Bandy Red Menace – Part 2


Our constitutional government such as
sweet sounding names the Pelican state Louisiana failed cloning punches the
Pelican state form of the Louisiana joint legislative committee on
segregation didn’t even try to mask it just came out Senate arguably arguably
the most notorious body resided in Florida following the lead of other
southern states Charlie Jones president of the floor state Senate leader of the
pork chop gang which is what they call themselves leader of the pork chop gang
a group of segregationist North Florida Democrats helped to create the Florida
legislative investigation committee or Flynn which is much more fun to say in
1956 in 1953 Johnson aimed to create a special investigating committee within
the legislature to curb gambling crime and other vices user imagination one
other place might be he proclaimed I planned now to
introduce and fight for legislation to create a state FBI a state investigative
force is an absolute must his motion had been defeated on the Senate floor but of
course after the brown decision it easily passed and the jobs committee as
it was better known was born its intent which was similar to the Georgia
Commission on education was to make as complete an investigation as time
permits of all organizations whose principles or activities include course
of conduct on the part of any person or group which would constitute violence or
a violation of the state laws or would be integral to the well-being and
orderly pursuits of them personal and business activities by the majority of
the citizens of the state this committee like the others hit nearly all Deep
South states would investigating quote-unquote
extremist activities and what they meant when the extremist activities the
n-double-a-cp and the extremist activities of other Pro integration
groups of quote paid communist employees sympathizers or other agitators in one
member of this moment’ it whenever you try to preserve
America for Americans this is the truck the type of
obstruction you run into Russia won’t have to fire at a bomb of this nation
they’re going to take us over from within
we had better wake up and try to do something it’s interesting leave
Georgia’s committee initially tried to reassure the public that they would not
engage with us but rather would be composed of both modest ones who would
not become hysterical or who are not easily susceptible to mob or emotional
influence a Georgia Legislature noted our tired our entire concern was not
directed against color people but rather against ideas alien to our nature and
custom we were not fighting van and van loan or to create and debasing them but
fighting for the ideals of our country in an attempt to combat international
militant communism that was so greatly feared Charlie Jones who dominated floor
politics for two decades used his committee to terrorize not only the
n-double-a-cp in the 1950s but I also Florida’s Pumas
community mostly at institutions of higher learning the Jones Committee
embarked on a witch hunt from 1956 to 1960 using undercover police officers
and a large impairment ring at the University of Florida which ultimately
result in the determination of more than twenty nine faculty members from the
state’s flagship university and at least the suicide of one faculty member at the
University of Florida there were also investigations at Florida State
University the University of Miami and a result of liberalism and academic
freedom at the University of South Florida the state’s brand-new University
in the early 1960s the success success of these committees could be measured by
using different variables but at 1961 the United States Civil Rights
Commission issued a report listing states doing the most to maintain racial
segregation at public schools and colleges predictably they listed all the
Deep South states Florida Alabama Georgia Louisiana Mississippi and South
Carolina as misses are as McCarthyism swept across Georgia
and the deep south Don West was in Texas working for the Farmers Union and the
whole mission council as a labor organizer and as a writer for the
southern farmer all while trying to ignore Ralph McGill the attacks from
Talmadge and others all those activism though brought persistent FBI
surveillance determined of connecting his work and the organizations he
represented to the Communist Party out of these travels and trials West
composed one of his most controversial works in least in the eyes of his
opponents the road is rocky a poetry collection that challenged McCarthyism
the book drew the ire of the FBI in San Antonio who sent director J Edgar Hoover
a complete list of all of the West’s communist affiliations and activities
dating back to the nineteen thirties what West did not know was that he had
been named in front view AK in 1949 for his labor activities in the nineteen
thirties and that the FBI already had open files on them in 1952 this is quite
possibly Bart in 1952 he had also been accused of
leading a communist plot to destabilize the Boy Scouts so there’s that West
responded to all of these attacks by flatly stating I am NOT a communist now
I am a Georgia farmer in 1953 West left Texas in despair and depression finally
landed in the small North West to be Northwest Georgia community of dome at
the invitation of Reverend Charles T Pratt pastor of the Church of God begin
to assemble Pratt and West to come to Whitfield County to become the editor of
the new newspaper that would serve as the mouthpiece of his church and foster
social progress and union activism and region with no other options and close
to his birthplace of Devil’s Hollow in Gilmer County West accepted joined as a
preacher as well in 1954 in 1954 Dalton of the population of a mere 16,000 but
this was double its size 19 largely due to an influx of industry
which was seen as a blessing and a curse as Dalton in the region modernized many
felt their way of life was being threatened his new publication and
Dalton the southerner like all his other works quickly drew the iron scorn of the
FBI local newspaperman politicians and business owners the papers message was
pro-union and can count close to five thousand
paid subscribers by 1955 seven workers Dalton wanted more they asked west to
help them organize medians of their local plants while he declined he did
put them in contact with the textile workers union of America who sent local
representatives to dull to organize the law text company in the Beltran company
the company bosses blamed West and their allied congressmen entered Henderson
land a stop segregationist living in Ramallah represented Rome was able to
access West’s huge files which were subsequently forwarded to dub in
response to local labor leaders nothing in response to pressure local
labor leaders contacted the National TWA demanding they sever ties with West and
Pratt ultimately was the plant fossils that we give the Union position by
firing employees who were also members of Pratt’s Church destroying the labor
unions was the goal and the West’s presence made the job easier because
there are opponents to tie the movement to communism soon the local route of
guilt emerge and mark faced the editor of the Dalton News and Dublin citizen
taste described as a dynamic young journalist by the Chattanooga to us
recently passed away in 2015 at the age of 101 after serving as the editor of
Dublin’s daily citizen for 37 years though a Chula Florida native was racial
moderate and was named Dalton’s Man of the Year in 1957 he was also honoured on
numerous occasions by the Georgia Press Association in 1954 the Georgia Bureau
of Investigation approached pace about warming on West and pasted readily and
compliant pace fired the first shot in August with the front page expose the
Dalton News poll directly from the HELOC files
followed by several more articles which basically repeated the gills previous
charges from the Atlanta paper West was not a new name as pace became acquainted
with him in 1948 when Pratt and West brought Henry Wallace to Dalton for a
rally during the former vice president’s ill-fated campaign for president under
the Progressive Party banner at the time pace regarder West as nothing more than
another misguided surrealist but by 1955 pace was convinced the labor activist
was a full-fledged communist worth keeping an eye on for his part West’s
first impression of pace is not too flattering meeting pace to inform him
that West was set to launch a new publication the southerner he noted that
pace was quote sort of pathetic a weak little fellow who was a string around
his neck no idea that means in face of paces attacks West was steadfast in his
faith but the words of Luther Moondog fire chief shook West to his
core speaking to a TW US organizer passing through dog on his way to
Tennessee broom asked him to stay watch some real excitement after the damn
communist was lynched though nothing came of this the attacks intensify the
form of the campaign waged by the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars
maintaining that West speak to his human record and Communist
Party membership West took the bait and attempted to defend himself in a letter
to the doc citizen in which he attacked McCarthyism denied that he was a
communist and derided what he saw as an effort to derail the unionization of the
workers the seesaw battle continued as workers were targeted both verbally and
physically with several being beaten having their property destroyed and 26
losing their jobs at both bail Grafton mottos even the Southerners offices were
vandalized in defiance law Tech’s workers went on strike which was met by
state troopers sent in by governor Marvin Griffin
this ended the strike bringing the movement near to enclose smelling blood
of the water tastes went in for the kill you requested more recent information on
west from the FBI but was rebuked he asked the GBI who obtained information
from the FBI that alerted him to the fact that West had not been affiliated
with the Communist Party since 1950 and had actually been removed from the
federal euros security index in 1955 due to inactivity a minor setback but paste
kept up the pressure his ultimate goal was to get a grand jury to consider the
case and his prospects were rejuvenated in October when the Whitfield County
grand jury took up communism acting as a mini Hewett to investigate the charges
pace had brought against West anti-communist leaders from Illinois and
South Carolina Travis Dalton and the following weeks to
plead the case against West comparing him to a cancer of infiltration under
the guise of religion education and labor unions West finally received his
subpoena late October and used his appearance as
an opportunity to preach his cost to the national media as much as the Dalton
press he labeled it the Dalton Red Scare and compared himself to Jesus the
appearance came to nothing as West refused to answer questions pleading the
fifth amendment the final chapter came in December when
plant workers cast their votes to unionize much to west dismay only 43%
voted in favor in the following weeks pace revealed in the citizen that some
of West’s writings have been displayed insult an economist books trench table
these attacks were not meant as a pardon salvo and yet West but rather a means to
push him out of double paces efforts were successful as the aiming Pratt into
a corner crap required all the ministers working
under him to publicly swear an oath that they were not communists West had
repeatedly refused to discuss all his prior endeavors before 1952 this
satisfied neither friend nor the County solicitor who would administer the
loyalty oath when pushed to cooperate West resigned from the church who also
simultaneously expelled him leaving Dark Nest headed from Blaire’s though some 75
miles to the northeast in Union County close to the North Carolina work his
mother who lived there she owned a shop and operated a store that he had bought
and set up for her there as he drove over Fort mountain on a winding Mountain
Road he spotted a car tailing him as the car approached it started to priority
and attempted to force him off the road he was keenly aware that several weeks
earlier labor organizers have been forced off the road into a ditch so he
calmly reach through the 38 caliber revolver on the passenger seat next and
have been unloaded into the tires of his pursuit
the event commonly continued on the rest of his journey unmolested ironically any
chance the dolt labor movement had a success died the moment Don West was
brought into saving McCarthyism trapped in this little corner of Northwest
Georgia thank you now two questions Wow so what do you take away but we think that location is that
person I think what we can learn from it
without getting too polluted is that a project answered but what we can learn
from it is that we have to be careful in not framing things in a nationalistic
cause that otherwise shouldn’t be meaning in this case they used the fear
of communism to try to halt integration to try to halt anything that was seen as
a threat to the norm and it’s very easy to call something unpatriotic to try to
stop because you shouldn’t be able to fight against something
America should be able to do something that’s on American so if somebody labels
something of American that everybody should rally to the other side of that
that’s what was attempted and it was largely successful throughout South in
1950s and into the 1960s because you know the apart date was only McCartney
himself was only in power for four years but in the south McCarthyism was around
for a decade Iran and it was because they use this fear of communism
patriotism and all these things to paint things that they were against as
unpatriotic so I think it’s a lesson we could remember today right which also learned that industry
was that they chose men’s group after the very genteel always suddenly a
modernist Laura do memory that lighter in life very cantankerous disillusioned
the Communists will walk it will not be hanging out and we’re here working so
this is a very top turn and yeah after leaf in Georgia now
he goes to Baltimore ends up in West Virginia and he has in West Virginia
today so it’s yeah it’s very just started I’ll cherish it was when I stopped my job here call today
for my first year of teaching evaluation abacus written statement to the students
said I must be honest with sensing that we leave early with a connections with all this chatter
continues with the courier heads they are following personal do you mean I mean yes in the sense that you could
tie the American Communist Party’s growth in the South going back a little
bit to that but not really in the sense that this is will come because of
integration and the monarch civil rights movement but really say the beginning of
it is around the depression to about 10 years after it so it’s the same kamar would be yeah poverty for a
civilization you have not in the same way and I
wouldn’t say that the same using communism for our anti-communism for
racial reasons and then the south of that when we say that there’s the same
thing you use an other things for obviously but I’m going to say common is
except in individual cases like Paul Robeson a little later and then also a
Phillip Randolph we first get started but again until it’s a little later
doesn’t really come out as a socialist until the mid 20s and 30s to still in this it does again not as much in
Georgia the planet plays a bigger role Mississippi because there Elizabeth say
the plant the plant was a big welcome flora finally a huge role in Florida
that I’ve seen not as much local toward the clams bigger Georgia in the teens
early 20s it’s not as big in the 50s as Mississippi or Florida well I’m another round of applause for thank you again for coming out tonight

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