* Code added to make Google search more likely. Mississippi Civil Rights--One Man, One Story: Letters of Thanks Make a Difference

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Letters of Thanks Make a Difference

In years past, I've let my life be dominated by the Millsaps sports project, especially in the fall and spring. This year I've been determined to hold on to other parts of my life, and that includes my original blog and starting this new blog. It is somewhat frustrating at the moment that I have just enough time to find things of interest and not enough time to pursue them. The books I recently checked out by Polly Greenburg and James Silver look very interesting, but I've only had time to skim through them. The Charles Evers letter criticising my dad has led me to a Charles Evers oral history that irritates me even more. And the whole saga of the Head Start program in the mid-60's sounds like it has all the twists and turns of a John Grisham novel. I eagerly look forward to a few weeks from now when I'll actually have time to devote to reading and research.

In the meantime, I will continue to cobble together posts for the blogs. Today is a combination of old and new as my plan was to reprint some letters my dad received in regards to the Chamber of Commerce stance. That's the old. The new is that I got a nice email Wednesday evening from a friend who said he is enjoying the blog. That means a lot to me and it goes along with an earlier email from my nephew. As I sit at my PC typing posts for the next day, I sometimes feel like I'm in a vacuum, not knowing if anyone is finding anything of interest on the blog. While it would still have value if I was in a vacuum because this is educational for me, it's nice to know that others also find a value in the posts.

Now, on to the letters from the mid-60's. We know the KKK wasn't happy by the stance of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, and I have a one letter from "A Sickened Christian (White)" who compares the Chamber of Commerce to the "Anti-Christ forces", but I also have four letters of support. Maybe it would be a refreshing change to hear those voices:

July 7, 1964
Dear Mr. Ezelle,

As a citizen of Jackson and Mississippi I want to express my appreciation to you for your part in issuing the Chamber of Commerce statement on Civil Rights laws. Because of such people as you one has hope for Mississippi. Without hope life is unbearable. You are to be highly commended for your courage and integrity.

Gratefully yours,
Willie Hume Bryant

July 7, 1964
Dear Mr. Ezelle,

I am very proud of the statement made by the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. You are to be congratulated for your work in this. It has been too many months since I could be proud of this kind of action.

Kathren Wiener (Mrs. Julian Wiener)

July 9, 1964
Dear Bob,

Wallie and I have both tried to call you. We just want to compliment you and the Chamber of Commerce. We have so desperately needed this kind of leadership. Thank you!

I talked with Mrs. Howard Ross this morning. She said all her calls thus far have been in support of her husband's statement. Thought you'd like to know. If there is any way I personally or the Council on Human Relations can be of assistance, please let me know.

Gratefully yours,
Jane Schutt

July 7, 1965 (after the newsletter came out in the summer of 1965)
Dear Bob:

Someone sent me a copy of the "yellow paper" headed "Chamber of Commerce Element Our Worst Enemy". In this document you are bitterly attacked.

The measure of a man's stature can be gauged in part by his enemies; the strength of his influence can be measured in part by the intensity of the attack; and the depth of his character can be measured in part by his ability to disregard the insignificant while concentrating on the significant.

According to this, you are a man of substantial stature, influence and character as are the other men who were mentioned along with you. Keep your back straight, your chin high, your head clear and your heart mellow.

Sincerely, Owen Cooper (cc to Mr. Nat S. Rogers and Mr. Robert Mayo)

I don't know if any of these people are still alive, but bless them for taking the time to write a note to my dad. I'm sure words of support during this period of time were tremendously appreciated.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago that typing the words of that particular entry caused your eyes to water. Well, my friend, reading these letters to your dad -- especially the one from Owen Cooper -- caused my eyes to water. . . .