ORGANIZER 14

 

MEDGAR W. EVERS -- AND TODAY [6/12/02]

ADL AND FBI [HUNTER GRAY  6/8/02]  UPDATED 3/02/05

MORE MISSISSIPPI STORIES [HUNTER GRAY 6/8/02]

 

MEDGAR W. EVERS -- AND TODAY [6/12/02]

This is the 39th anniversary of the death of Medgar Wiley Evers of
Mississippi -- a brave and honorable fighter for human rights -- and a very
dear friend. His identity was Afro-American but he was significantly and
very consciously part Choctaw.

His assassination  occurred in the context of our massive Jackson
[Mississippi] Movement of 1962-63 -- and in the midst of extraordinarily
brutal, violent and sanguinary repression:  the full range of city and state
and vigilante forces -- literally several thousands of hostile "lawmen" and
thugs and a huge concentration camp at the State Fairgrounds.

There are many of us who -- without falling prey to  linear chronological
deification -- do  mark certain calendar dates faithfully.  Beginning on
December 12, 1962, with the historic [and very quickly suppressed]  downtown Jackson picketing [myself and Eldri and four of my Tougaloo students], our well organized base for the Jackson Movement [which we had been building for months]  now moved dramatically into the full-scale public arena, gathering strength and momentum initially as an extremely successful economic boycott of downtown Jackson and environs -- the economic nerve center of the Magnolia State -- and then into huge demonstrations.

There are many significant dates/events through this great and very
effective saga.  On May 12, 1963, three of us signed a historic letter which
went to all major components of the Jackson and Mississippi power
structures -- and which took the Jackson Movement across the Rubicon into
its next stage:  large-scale and finally truly massive non-violent
demonstrations.  The three of us were Medgar W. Evers [Field Secretary of
the Mississippi NAACP]  and Mrs Doris Allison [President of the Jackson
Branch of NAACP] and myself [then John R Salter, Jr as Advisor to the
Jackson NAACP Youth Council -- and soon to be Strategy Committee Chair of
the Jackson Movement.]

Medgar was shot shortly after 11:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 11, 1963 just outside his home. We had been together in a meeting only shortly before.  He died right after midnight, Wednesday, June 12.

Our response to his murder was to build the Jackson Movement ever higher --
and the courageous outpouring of grassroots Black people and Black students
was indeed  colossal.  In the end, Jackson was fundamentally cracked -- and
those cracks, joined by other great efforts around the state, spread and
deepened across Mississippi and far, far beyond.

Medgar's murderer, Byron de la Beckwith, who was tried twice in the
mid-1960s and freed via hung all-white juries, was finally convicted in 1994
and sentenced to life.  He recently died in the Mississippi state
penitentiary at Parchman.

There are many dates for us in this particular Holy Year -- with Medgar's
martyrdom at the apex.

Two important points:

The Jackson Movement was launched -- and  proceeded  bravely -- in the face
of massive opposition by the formal racist enemies.  But there was also
substantial subversion by a significant portion of the National Office of
NAACP and very much from the Kennedy administration.  In a large, civil
rights retrospective at Tougaloo and Millsaps colleges in late October and
early November, 1979, I  publicly denounced that "subversion by the
corporate liberals of New York and the self-styled "pragmatism" of those
splendid scoundrels residing in Camelot on the Potomac." And I hold to every
word of that to this very day.

Mississippi, as I've noted in my May/June 2002  "Closed Society" article in
the excellent socialist journal, Against the Current,  was very much
totalitarian in nature.  That hideous situation and comparable ones in the
hard-core South changed because of the again-and-again courageous efforts by
grassroots people and organizers -- and because of constructive outside
pressure that came from the Nation and World Beyond.

Today, the United States itself moves deeper and deeper, faster and faster,
into its own and increasingly tragic Closed Society morass.

And, once again -- as in all of Human History -- courageous and committed
action by grassroots people and organizers, and constructive pressure from
the outside World Itself, are the only means whereby this extremely
dangerous and people- strangling direction will be reversed and our  Journey
to the Sun resumed.

My recent "Closed Society" piece in Against the Current -- with a focus on
our national situation of today -- is on our large social justice website,
Lair of Hunterbear, at
http://www.hunterbear.org/closed_society_of_mississippi__a.htm


Mrs Doris Allison [now in her eighties] and I, the two surviving signers of
the Rubicon-Letter of May 12, 1963, talked extensively yesterday -- as we do
several times each month.  She and her equally brave husband, Ben, are the
God-parents of my now 20 year old grandson who lives with us here in Idaho.
[He, Thomas, is himself one-half Mississippi Choctaw.]

Much material on the Jackson Movement and its myriad of lessons is at
several locations on my large website www.hunterbear.org

I have a very substantial discussion of Medgar and his life and work in this
website page, "Medgar W. Evers: Reflection and Appreciation"

http://www.hunterbear.org/medgar_w.htm

My own very detailed book on the Jackson struggle -- Jackson,  Mississippi:
An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism -- is discussed at this website
link:
http://www.hunterbear.org/jackson.htm


Fraternally and In Solidarity -

Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]

www.hunterbear.org   ( strawberry socialism )
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´


ADL AND FBI [HUNTER GRAY  6/8/02]  UPDATED  3/02/05

Loved the story about your encounter with YAF!

David [McReynolds]  3/03/05
 

Comment by Hunter Bear:

I made this post about three years ago.  I certainly see it as current.
Here, I'm adding some pieces to round it out:  On The Speaking Trail.

When Miss Ella J. Baker and I made our long Western Trip in late 1963 under
the aegis of our Southern Conference Educational Fund -- drumming up support
for the 1963 Civil Rights Bill [which became, of course, the '64 Act],
things on the whole went smoothly.  One possible trap lay in a long
scheduled interview with a right-wing talk radio guy at Des Moines.  Advised
by some friends to skip that one, neither Ella nor I were so inclined.  "Let
me handle this -- right at the beginning," said I to her.  And I did.

When we entered the Den -- and that was about what it was -- our Host looked
at us like a Furry Beast from the days of Nero.  He may have been a little
thrown by me since, as a Mississippi adversary had once commented in puzzled
fashion, "You do look just like a football player."  We sat down and, within
five minutes, I had advised him that I planned to talk in part about the
"right to keep and bear arms."  And I told him that I had not only been
president of our Flagstaff High NRA Club [Northern Arizona Rifle Champs -- I
still have the medal] but that I was a full NRA Life Member.

And he was very badly thrown.  Becoming cordial to us, our interview went
very productively.

A year later, still with SCEF,  I covered some more Western ground by
myself -- primarily from a civil rights education perspective but also for
low key fund-raising.  As my post, herewith attached indicates, times had
changed somewhat nationally and the general atmosphere was not always
pervasively friendly.  That post speaks primarily of my problematic
experience with the regional office of ADL at Denver.  But I do have a
couple of other stories to add.

I spoke at Colorado State University, Ft Collins.  My hosts, several profs
in political science [nice, but Easterners], warned me immediately that the
conservative youth group, Young Americans for Freedom, would be out "in
force" at my speech and real trouble could ensue.  They were clearly
jittery.  I told them I knew how to handle it.  And I did.  [Sorry to dampen
some of the current crop of radicals, but I didn't see this YAF incursion as
"fascism," incipient or full blown.]

When I stepped out on the podium to a very large audience, They were sitting
in the second row, almost two dozen.  Dressed in clean, worn Levis and white
shirts, I knew that garb well.  In Arizona, where we frequently wore just
that -- and frankly I  still do occasionally -- we called the clothes combo,
the "Arizona Tux."  Nothing unusual there.  More than that, most of the YAF
kids looked much like many of my school contemporaries.

I looked down at them, stony-faced, narrow eyed, and ostensibly mean.  They
stared and glared up at me.  And then I said:

"I'm from Flagstaff -- the Real West. My coming here is a kind of
concession.  My friends at Flag who went out of state to forestry school
could either go to Oregon State or here to Fort Collins.  They always chose
Oregon because, to us, this country here, east of the Rockies, is the
beginning of The East."  And then, gritting my teeth, much as my horse
ranching great grandfather in Dakota Territory [1870 on] would have done as
he gobbled up big chunks of land and used violence to force out
homesteaders, I finished:

"To us, this is the land of the dirt farmers."

Several of the YAF kids downright wilted, slumped in their seats. Others
just looked shocked and shattered.

And then I grinned broadly at them.  And they grinned back.

It was a great evening and, when it was over, every single one of the YAFers
came up and shook my hand.  All were very friendly and several said they had
learned much.

A few days later in Denver, where my audience involved Mine Mill and OCAW
[Oil, Chemical] officials [both unions were headquartered in the city],
Reds, radical church folks, students, Indians, Blacks, Chicanos, civil
righters as well as a number of sharp reporters, three younger people tried
to heckle me. "What are you doing to eliminate capitalism?" one shot out to
me.

I remember the Mine Millers and many others [no friends of capitalism but
well experienced with provocateurs] jerking to angry alert.  The media
people poised themselves. "Organizing" said I smoothly, "organizing at the
grassroots.  Fighting for the right to demonstrate, to register and vote,
for desegregation and then integration.  Fighting against the Klan."  I went
on,

"Unless you know how to shoot good, don't think of going down there and
preaching explicitly about starting in right away to Overthrow the System."

"And," I finished, "I don't think you know how to shoot."

The Mine Mill officials and the others relaxed, smiled.  The audience
laughed.  Someone whispered, "Trotskyites," but on that one I certainly
don't know. [The Trotskyists that I knew would have never done something
that stupid.]  What I do know is these people shut up.

The rest of the trip, always productive, was increasingly routine.  At Salt
Lake, the John Birchers had tried to get the University of Utah to cancel my
appearance -- but never stood a chance.  I had threatened to speak outside
in the snow -- but union people and Indians and students and the NAACP stood
very firm.  Many of my supporters were Mormons and one key faculty member,
in Anthro, was an old friend of my folks.  That talk went splendidly --
massive audience.

Phoenix followed with a little turbulence, but essentially OK.  Tucson, as
always, was very friendly turf for me.

Now here is the ADL piece:


ADL AND FBI [HUNTER GRAY]  [I have omitted, for space reasons, the newspaper
article that initially accompanied this.  All of it is on our large
website.]

 

Note by Hunterbear:

The fact that the Anti-Defamation League is working very conspicuously with
the FBI -- and at a point where FBI is functioning in a more openly [I say
openly]  repressive fashion than it has in decades [FBI, of course, has
always been repressive as hell], should come as absolutely no surprise to
anyone even generally familiar with the civil liberties turf in the United
States.  ADL has been doing this as long as I, at least, can remember -- and
one of its traditional areas of concern has always been everything from
militant liberalism into and across the Left spectrum [with the exception of
right-wing "social democrats."]

About ten years or so ago, the now very well established and broad-based and
always quite circumspect  American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, then
spearheaded by former US Senator James Abourezk from South Dakota [married to a Rosebud Sioux and a major figure in Indian rights], released documents that had been secretly issued by ADL:  its so-called list of "subversive organizations" which numbered into the hundreds -- and included, among others, not only the various racist and anti-Semitic hate groups -- BUT also American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, all sorts of Native American and Chicano and Black and Asian rights organizations, virtually everything on the Left, labor unions, liberal outfits, Islamic groups, social
justice-oriented  Christian church organizations -- and on and on and on.

All of this was in the context of ADL working covertly with various police
organizations and operations.

My own experiences with ADL were many, many years ago and relatively
minimal -- but not friendly.  In the Southern Movement days, ADL was working
with the right-wing Jay Lovestone elements in AFL-CIO [mostly on the AFL end
of it] to  "track" and hunt alleged "subversives" in the Civil Rights
Movement -- with an especial focus on SNCC and SCEF [I was the SCEF Field
Organizer.]  On the other hand, its influence in the hard-core South was
essentially nil and its sabotaging  thrusts occurred mostly in the North,
East, and West Coast regions.

In the late Fall, 1963, veteran activist Miss Ella J. Baker [Advisor to
SNCC, Consultant to SCEF -- and an old and dear friend always] and I [as
SCEF Organizer] spent a few hard-traveling and very demanding weeks on a
speaking tour in the North and West, building support for the Civil Rights
Bill [to become the 1964 CR Act] and for the Movement generally.  This
trip -- focused on church and labor and academic groups -- went extremely
well.

A year later -- late in 1964 -- I did a shorter solo run which was mostly in
the Western Mountain states.  By this time, the old national solidarity
behind the Southern Movement was beginning to crack:  many northern liberals were "tired" and wanted to feel that the passage of the '64 CR Act was the apex,   various ideological divisions within the Movement were becoming more and more publicly apparent, war clouds in Southeast Asia were very visible, there had been several Northern ghetto upheavals,  the integrationist /
separatist debates were obviously incipient, a plethora of New Left outfits
had emerged -- many healthy,  and some not so.  In addition, FBI COINTELPRO
was in full swing.

That late 1964 speaking trip of mine in the West, focused mostly on labor
and academic sectors, was quite successful -- very large turnouts -- but
there were occasionally turbulent dimensions.  John Birchers and Young
Americans for Freedom et al were traditional, frequent and noisy nuisances.
Now and then, there were very ultra-Left thrusts which may well have been in
actuality COINTELPRO.

But, in at least one setting, ADL was definitely involved as a would-be
sabotaging force.

That was at Colorado State, Greeley, where my host was an internationally
known educator and where most of the people who came to hear me were
faculty, labor officials, and Chicano and Black civil rights activists.  No
visible problems -- but I was told that one faculty person at Greeley, who
did not come to the meeting, had advised everyone in advance that I and SCEF
were very "suspect"  and "probably Communists" and he cited information he'd
gotten from the ADL regional office at Denver.  No one listened to him and
the meeting at Greeley and environs was an excellent one.

My next engagement was at Denver and, as soon as I got there, I went to the
ADL Regional Office and raised High Hell with its director [while grinning
junior staff, out of his sight, and in my general age range,
enthusiastically signaled me to lay it on him.]  For his part, he beat a
very hasty retreat indeed, blamed the Greeley prof for everything, and
apologized profusely.  I had brought with me on this trip a great deal of
United Klans and other Klan-type White supremacist material from the Deep
Dixie setting in which I was deeply involved -- and I left some of that with
them.  Although I invited him, he did not come to my large Denver meeting
which had many officials from the Mine-Mill and OCAW international offices,
other labor people, Native Americans, many academics and students, and a
large number of Black and Chicano activists.  There, a very weird  and
ostensibly far, far Left threesome tried to disrupt things -- but got
nowhere.

So my own experiences with ADL have been neither extensive nor friendly.
Still, the Colorado thing was certainly revealing -- and the ADL connections
with the Lovestone finks in AFL-CIO were also becoming more and more
apparent to many of us working in the Southern battlefields.  Decades later,
when I saw, via American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the massive ADL "subversive list," I was certainly not surprised at all.

Nor am I at all surprised now to see ADL cooperating so openly and
congenially with FBI -- in the blank-check name, of course, of "national
security."

Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]

========================================
Law Enforcement From Across The U.S. Participate In Joint ADL-FBI Conference
On Terrorism
Anti-Defamation League
6/6/02    staff


More than 500 representatives of federal, state and local law enforcement
agencies were briefed on extremist and terrorist threats during a daylong
conference co-sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Federal
Bureau of Investigation.

The May 31 program, held at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, was an
outgrowth of ADL's longtime involvement in providing information and
training to law enforcement on threats posed by extremists. The conference,
"Extremist and Terrorist Threats: Protecting America After 9/11" included
presentations from ADL, FBI and other nationally recognized experts on
extremist groups, investigative techniques, counterterrorism strategies,
domestic security and threat assessment.


"Now more than ever, law enforcement must have the resources and know-how to prevent future acts of terrorism," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "In order to assess threats against the United States, law
enforcement must have credible information about domestic and foreign
extremists whose rhetoric promotes violence. Through our network of regional
offices and our experts in the field, ADL is uniquely suited to aid in the
war against terrorism. This conference was an opportunity for law
enforcement and extremism watchdogs to compare notes and forge alliances."


The conference brought together representatives of federal, state and local
law enforcement from every region of the U.S., and included participants in
the FBI National Academy, ADL regional directors, area counsels and
investigative researchers.


The program featured opening remarks from Mr. Foxman and Dr. Kathleen L.
McChesney, the FBI's Executive Assistant Director for Law Enforcement
Services. The plenary session, "Right and Left, Domestic and Foreign: An
Overview of Extremist and Terrorist Movements and Groups," featured
presentations from Dr. Bruce Hoffman, Director of the Washington office of
The Rand Corporation; Greg Comcowich, Intelligence Research Specialist in
the FBI's Counterterrorism Division; and Mark Pitcavage, ADL Director of
Fact Finding.


James T. Caruso, the FBI's Deputy Executive Assistant Director for
Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence, delivered the keynote address.


Five concurrent workshops focused on Threat Assessment on the State and
Local Level; Strategies for Police-Community Cooperation to Combat Extremism and Terrorism; The Changing Role of Law Enforcement: Policy, People and Technology; Inside the Minds of Terrorists and Extremists; and New Partnerships: Law Enforcement, the Military and Non-Governmental
Organizations. Among the presenters were police chiefs from Arlington, VA,
Irvine, CA, and Spokane, WA; and officials from the U.S. Army Criminal
Investigation Command; the U.S. Army War College, the International
Association of Chiefs of Police, and ADL and FBI professionals.


David Friedman, Director of ADL's Washington, D.C. Regional Office, and
Louis Quijas, Assistant Director for the FBI's Office of Law Enforcement
Coordination, delivered closing remarks.


EDITORS NOTE: Additional information on extremist groups and ideologies, and the League's partnerships with law enforcement agencies across the country, is available at ADL's online Law Enforcement Agency Resource Network, at www.adl.org/LEARN.


The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading
organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that
counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]
www.hunterbear.org  ( strawberry socialism )
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´



MORE MISSISSIPPI STORIES [HUNTER GRAY  6/8/02]


[From Redbadbear with copies elsewhere]

Mississippi stories.

This is a bit more on the Meridian, Mississippi episode to which Reber makes
appropriate reference.  It was June 29, 1968 and, in the ambush set-up
organized by ADL and FBI and local police, a Klansperson and very young
Jackson school teacher, Kathy Ainsworth [26], was killed and her even
younger associate, Tommy Tarrants [21], was seriously wounded.  Tarrants
went to prison where he became an ardent Christian, was eventually paroled
[December, 1976] to attend Ole Miss --  and, as far as I know, is still an
activist on the Bible Trail.

From the beginning, very serious questions were raised about the propriety
of what amounted to a well-planned and deliberately murderous ambush "under color of law"  -- in which FBI informers within the Klan played key roles in conjunction with various lawmen and ADL.  An initial investigation by the
highly respected [and still very actively functional] Atlanta-based Southern
Regional Council, and a long article in its journal New South, gave the
questions a great deal of credibility.  Jack Nelson -- a top reporter for
the Los Angeles Times -- wrote articles on the matter and then finally an
excellent book, Terror in the Night: The Klan's Campaign Against The Jews
[New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993] -- in which he's extremely critical of
FBI [as well as ADL.]

In the book, Nelson also discusses the FBI / ADL partnership against alleged
Communism in the civil rights movement and the paranoid and nefarious
efforts in that vein by the ADL regional director in New Orleans, A.I.
Botnick, who tried to force out Rev. Ken Dean as head of the newly organized
Mississippi Council on Human Relations in the mid-1960s. Botnick saw Dean as
"too liberal" and a "Communist sympathizer" -- but Dean [radical only in his
social gospel Christianity] was vigorously  and successfully supported by
Les Dunbar, head of the parent Southern Regional Council of which the
Mississippi body was then a  very newly organized affiliate.  [I know both
Ken Dean and Les Dunbar.]

The whole Meridian episode has passed into Magnolia legendry but continues
to be a burning scar.  The story is full of fascinating folk -- a number of
whom I knew and still know.

I strongly recommend Jack Nelson's book.

Rich, human stories from that whole general epoch abound.

In Jackson, Mississippi in May 1970, I made my own kind of peace -- in the late afternoon in a Hinds County chancery courtroom -- with a still young and much changed White man and his family, and they with me. The guy had played the leading role in engineering a rigged car wreck which, on Hanging Moss Road in Jackson in 1963, had completely destroyed my car [in which Martin King had ridden only a few days previously], left me nearly dead with a number of badly broken bones from my face down into my rib area, and seriously wounded a friend riding with me. Nothing, of course, had been done to this young racist [from a very prominent Citizens Council family] and his associates, and I had hated this man and his family for seven long and venomous years.  The reconciliation, which I had not planned, nor had they, just suddenly and spontaneously happened following a civil trial relating to medical costs, etc.  I still have to this moment, on one side of my face, occasional and considerable pain. My friend still has serious scars.  But we were and are -- all of us -- glad to end our own awful legacy of hatred.

In the following October, 1970, I had a very long dinner meeting at Jackson
with another much-changed one-time lethal adversary, and former White
Knights [KKK] leader, who, with his father, had put out a Southwide printed
death list with my name and photo along with several other civil rights
activists.  In an obvious frameup, the Federal government was seeking at
this point to get this man -- a classic poor White originally from South
Mississippi -- on the charge of robbing a bank at Memphis.  Convinced of his
innocence, I secured the services of the very interested and sympathetic
Bill Kunstler whose initial contact with the government prosecutors on the
matter led to an immediate dropping of charges against the ex-Klansman.

As Ever - H
Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]
www.hunterbear.org  ( strawberry socialism )
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´

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