DEATH PENALTY [HUNTER GRAY SEPTEMBER 27 2006] WITH ADDED COMMENTS -- AND OTHER POSTS BY HUNTER BEAR
[Things have been a little tough here on the med front but may -- may -- be on a tangible upswing. Quite functional e mail address is:
It can get wickedly cold in North Dakota where both Eldri and I have "frontier roots". Temps can drop to 35-40 below with wind chills of 100 below. But we do have a warm spot for the place where we have many friends indeed.
David McReynolds writes:
A sad story, but one well told.
The death penalty always seems the easiest way out - and then we wonder why
people don't respect human life.
Dale Jacobson comments [from North Dakota]:
From North Dakota, Dale
From Sam Friedman:
And from Quebec, Dale Wharton:
Hunter Gray, many thanks for your enormously instructive
commentary on trial by jury, capital offense, etc. May
autumn be kind to you and Eldri!
Dale Wharton M O N T R E A L (Te souviens-tu?)
From Judy Collins Cumbee [from SNCC List]:
thanks much for forwarding the info about the death penalty case
After reading it I wanted to share information about our Nov. event with Hunter Bear and SNCC folk, particularly because Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty is one of our sponsors and their executive director will be a "greeter" for us on the 14th. However, I don't know that my copying to the sncc list will work since I'm not on their list serve.
Of course we'll appreciate your sharing the information with any of your many networks, particularly Native American ones. Sandra Pouncey of Opelika, chief of the Bird Clan of the Free Cherokee who had been on our steering committee, had to get off because of health problems, including surgery. I don't know that she's been able to do the outreach for which we had hoped.
Assistance you can give in any way is greatly appreciated. I'm so thankful you will be with us in Tuskegee on the 15th. Keep plugging away on that tome!
OTHER STUFF [HUNTER BEAR]
BOOKS INTO PRISON:
From Hunter Bear:
From Hunter Bear:
UPDATE NOVEMBER 7 2007:
Almost 30 years after his death in Texas, Forrest Carter can still stir up a bit of public controversy. The latest event -- Beba [John] sent a clipping and Josie saw something on TV -- involves Oprah pulling Carter's Little Tree book from her recommended reading list. She and her circle were concerned about his earlier Klan-type background -- though apparently some felt the book itself had merit. [I don't share that opinion of the Little Tree book -- though at the worst it's simply confused and essentially harmless.] I am keeping his Geronimo novel in my large Native bookshelf. But, of course, I have known something about Forrest "Ace" Carter and his odyssey for a very long time now. Here is a post of mine from about a year ago on him, his incarnations, and his diverse works. As I so often say, the South is a very strange land indeed -- more dimensions than the Grand Canyon. -- H.
THOUGHTS ON FORREST [ACE] CARTER:
Souths, historically and in this latest version of the New
South as well, make up -- even in the context of our often surreal USA -- a
very strange setting. Even so, Asa Carter, born with some Cherokee
ancestry in northeastern Alabama, stands out as unique. [In addition, of
course, to the major Cherokee bastions in Western North Carolina and
Oklahoma, the widely scattered Cherokees are found [among other places]
sprinkled through Eastern Tennessee, North Georgia and North Alabama,] Beba
and others in our family recall my conversations in 1979-80 with a fine
family friend, historian Duane Hale, a Creek Indian with Oklahoma and some
Texas connections, on a number of mutually fascinating topics, including the
enigmatic Ace/Forrest Carter.
Carter had two basic incarnations. The first, which appears to have begun
in the late'40s at Denver where he had a radio program, was that of a
venomously anti-Black and anti-Semitic racist. Following the Brown
desegregation decision in '54, and the rise of white Southern "massive
resistance" -- e.g ., Klan revivals and the rapid development of the
[white] Citizens Councils of America [which came to be headquartered at
Jackson, Miss.] -- Carter, then "Ace" Carter, returned to Alabama and began
playing a key role as a vociferous seg publicist and sometime organizer.
His public stance in the North Alabama Citizens Council was so poisonously
extremist that even Bill Simmons of Jackson, national administrator of the
Council movement and himself a thoroughly virulent racist, felt obliged to
comment that, "Ace Carter is an Alabama problem." Carter continued in this
vein through the '50s and '60s, eventually working in a changing Mississippi
in an effort to rally die-hard bitter-enders [e.g., the Jimmy Swan
gubernatorial campaign which sought unsuccessfully to bring back the Ross
Barnett days.] Throughout all of this, he apparently made no mention of his
fractional Cherokee ancestry.
And then he was gone -- totally -- from any public eye.
Not too long after that, in the early '70s, Forrest Carter, an essentially
gentle person, a gifted writer, and a man with a Cherokee background,
appeared in West Texas -- pretty much based in the Abilene/Amarillo spread
of turf. For the next several years, he wrote interesting books [only one
of which I, myself, have fully read] -- and in any discussion of Indians
therein, was commendably sensitive to the Native American position, Gone
to Texas and the Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales led to a still well known
Western film, The Outlaw Josey Wales [Clint Eastwood.] The Education of
Little Tree, purportedly autobiographical as the development of a Cherokee
youth in Tennessee, has been rightly criticized by many Native people -- and
certainly many Cherokees -- as flawed and even hokey. His last published
book, Watch for Me on the Mountain [later published in paper as Cry
Geronimo!] is a very readably done fictional depiction of the great Apache
fighter, his valiant band, and to some extent that of the Apache people as a
whole. [That's the one I have read,] Carter contributed substantial funds
to Native scholarship and Indian rights causes.
In the summer of '79, Forrest Carter died of a heart attack in West Texas.
At that point, his life in its full totality became well known. At his
burial at Anniston, Alabama, his relatives attested to the Cherokee strain
in the family. I assembled some retrospective news-story clippings from
Alabama and Mississippi and Duane Hale picked some up from Texas.
If a basic question is, Why did he take an initial -- and lengthy -- racist
career?, an even more fundamental one is, Why the change? He does not appear
as having been at any point a public religious person. Assimilating all of
the factors of which Duane and I are aware, and possible factors involved as
well, it seems to us, simply, that various streams came together and
"Something came over him." His Road to Damascus was long and tangled -- but
it does seem indeed to have concluded in a Hopeful Sunlight,
As Ever, H
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR] Mi'kmaq /St.
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
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