Civil Rights: The Flop

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"Step on Them!" At the fair itself, James Farmer and some 700 "legitimate" CORE demonstrators got in a few licks. Aiming to "point up the contrast between the glittering world of fantasy and the real world of brutality, bigotry an.d poverty," Farmer and his crews scattered across Flushing Meadows to raise a ruckus. Some of them charged into the Schaefer Beer Pavilion, stood on counter tops to proclaim against "Jim Crow Schaefer Beer" and Schaefer's "flagrant discrimination in hiring." They raised a chorus of derision at .the U.S. Pavilion during the President's speech, gathered at buildings erected by several Southern states, marched into the Ford Pavilion and so disrupted traffic that the place had to be closed down for a while. At the New York State Pavilion, visitors had to step over some demonstrators who lay down or sat in the entranceways. One woman scolded her six-year-old daughter: "When I say step on them," she cried, "step on them!"

About 300 demonstrators were arrested during the day. Among them was Farmer. "Be as gentle with him as you can," William Kimmins, chief of detectives at the Fair, instructed his policemen, who hauled Farmer politely into a paddy wagon.

Only one conclusion could be drawn from the whole unhappy affair: a tiny minority in the civil rights movement had managed to make a lot of people mad without achieving a single thing for their cause.

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