Demonstrations, sit-ins, surveillance, and arrests

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In these black-and-white photographs taken or collected by the Subversive Unit from 1960 to 1963, the events covered are sit-ins at the Montgomery County Courthouse, at Woolworth’s in Huntsville, Alabama, and at Murphy’s Parkway Center in an unidentified city; surveillance photos of James Dombrowski, and Ann and Carl Braden; an arrest photo of Bob Zellner; scenes from a demonstration in Gadsden, Alabama; a photograph of James Hood; and an arrest photo of Ralph Abernathy.


Sit-in at the Montgomery County Courthouse, 1960

Here are five photographs of African-American undergraduates from Alabama State College standing in a hallway of the Montgomery County Courthouse following an attempt to receive service at the snack bar in the courthouse basement on February 25, 1960. The pictures were used to identify the young men. Those students were suspended soon after the event. The court case the students filed following that incident resulting in Dixon v Alabama State Board of Education. That case extended due process rights to students.  The hearing panels on many campuses today are a direct result of that event.

Photographs - Montgomery County Courthouse sit-in, 1960


Sit-in at Woolworth’s, Huntsville, Alabama, 1962

There are shots of a lunch-counter sit-in on January 31, 1962, at Woolworth's in Huntsville, Alabama, as well as arrest photos allegedly deriving from this incident at Woolworth's. A CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) hat and a CORE armband are visible in several photos.

Woolworth’s sit-in, Huntsville, Alabama, 1962


Sit-in at Murphy’s Parkway Center, ?1962

This lunch-counter sit-in, dated circa 1962, took place at Murphy's Parkway Center in an unidentified Alabama city.

Murphy’s sit-in, unknown city, Alabama, 1962?


Surveillance photos at the SCEF conference, 1962

The Surveillance Unit of the Alabama Department of Public Safety took photos of three white adults at the Southern Conference Education Fund (SCEF) meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1962: James Dombrowksi, executive director of the SCEF, and his successors in that position, Ann Braden and Carl Braden.

Southern Conference Education Fund conference participant, Birmingham, Alabama, 1962


Arrest photo of Bob Zellner, 1962

This arrest photo of Bob Zellner, the first white field secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was taken in Montgomery in 1962. A stamp on the reverse, headed “Dept. of Pub. Safety I & I Div., Montgomery, Alabama,” gives his full name, John Robert Zellner, his vital statistics, the date “4-27-62,” the charge “Conspiracy to Violate the Trespass Law,” the remark “(Huntingdon Coll. campus?),” and an address—presumably Zellner’s—in Atlanta, Georgia.

Bob Zellner's arrest in Montgomery, 1962


Demonstration in Gadsden, Alabama, and James Hood, both 1963

These scenes from a demonstration in front of the Etowah County courthouse in Gadsden, Alabama, are dated circa 1961 on the reverse of the photographs, but they are almost certainly situated within the series of protests that took place in Gadsden from June to September, 1963. James Hood, an African-American from Gadsden, had enrolled at the University of Alabama and immediately thereafter was forced to withdraw on the basis of statements recorded by members of the Subversive Unit in the course of a speech that Hood made during the Gadsden protests.

Gadsden, Alabama, demonstrations, 1963;  James Hood, 1963


An undated arrest photo of Ralph Abernathy.

Ralph Abernathy's arrest, undated