The Bench: Shoofly Pye


Prathia Laura Ann Hall was in bad trouble. It was not just her modest misdemeanor — violating Georgia's antitrespass law during a motel sit-in. The 23-year-old Negro girl faced a far more formidable fate in the person of Judge Durwood T. Pye of Fulton County (Atlanta) Superior Court. Pye, the South's toughest judge in civil rights cases, set bail at a fantastic $4,500.

Unable to raise it, Prathia Hall spent two weeks in jail awaiting a trial in which she could expect the absolute maximum: six months in jail, twelve months in the county work camp,...

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