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It was through the sensible efforts of Bill Hansen that civil rights took an aggressive turn toward the way they are today in the Midwest. Hansen's efforts allowed for the peaceful integration of Coney Island Amusement Park. A potential for violence between blacks and whites had been very obvious, but in this instance, Hansen participated in the defusing of any violence by accepting the challenge to give management one more day to correct the problems. The following day, the owner stated that from that day forward all people would be welcome in the park. Hansen moved quickly to continue his efforts in the South. His efforts and arrests were published in the local papers and, for the most part, people thought he was doing the right thing. These things were instrumental in having Midwesterners realize that corrections needed to be made in their own actions. In Cincinnati, we have a civil rights baseball game during which a black luminary is honored. Bill Hansen did more for civil rights in the Midwest than anyone and should be duly recognized; the locals will verify this.


Jack Heneghan
Deer Park, OH


Bill and I were best friends, and I think we still are. Looking back, I see direction in his early age and always have realized his intelligence. Bill did so much for civil rights because of his sincere belief in fairness with respect to "good laws."
Jack Heenan
Liberty Township, OH


Bill Hansen recruited me to work with him in the Pine Bluff Movement. As a result of sit-ins, voter registration, mass meetings, and community organizing, I was suspended from Arkansas AM&N College. This was the beginning of my political activism with Bill Hansen and Ben Gringe (SNCC). Bob Whitfield was elected president, and I was vice president. The first meeting was held at St. James AME Church, but the pastor sold us out to the police. Rev. Roberts of Allen Temple AME Church opened its doors to us, and the congregation sustained us in every endeavor.

While participating in these activities, many of the civil rights leaders visited our Freedom House to support, to visit, or to get a meal because the Pine Bluff Movement was undergirded by the community. People like James Bevel, John Lewis, James Farmer, Julian Bond, and James Foreman came to speak at our mass meetings.


Janet P. Broome-Moore
Chicago, IL