CLINTON JENCKS [1918-2005]: REMEMBRANCE [HUNTER BEAR 12/16/05] AND THEN, J.V. HENRY [HUNTER BEAR 1/05/06] AND MONSTER SLAYER [HUNTER BEAR 1/29/06]
[From Hunter Bear to Linda Jencks O'Connell] 12/15/05
Dear Linda Jencks
This is very sad. I much appreciate your great thoughtfulness in letting us
know this. Your father was a great man and a vast multitude of us will
always remember him -- and very much your mother with her great courage and
insight as well. With slight editing and prefaced by my brief intro
[attached], I have sent your message to several discussion lists with a
special focus on labor, radicalism, and civil rights and civil liberties. I
have also sent it to several friends of Clinton's in the Tucson area.
His passing leaves a great gap for a vast number of us. He was a mighty big
tree, a major mountain.
My wife, Eldri, threaded and set in place the 16 mm film strips of Salt
[loaned to us by Juan Chacon] in our very basic but functional sound
projector when we played it in Jackson and Tougaloo, Mississippi in the grim
and sanguinary days of 1961-63 in the Closed Society. [I taught at
Tougaloo, a private Black college, and was privileged to play a significant
organizing role in the Movement in that state and others in the South for
six years.] I have used Salt in many organizing campaigns, to this very
moment here in Idaho.
Eldri and our four children -- ranging in age from 42 down to 25 and who
have all seen Salt many times -- join me in sending our heartfelt
condolences. [Several of our grandchildren have certainly seen Salt as
Please stay in touch, if you so wish. We will always be glad to hear from
you. And we wish you very well indeed.
In Solidarity - Hunter [Hunter Bear] [formerly John R Salter, Jr]
NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR [POSTED AND SENT OUT WIDELY]: 12/15/05
I have just heard from the daughter of Clinton Jencks. The leaves fall, but
this is hard to hear.
Clinton Jencks, a major figure in Western radical labor for a generation,
and then an always much appreciated professor in California, has just died
at San Diego. A decorated World War II hero, and long-time International
Rep. for the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers [formerly
the Western Federation of Miners] for more than a decade following World
War II, he did much of his gifted organizing work in Southwestern New
Mexico. Many have seen him and his late spouse [Virginia] as Frank and Ruth
Barnes in the great labor/civil rights/women's rights film, SALT OF THE
EARTH [1953-54.] This film, designated several years ago by the Library of
Congress as one of the most significant ever made in this country, is based
on the famous Empire Zinc strike which lasted from October 1950 to February
1952, a struggle in which Clint played a major role as The Organizer. Named
as a "Communist" by the infamous Fink, Harvey Matusow, Clint was charged by
the Federal government with "perjury" vis-a-vis the infamous "Non-Communist
affidavits" mandated by the venomously anti-labor Taft Hartley Act.
Convicted in a hysterical Federal trial at El Paso, he was sentenced to a
long prison term. Free on appeal, he and his multitude of supporters fought
resolutely through the Federal courts, Matusow eventually recanted and, in
that context, wrote his fascinating confessional, FALSE WITNESS; and in
1957, in Jencks v U.S., the USSC exonerated Clint and ruled that the FBI
henceforth must provide the defendant with written and oral informers'
reports. Clinton Jencks went on to secure the appropriate graduate degrees
in economics and taught for many rich and productive years at San Diego
His monument is a great many of us over decades -- for whom he was a major
inspiration as we came of age as radical labor activists. It is higher than
the Rockies above his native Colorado Springs.
See this for information on the life and times of Clinton and the much
embattled Maurice Travis, also of Mine-Mill.
http://www.hunterbear.org/travis.htm On the witch-hunting attacks against
both men and Mine-Mill as a whole, see
Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]
[FROM LINDA JENCKS O'CONNELL TO HUNTER BEAR] 12/16/05
Note by Hunter:
I have sent these to Linda and Heather, daughter and grand daughter of
Clinton. Best, H
We share in the appreciation of Clinton Jencks life.
At the Midwest Academy, a training center for organizers that started in
1973, in almost every session, that has included now thousands of students,
we would show the film. It is inspiring about people's struggle. It
teaches so much about power relations. And Clinton shows us how organizers
can function to really build a better world.
We learn from his life and try to carry on the struggle. He will be missed,
but not forgotten.
[Heather Booth, activist and educator, 12/16/05]
illuminating & instructive, as ever. Thanks.
[Sheila Michaels, SNCC list, oral historian, 12/16/05]
This is truly sad news. Clinton Jencks was a good and principled union
leader. Doing the kinds of things he did in the depths of the Fifties took a
lot of guts. No matter how hard we have it now, it's important to remember
the people like Jencks who stuck it out in the hardest of times.
John Lacny, activist, SEIU staffer, 12/16/05]
A good man done gone.
--bruce [Bruce Hartford, Civil Rights Movement Veterans Webmaster, 12/16/05]
Sent to Hunter Bear by Caroline Jencks Chidester Weatherford 1/18/06
I am the niece of Clint Jencks (recently
died). I saw my cousin,
Linda's, e-mail to you regarding her dad.
Linda, I am so sorry for your loss (your dad, my uncle). We had been
exchanging holiday cards for years. My brother (Larry) and my
husband and I went to Uncle Clinton's graveside service and the
memorial at his temple. It was a very nice ceremony and gathering.
Caroline Jencks Chidester Weatherford
See also http://hunterbear.org/travis.htm
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR] Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
FROM HUNTER BEAR: 1/04/06
This is a very sad night for many of us. A very good and loyal friend and
fighter, J.V. Henry, has died in Northern California. He was a hard and
effective campaigner for social justice. Clyde Appleton and Joan Trumpauer
Mulholland will remember him well. Along with another fine SNCC worker,
Doug Harris, J.V. was -- among all of his other fights for those of the
fewest alternatives -- very active with us in his native state of North
Carolina. More recently, he was well known to Martha Elizabeth Ture, also on
two of our Lists. J.V.'s passage into the Fog and Beyond leaves a great
gap. Here are three messages from the past few hours [and I should add that
I have just heard from our good friend Reber Boult that he has forwarded my
message to the SSOC list -- that of the old Southern Student Organizing
Committee from the really tough days of the Movement.]
The first is from Deborah Moran, forwarding Martha's message. The second is
mine to the SNCC list and to several key individuals. The third is mine to
Deborah in response to her request [attached] for detail info on his civil
rights and related work. [Deborah is compiling information about J.V.'s
life for several lists that he and she are on.]
1] From Deborah Moran to Hunter: 1/04/06
I received this from Martha Ture. JV spoke of you often and I wanted to let
I am sorry to tell you that James Vance Henry aka Jason Spaulding has passed
I have just gotten off the phone with Bob Wood of the Nevada County [CA]
Sheriff's Department. JV was found on December 23 in the Nevada County
library. Cause of death is not yet known, pending autopsy. Mr. Wood had
not known how to notify relatives until today. He has notified estate
attorney Jack W. Westall of Ashville, North Carolina, who will notify JV's
No arrangements have yet been made for burial, pending the family's
notification and decisions. I have left a message with Mr. Westall's
secretary asking that I be notified if there is anything we can do to
assist. I have also told Mr. Wood that he may consider me available to
assist in any way possible.
Please be so kind as to pass this along to others I have not named on this
distribution. I am at a bit of a loss. I'm torn down. [Martha Elizabeth Ture]
2] Hunter to the SNCC list and various individuals: 1/04/06
Deborah Moran sent this just now. J.V., originally from Asheville, N.C.,
broke with his family's traditions and became active in SNCC in the very
early '60s and stood with the Movement for years. He was in several
Southern hot spots where he did fine civil rights work -- and eventually
secured a law degree from Howard where he served as editor of the Howard law
journal. As a lawyer, he worked for migrant workers and unions in
California, then became active on behalf of Native rights and environmental
causes. He was a fine legal scholar. We were in jail together at several
points in the Old Days. He was a special friend of many of us, including my
oldest daughter, Maria, who he first knew when she was little more than two
years old. J.V. will be very much missed. Would appreciate it if this
could be forwarded to the SSOC list asap.
-- Hunter Bear
3] Hunter Bear to Deborah Moran [again, her request for info is attached]: 1/04/06
This is very, very sad news. Maria, who with her daughter lives here in
Idaho with us, has been hit hard by this. As you note, I have sent our
messages to the large SNCC list where J.V. will be remembered by many -- and
I've also sent it on a blind copy basis to several individuals. I have
asked that this be put on the SSOC list [the old Southern Student Organizing
Committee] which is made up mostly of white Southerners who were genuinely
active on behalf of civil rights when it was rough. I am sure it will get
to that list immediately.
J.V. and I were active in the Chapel Hill Freedom Movement [N.C.] -- where
we were in jail together on at least two occasions. Later, when he wound up
briefly on a North Carolina chain gang at Greensboro, I enlisted the
immediate aid of Bill Kunstler and Arthur Kinoy who were not only good
friends but also on retainer with the civil rights organization [SCEF] for
which I was the Field Organizer -- and they got J.V. and some others out
fast on habeas corpus. He was active with me in the critical formative
period of a major, hard-fought SCEF-initiated and -backed campaign,
involving Blacks and Indians, in the Northeastern North Carolina
Blackbelt -- a poverty-stricken, rigidly segregated and Klan-infested
multi-county setting. He spent several weeks in Mississippi in the summer of
'64, mostly at McComb in Pike County. He came down regularly from Howard to
North Carolina to help me in the long Black Belt struggle -- and he
conducted a key workshop for youth at our large scale Civil Rights
Organizing Conference which drew 1,050 people from 14 Black Belt counties in
March 1965. We held the affair in rural Bertie [Burr-tee] County, one of
seven or eight or so of the very poorest counties in the United States.
He was super sharp, extremely courageous, a very hard and committed worker,
with a sly sense of humor. When younger, in front of certain kinds of
difficult people, such as arrogant Yankees and supercilious Easterners, he
liked to play the role of a sleepy Southern hound dog -- slow speech, slow
drawl, eyes sometimes downward. When the adversaries' defenses were down,
he would suddenly cordially attack.
We saw him at different points, including California. He visited us in
Chicago in the fall of '69 where I was starting a several years stint
directing large scale community organizing on the bloody South/ Southwest
Side. J.V. was there to spend a few days at the trial of the Chicago Seven
[anti-war protest leaders] and, as always, stayed at our home. We kept in
touch fairly regularly over the years into present times. He had been
giving some thought to coming over here -- Idaho -- to visit us.
Hope this is helpful. Please don't hesitate to get back to me if you have
any further questions.
Again, many thanks, Deborah. Our very best to you --
Martha Ture writes: 1/04/06
[Hunter, I did not know that you knew JV also. I might have known.]
James Vance Henry was descended from Zebulon Vance, the Civil War governor
of North Carolina and thereafter Senator. There is a statue of Senator
Vance in the Senate's statuary hall.
JV fought for Makah treaty rights as a board member of Certain - Coalition
to End Racial Targeting of American Indian Nations. He became an expert
on that demagogic alcoholic liar, Paul Watson. When Watson tried to take
over the Sierra Club, JV became a Club member and conveyed all his considerable
dossier on Watson to the Club leadership. My schoolmate Carl Pope remains
executive director of the Club to this day due to JV's efforts.
JV was also a brilliant and indefatigable scholar of Federal Indian law,
of solar energy, alternative energy, peak oil, oil markets, California Indian
history, and much, much more. We worked together most recently this past
summer on some oil market matters, and he was sure that some half a
million barrels of oil were coming onto the market from the `stans via Iran,
however unlawful that might be. He concluded this by accounting for all the
barrels of oil on the market and their sources.
Deputy Wood asked me on the phone "Who was he? He was very quiet
according to all the people I talked to around here, courteous, but when the
conversation turned to personal topics, he'd change the subject." JV had
puzzled him because he had a substantial bank account and a Mercedes, but
he slept in that car, and did only odd jobs. Nobody in Grass Valley had ever
seen a homeless man in a Mercedes before.
I told Deputy Wood "James Vance Henry IV was a brilliant attorney,
descended from a North Carolina governor, a civil rights worker, a polymath, and
much more. I can not tell you how many times I have relied on his sagacity and
his wit in matters as diverse as religious history, federal Indian law,
solar energy, peak oil, death penalty law, and more."
I could almost hear that deputy's jaw drop on the phone line. I did not
tell Deputy Wood about some of the shady side of the law adventures civil
rights activists have done.
Hunter, I am glad to know he worked with you and others in that journey, that place and time. It makes me think even better of you all.
JV was about 64.
I very much miss my friend. I hope to learn what happened to him. I have
heard he had a girl friend in Sacramento; I don't know her name or
anything about her but I hope she gets the word. Somehow.
Martha E. Ture
John Salter [Beba] writes: 1/04/06
It is truly amazing to
me how many of you wind up being part of the same glittering constellation.
Martha writes: 1/04/06
It fairly well amazes me too, actually.
Hunter Bear writes with much
more on J.V. Henry: 1/05/06
Thanks very much for your fine comments on J.V., Martha -- and thanks much
to Deborah Moran as well. In addition to being Maria's great friend, J.V.
knew John [Beba] almost as soon as Beba was born at Raleigh in early June,
'65 -- as did, for example, Joycelyn McKissick of Durham [daughter of well
known civil rights attorney and national CORE leader, Floyd McKissick.]
Joycelyn died a year or so ago and her father, "Mack", who was himself from
J.V.'s home town of Asheville, had passed away a long time before. We were
all very good friends together. The South has always been its own strange
place and J.V. was fully in those fascinating traditions -- as are, frankly,
Maria [born at Jackson] and Beba [at Raleigh] [Don't shoot me, kids!]. Our
youngest son, Peter [also Mack] had just been born when J.V. and another
younger activist, Gregory Finger, Jr., stayed at our Chicago home. To round
it out, Josie, our youngest, was born at Gallup in late '79 and J.V., then
in California, planned to visit us on the Navajo res where he would have met
her as well -- but, at the last minute, he couldn't make it.
J.V.'s father was an affluent industrialist at Asheville [plastics] and
once, when J.V.'s mother read the virulent public comments about us in
various state newspapers by an ultra reactionary judge, Raymond Mallard of
Tabor City, N.C., who was brought into one of our large scale nonviolent
civil rights struggles by then Governor, Terry Sanford, to try to put us all
in jail for a long stretch [among our attorneys were, as I have mentioned,
Bill Kunstler and Arthur Kinoy], his very troubled mother called me. We
talked for a very long time. Although not all that old myself, I put on my
best pastoral professorial hat and voice and calmed her in my canny but
ethical fashion. [A few years earlier in the late '50s, Mallard had been
used by the textile interests in the infamous frame-up and subsequent
imprisonment of Boyd Payton and other TWUA leaders -- all of whom were
eventually exonerated and freed from prison.] Initially, J.V. had been a
business major at University of North Carolina but became embroiled on the
activist side in the erupting mass demonstrations in the state's larger
Piedmont [geographically middle sector] towns. Then it was out of UNC and
into SNCC and closely related endeavors and his True Calling Forever. We
met first in jail.
From the perspectives of Native traditionalism and those of rural Arizona, I
never ask people questions about their past. Like most of us, I make my own
judgments. But J.V. often told me things, occasionally into the present.
Anyway, once again the prof., I give him the highest marks.
Glad indeed, Martha, that he had good friends like you and Deborah.
All Best, H
FROM CLYDE APPLETON [1/05/06]
James Vance Henry 1941-2005
FROM JAN PETERSEN: 9/01/07
Dear Hunter Bear: For whatever reason, I typed in JV's name into Google and now know that the world is poorer because he no longer works among us. I worked with and for JV when the UFW were organizng in Fresno. We literally went from the fields to the courthouse carrying injunctions. I met so many caring souls during that time and have never forgotten that experience. Hopefully, some of JV's integrity rubbed off on me. I remember when he just vanished from the radar. I had friends ask me where he was and I didn't know. He paid me a funny kind of compliment one day - he said I was like the membrane between the white and yolk of an egg in that I was able to go to both sides without breaking anything apart. This is sad - the JVs of the world are too few and far between.
MONSTER SLAYER [AND ORGANIZING] HUNTER BEAR
[The legendry of the Navajo, as with any tribal nation, is rich and
enduring. It was in that context -- that of the Dine' [Dineh] -- that I was
privileged to largely grow up and our ties with that vast Nation remain
extremely close to this very moment. It was Changing Woman who, impregnated
by the Sun and a waterfall, gave birth to the Hero Twins: Monster Slayer
and Child of the Water. In due course, the Twins traveled the Rainbow to
their Father the Sun -- killing many mortal adversaries along the trail.
But several monsters still remain: Hunger, Poverty, Dirt and Old Age -- and
the Battle, with the Hero Twins much to the fore, continues.]
Time runs away [it often seems to me] like a jackrabbit -- leaping and
bounding across my native Northern Arizona sage, faster often than the
sometimes pursuing relay teams of young Hopi runners. Early this morning I
received this note from Buddy [Joseph] Tieger whose address I had finally
retrieved a day or so ago and to whom I had written regarding the untimely
death of our old colleague-in-arms: J.V. Henry. Buddy, J.V. and I had
initially met each other right at the end of 1963.
We met in a jail cell -- a Southern jail -- always a proper place for real
and aspiring Organizers. And Buddy wrote today:
"Hi John [Hunter],
Thank you, John, for posting this sad and shocking news.
As it happens, I came across your [Hunterbear] post, seemingly quite by
chance, a few evenings ago, when I was googling people from the
movement years, more or less at random, and thought I'd try to see
what J.V. was up to these days.
I still picture him, of course, at age 23, in blue jeans, and denim
jacket with a SNCC button.
My love to you and Eldri,
Joseph [always Buddy to us]
As I am known to say, Real Organizing is the most challenging and toughest
work of all. My oldest son, John [Beba], born in North Carolina, wrote in
part a couple of years ago in the very kind and generous Tribute to me from
a throng of friends over many decades:
"Except for his refusal to be walked on by any boss, my father was never
like Abner Snopes, but like that peculiar family in Faulkner's "Barn
Burning," we were always loading up the wagon with our battered furniture
and moving, moving, moving. We lived in North Carolina, we lived in Vermont;
we lived in Chicago, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Seattle, and Rochester, New
York. We lived on the Navajo Nation, we lived in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Our houses were never too grand, never too squalid. Not much survived the
moves but our family, and, of course, the steady parade of visitors, people
in rags and suits, people coming to see Hunter, people in need-in need of
money, advice, food, sanctuary from the feds, respite from self-destruction;
people with plans, problems, with energy that could benefit from focus."
Beba also recalls, and often, that he and the other children were
consistently warned not to be the ones to answer our home phones -- given
the frequency of hate calls spread over many, many years indeed.
To his apt account, I add only that we have all found the satisfactions of
this "Outlaw Trail" to be enormous.
And to be a Real Organizer is to be an Outlaw. No other way to cut the pie
than that. The Universe -- cyber and otherwise -- is full of pretenders
[who may or may not be aware that they are]: fussy and precious ideologues,
big talkers and pie-in-the-skyers, prissy hair-splitters, sometimes folks
who make our three pet rabbits look like a herd of Grizzlies.
And for those of that ilk who write voluminously about organizing with
little or no hard and tedious grassroots experience and thus no savvy, my
disdain for these Effetes is as massive as my literal [and truly
wonderful] Sycamore Canyon southwest of Flagstaff. And for those writers
who seek ostensibly to produce books about dramatic movements but wind up
merely with things politically sanitized and "safe," I have feelings
bordering on -- if not embracing -- contempt.
If you want to know about Organizing, then go to the Organizers. Stay away
from Arm Chairs -- and climb The Mountain. When you top out, you will know
a lot -- and you will also see and then tackle the next great range beyond.
Two years ago, I put my Organizing experiences into a couple of guide-line
posts. Not a gospel man by any means, I am pleased that they have now been
reprinted many times -- in print and web -- and much passed about. It's one
of our huge Hunterbear website's most heavily visited pages
And, for J.V. Henry -- and another fine fighting soul who preceded him into
the Spirit World by only a few days, Clinton Jencks, we have this page:
CLINTON JENCKS [1918-2005]: REMEMBRANCE [HUNTER BEAR 12/16/05] AND THEN,
J.V. HENRY [HUNTER BEAR 1/05/06]
I should add that, Deep in our Website, where much of our somewhat older
civil rights material is clustered, we have several pages of photos taken in
March 1965 in Bertie [Burr-Tee] County at our historic North Carolina Black
Belt Conference -- attended by over a thousand people from 14 counties and
some other locations in the region. The photos were among many taken by
J.V. [who also conducted a workshop] -- though, regrettably, none were taken
there of him. In one of those on our site, you can see Buddy and Ginny
Tieger visiting with our keynote speaker, Ms. Ella J. Baker. You can also
see Clyde Appleton, now of Tucson and on two of our discussion lists,
leading the singing; we have tough and hardy local leaders, such as Ms.
Willa Johnson [Cofield] and the late Rev. W.M. Steele; we have Nigel Hampton
[with whom I am still in touch] who came from International Chemical Workers
Union to speak on Labor. And other brave troopers.
Still on the Rainbow, still following the Trail of the Twins to the Sun --
and there are many of us, many indeed, and always many more. The Monsters
remain and the choice for us all is, Serving our communities -- or Serving
ourselves: the Sun, or the Darkness.
Hunter [Hunter Bear]
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR] Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
See Hunter Gray in the Gem State
In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings. Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]