MISSISSIPPI STORIES -- THEN AND NOW [HUNTER GRAY MAY 25, 2002] UPDATE NOVEMBER 6 2007
COUNCIL OF CONSERVATIVE CITIZENS [AND THE OLD CITIZENS COUNCILS] AND ERLE JOHNSTON [HUNTER GRAY MAY 27, 2002] UPDATE NOVEMBER 6 2007
THE SOUTH: IT'S STILL ANOTHER COUNTRY [HUNTER GRAY OCTOBER 5 2002]
MISSISSIPPI STORIES -- THEN AND NOW [HUNTER GRAY MAY 25, 2002]
Note by Hunter Bear:
I don't usually post something from the Washington Times but this story from
Mississippi is interesting though not surprising. Like anyone who has spent
any interactive time [and survived] in what's still occasionally referred to
as "The Magnolia Jungle," I have no end of good Mississippi stories.
Lots of spice in that setting -- and always plenty of blood.
Like many similarly involved civil rights folks, I had a good deal to do
with doctors in Mississippi when I could get [or be finally taken] to one --
and much, much indeed to do with its lawyers into relatively contemporary
times. Quickly, Real Quick, before anyone shoots: I do know some very
decent lawyers and doctors in that always mysterious land that's [roughly
speaking] bordered by Hernando in the northwest and Moss Point in the
southeast, Blue Mountain in the northeast and -- Liberty in the southwest.
It's a state where, as with much of the Real South, lawyering is a
high-status calling -- and generally pretty high income as well.
Mississippi probably has, in my opinion, far more lawyers than Hell has --
and the rituals of litigation often proceed with more pomp and circumstance
than you'd find in my late mother's high Episcopal [Anglican] Church [and
with sometimes just about that much objectivity.] In fact, Church and Court
Down Yonder frequently seem to flow into one another in some very creative
Things in Mississippi really hit their Nadir during the bloody 1960-1964
statehouse era of Ross Barnett and its immediate aftermath -- if you were
on our side -- or their Apex if one supported the System and its War Chief,
Bill Simmons [W.J. Simmons] of Jackson: prime force behind that poisonous
social fire that swept and, for a time, dominated much of the hard-core
"Never" South -- the Citizens Councils [or the Uptown KKK.] The agenda of
the White Councils was simple: "States Rights and Racial Integrity."
In those days, the Citizens Council's national headquarters at Jackson sat
right across the street from the Gov's Mansion -- in the fancy Plaza
Eventually, of course, Our Side won -- at least relatively so, still a good
long ways to go --and, all along the trail in that Time, doctors and
lawyers were very busy indeed in those parts, and certainly still are on
many contemporary fronts.
Ross Barnett, from extremely rural Leake County [next door to the very well
known Nefarious and Bloody Neshoba], was the youngest son of a Confederate
veteran -- and an extremely successful ambulance-chasing lawyer. [I should
add that my oldest daughter was born in Mississippi and her son -- my oldest
grandson  -- is one-half Mississippi Choctaw, of Leake and Neshoba.
They're with us here in Idaho.]
Barnett was also a True-Believer Seg and a very faithful and devoted Council
member. Virtually all Mississippi public officials in those days [and all
were, of course, White] belonged to the Citizens Council. The only notable
exception was then State Tax Collector, courageous Bill Winter of Grenada,
who was an excellent Governor in 1980-84. He never joined the Council. He's
now a major leader of the august Mississippi Historical Society -- of which
I'm a Life Member [along with many Old Foes who now fall asleep in
There were [and still are] a lot of Barnett stories. Asked in a news
conference what he thought about the Asian islands of Quemoy and Matsu,
Governor Barnett thought for awhile and then allowed that he'd probably
"appoint them to the State Game and Fish Commission." He gold-plated the
bathroom in the Governor's Mansion and justified that one by saying it was
"the people's bathroom."
He addressed the Southeastern conference of rabbis as "fellow Christians."
And he exemplified an atmosphere of pervasive, state-supported racism that
stimulated White violence at all societal levels: a consistent flow of
grassroots hate murders, "lawmen" brutality, a historic crisis at Ole Miss
with the entrance of the first Black into any public educational institution
in the state, James Meredith. There the massive state-encouraged disorder
required 40,000 Federal troopers in the general region -- more than George
Washington had commanded at any time in that War -- to restore any semblance of an academic atmosphere [among other things] and ensure Mr Meredith's admission.
When he was Gov, Barnett often went across the street to the Plaza Building
to meet with Council honcho Simmons -- and not the other way around.
As I say, Our Side eventually pretty much won. The Citizens Councils hit
their demise across the South as the Movement Sixties unfolded. In the
really hard-core South, they [and comparable versions] survived effectively
until the mid-Sixties, then started down skid road, and functionally
collapsed in the latter stages of the decade. [A much more recent and
wistful quasi-version, the pallid and not statistically significant Council
of Conservative Citizens, got a little press in the mid-Nineties but has
never amounted to much.]
But, you say, you started this off with doctors and lawyers and all. Where
are we really going in this little read?
Ole Ross Barnett was, through Mississippi's thick and thin, high water and
low, flush times and lean -- and right into New Mississippi and then
straight on into the other New Versions of New Mississippi -- one hell of a
successful ambulance chasing Jackson-based lawyer. He could be pragmatic as any lawyer really has to be. When the Jackson YMCA integrated, he stayed
with it. It had contacts and he didn't leave. And he never left his
lawyering -- Never.
Back in his very long time, there was a quite common food for our Furry
Friends: Dr. Ross's Dog and Cat Food.
Standard joke in Mississippi was:
"You're in an accident. What doctor do you call?"
Answer: "Dr Ross."
Sue your way to the morgue: If you live in Mississippi and fall ill, you
might want to consider
Saturday, May 25, 2002
You are driving through Mississippi and you develop a
serious pain in
your side. What do you do? If you are smart, you keep on driving until you
reach the border. Malpractice awards in Mississippi have discouraged doctors
from taking up practice in the tort capital of the United States. Juries
look at doctors like they are a well of money with no bottom. As a result,
these same jurors may find themselves with a serious problem when it comes
to seeking treatment for whatever illness they may develop.
There are two major consequences of these outrageous, multimillion-dollar
malpractice settlements. First, doctors are avoiding taking up practice in
states where the awards are out of control. Also, insurance companies will
be forced to abandon the malpractice insurance business. So, if you live in
Mississippi and fall ill, you might want to consider suing the lawyers who
are responsible for forcing health-care facilities to close and driving
physicians out of the area.
There are surgeons who will refuse to undertake a high-risk procedure where
the patient's chances are slim to begin with simply to avoid a malpractice
lawsuit. This is not good news for any of us. Doctors specializing in
obstetrics and gynecology have been hit hard with malpractice suits. Now,
fewer doctors are delivering babies. If you are looking at a $200,000
premium for malpractice insurance added on to what Uncle Sam will be taking,
you would probably be better off as a truck driver.
It is not just the medical profession that is under tort attack.
Construction companies, pharmaceutical companies and any business that had
the remotest connection with asbestos are fair game. Too bad we can't buy
stock in law firms. They seem to be the growth industry of the future, at
least until we have no more industry. We have entered an age where we have
too many lawyers with too little to do. We have awards going to people who
aren't sick but might get sick. That should be some kind of warning.
To say the system needs change is putting it mildly. I have always felt that
taking a jury off the street and having it decide which medical expert is
lying is a bad way to run a trial of any kind. This same jury could be
involved in the intricacies of high-rise construction making decisions
usually made by architects. Professionals making careless mistakes should be
penalized, but not to the point where all of us are paying the bill because
of awards that defy reason.
It won't be long before we have lawsuits against emergency medical
technicians working on us in the ambulance hauling us to the nearest
hospital 100 miles away because the lawyers have driven all the doctors out
of town. Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is warning members about doing
business in Mississippi where there are no caps on jury awards and every
attempt at reform has been shot down. This will change when the politicians
find they have to go out of state to get treatment for an illness.
Dick Boland is a nationally syndicated columnist.
Hunter Gray [ Hunter Bear ]
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
COUNCIL OF CONSERVATIVE CITIZENS [AND THE OLD CITIZENS COUNCILS] AND ERLE JOHNSTON [HUNTER GRAY MAY 27, 2002] UPDATE NOVEMBER 6 2007
NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR: November 6 2007
A face slightly older in years than mine [and frankly looking much, much
older in the physical sense] appeared briefly on MSNBC's "Morning Joe'
program early today. That three hour stretch is hosted by the congenial,
moderate, and somewhat conservative, Joe Scarborough, and, in addition to its
interesting staff of several perspectives, brings in a fairly wide variety
of mainline pundit views on numerous topics. After I returned from a very
early morning trek, I poured more coffee and water, turned on the tube and
who should I see on Morning Joe but beamed-in M. Stanton Evans. He's
pushing his new book, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator
Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies. It draws, apparently,
on much FBI material.
Brought to mind some memories. Other times, other places.
Back in my Springtime and for long thereafter, M. Stanton Evans was in the
upper elevations of the far right -- a favorite of Young Americans for
Freedom and related groups. Editor of the extremely conservative
Indianapolis Star -- a Eugene Pulliam daily -- he pounded out that gospel
for many years. He lacked the charm and wit of Bill Buckley but his fires
blazed far and high. The Pulliam Press included a number of such poisonous
figures -- and, down in Arizona, we all were burdened by one of Pulliam's
worst combos, The Arizona Republic and the Phoenix Gazette. Those formed an
early dislike of me, to put it mildly, and one of the Republic's columnists,
Art Heenan, wrote venomously of "Young Mr. S., the head of the Arizona State
Communist Party" -- at a point where I and others were not only engaged in
our academic work at Arizona State University but also, in timely and
productive fashion, spending much more effort raising miners' relief and
union defense funds for Mine-Mill during the great copper strike of 1959-60
and the concurrent witch-hunting "Mine-Mill Conspiracy Trial" up in Denver.
[Mine-Mill won the strike and, some years later, the Federal appellate court
threw out all of the "conspiracy cases."] As a point of fact, there hadn't
been a Communist Party in Arizona since I was a high school sophomore.
Heenan, who had worked with the FBI in trying to derail our showings of Salt
of the Earth [we persevered], was a Bircher in Bircher Paradise. Phoenix
had numerous Birch branches and at least 100 kindred "Anti-Communist
Leagues." Eventually, the Pulliam folks -- following the shrewd Goldwater
perspective -- became uneasy about this burgeoning phenomenon and Heenan
eventually joined a car dealer, Ev Meacham, in forming a most Birchy daily
paper. But that folded, Heenan died of drink, Meacham made it to the
governorship and was then soon impeached and removed. Salt of the Earth
still continues and so do I and many others of that era.
As I cut my Trail into the Deep South, I always kept an eye on the many
folks like M. Stanton Evans. But actually, I found the activities of his
father, Medford Evans, more interesting. The elder Evans, Dr. Evans, became
the education intellectual of the Citizens' Councils of America ["States
Rights / Racial Integrity". ] That outfit, headquartered at Jackson,
maintained a classically totalitarian hold on the Magnolia State and exerted
considerable nefarious influence in much of the rest of the South.
Medford Evans was certainly in the Council's top councils -- the inner/inner
circle. In May, 1963, Evans paid a visit to a friend of ours, James W.
Silver, then in History at Ole Miss, one of the few outspoken white critics
of segregation in the state, and soon-to-be author of the classic,
Mississippi: The Closed Society." This was in the aftermath of the Jim
Meredith desegregation crisis at the University and, in one of the letters
to his children published in his subsequent book, Jim remarks that Mrs
Silver, learning that Evans was coming, feared the Seg Mogul would shoot
Jim. Silver spoke at length with Dr Evans. In the letter to his children,
Jim writes his impressions at length and I quote only the keynote:
"This is a strange character. He taught English as an instructor here [Ole
Miss] from 1928 to 1930. Taught in a good many small schools, including
Chattanooga, the college in Natchitoches,
etc. etc. During the war, he had a job having to do with security at Oak
Ridge and here, apparently, he got the notion that most people were likely
to be communists."
In September, 1964, Dr Evans wrote a small manual for the Citizens' Council
which was sniffing, however unhappily, change in the air. How To Start A
Private School, done in a tightly written questions-and-
outlines the key Retreat Option. I do give the Old Doc credit for good
organization and writing -- and have a copy of How To in my collection of
hate materials. In time, as desegregation proceeded, there were some
Council schools but the idea, in the context of the fast moving South and
Nation, didn't really catch fire under that sponsorship. Private "Christian
Academies" -- now in many parts of the country and far more interested in
theology than "racial integrity" and, indeed, sometimes more or less
desegregated -- have had more success.
M. Stanton Evans had only a few minutes on today's Morning Joe. As his
now late father always did, he continued his own fervent defense of Joe
McCarthy. Scarborough asked a few polite questions, one or two of which
appeared at least implicitly critical of Senator Joe, and ended it.
But I do have memories. Here attached, in an older post of mine, is a
discussion of the twilight of the once-feared [White] Citizens Council, a
mention of Dr Medford Evans, and some reflections on a [somewhat] Changing
Note by Hunter Bear:
I'm posting this -- with its new commentary by me -- on two or three lists
where there might be some interest. I'm also, with this new material of
mine, sending it again to Redbadbear.
In another discussional context, the matter of the St. Louis-based Council of
Conservative Citizens has arisen. This outfit, which has claimed a national
membership of 15,000 [a figure I strongly suspect is greatly inflated],
is, however poisonous, of not much account compared to the genuinely
dangerous adversaries confronting our Forces of Light. The CCC fighting
agenda which includes Defense of the Stars & Bars and combating an
ostensible PC attack on the Confederate Museum at New Orleans -- plus the
usual sniping at Martin King -- frankly doesn't seem to me to be exactly
what's going to take things swiftly and effectively back to 1861 -- or even
1961. The apparently all-male aging and portly leadership in their website
photo wouldn't be able to follow me very far at all into the 'way back and
super-high ridges that rise immediately behind our up-on-the-far-edge Idaho
home and into which I go a few times each week in my Size 15 Vasque Mountain Boots, sometimes for five or six very steep miles.
In late March, 1988, in the Deep South for several speaking engagements, I
and my oldest son, John, had dinner one evening at an excellent restaurant
on the outskirts of Jackson. Our host, Erle Johnston, a veteran
newspaperman, a much older person than I, had been, in the Old Days, a
shrewd, mortal and deadly adversary. A leading figure in the Ross Barnett
administration - public relations director of the State Sovereignty
Commission and then its head -- he came to see more clearly than anyone else
in that whole camp the bloody abyss into which the Citizens Council movement was taking Mississippi. As early as 1962, calling himself "a practical segregationist," he resigned from the Citizens Councils and began to
criticize the Council leadership as "extremist."
And then, a bit later, in a truly extraordinary move given his surroundings,
he proceeded in two significant steps to cut off a long-standing state
government subsidy [interracial tax dollars] to the White Councils which
had been regularly channeled through the Sovereignty Commission. The fiery
national Council leader, Bill Simmons of Jackson, immediately called on
Barnett to fire Johnston -- but Barnett, loyal to his old friend, refused.
Johnston caught heavy flak but hung on. He was now calling Simmons "The
Rajah of Race."
Johnston, thus the very first moderate-of-sorts in the old Mississippi
segregationist camp, continued his own strange journey onward into the
surrealistic transitional administration of the new Governor [former Lt.
Governor], Paul B Johnson, Jr [1964-68] -- where Erle served increasingly as
a kind of race-relations mediator in the then early-on and sometimes chaotic
rapidly desegregating racial situation. He left state government in 1968, by
then quietly convinced of the validity and necessity of racial integration,
to return to his newspaper, the Scott County Times. Years later, he ran for
mayor of his substantial town of Forest and won -- with virtually all of the
many Black votes. [It is he, who as Mayor, desperately called me in North
Dakota for advice on how to deal with a heavy snowfall. I was, of course,
experienced with that problem and was quite helpful to him.]
Erle Johnston wrote a number of good books on Mississippi. His initial one,
Roll With Ross, was a study of Ross Barnett and that very turbulent
administration. I reviewed it, favorably, for the quarterly Journal of
Southern History [came out in November '81 along with a review of my own
book] -- and that's how Erle and I connected  in Post-War Mississippi.
A later 1990 book of his, large and full and very honest, is Mississippi's
Defiant Years: 1953-1973: An Interpretive Documentary with Personal
It carries a an eloquent Foreword by his old friend, also from Grenada,
William F. "Bill" Winter. It is Bill Winter who, as Mississippi State Tax
Collector in the Old Days, was the one significant public official at any
level who flatly refused to join the Citizens Councils. His own
gubernatorial administration, 1980-84, was one of the very best Mississippi
has ever had. In his Foreword to Defiant Years, Bill Winter wrote: "This is
a book about a time and place that will forever be etched in the memory of
those of us who lived in Mississippi in the 1950's and '60's."
Defiant Years [ which opens with a Tribute to long time Black civil rights
activists Aaron Henry and Charles Evers], carries a number of testimonials
from various persons of some prominence in the Mississippi milieu -- and the
back book cover conspicuously features four of those: General William D.
McCain, president emeritus of University of Southern Mississippi; Hodding
Carter III, of many things -- including Secretary of State for Jimmy Carter;
myself [ then John R Salter, Jr]; and the noted American historian from
USM, Neil R. McMillen.
Only in Mississippi.
Richard Barrett, the arch-Nazi Nationalist Movement leader from Learned,
Mississippi [near Jackson] venomously attacked Erle Johnston [and myself and
others] through this whole latter-day period. He was especially vitriolic
toward Erle who he consistently termed a "scalawag." Interestingly, Barrett
is a Dixie Convert -- originally from New Jersey [which, I'm sure, was glad
to see him leave long, long ago.]
As we ate that late March, 1988 evening, Erle and I and John were surrounded
in the restaurant by a lively throng of high school students celebrating a
friend's birthday. The honoree was Black and the group very well mixed on a
Black / White basis. As this encouraging [but now long racially
commonplace] event proceeded, Erle, in response to a question from me,
talked about the status and health of the once huge and powerful Citizens
Councils -- no friends of his to the bitter end! He told us they'd moved
their "national headquarters" several times and were now in very modest
quarters. He'd been over there to look over their extremely large library.
"They sit each day at a long table and talk about the old days. Got a lot
of books in there and sometimes they just sit and read."
"Is my book there?" I asked.
"You bet it is," he grinned. "At least three copies."
"Bill Simmons, is he there?".
Erle nodded. "Faithfully, from what I hear."
"And Dr. Evans?" [Medford Evans, arch-ideologue and former college English
professor -- and the father of the Indianapolis Star-based national
conservative writer, M. Stanton Evans.]
"He, too," said Erle. "All the old guard."
Only a very few years after that, the Citizens Councils hung it up and
formally went out of business.
And this new thing -- the Council of Conservative Citizens?
Well, if I were a hot-eyed Reb, it wouldn't be my idea at all of the Ditch
for which to fight and perhaps die. I'd be riding Bigger Dragons -- which
is the point of my post which now follows.
And Erle? Erle died in 1995. I miss him.
Hunter [Hunter Bear]
From Hunter Bear:
I was in the very process of [personally] replying to M. W. -- when I saw
she'd posted. So I'll respond on our list.
I was discussing the old and venomous and virulent once-powerful and now
gone Citizens Council movement -- the White Councils -- that arose in
Mississippi in the wake of the 1954 Brown decision and spread out across
much of the South. The Councils -- committed to "States Rights and Racial
Integrity" -- dominated Mississippi for many bloody years and some other
Southern Never Lands as well. As the Civil Rights Movement proceeded
through the '60s, the Councils [and comparable groups] went into decline and
then functionally collapsed. See my very recent post, "Mississippi
Stories -- then and now."
I mentioned in that post that a very small latter day outfit has arisen and
I characterized it in this fashion: "A much more recent and wistful
quasi-version, the pallid and not statistically significant Council of
Conservative Citizens, got a little press in the mid-Nineties but has never
amounted to much."
To respond to Ms W's post:
Trent Lott and John Ashcroft et al. have powerfully reactionary forces
behind them -- very long-standing ones -- that make the Council of
Conservative Citizens thing look piddly. That group may have gotten Lott
some votes in Mississippi -- probably not any he wouldn't have already
secured. Maybe it garnered Ashcroft a bit of support -- but I'd see
traditionally reactionary things like corporate capitalism and old/living
racist legacies and the Christian Right and Paranoia as the basic foundation
for those Poison Ivy Entities.
The CCC may have an impressive website -- but so do some groups I know whose membership has to reach high to hit the 100 figure. I've never gotten the impression that its membership had any significant substance --
statistically or intellectually ! They sound like a bunch of Rebel Wanabes.
There is nothing there that even comes close to the people-strangling
magnitude of the old Citizens Council movement. The CCC has nothing
comparable to the driving fanaticism and perverted organizing skills of the
likes of Bill Simmons.
The CCC [like the residual John Birch Society] is the antithesis of
Health -- very negatively symptomatic -- but we certainly don't want to miss
the reality of the really dangerous dragons -- corporate capitalism and
old and entrenched racism and the Christian Right etc et al. -- and the
necessity of combating them [and their progeny such as Lott and Ashcroft] at
every point, right down to the wire.
We're going to win.
Solidarity - Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]
Hunter Gray [ Hunter Bear ]
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
----- Original Message -----
From: M W
Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2002 7:43 PM
Subject: the CCC
I sent this personally to Hunter Gray, but thought I'd throw it out to the
list just for fun... In response to a line in Hunter's 5/25/02 missive....
"A much more recent and wistful quasi-version, the pallid and not
statistically significant Council of Conservative Citizens, got a little
press in the mid-Nineties but has never amounted to much."
My response: Interesting statement. Have you been to their website
recently? Have you taken a moment to wonder how it is that the man many
times awarded by the CCC, the man who has often spoken at their events,
Trent Lott, got so much power? Have you wondered how it is that the man
they endorsed for President, John Ashcroft, got so much power?
Hunter Gray [ Hunter Bear ]
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
THE SOUTH: IT'S STILL ANOTHER COUNTRY [HUNTER GRAY 10/05/02]
This is, of course, a Marxism Discussion stream -- but
I'm also posting this
on some other lists.
Mark Lause isn't off the mark at all. I'm not, of course, a Southerner. I
come from the Real Southwest -- but I do know something of the South. And
two of my four children were born there: one at Jackson in early '62 and
another at Raleigh in '65. [The other two were born at Chicago and Gallup.]
And a grandson is one-half Mississippi Choctaw [Neshoba and Leake counties.]
I keep up with the South. BTW, how many other folks on Marxism Discussion
are Life Members of the Mississippi Historical Society -- and can attend
august meetings where Old Enemies these days fall asleep in their chairs?
The American South -- and there are actually several Souths, including the
endless progression of "New Souths" -- is an extraordinarily complex piece
of turf. In the United States, it remains still -- by far and away -- the
most socio-culturally unique piece of geography vis-a-vis the so-termed
mainstream culture. And its prime symbol -- for better and worse -- remains
the Flag of the Southern Confederacy.
The South is certainly consistently interesting. Even now, with the Changes
and All, my blood quickens as I drop -- whether it's via motor vehicle, air
or the IC railroad -- below the line. And I love grits and shrimp and
fried chicken and sweet potatoes and endless ice tea -- and meals and
leisurely discussion that last two hours. And, for all of my own many
painfilled and literally sanguinary Southern memories, I don't flinch at all
when I see the Stars and Bars -- in the South. And the song, Dixie, is a
favorite of mine.
But I still to this day -- if I'm traveling as I generally do, in my own
vehicle -- take along a firearm when I go down behind the old Cotton
In the Mississippi state-wide vote -- a very heavy turn out of about a year
and a half ago -- on whether to change from the traditional flag [which
includes the Confederate Symbol], the vote was extremely heavy on behalf of
keeping the Old Flag. And it was heavy, to use the Magnolia expression,
with "Black and White, Chinese and Choctaw." As a matter of fact, I know
very committed and veteran Mississippi Black civil rights activists who
voted to retain that particular piece of Tradition.
And much of Southern tradition is an Old Way which doesn't universally by
any means simply connote white supremacy and feudal rebellion and
exploitation -- but also involves a frequently attractive regional
gemeinschaft quality. And by that I mean folk society and catfish and possum
and grace -- in contrast to the harsh and often alienation-drenched
urban/industrial time-dominated lands of the Yankees.
It's also a setting where, in the rural and small town and small city
setting, people have always known one another in the most primary sense --
deeply and very well -- across all sorts of racial lines. I recall fondly
one of the homes in which I was boarded during the Movement days -- and
where the breakfasts served me by my Black hosts were the grandest I've ever
had -- ever. But I remember so well that one morning especially when the
matriarch, recognizing my deeper interests, spent two hours giving me a most
intricate and powerfully fascinating anthropological/sociological lecture on
how, in that particular county, everyone by a certain Scottish name was
related by blood: whether Black, Indian -- or White.
Now, with the formal segregation barriers gone, the deep and positive ties
between people are becoming increasingly paramount. Militant and democratic
interracial unionism has a great future in Dixie -- if the unions want to
really invest genuine time and effort. And much remains even today Down
Yonder of the old civil rights movement -- with which committed labor
organizing could easily make solid and productive alliance.
A slightly heretical thought which I've spoken many times in the past couple
of years: Along with other outfits, the NAACP did a quite effective job in
registering new voters for Election 2000. But it would have been better
advised to put its really intensive energy -- not into the so-far fruitless
efforts to remove Confederate flags from Southern state capitols -- but
instead into the kind of tedious voter education/preparation for which, in
addition to the historic confrontations of drama, the old Southern Movement
was much noted. Had that been done two years or so ago, Florida would have
been a considerably different story.
I've always liked the old symbol of the Southern Student Organizing
Committee [SSOC] -- a sensibly militant and effective civil rights
organization which formed in '64. Working very closely with the Student
Non-violent Coordinating Committee, SSOC was made up primarily of very brave
young Southern whites who risked much -- including family ties -- by
fighting for social justice on many critical fronts.
Its logo was an interracial handshake -- across the backdrop of a
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR] Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
Check out our Hunterbear social justice website: www.hunterbear.
[The site is dedicated to our one-half Bobcat, Cloudy Gray:
And see Outlaw Trail: The Native as Organizer: