Dr. King leads marchers to the courthouse where the begin to line up two-by-two in the alley
They reach numbers in excess of 250
Sheriff Clark orders all marchers in excess of 100 disperse
Willie McRae of SNCC disputes this and is immediately arrested, he goes limp and is dragged off
Some of the applicants in line try to see what is going on and Sheriff Clark responds by shoving them back into line
One of those people is Annie Lee Cooper, a 54 year old woman who was fired from her job two years ago when she first tried to register and vote
When Sheriff Clark twists Cooper’s arm and tries to force her back into line, she slugs him with her first, driving the sheriff to her knees.
Cooper continues to hit him as deputes rush to the Sheriff’s aid, restraining her and pinning her to the ground.
Sheriff Clark strikes Cooper in the head with his club, giving her a concussion.
Though attacking Clark is a violation of the nonviolent approach advocated for, no one in the Freedom Movement holds Cooper’s actions against her
Most are familiar with her struggle and personal commitment and applaud her standing up to the hated sheriff
The savage retaliation she receives however makes it clear why the nonviolent approach is the best however.
Rev. Anderson praises Cooper, “Who took a beating today for your and for me”
SCLC leader James Bevel stresses the point that no matter how justified, violence on behalf of demonstrators weakens the movement because “Then the press don’t talk about the registration. We want the world to know they aint registering nobody!”