Greenwood, Miss., 6 July: Three Northern folk singers led by Pete Seeger brought a folk-song festival to the Deep South this evening.
They sang in the yard of a Negro farm home on the edge of a cotton patch three miles south of here. The song festival, or hootenanny, was sponsored by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which has been conducting a voter registration drive among Negroes in Mississippi delta towns for more than a year.
The festival was attended by 250 to 300 persons. Most of them were Negroes. There were a score or more of young white people, plus several white newsmen and a television camera crew of four white men from New York.
Three cars with white men in them were parked in a lane across the highway from the scene of the sing. There was also a highway patrol car with two policemen sitting along the road. There were no incidents.
Joining Mr Seeger in leading the songfest, in which most of the audience joined at one time or another, were Theodore Bikel and Bobby Dillon, who, like Mr. Seeger, are white. There was also a Negro trio, the Freedom Singers, from Albany, Ga. All paid their own expenses for the trip and sang without a fee.
One of the more popular songs presented by a local singer was one dedicated to Medgar W. Evers, the Mississippi field secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who was slain last month in Jackson, Mississippi. A Greenwood man, Byron de La Beckwith, has been indicted in the shooting.
The refrain of the song was that the man who shot Mr Evers didn't know what he was doing and should be forgiven: "He's only a pawn in their game."
The sing was to have begun at 10 AM but it was a blistering hot day, with a high of 97 degrees. So it was postponed until the sun had almost gone down, and it proceeded into the night.