NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:  [November 16 2007]
About the time I was sending out my Lost Adams Diggings post a couple of days ago, in came several interesting and friendly messages relating some way to my home town of Flagstaff.  Coincidence?  Synchronicity?  No coincidences in the Universe as we see it.
An especially welcome one involved an old friend of my parents, Charles ["Buzz"] Saunders, still hale and hearty deep into his 80s.  Now living in Scottsdale, he spent many decades in Flag -- founding the ground-breaking and very wide-ranging KCLS radio station when I was 14 and 15 and Flagstaff was a blend of  the Western frontier with Southern border attitudes.  Radio has always been important in that high and far-flung country.  Radio is low-cost, pretty reliable, doesn't require anything even remotely near the television connections and expenses [TV didn't get to Flagstaff until the mid-50s] and can function from and within just about any geographical setting.  Broadly popular to this day in our piece of Northern Arizona, it certainly has, in addition to townsfolk, a direct appeal to Navajo [Dine'] people [the vast reservation is close by] and ranchers and cowpunchers and other out-landers. [Nowadays, most Navajo people have motor vehicles, usually pickups -- sometimes called "Navajo Cadillacs" -- but in those days of my youth, most traveled by horse and by horse-and-wagon.  And a great many still do.]
KCLS, in addition to its long and broad reach, cut new trail -- very new -- in those parts.  Not long at all after its launching, it began to regularly host a rising young Navajo leader, Raymond Nakai, who did a regular early morning program in Navajo.  In time, when Raymond Nakai returned to the reservation for a long and fascinating career in tribal politics, KCLS for years hosted another Dine' commentator, Danny Deschinny  --  who did his reporting and commenting on a bi-lingual basis [Navajo and English and a bit of Spanish] and developed a vast inter-cultural throng of listeners.
And Buzz Saunders lent his efforts over many years indeed to make Flagstaff a reasonably egalitarian place in all respects.  He worked closely with such people as my parents, Raymond Nakai, Ned Hatathli, Wilson Riles, Platt Cline, Ysabel Maddox, Ralph Juarez -- and other courageous souls, across the ethnic/cultural spread.  And good change came.  In fact, Buzz became Flagstaff mayor in the latter '50s.  And he certainly continued with KCLS for a long, long time.
Wasn't all of this "controversial?"  Sure it was.  But , Keep Fighting.  And No Fears / No Doubts / No Retreats.
And how I remember as a Teen in high school, wishing I could be the Sun as I heard the time-honored opening song on KCLS faithfully every very early morning:
That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day [Roy Rogers]

Up in the mornin'
Out on the job
Work like the devil for my pay
But that lucky old sun got nothin' to do
But roll around heaven all day.

Anyway, Charles [Buzz] Saunders, who spends a fair amount of time browsing in our large website, wrote:
"Haven't heard from you in awhile.  Hope all is well.  Be of good cheer. Stay healthy, Stay warm, Stay with us a long time.  Bless you.  If I find something on the program of KCLS I will send it to you but it will be on a cassette or reel to reel or what do you have to play it on? "
Charles [Buzz] Saunders
I wrote, telling him we can do it.  Dug up and dusted off my old tape/cassette combo.  I hope, among other treasurers, he sends Raymond Nakai and Danny Deschinny.
For more on KCLS, see:


David McReynolds writes:

A nice note - and I didn't know Roy Rogers was the author of that song!


Hunter Gray writes:

 Thanks, David.  Authorship of Lucky Old Sun seems to be credited to Roy
Rogers -- and sometimes jointly to Roy and his spouse, Dale Evans. The
version I heard consistently as a sleepy kid on  cold mountain mornings [and
spring and fall as well] who disliked high school was sung by Roy.  Another
local favorite, often on the air, was Oklahoma Hills [Woody Guthrie.]  Lucky
Old Sun hasn't been quite as enduring as Oklahoma Hills but both might
qualify nowadays as Folk Music.  Probably Archie Green would look aghast at
that -- as he does at Pete Seeger and Joe Glazer -- but I'd put both of
those old Flagstaff favorites from my day into the Folk category.  I should
add that I was quite interested in the Portside post of some weeks ago that
involved an interview with Archie Green on the Big Red Songbook.  I may not
get that -- I have close to a dozen IWW songbooks stretching from 1917 to
1956.  Green and I had some personal contact 'way back and a little later on
through Joe Glazer [who liked my writing as I liked his labor songs; Joe
sent me some his albums, autographed] -- but I found Archie Green rather
narrow and rigid, almost kind of paranoid.

Best, H

Reber Boult writes:

I took particular note of this genealogy of "That Lucky Old Sun" because I'd
been led to believe that I was there at the beginning and it had nothing to
do with the King of Cowboy Bland, Roy Rogers, a guy from Cincinnati.

In about 1949 I was at some baseball event, maybe a minor league all star
game, at Sulphur Dell, Nashville's ball park, home of the AA Nashville Vols,
sitting in the overflow crowd on the grass embankment in right field.  The
PA system welcomed a locally popular singer, Snooky Lanson later to get some
national exposure as one of the balladeers on "Your Hit Parade."  (David and
Hunter, among others of us, will have some recollection of the sound quality
of the PA in sports places in those days, maybe dropping it a notch or 2 for
minor league ball parks.)  It was announced that Mr. Lanson would treat us
to the very first performance of a song written by Francis Craig's.  Craig
was a local bandleader and/or composer, whose musical success was generally
(or by me) attributed to being in the family that owned the insurance
company that owned WSM, the radio station that featured the Grand Old Opry.
Lanson really belted out "That Lucky Old Sun," minor league PA system
notwithstanding.  Obviously a great song.

So tonight I noodled around on Google.  Yahoo classifies it as "gospel."

A web site lists 176 recordings of the song by maybe 40 or 50 singers,
including the biggest version by Frankie Laine.  Other luminaries doing the
song include James Brown, Willie Nelson, Yusef Lateef, Ray Charles, Jerry
Garcia, Sam Cooke, Vaughn Monroe, Sarah Vaughan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frank
Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, Red Foley, his son-in-law Pat Boone
(oh please, but he's from Nashville too), and, yes, Leonard Slye a/k/a Roy
Rogers King of the Most Bland Cowboys who's not known as a writer of songs.
None of the recordings are attributed to Snooky Lanson; I don't recall ever
hearing a record featuring him singing anything.

The music of the song is credited to a truly renowned songwriter from
Nashville named Beasley Smith.  The words are said to come from a guy I
never heard of, Haven Gillespie (a model for Haven Hamilton maybe?).  I see
how Francis Craig insinuated his name into it that night in Nashville, but
how did Roy Rogers get thought of as a writer of this song?

- Reber Boult

Hunter writes:

That's a damn good thought-provoking post, Reber. Your explanation and
youthful observations are certainly quite reasonable -- though I still
probably retain just a faint hint of agnosticism on the authorship thing.
Since distinctions were often made -- or at least attempted -- even in my
[old-time] setting between who wrote a song's music, who wrote the words,
and who sang it, I've just always assumed the late  Roy Rogers did it all
for Lucky Old Sun.  That was the info we were repeatedly given.  I should
add that I hold no great brief for Roy or Dale Evans, or Trigger [the horse
for those too young to remember.]  And, although I never watched their
flicks, I found and still find Roy's Western song renditions perfectly OK -- 
sometimes even quite welcome in these hurly-burly days. [I like him as a
person a lot better than John Wayne. I'll take Blandness but not Birchism.]
Anyway, we do seem to agree that Lucky Old Sun is a great little song.  Even
if that was my repeated morning introduction-to-the-day as I went off to
face the challenges of my mid-Teen world, I liked it.

The other dimensions of these kinds of issues can be fascinating.
Folklorists [e.g., Lomax and Green et al.]  devoted [and contemporary ones
still do] much time to researching various origins of such things as songs.
We all know that labor and civil rights songs have frequently arisen in the
musical context of gospel and related religious music.  In radio media, with
many commentators and other staff coming and going with frequency -- songs,
frequently spreading like wildfire -- often seems to have led to a situation
where specific authorship could  be eclectic, mercurial, murky -- and
controversial -- and still does now on all media fronts.  Now, of course,
lawyers are frequently involved.

Some prof once told me that, if a song's origin's were really tangled, then
it was a genuine folksong.

All the best.  Winter's coming on hereabouts.  Hope all good in your
semi-desert paradise.




Though the words are a little different in spots, that's the basic song,
Michael -- but it's very much an old, old Northern Arizona cowboy folk song.
I doubt much that anyone now can properly claim authorship. The Sirey Peaks
[Sirey is "our" spelling] are the high points of the Bradshaw Range -- its
base is in semi-desert and it has lots of ponderosa [yellow] pines at the
top. It's east of Prescott and well south/southwest of Mingus Mountain which
contains the old mining town of Jerome. I heard the song occasionally in the
late '40s and into the '50s and beyond -- and, as recently as a few weeks
ago, a good friend from the old days recited parts of it fondly when we
talked by phone.

Best, H


Bob Gately:
Must have been 1967, Hunter, when I was promoting a show with, "Secret Agent Man" Johnny Rivers at NAU....I had many commercials on KCLS and I had arrainged to have one of our spots in Navajo played about the time we hit the Rim in Johnnys limo...Wow, was he stoked !  I had to call the station and get a dup for him...It was first for him fer sure..As I remember it over half the audience was from the Rez....Thanks for the memorys, Buzz n Hunter !
Best always from Bisbee...Bob Gately  is coming back to earth at the speed of light...Welcome aboard !


Hunter's response:

Sounds like a hell of a great show at Northern Arizona University, Bob.  Wish we'd been there, back in '67.  We spent much of that year in the South and then left for Seattle in the summer -- getting thru Flag for a quick visit with my parents.  As you certainly know, the town's altitude is 7,000 feet with the San Francisco Peaks going up to almost 13,000.  The Flagstaff High athletic teams -- very much the track team -- could always perform very well in the other towns in Northern Arizona, and certainly down in Phoenix, where the altitude was much lower.  Our Flagstaff athletes were inherently good in all events -- but, living in high altitude, they always had an edge in competition.  Climbing up to Flagstaff, and topping out on the Rim, could be difficult for lower-landers who were tippling.  I realized early on that, learning to drink in my home town, gave me a drinking edge just about anywhere else in the country. 
 I will pass your fine little KCLS recollection on to the good Buzz Saunders.
Say hello to Bisbee for me.  In addition to its interesting history, I have a few personal memories of those parts.
Our very best to you, Bob, and keep us posted.
Solidarity, H
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'
Check out our Hunterbear social justice website:
[The site is dedicated to our one-half Bobcat, Cloudy Gray:
And see Outlaw Trail:  The Native as Organizer:


NOTE BY HUNTER: The RBB list is having a little discussion on discussion. This reminiscence of mine might be interesting to you all. Best, H

Had a strange, but very pleasant teaching interlude once. Goddard College, northern Vermont.

The school, fully accredited and continuing to function well to this moment, had an old Unitarian base. To place it in a somewhat broader context, it's very similar to Antioch College, southern Ohio. Small group classes, no formal examinations, no formal grades, lots of reading and papers and discussion, a work study/travel experiential term was required at some point in a student's study junket, and there's a fine adult degree program as well. Most students came from fairly affluent backgrounds but Goddard did have a liberal scholarship arrangement. [We were interested in going there for a hitch. I was able, I should add, to do a fair amount of writing -- including an eventually well received book.]

Maria was "little" and always helpful and John was miniscule but noisily creative. We lived in a trailer house on a high hill between Barre and Montpelier and the winter was, of course, challenging. Our landlord and his wife and kids had fixed up their large, nearby garage and moved into that. In the early morning hours, in the dead of winter, under a full moon, we could hear and observe from our window occasional screaming while he and his wife angrily chased one another through the deepening snow. He later became State Supt of Public Instruction.

I was interviewed for the job by college pres Tim Pitkin, a legendary trailblazer in innovative education [and a good friend of Myles Horton of Highlander Center in eastern Tennessee]. His first question to me was direct: "What's your philosophy of education?"

I'd never given that a great deal of intricate thought. Finally, I said, "I like to toss out ideas and stir up intelligent controversy."

He thought that one over. "That doesn't sound like a philosophy to me," he replied -- and then, smiling, said accurately, "I think you like to fight." I got the job.

Lots of fights. One of my students was Doug Ireland, then in the Socialist Party and now a well placed liberal/left pundit -- and another was Mike Bayer from an old American Communist [CPUSA] family. Another was Thorsten Horton -- Myles Horton's son. Never any discussional lags when those [and others] were in a room. [We once kept Doug's nice cat while he went home during a school break.]

There were other colorful kids. Most appeared, superficially, to be "hippy" sorts -- but that was misleading. Doug and Mike and Thorsten were always "normally" garbed and with relatively short head hair. One student, Steve B., was very "conventional" indeed in appearance. During a trustee's meeting, when several of those nice but august older folks were in the coffee shop, surrounded by wild-looking kids and blaring music, one of them walked over to me [I looked to be pretty conventional] and, pointing to Steve B., said, "I really wish more of these students looked like that young man."

I smiled, not too communicative. At the request of the Dean [a clinical psychologist], I was sticking very close by Steve at all points -- a student with very profound psychological problems who was carrying a loaded revolver in his coat jacket. My job at that point was to keep him from doing anything precipitous while we waited for his frantic parents to get there from Philadelphia, Pa. They made it and all turned out OK.

Liked Goddard and creative, vigorous discussions. It liked me and we could have stayed on -- but the Romany Trail beckoned and I went back to direct field organizing.

We still get its school newspaper/mag and I still like [as do many on RBB] creative and vigorous discussions -- often spontaneous and frequently non-directional.

Yours, Hunter Bear

Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'


It's sad to hear the account on CNN about two small kids in northwestern Arizona -- near Chloride, who ran afoul of an old abandoned mine shaft, with the result that one is dead and the other profoundly injured. Riding an ATV, while their father apparently rode a motorcycle, they hit disaster.

Arizona, like a number of Western states, is riddled with old mine shafts -- many from a century or more ago. A roster of local unions of the old Western Federation of Miners at, say, 1910, produces the names of now long dead metal mining ghost towns. My home area, Flagstaff, had virtually none of these since the geology in that setting is overlaid with malapais -- lava rock. But not far south of Flag and off to the west, there are plenty of old shafts. We were careful about them and, if on foot, we spotted them since, among other things, we always kept a close eye open for rattlers.
And a horse or mule can almost always sense something problematic.

An ATV cannot sense a literal pitfall. We see ATVs around here, Eastern Idaho, with frequency. They have never attracted me.

On the other hand, I have come to deeply resent the recurrent implication from CNN and many other media outlets about Danger: i.e., A Law Should Be Passed.

It would be nice to see Americans from city and town settings to once again learn some personal self-reliance: to "kill their own snakes."


Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'



Agree 100 percent. And it isn't just CNN et al pushing for new laws every time something bad happens. In Minneapolis there have been a couple of tragic maulings by pit bulls. One kid died. The pit bull was his father's, kept chained up in the basement, and the kid got too close. So some legislator wants to pass a law outlawing pit bulls AND mixed breed dogs with pit bull lineage. Blame the father, not the dog.

The Arizona thing is sad but the kids could have flipped the ATV and been hurt or killed in any environment, or they could have hit a tree in a forested environment, etc. Things happen. The father should have been more aware of the dangers in that area. Ride on established trails.

A cop told me once, "You can't arrest someone for being stupid."




No, John, trees and most rocks and cut banks are visible to the naked
eye of the rider and mostly not man-made.  Riding takes place over too
many square miles for riders and their dads to be aware of all the
abandoned mine shafts; if they were that apparent there wouldn't be such
a problem.  There were one or two such deaths around here a few years
ago.  The things are a real and deadly hidden man-made hazard.  If I saw
a law that looked like it would be effective without being very
intrusive I'd favor it.  I haven't seen or imagined such a law yet.  I
have felt mightily endangered personally by the mere knowledge that
those things exist.

Maybe anybody who comes on one of the things should be required to mark
it conspicuously.

- Reber Boult



Laws are only effective if followed, though. In Arizona it's illegal to ride
an ATV with a passenger, as the girls were doing. Likewise, manufacturers
recommend that those under 16 only ride smaller, less powerful ATVs. The
father demonstrated a negligent attitude; can we assume he'd follow other ATV laws?

I'd only allow my children to ride ATVs in a controlled environment. There
are plenty of established trails out there.




Please forgive, good friends all, a rare moment of cantankerousness from me:

Why should natural topography be sullied at all -- even if it includes
archaic mine shafts of colorful legendry -- to ensure the safety of
contemporary ATVs and their riders?  BLM, USFS, and US Park Service usually
have a few established trails for those souls. If one seeks off-trail
experiences, hike with one's boots or take a horse or a mule.[And we don't
need a spaghetti tangle of "safe routes" either.] One of the greatest
fallacies in the historically recent saga of humankind is the frequently
tragic presumption that "western" science and tech and "laws" can trump
Nature.  Capitalistic coal disasters in the 'States are followed by massive
coal tragedies in Communist China.

When you're in the wilds, you have to take personal responsibility.  A very
few years ago, when I was able to range widely, I was struck on a 'way up
high ridge by the strongest, fiercest winds I've ever encountered.  I took a
very steep side canyon down which engendered  its own serious risks -- but I
obviously made it.  All of this was my personal decisional responsibility.
Not very far from our house right here is a trace of a road which some
ATVers et al wanted restored. BLM made a few improvements.  While we like
BLM, we saw heightened fire danger from humans in all of that -- but
fortunately Natural Weather is once again taking care of that intrusion.
Good riddance to that now once again deteriorating "road."

Best, H




[I wrote out this same basic message last night, sent it off to three discussion lists, and it simply up and disappeared into ostensibly thin air. Didn't even show up in the Sent Box. It's not an especially "heavy" one, but I hope it gets through tech glitches -- or Whatever Lies Out Yonder. Ain't talking about mountain lions.]

A film which will be of special interest to those particularly attuned to American Western and Labor history -- Assassination: Idaho's Trial of the Century -- will air on Idaho Public Television on November 15th. It's an hour long reenactment of key episodes in the murder trial of William D. Haywood at Boise in the late spring and summer of 1907. Initial indications are that it is quite well done and it's likely that it will in due course show on PBS stations in some other parts of the country.

Bill Haywood, who had been a cowboy and prospector and metal miner, was Secretary-Treasurer of the Western Federation of Miners in the context of extremely dramatic class war on the always turbulent Rocky Mountain "frontier." He, and two colleagues -- Charles Moyer, President of the WFM and George Pettibone, a friend and advisor to the Union, were charged with the capital crime of conspiracy in the murder of former Idaho governor, Frank Steunenberg of Caldwell, a sheepman, in late December 1905. Steunenberg, while in the State House, had proven to be no friend of Labor when he called troops into the Coeur d'Alene mining district of North Idaho to suppress a hard-driving WFM strike. Hundreds of miners were imprisoned for several months in a "bull pen" concentration camp.

Steunenberg was literally blown up via dynamite. The professional killer, Harry Orchard, was quickly captured. Following a series of "conferences" with a key Pinkerton operative, Orchard obligingly implicated Haywood, Moyer and Pettibone as his employers and, in return, was promised escape from the gallows. The three WFM men were kidnapped at gunpoint at Denver -- where the Union was based -- and taken in a sealed railroad car into Idaho where the capital murder/conspiracy charge was levied. The trial was High Drama in the purest sense and became a national, and then international event. Clarence Darrow headed the defense, and a key prosecutor was William Borah [who had just been elected to the U.S. Senate but, by agreement, was not seated until the conclusion of the affair.]

In the end, the three WFM leaders were freed. Orchard died in the Idaho State Penitentiary in 1954.

Here are two Links -- one to Idaho PBS. The other, which some may have seen but others not, is my own page on the Event -- based around my substantial review/essay focusing on Tony Lucas' book, Big Trouble [1997]. My piece was published ten years ago in the Sunday feature section of the Butte-based Montana Standard. [Idaho Public Television] [My review/essay of the Lucas book]

In an entirely different context, Larry Craig, no William Borah and no Frank Church by the remotest stretch and a rather pathetic figure whose various personal "promises" and shifts are now more frequent than weather changes in the Gem State, is presently planning [as most of the world now knows] to stick around at the U.S. Senate until his current term formally expires. Idaho Repubs are very far from pleased with this -- Governor Butch Otter has had Craig's replacement standing by for some time. Dems are definitely not upset at all.
Yours, Hunter [Hunter Bear]


About Larry Craig, I agree that every minute that our gay brother holds out against his respectable, virtuous Republican colleagues, is a minute that Dem Larry LaRocca's prospects improve.  It may be false hope that Idaho will follow in Montana's path, but Grant came very close to taking the House seat of the ever-poisonous Sali last year.  We live in hope.  Lois



NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR: October 29 2007

Al Maund, a noted Southern novelist and civil rights and labor writer, died at a quite advanced age [83] two nights ago at a hospice/nursing home in Ohio. The news of Al's passing was conveyed to me by a good mutual friend, Nigel Hampton -- himself a Southerner and fine writer, one-time labor journalist, and now retired English prof in Michigan. Al was an Anglo, as is Nigel [an age peer of mine] -- and each took outspoken positions against segregation and racism in times and settings when such stands took guts.

And they always kept fighting.

Al was born at Jennings, Louisiana and attended Tulane, eventually securing an M.A. He worked as a sports writer for the Times-Picayune [New Orleans], taught English at Tulane and Livingston College in Alabama. His social justice activist writings began to emerge early on and appeared in such journals as the Southern Patriot [Southern Conference Educational Fund] -- which he came to edit most capably for a number years during the McCarthy period. He wrote also for Bert Cochran's truly excellent American Socialist and one of Al's fine pieces in that journal [April 1956] on the South and Struggle, "Walking their Way to Freedom", tells the basic story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. [That piece can readily be found via Louis Proyect's very welcome compilation of articles drawn from Cochran's magazine:

The Big Boxcar, 1957 and reissued in 1999 with an introduction by Alan Wald -- dealing with Deep South race relations in a freight car -- is probably Al's best known novel. He did others -- and a favorite of mine, The International, 1961, focuses on American labor at mid-century, and broadly on the International Chemical Workers Union, and the rise of an organizer to the organization's presidency. Among all of the other things I taught at Tougaloo College during my sojourn, was a Labor course on at least two occasions. In addition to donated and regularly sent bundles of union newspapers [at least 15 different internationals], I used Al's novel as our text book -- always very well received by the students.

In the mid-1950s, Al edited a solid labor journal, Labor's Daily, out of Bettendorf, Iowa. Around 1956, I sent him a short story of mine, He didn't take it but he did take the time to give me a solid and most helpful critique. It was, as was often the case with various kind and helpful editors with whom I had some contact, written out in ink on a sheet of paper. [I saved a few of those things but, in those days, I moved around about as frequently as Geronimo -- always traveling pretty light.]

Al Maund, as with Nigel Hampton, did important work for the Chemical Workers from its base at Akron, Ohio. The three of us had brief contact there -- the only time I actually ever met Al directly. But he gave me some books, most of which I yet have. One of those, a small collection of poems by Eve Merriam -- Montgomery, Alabama / Money, Mississippi / And Other Places -- was much borrowed by my Tougaloo students.

Over the years, I heard mostly of Al through another very good mutual friend, Jim Dombrowski, the executive director of SCEF until his retirement in late 1965. Jim and I kept in very regular contact until his death about 1983 at New Orleans. Nigel and I also remained in contact and he kept me posted on widely scattered friends of ours. Al spent his last years in a nursing home in New Orleans -- from which he was removed to Ohio during Katrina. Not too long ago, I was contacted by a writer who was seeking Al and, with Nigel's help, the connection was established.

In the Left in what's called the United States, things sometimes become theory-drenched. I never picked that up from Al Maund or anything he wrote. A Southern maverick, his blend of Vision and Principled Pragmatism was very much his own good mix. Certainly cognizant of the importance of organized action, he was always able to maintain his independent mind and spirit. As the late radical poet, John Beecher, himself a Southerner, once approvingly tagged another person, "He wears no man's collar."

Hunter [Hunter Bear]


Thanks very much, Hunter, for your generous remarks and, especially, for sharing your fine homage to Al with the multitudes on your web site.

Best regards,

Nigel  [Nigel Hampton]

[ And see ]



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,La., was dean at McMurray College,
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-answers format,
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.

In another discussional context, the matter of the St. Louis-based Council
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 [1980] 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.

Hunter Bear

Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

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