THE LOWER RIVER 133 demands as in Natchez was issued. The African American community was mobilized, and white merchants lost a tremendous amount of business. Even before the boycott had started in Fayette, efforts to organize civil rights activities in Claiborne County had begun. In November 1965, veterans of the Natchez struggle led by Rudy Shields came to Claiborne County to begin a voter registration drive. Claiborne County African Americans, including many businesspeople and farmers, heeded their call to join the local NAACP chapter, and they put forth a series of demands based on those earlier proposed in Natchez. They opened negotiations with the white community and won three concessions: the use of courtesy titles on customers’mail, the hiring of an African American policeman, and the establishment of a biracial committee consisting of the Human Relations Committee (HRC) and prominent whites. There the negotiations stalled, but the threat of boycott remained and 2,600 African Americans registered to vote. Merchants and city and county officials finally gave in to the NAACP demands. African American law enforcement officers were hired for the Fayette Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Courtesy titles were used by clerks in stores and by city and county employees. In March 1966, the NAACP presented another list of demands covering much the same ground as the first. They included desegregation of public institutions and facilities and the hiring of African American clerks in local businesses, African American school board members, African American jurors, and more African American policemen. Also included was the by now standard request for the use of courtesy titles. The white community in Claiborne County refused to accept any of the NAACP demands. On April 1, the African American community began to carry out its threat of a boycott. As the boycott proceeded, the beginning of a change in the attitude of many Lower River counties whites toward violence against African Americans could be seen. The United Klan of America approached a group of local white business and civic leaders in Port Gibson to drum up support for a new chapter in Claiborne County. Instead, they found white community leaders who had come to believe that Klan- style terror was counter-productive. Two-thirds of the whites who had met with the Klan at the meeting signed a petition against their entry into Claiborne County. Attempts to recruit for a Port Gibson chapter of the Klan also failed miserably. The boycott continued for the rest of the year in spite of mounting sales losses. Some African Americans were fired from their jobs or denied credit by white-owned banks for supporting the boycott. There was even some harassment of boycott leaders through false arrests. Nonetheless, in January 1967, a settlement between the NAACP and many of the local merchants to hire African Americans as clerks and require the use of courtesy titles by their employees was reached. From 1966 forward, the old segregationist order began to crack in the Lower River counties due to combined pressure from the African American population and the federal government. New civil rights laws and U.S. Supreme Court decisions and an increasing willingness of the Justice Department to enforce both undermined the legal basis of segregation. Infiltration of the Klan by the FBI broke the back of white supremacist violence. African Americans began to vote, serve on juries, and run for public office. In February 1966, in Amite County, five African Americans were appointed to serve on a grand jury, the first to do so since Reconstruction, and in 1967, James Jolliff, Jr., an African American man, was elected to the Wilkinson County Board of Supervisors. On February 27, 1967, Wharlest Jackson, treasurer of the Natchez NAACP, was killed by a car bomb planted by the local Klan. Instead of displaying indifference to Klan violence, Mayor Nosser, Chief of Police Robinson, and Sheriff Anders attended a mass meeting of the Natchez African American community. They condemned Wharlest Jackson’s murder and promised to do everything in their power to find and convict those responsible. Jackson’s murderer was never caught, but this action by the city fathers demonstrates the disrepute into which Klan violence was beginning to fall. One month after the Wharlest Jackson murder, an African American man, Robert Mackell III, was named to the Civil Service Commission in Natchez. At the same time, three Klansmen, Claude Fuller, Ernest Avants, and James Lloyd Jones, were tried in Natchez for the 1966 murder of Chester White, an African American handyman. Three African Americans sat on the jury that tried the case. The jury failed to convict, but the fact remained that the police had arrested and the courts had tried Klansmen for a crime against an African American person. In Fayette, a white man fired at and hit one of his African American neighbors with buckshot while he was on his way to an NAACP meeting. The victim sued his From 1966 forward, the old segregationist order began to crack in the Lower River counties due to combined pressure from the black population and the federal government.