The highlight of the second session of the National Democratic Convention at Atlantic City, New Jersey (northeastern U.
The highlight of the second session of the National Democratic Convention at Atlantic City, New Jersey (northeastern U.S.) was the fight over the seating of the Mississippi delegation.
The regular delegation from Mississippi, made up entirely of white persons, left the convention last night after labeling the compromise worked out by the Credentials Committee as unacceptable.
The compromise, which was spearheaded by Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey and Union leader Walter Reuther (President of the United Auto Workers), called for the seating of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which is made up mostly of Negroes as honorary guests.
The compromise also called for the seating of the Regular delegation with voting privilege if all its members would pledge to support the 1964 National Democratic presidential and vice presidential nominees.
It also called for two members of the Freedom Democratic Party delegation to be given delegate-at-large status, which would include voting privilege, They would sit apart from the regular delegation.
At first, all but three of the Regular delegation rejected the compromise and decided to leave the convention. The other three left several hours later when five members of the Freedom Democratic Party sat down in the section reserved for the Regular delegation.
The Freedom Democratic Party voted to reject the compromise despite the fact that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- a national integration leader -- supported it. King said that accepting the compromise would give the Negro cause in Mississippi, at least a partial victory.
The Freedom Democratic Party delegation felt that the Regular delegation was an illegal delegation for it didn't represent the Negroes, who constitute approximately half the population of Mississippi.
The Freedom Democratic delegation and hundreds of supporters marched to the front entrance of Convention Hall and tried to get in. At first, the State police refused to let them in, but later the delegates were allowed into the hall.
A minor disturbance broke out during the convention proceedings when five members of the Freedom Democratic Party, took seats in the section reserved for the Regular Mississippi delegation. Two of the Negroes left, but three remained in the seat. The two women and one man locked arms and refused all appeals to give up the seats.
Former Pennsylvania (northeastern U.S.) Governor David Lawrence who is the Credentials committee chairman gave his committee report which outlined the Mississippi compromise.
Applause was triggered when Lawrence mentioned that part of the compromise which calls for all future state delegations to be chosen without discrimination as to race, religion, creed or national origin.
Congressman Weltner of Georgia (southern U.S.) one of the few southern Democrats to vote for the Civil Rights bill, was also a featured speaker at the second session of the convention. He called for the rejection of all the bad of the past and the acceptance of all the good of the present. His address was directed to the young people of the nation.
His speech sparked enthusiastic approval from the audience, especially President Johnson's youngest daughter, 17-year old Luci Baines Johnson.