We were driven in our gray bus into the inner sanctum of the penitentiary, to the Maximum Security Unit (MSU). This is the building where death row and the electric chair were housed, and where the most violent and incorrigible prisoners were housed.
We were completely stripped, and given only underwear to wear: a tee shirt and undershorts. Our cells were arranged in a long row, all facing a single hallway with slit windows in the opposite wall about seven feet above the floor. What would have been the first cell was a shower. The whites were placed in the first few cells, the blacks the rest, and additional Freedom Riders housed on the other side of the wing of MSU.
In our cells, we were given a bible, an aluminum cup and a tooth brush. The cell measured 6 x 8 feet with a toilet and sink on the back wall, and a bunk bed. [Note in the image taken in 2011, the bunk beds are removed, and stainless commode/sink installed.] We were permitted one shower per week, and no mail was allowed. The policy in the maximum security block was to keep lights on 24 hours a day. The light fixture served a double purpose and allowed observation into the cells by the guards from the catwalk between the two rows of cells.