JACKSON, MISS. -- Judge William Harold Cox, 86, a federal judge who enraged civil rights advocates with his remarks about blacks but presided over a 1967 trial that convicted eight Klansmen of killing three civil rights workers, died Feb. 25 at his home here. The cause of death was not reported.
Judge Cox was a native of Indianola, Miss., the son of a county sheriff. He practiced corporate and civil law before he became a U.S. District judge in 1961. He was appointed to the bench by President John F. Kennedy at the request of late Sen. James O. Eastland (D-Miss.), who then was the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Judge Cox and Eastland had been roommates during their college days at the University of Mississippi.
He remained on the bench until retiring in 1983.
In 1967, Judge Cox presided over one of the most famous cases of the decade -- the trial of eight Klansmen charged in the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Miss. After the jurors seemed deadlocked for two days, he ordered them to come up with a verdict. The jury found the eight Klansmen guilty.
His appointment to the bench came at the beginning of the civil rights struggle in Mississippi. He made national headlines over the years with his thoughts on blacks, segregation and civil rights. During a hearing on voter discrimination he said: "I don't know who is telling these Negroes they can push people around just by getting into a line and acting like a bunch of chimpanzees."
The remark triggered a demand for his impeachment by the late Sen. Jacob Javits (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Peter Rodino (D-N.J.), but there never was an impeachment proceeding. Although 20 members of Congress joined the effort, the removal effort failed.
Judge Cox also said that blacks who took part in demonstrations "ought to be in the movies instead of being registered to vote." He referred to the Congress of Racial Equality as "a bunch of professional agitators."
In February 1981, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals suggested that Judge Cox recuse himself from a civil rights case filed by three blacks against three Mississippi state agencies that would not hire them. The plaintiffs argued that the judge "is prejudiced against all blacks and hostile to civil rights suits."
Survivors include a son and a daughter.
STEWART (BUD) MASENHEIMER
PPG Field Supervisor
Stewart (Bud) Masenheimer, 70, a retired field supervisor with the Washington office of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co., died Feb. 24 at the Washington Adventist Hospital after a heart attack. He lived in Silver Spring.
Mr. Masenheimer was born in Charlottesville. He moved to the Washington area in 1941 and joined Pittsburgh Plate Glass. He retired about three years ago. He was a member of Mount Hermon Masonic Lodge No. 179 and the Scottish Rite Temple. He also belonged to the Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America and the Royal Order of Scotland.
Survivors include his wife, L. Virginia Masenheimer of Silver Spring, and one sister, Gladys Sipes of Railroad, Pa.