.Heartwell called me."You're wanted on the telephone, Reverend Springer."I picked up the telephone."Hello," I said.There was no reply."Hello," I said again."This is the Right Reverend Deuteronomy Springer." From the other end of the line came an overly prolonged hawking in a throat, followed by a sharp report as a gob of spittle hurtled into the distant mouthpiece."Hello," I said.The receiver was banged down at the caller's end with a click painful to my ear [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]