130 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI been so fortunate. Allen had been a witness for the defense in the Herbert Lee murder trial, but later recanted his testimony in favor of the white defendant. This change in testimony led to a campaign of harassment against him. Allen was twice arrested on false charges, and the banks and customers he usually dealt with in his timber cutting and haulage business refused to loan him money or buy his timber. By January 1964, he had decided to go north to find work. On January 31, 1964, one day before he was to leave, he was shot to death by unknown assailants in front of his house. The civil rights workers in the Lower River area responded to such attacks with nonviolent resistance for the most part. In Vicksburg, COFO had established a headquarters and freedom school in a former Baptist academy. Vicksburg native Rev. Charles K. Chiplin, whose store-owner father was one of the local movement leaders, remembered, “They went in and repainted and fixed broken boards, put in a new porch and stabilized the place to use it for the freedom school, and we had pretty good attendance.… And it was really a good, good school. We had teachers from the North sharing ideas that to us were very foreign.… More particularly, the freedom school was greatly involved with getting black folks registered [to vote].” On October 4, 1964, COFO headquarters in Vicksburg along with the attached freedom school and library were wrecked by a bomb planted under the building. There were fourteen people inside including seven children. Most suffered cuts and bruises, but no one was killed. The entire rear of the building including the freedom school and the library was destroyed, yet the COFO leadership persisted. In August, 1965, Vicksburg African Americans attempted to integrate the city’s whites-only public pool. The city responded by closing all public pools. A center for teens was also closed when African Americans tried to use it. A lawsuit in U.S. District Court sought to reopen all pools on an integrated basis. By 1965, African American citizens had begun to wonder if nonviolent resistance was enough. Across the river in Louisiana, some civil rights activists had established Deacons for Defense and Justice, a group of local African Americans who provided armed guards for freedom schools, civil rights activists, and civil rights demonstrations. According to a civil rights activist in Natchez in July 1965, “Natchez is quietly sending out feelers to set up a Deacons for Defense and Justice Chapter, I believe. I’m really not too sure about that at all, but there is discussion.” A month later, on August 27, 1965, the anger and resentment of the African American community at the violence of some of their white neighbors boiled over. That day, George Metcalfe, president of the Natchez branch of the NAACP, was badly injured by a bomb planted in his car in the parking lot of the Armstrong Tire plant where he worked. Metcalfe had been subjected to months of harassment at work before the assassination attempt. At an angry mass meeting, NAACP state field secretary Charles Evers urged his listeners not to start violence, but to defend themselves with armed force against any violence against them by whites. The Natchez NAACP responded to the attempt on Metcalfe’s life by issuing twelve demands that called for an end to legal segregation in Natchez. They sought a public denunciation of the Klan by the mayor and the board of aldermen, a policy for city employees to address African Americans with courtesy titles such as Mr. and Mrs. or sir and ma’am, the desegregation of public accommodations and public schools, the providing of equal public services to African American neighborhoods in Natchez, the appointment of African Americans to the school board, and the hiring of African American store clerks. Natchez African Americans also began to arm themselves and a Natchez Deacons for Defense and Justice Chapter was established. Some of its members were also NAACP members and/or members of the local African American Elks lodge. The chapter was unaffiliated with the Louisiana Deacons for Defense and Justice, but did seek it’s although advice on organization and operation. In the days afterward, tensions in Natchez grew. According to Billy Bob Williams, the FBI agent in charge of the bureau’s investigation into the Metcalfe bombing, “a group of young militant African Americans from New Orleans representing the Deacons for Defense and Justice intended to come to Natchez and take a hand in the situation. This information quickly spread to the Klan.” Williams received information from an informant inside the Klan that “the Klans intended to gather in Natchez and move against the Deacons. The order had specifically stated that Klansmen were to bring their guns.” Governor Paul B. Johnson, Jr., responded to this information and other reports of the volatile situation in Natchez by sending in the Mississippi National Guard led by its adjutant general, Walter Giles Johnson. The adjutant general held a meeting at the Adams County Courthouse with several Klansmen and Deacons and warned both that no violence would be allowed in Natchez. To make his point, he directed the attention of the group out a window to an antiaircraft/infantry gun in the parking lot. According to By 1965, African American citizens had begun to wonder if nonviolent resistance was enough.