Waterloo Crisis

While the commission normally met slightly more than once a month, there were times when more frequent meetings were required. One such occasion was the crisis which developed in Waterloo following the death of a 23 year old Negro male in the Waterloo City Jail on June 1, 1966. The death of Eddie Wallace Sallis and the circumstances surrounding his arrest along with Howard Calvin Saunders prompted the invitation to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission to conduct an investigation of the matter. During the week immediately following June 1, 1966, the commission and staff spent approximately 203 man hours investigating the case.

The primary role of the commission in the midst of the crisis was to keep an open line of communication between city officials and Negro leaders. It is testimony to the potential for real future progress in Waterloo that the city administration and responsible Negro leaders agreed upon a coordinated plan which included such things as a guarantee that a Human Relations Commission would be staffed and would have a budget; improvements in Negro areas in city facilities such as lighting and.paving,; stricter enforcement of sanitation ordinances in Negro areas; active recruitment of Negro policement and firemen; and in-service public relations training for police officers.

On June 28, 1966, at 7:00 p.m. at Grant School in Waterloo, Director Thomas read the report of the commission at an open meeting by invitation of the newly re-established Waterloo Human Relations Commission.

1966 Annual Report Main Page