REPORT FROM MIHSIPI New Society Goes to Work In CenTex WASHINGTON, AUSTIN The Washington Post this week reported the organization of a second, separate John Birch Society calling for the abolition of the socialistic Post Office Department and cola beverages. In Austin, a University student has taken up the clarion and says he will found a CenTex branch to take direct orders from the national headquarters in Baltimore. The Baltimore Birch Society is making quite a display of its secret meetings, secret passwords, secret handshakes, badges, and buttons. The new organization, whose full name is the John Birch Chowder and Marching Society, is directed by attorney Leonard Kerpelman, 36, and a Johns Hopkins graduate student named Gerald Q. Hurwitz, whose age, the Post reported, is one of the So. ciety’s many secrets. “Gerald prefers it that way,” Kerpelman said in an exclusive tape-recorded interview. The new Society was named after John Z. Birch, the original brewer of Birch beer. “Birch” is normally spelt with a small “b” because it has passed into the language as a household word, Kerpelman said, and not as the dictionary contendsbecause birch beer is made from a birch tree extract. Primary aim of the Society is “to memorialize John Z. Birch and the beer he lived for” and wage opposition to the Post Office Department. “By socialistically delivering people’s messages for them,” the leader said, “the Post Office Department makes people weak, dependent, and without moral fiber, instead of leaving them to deliver their own messages, which would make them strong, independent, and morally fibrous.” Kerpelman described his Society as an ancient one, driven underground by Prohibition. “We regard the more recent John Birch Society, the one that hogged all the publicity, as a very late starter. Our Society is better fit to deal with world problems today, because we have been underground for so long, we are more completely uncontaminated by any ideas of the last millennium.” In Austin, University student Keith Stanford is organizing the CenTex chapter of the John Z. Birch Chowder and Marching Society with a sunrise rally at Wooldridge Park later this month. “The Post Office was America’s first and most fatal mistake,” he said. Demonstrations against federal mail boxes and postmen will be the CenTex chapter’s first project. A number of University students who prefer the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century will constitute the intellectual elite of the new chapter, he said. A regional convention will be held on Ground Hog Day. Stanford said he is getting in touch with the Baltimore headquarters for copies of their super-secret directive, the Green Book, and a manual of salutes, passwords, and genuflexions. The motto of the Cen-Tex cell, he said, will be “America is neither a deinocracy nor a republic.” The CenTex co-ordinator, in an exclusive interview before a galaxy of twelve tape-recorders, said the John Z. Birchers are not a secret organization, “but it’s nobody’s business who belongs but mine and the Baltimore Anti-Subversion Sub-Cell.” He charged that between 60 and 70 percent of the manufacturers of cola beverages are consymps and ten percent are dormand. GREENVILLE, Miss. Say, yun huhd the later’? Ross Bahnett, the govuhnuh, uh couse, uh Mihsipi, has offuhed Presdent Kendy a hunnert twenny one Freedom Ridhuhs fo’ two fahm tractuhs. Thass raht! The belly thwomping from this, the hot folk-lore of the moment in the South, is spreading like Johnson grass. It’s the kind of joke that spoofs everybodythe Freedom Riders, the government, Castro, and the Southerners themselves. The comparison between Barnett and Castro, both standing four-circle against the federal government, is probably a subconscious part of the witticism. Mihsipi is as embattled by CORE as Cuba was by the CIA; the Freedom Riders have been only somewhat more effective than the agents of the CIA, and both Castro and Barnett have turned to communism for help, Castro for technicians and Barnett for scapegoats. A. GOOD FOLK JOKE can relieve a lot of tension. When Earl Long was having his trouble in Louisiana, remember, there was a story making the rounds that he asked Leander Somebody, boss of a big parish and an arch-segregationist, “Leandah, whad yuh gonna do nowda feds got da bomb!” But there are always the helmeted crusaders who refuse to be amused; usually they hold high office. In Mihsipi a Colonel T. B. Birdsong, the state’s public service commissioner, announced that a part of the state highway patrol, the Mihsipi Bureau of Investigation, would ferret out communists and subversives. Birdsong called a press conference in Jackson and said, “We expect to expose some communists in Mihsipi.” A patrol inspector backed up his boss, saying, “There are some communists in Mihsipi, right here under our noses.” A patrol public relations man \(Mihsipi has too learned something Freedom Riders’ campaign was “planned and directed by the communists,” and CORE is a communist organization. The Justice Dept. does not list it as communist, but, said the Mihsipi Highway Patrol, “There’s a lot the Justice Department doesn’t know.” The report said the singled-out rider and one other one went to Cuba last winter to hear lectures on bettering U. S.-Cuban relations at which they received instructions from Soviet officials for carrying out the freedom rides. Gov. Bahnett had the last word on the Freedom Riders as penitentiary field hands”If we gave them a hoe, they might chop down cotton instead of weeds.” In Mihsipi, this is equivalent to saying a man is no good for nothin nohow. If he can’t sing happily while he chops weeds, he might as well go back to Cuba where he come from. Doubtless we’ll be hearing a good deal from the MBI ; but there are even in Mihsipi, some people who don’t like Col. Birdsong’s program for knowing and then proving integrationists are communists. Hodding Carter’s Delta Democrat-Times editorialized that the state’s present police powers are adequate. “About the last thing we need right now are any additions to the present motley collection of paid informers and pseudo sleuths the state has on its payroll in the State Sovereignty Cmsm.,” the paper said. Heaping contempt on state officials who called the riders commuiists without offering proof, the Greenville paper asked: “What is accomplished by the kind of show which was put on in Jackson, when so many of the allegations are so easily disproved and the method of attack is so shabby? It wins no converts outside of the South, particularly since no proof was forthcoming. All that it really succeeds in doing is giving outsiders the impression that they are watching a unique circus . . . some sort of throwback to another era.” Over in Jackson, however, the papers don’t take just this tack. The Clarion-Ledger, on its front page, announced that a Negro is still trying to get admitted to the University of Mihsipi with the headline, “Ole Miss Mix Case Renewed,” and did not quite conceal its satisfaction that the released Mihsipi-born communist, Henry Winston, is blind by headlining that story, “Mississippi Born Red Free But Blind.” The Jackson Daily News carried an editorial cartoon showing a Freedom Riders’ bus with a hammer and sickle for a wheel and the caption, . . . Now arriving from Havana.” It featured a letter from a Jackson lady telling President Kennedy “God segregated the races, not us,” chastising him for trying to “force Christians to deny their God,” and vowing, “Christian people will die first.” In Sits news columns, the Daily News headlines wire service stories about the Freedom Riders “Friction Riders,” reports \(“Special” from Wash”may face severe federal action if they made an illegal trip to Havana,” and, in a page-one editorial column, exults, “Now that a link has been established between the ‘riders’ and Communists in Cuba . . .” IN ROUND LAKE, Mihsipi, in a country store at the highway, the soft talking white proprietor turned from us to hear a Negro man tell of some trouble he was having and snapped at him, “What you want Excerpts from a column by. H. M. Baggerly in the Tulia Herald on the TULIA Ted Springer grew up at Happy, Texas, where his father was a night watchman. Ted worked at the newspaper office there after school and on Saturdays. He also had a paper route during those years. He had to work to stay in school. After the war he went to work for the Amarillo paper as a linotype operator. He was active in the Baptist Church in Happy and later in the First Baptist Church in Amarillo. We mention these things to indicate that he wasand isjust an ordinary-type person such as we find in small Panhandle communities. Ted became interested in politics several years ago and decided to run for the state legislature. Although he had some stiff opposition, he won. Two years later he ran for re-election and won. The powers-that-be in Amarillo pulled out all the stops to defeat him. The Amarillo papers blasted him. Such persons as General Jerry Lee, who had just retired as commander of Amarillo Air Force Base, ran against him. J. Evetts Haley Jr. of Canyon was also in the race. Although fo,rced into a run-off, Ted was victorious. WHAT WAS so objectionable about this young man? He was and is a working man. His interests were with those who earn their living by the sweat of their brow, on jobs in the cities and farms of this area. The silk-stocking district in Amarillo, the country club and Amarillo club boys, the oil and cattle millionaires, already had one of their own in the legislatureand they wanted another of their own for the second post to which Amarillo was entitled because of increased population. But the people spoke. They wanted Ted in the legislature instead of General Lee, now a co-ordinator for the John Birch Society, or Evetts Haley Jr., who is just as bad. The extremists in Amarillo were unable to defeat Ted by vilifying him editorially through the columns of the Amarillo paper or by running powerful, well me to do about it?” Then he turned back to us and asked gently, “Anythin’ else?” Walking into Chatham past the unpainted grey wood shacks of backwoods Mihsipi, we came to a shack with four or five Negro children and their young father peering at us from the porch. A toddler of two or so dressed in a flour sack absently brushed the insects off her face. We asked for water from their pump: “Sho, hep yoself,” the man said. It was an old iron pump with a small iron chute for the water. A little boy of five or six came out and said, “Ah prime it fo yo.” He kept his eyes down. The work lifted him from his feet; they made soppy dents in the wettened mud of the flood plain. He had on a checkered red and beige sports shirt and jeans and his bare feet were deformed, there was only one big toe. He primed and primed, and a sucking and gurgling sound came from the pump, the clear cool water flowed for us, and we drank and went on. In Greenville at the bus station two Negro women were buying tickets to Chicago, Ill. The ticket lady told them, “Now yall be back hyeah in time to get yo’ baggage, yall hyeah?” She used the same imperative tone of the store clerk in Round Lake. There was a carnival on the levee in Greenville and groups of white youths and groups of Negro youths rode the merry go round and the roller coaster, their laughs and screams intermingling, drifting together across the old bend of the big river. R. D. financed men against him. So, as might be expected, the next pressure has been economic. Ted was called into the office of the publisher of the Amarillo paper on June 6 and told that he either must resign his .job as linotype operator or as state legislator. By editorial, by column, by letters to the editor, and by slanted news stories the Amarillo newspapers are dedicated to winning West Texas for the John Birch Society philosophy and for other way-out brands of ultra-conservatism. Yet the paper won’t permit a linotype operator to serve in the legislature. Is it that they are bringing economic pressure against Springer to force him out of the legislature since he doesn’t vote as the Globe-News would like? MUCH AS ONE might disagree with the Globe-News for adopting such a policy, still we recognize its right to make any policy it chooses but there are certain principles of fairness that should be observed. Ted spent lots of money in winning this new term against the forces of ultra-conservatism in Amarillo. He just began his new term last January. If the Globe-News decided to make such a policy, wouldn’t it have been a little fairer to have called Ted in, to have explained the policy, and to have told him it would become effective for him at the end of his current term? Is it fair to let him pay the cost of winning an election, then ask him to resign after serving only five monthsor be fired from his regular job? The timing of the firing is also significant. He was told that the new policy was made last March, but he wasn’t ordered to resign from the legislature until June, right after he had voted against a general sales tax. In fact,’ he received his ultimatum one week to the day after his sales tax vote. The legislature is locked in controversy over a new tax law. Is this the time to ask a legislator to resign from the legislatureor lose his job? THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 July 8, 1961 Springer Defended
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