Racism and John Birch Society-2

RACISM AND THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY—PART 2  (rev. 02/28/19)

 

Part 1 of my discussion of “Racism and the John Birch Society” replied to absurdities and falsehoods posted online by Bircher Jim Smith.  It appears here:  https://sites.google.com/site/aboutxr/

Part 2 of my discussion appears below – in reply to absurdities posted online by JBS member “LiveLife98”.

Part 3 (the final chapter) of my discussion of “Racism and the John Birch Society” is available here:

https://sites.google.com/site/aboutxr/home/jbs-racism3

 

 

Because it is so important to understand the history of how the John Birch Society facilitated and attempted to legitimize racist arguments and themes, I have devoted more time and space to this subject than to any other.

For this chapter, I am using (as a starting point) several messages posted online by Bircher “LiveLife98” in August 2018.  For brevity, I will hereafter refer to LL-98.

LL-98 posted comments on an article by Jonathan Chait which was published on the National Intelligencer website. Chait’s article was entitled: “Ben Shapiro Proudly Declares Conservatism Nearly Kook-Free”.  Shapiro’s original article was published on the National Review magazine website.  Links to both Shapiro’s article and Chait’s critique appear below:

CHAIT:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/08/ben-shapiro-proudly-declares-conservatism-nearly-kook-free.html#comments

 

SHAPIRO:

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/08/conservatives-oust-bigotry-left-only-criticizes-them-for-it/

 

LL-98’s comments

(A)   In typical Bircher fashion, LL-98 initially attacked Ben Shapiro, along with National Review magazine, and Weekly Standard magazine.  Then, LL-98 defended Donald Trump.

(B)    After I replied with factual information to some of what LL-98 had posted, he decided to attack and defame me (also, in typical Bircher fashion).

(C)    LL-98’s five remarks appear in numbered blue font below and my replies appear underneath each one.

(1)     Shapiro's phony conservative movement is a joke. It does nothing except lose and attack real conservatives and doers like Trump who WIN! That is why all the Never Trump-BuckleyTard losers combined could not stop Trump, whose dad was big in the John Birch Society and who has been basically running on a JBS platform. The "conservative" movement of Shapiro, Weekly Standard, and National Review is dead. It's a laughing stock and nobody takes it seriously anymore. The real conservative movement today is Trump-MAGA-Liberty-Infowars-JBS-Breitbart-Ron Paul-etc. Join the cool kids and ignore kooks like Shapiro if you want to help Make America Great Again!”

First, it should be pointed out that, historically, Birchers routinely attempt to de-legitimize (and demonize) every person, organization, or publication which they interpret as a significant alternative competing point of view.  In the JBS scheme of things, there is always ONLY ONE possible correct interpretation of any matter in dispute and ONLY ONE morally acceptable and legitimate outcome or correct argument for any public policy controversy and, “coincidentally” that ONE interpretation and that ONE legitimate and morally acceptable argument always conforms to whatever position the JBS favors.

LL-98 states that Trump’s father (Fred Trump) was “big in the John Birch Society”.  Of course LL-98 provides not one scintilla of evidence to support that assertion but he probably is referring to a January 2018 interview in the JBS magazine (The New American) with Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone. During that interview, Mr. Stone declared that Donald Trump's father was a financial contributor to the John Birch Society and he was a personal friend of JBS founder Robert Welch.  The portion of that TNA article which is pertinent is as follows:

https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/27847-deep-state-plan-c-is-to-kill-trump-advisor-roger-stone-warns


People don't know it, but Trump comes from a long line of anti-communists,” Stone explained. “His father was a quiet funder of the John Birch Society, his father was a personal friend of Billy Graham, a personal friend of [JBS founder] Robert Welch, a supporter of Dr. Fred Schwarz's [Christian] Anti-Communism Crusade, and had been a major, major fundraiser and donor for Barry Goldwater. He kept his national politics quiet, because of course in Queens, all of the zoning and permitting for the Trump residential real-estate business was controlled by machine Democrats.”

There are two problems with this excerpt:

(a)  Like LL-98, Roger Stone does not provide one iota of factual evidence to support his assertions and when asked via email four times over a period of several months for additional information,  he refused to reply AND

(b) The former President of the JBS (John F. McManus) has stated in answer to an inquiry about Stone’s comment that:  

"Responding to your inquiry -

1. We have no record of any funding of the Society by Fred Trump

2. We have no record of anyone named Fred Trump ever being a member of The John Birch Society.

- John F. McManus"

With respect to LL-98’s assertion that the conservative movement represented by National Review magazine is dead” and a “laughing stock and “nobody takes it seriously anymore” – it should be pointed out that Birchers have been making this false claim for decades.

Significantly, the circulation of the current Birch Society magazine (The New American) is about 17,000 whereas National Review’s circulation is 90,904.

Even in 1966 when the JBS was close to its peak strength, the circulation of the JBS magazine at that time (American Opinion) was only 35,400 (according to the circulation form 3526 submitted by the JBS to the U.S. Postal Service whereas National Review magazine was 86,273

The advertising rate card for The New American indicates that 82% of its readers are male and 51% are 65 or more years old.  47% of their readers are retired.  This is NOT the demographic profile one would expect to find for ANY magazine which purports to be influential or which should be “taken seriously”.

https://www.thenewamerican.com/files/TNAAdvertising-Print.pdf

With respect to The Weekly Standard, (TWS) it was first published in September 1995 (ten years AFTER the Birch Society’s magazine, The New American came into existence in September 1985).  Nevertheless, TWS circulation was over 100,000 copies per week.  Not surprisingly, it has been reported that several dozen copies of TWS were purchased and distributed within the White House every week.  By contrast, nobody has ever reported comparable information concerning any JBS magazine.  National Review and TWS attracted (and published) the most prominent conservative intellectuals of the 20th and 21st centuries whereas most authors featured in JBS magazines are totally unknown except perhaps among fringe groups.

Incidentally, Robert Welch was a major financial contributor to National Review magazineWelch made two $1,000 contributions to National Review, one in 1955 and another one in 1957. That is equivalent to about $9000 for each contribution in 2017 dollars. 

In addition:  Both Welch and the JBS recommended National Review to JBS members.  Furthermore, the books authored by National Review contributing editors were recommended and sold by JBS bookstores.  See, for example, the last 10 pages of the July 4, 1961 issue of the JBS Bulletin for its section captioned “Initial List of Approved Books” along with its list of recommended magazines.

In January 1960, Robert Welch replied to a dinner invitation to honor Alfred Kohlberg (a JBS National Council member) which Kohlberg's Secretary had sent to Welch. Welch accepted the invitation and he also recommended the names of other people whom Welch described as his "good friends in New York City who are also friends of Mr. Kohlberg (who) would be glad to honor him..."  Among the names that Welch thought should also be invited included: William F. Buckley Jr., along with other conservative authors whose articles appeared in National Review magazine. [1/6/60 Robert Welch letter to Miss Anna E. Murray, Secretary to Alfred Kohlberg]

(2)     “ROFL! Shapiro is such a loser, he is not part of the conservative movement in any way. By the way, William Buckley who Shapiro looks to for inspiration was a WHITE SUPREMACIST who openly advocated using violence to prevent black people from voting. The John Birch Society on the other hand was opposed to racism from the day it was founded. If Shapiro doesn't know this, it proves he's a hack with no understanding of conservatism. If he does know this, it shows he's a vile liar who should be shunned by everyone who values honesty.”

It is partially correct to describe William Buckley’s viewpoints (at one time) as “white supremacist”.  However, Buckley never adopted (or disseminated) arguments that were first created by white supremacist individuals and organizations AND, more importantly, Buckley acknowledged his mistaken views and then changed them over time.  

Buckley said it was a mistake for National Review not to have supported the civil rights legislation of 1964-1965, and he later supported a national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom he grew to admire.  

By contrast, the Birch Society never stopped spewing hate toward MLK Jr and the JBS has always opposed the national holiday honoring MLK Jr.  Unlike the JBS, Buckley opposed the Presidential candidacy of Gov. George Wallace of Alabama.  By contrast, Birchers were the primary moving force within Wallace’s campaign and Robert Welch even recommended that Wallace select JBS National Council member John Schmitz as his running mate.

Contrary to what LL-98 wrote, the JBS was NEVER “opposed to racism from the day it was founded” – which is why LL-98 cannot provide one iota of verifiable factual evidence for that assertion. 

The actual reality is as follows:

Robert Welch and the JBS used every means at their disposal to validate and disseminate racist themes and arguments. That explains why so many white supremacists not only joined the Birch Society and even became officials or speakers for the JBS but it also explains why so many racists used or recommended or sold JBS literature and filmstrips which attacked our entire civil rights movement, all of our national civil rights leaders, and all of our national civil rights organizations. 

With respect to JBS filmstrips, see 76-minute JBS filmstrip “Anarchy USA—In the Name of Civil Rights”.   

https://www.filmpreservation.org/sponsored-films/screening-room/anarchy-u-s-a-1966

Anarchy USA links the U.S. civil rights movement to a worldwide Communist conspiracy.  According to the JBS, Anarchy USA was put together by JBS staff in the summer of 1965 and it cost $75,000 to produce and prints sold for $150 each. 500 prints were in circulation around the U.S.

Anarchy USA contained shocking photography of the mutilated victims of revolutionary activity in China, Cuba, and Algeria and then combined that material with shots of Negro civil rights rallies here at home, and the film concludes: ‘We have offered only a brief survey of the material that is available to support the charge that the civil rights movement, as we know it today, is simply part of a worldwide movement, organized and directed by Communists, to enslave all mankind.”

Rex Westerfield, Western Director of Public Relations for the Birch Society, described the film as “decidedly the most powerful tool we’ve ever had” in presenting the Birch Society’s views on our civil rights movement. 

In the August 1966 JBS Bulletin, Robert Welch instructed JBS members:

“Show the film Anarchy U.S.A. far and wide and often…It will be far more convincing now—as to what can happen in this country—than it was before Detroit.”

Robert Welch and the JBS adopted the core white supremacist argument when the JBS declared in the June 1965 issue of the JBS Bulletin sent to all JBS members that:

“Our task must be simply to make clear that the movement known as 'civil rights' is Communist-plotted, Communist-controlled, and in fact...serves only Communist purposes."

Not surprisingly, this JBS filmstrip was shown at events sponsored by White Citizens Councils and by the Ku Klux Klan and by neo-nazi groups.  For example, an FBI report about the Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania reported that the Bucks County chapter of the National Knights of the KKK showed Anarchy USA on January 22, 1974 (8 years after Anarchy was first released!). For example, see page 47 at:

https://archive.org/stream/foia_National_Knights_KKK-26/National_Knights_KKK-26#page/n95

Anarchy USA also features an interview with a former African American member of the Communist Party USA. (Leonard Patterson)   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01XCkppfHkY

However, Birchers never bother to perform due diligence to determine whether or not their sources are credible and reliable.    

The Birch Society used several African Americans as paid speakers (including Patterson)– usually under the auspices of its front group, Truth About Civil Turmoil (TACT).

Significantly, NONE of the African Americans used by the JBS as paid speakers ever discussed the discrimination and oppression that black Americans confronted in their everyday lives—particularly in our southern states.

Instead, those black Birchers focused exclusively in their speeches upon what they claimed was "Communist" influence, control, and domination of our civil rights movement or alleged "Communist" involvement in racial disturbances.

For example, let’s briefly consider Bircher Leonard Patterson:

On January 27, 1966 Patterson appeared on the Louis Lomax TV program in Los Angeles and he declared  that the Watts riots in August 1965 were directed by the CPUSA.  By contrast, FBI investigative files falsify that contention – as did the Intelligence Division of the Los Angeles Police Department along with the McCone Commission which investigated the Watts riots.  For more details, see the chapter of my JBS Report which discusses the JBS and our civil rights movement:   https://sites.google.com/site/ernie124102/jbs-3

On February 28, 1966, Patterson stated in his speech at Attleboro MA that the civil rights movement was part of a conspiracy starting in the 1930’s. He told his audience that NAACP, CORE and MLK Jr. were all under the leadership of the American Communist Party”.   

Patterson was an informant for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.  His charges against Ralph Bunche were unanimously dismissed by the Loyalty Review Board and the Board then requested that the Department of Justice review Patterson’s testimony for possible perjury prosecution.

In 1951, Patterson was contacted by the FBI's Detroit field office to inquire if he would be willing to provide information concerning an individual who had attended the Lenin School during 1932.  According to a FBI comment on a New York City FBI search slip, Patterson "refused to be interviewed re: (name deleted) attendance at Lenin School in Moscow unless he was compensated."  [NYC 100-144597, serial #236, page 2, which is a 3/2/66 search slip in John Birch Society file showing all FBI-NYC file references to Patterson. Original documentation in NYC file 100-59645, serials #133, #144, #148.] 

(3)   Black JBS leaders such as George Schuyler and Julia Brown advocated this too, because they opposed communism and supported the Constitution. Now the White Bunny will tell us that blacks are racist also because they don't agree with him. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how absurd the logical fallacies used by progressives have become. It’s basically agree with me or your (sic) a racist. For normal people this phony line of argument quit working years ago. Trump's win proves it!!!”

It is very odd that LL-98 attempts to use George Schuyler and Julia Brown in support of anything which LL-98 or the JBS believes because both Schuyler and Brown falsified many of the standard arguments utilized by the JBS (as discussed below).  BTW--neither Schuyler or Brown were "leaders" in the JBS.  They just gave speeches for about $100 per speech.  In fact, there have never been any black "leaders" in the JBS.  No African American has ever served on the JBS National Council or its Executive Committee.

Before George Schuyler associated himself with the Birch Society, he correctly summarized the status of African Americans in our southern states.  The following comments by Schuyler appear in one of our nation’s oldest and most-respected African-American newspapers.

Compare Leonard Patterson’s comments to those of George S. Schuyler:

George Schuyler column “Views and Reviews”, in Pittsburgh (PA) Courier, 2/15/47:

Schuyler on NAACP:

Unlike many other organizations that screamed for justice for Negroes, it had no ulterior motives, no axes to grind, foreign or domestic, only a deep desire to further the advancement of colored people, socially, politically, and economically.”  

Then referring to the problems of racial discrimination still in existence after World War II came to a close, Schuyler observed: 

“These evils have to be combated with skill and intelligence and the NAACP is the only sincere and capable organization prepared to do it.  Unlike such organizations as the National Negro Congress, it is not connected with any foreign ideology or power, and it shies far away from the Communist Party line which is the way to group suicide…no one can deny that the NAACP is THE great champion and defender of our rights in this civilization and its long and remarkable record in this connections obligates every libertarian, regardless of color or creed, to give it this fullest support year in and year out.”

George Schuyler on conditions in south faced by African Americans:

In an 4/22/61 column in the Pittsburgh PA Courier, Schuyler wrote:

“THE WHITE Citizens Council which has branches or cells everywhere, controls by terror such states as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and to a lesser extent, Virginia. It has castigated the Supreme Court in general and the Chief Justice in particular. It has defied and disrupted the operation of the laws of the land. It has used threats and vicious economic reprisals. It is as undemocratic as the John Birch Society and it exacts large sums of money from its followers. It has become a legal arm of Mississippi's Government. Why no furore to investigate the White Citizens Council?”

Incidentally, even George Schuyler acknowledged in his column that the Birch Society “…is not organized on a democratic basis and Welch is the total boss. Mr. Welch is implacably opposed to the Marshall Plan, the United Nations, and racial desegregation in the USA.”

Let’s also compare Patterson’s comments to those of another JBS member (and former FBI informant inside the CPUSA) – Julia Brown.

In a March 1961 magazine interview, Julia stated that Communists had “little or no influence" within the NAACP and she concluded that:

"I'm 100 percent with the NAACP and I think they are doing a wonderful job.  Top government officials are aware that the NAACP is legal and is working in the American way for first class citizenship for all Americans." [Ebony magazine, "I Was A Spy for The FBI", March 1961, p102].

Julia discussed the murder of Harry Tyson Moore, an NAACP official in Mims FL. She was asked to describe the Communist Party’s purpose in going to Florida and attempting to meet with the Governor -- and she replied:

“To discredit the NAACP…The CP, as a rule, whenever anything happened to the Negro, they always have tried to take a front seat in everything; and in order to discredit the NAACP and to barge in on the NAACP’s activities.”

Also see Julia's discussion about the NAACP, and in particular, her characterization of Walter White in her 1966 book published by the JBS, I Testify:

"Many times I have been asked if the NAACP was a Communist front organization. I have been able to say, truthfully, that, so far as I could discern, it was not. Indeed the great Walter White, executive secretary of the NAACP prior to his death, fought Communism with might and main. Older NAACP leaders have been equally fierce in their opposition to the Red conspiracy. But it has only been by dint of great effort on the part of these loyal men and women that the Party has been thwarted in its attempts to completely dominate the NAACP."

[Julia Brown: “I Testify: My Years as An FBI Undercover Agent”, Western Islands, 1966, pages 124-125.]

Julia also mentioned that the wife of one prominent CPUSA official "hated the NAACP as did all other Communists." (Ibid, page 125]

And referring to the Communist Party attempt to exploit the murder of 14 year old Emmett Till to its advantage, Julia observed:

"Greater success might have attended these efforts had the Party not been opposed by the NAACP…The CPUSA criticized the NAACP bitterly for not conducting a more militant campaign of protests and demonstrations. The NAACP adamantly refused to let itself be used, and counseled its members to avoid any action which would reflect adversely on Negroes." (Ibid, page 165]

Incidentally, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover made the following observation about the NAACP in a letter to its Executive Secretary, Walter F. White:

On 4/8/47 White sent Hoover a letter requesting a statement by Hoover concerning the NAACP.  Hoover replied 4-14-47:

Equality, freedom, and tolerance are essential in a democratic government.  The NAACP has done much to preserve these principles and to perpetuate the desires of our founding fathers.”  [HQ 61-3176, # 378X thru #383, 4/14/47 --> 4/21/47; Walter White correspondence to J. Edgar Hoover and Hoover reply]

An 1955 FBI internal memo on the NAACP by the FBI Assistant Director in charge of the Domestic Intelligence Division observed that:

All Negro Party members have been instructed to join NAACP chapters to exert their influence in NAACP programs. Local chapters in some localities, e.g Chicago, have been penetrated to the extent that CP members have become officers of these chapters. However, most chapters, as well as the national office, are acutely aware of the constant attempt on the part of the CP to dominate these local groups and are actively combating the Communists in their efforts.” HQ 61-3176. serial #1077 which is 10/21/55 memo from FBI Assistant Director Alan H. Belmont to L.V. Boardman].

Let’s now also review testimony of JBS member (and paid speaker) Lola Belle Holmes – who is another former African American FBI informant inside the CPUSA

Lola Belle Holmes also joined the CPUSA at the request of the FBI. From August 1957 to January 24, 1963, Lola worked inside the Communist Party in Chicago and she provided information about Communist Party matters to the FBI.  She also subsequently became a paid speaker for the Birch Society.

Lola's NAACP comments parallel those made by Julia Brown (discussed above). Prior to appearing on the Birch Society's lecture circuit as a paid speaker Lola (like Julia Brown) characterized CPUSA attempts to infiltrate NAACP as unsuccessful due to the anti-Communist leadership of the NAACP.

Lola discussed CPUSA attempts to infiltrate NAACP and the Negro American Labor Council during her testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities:

"I was on the NAACP caucus of the Communist Party from 1957 until 1959. I was nominated as secretary for the NAACP against the incumbent, and at that time we lost the election...Subsequently, the national office declared the election valid and the Party slate was thrown out. After the Party slate was thrown out, the Party caucus had a meeting in 1960 and decided to pull its forces out of the NAACP because they realized they could not work in the NAACP effectively." [Communist Activities in The Chicago Illinois Area, part 1; Hearings before the House Committee on Un-American Activities; May 25-27 and June 22, 1965, page 372.]

HUAC Chairman Edwin Willis then asked Lola:

"Do I take it that these caucuses in the NAACP were not with the knowledge or approval of the leadership of the NAACP?"

Lola replied:

"It definitely was not with the knowledge...I want it to be very clear the leadership of either organization did not know that the CP had caucuses working in their respective organizations. When they found it out, they found out who they were, they immediately dropped them from the membership list." [Ibid]

(4)   “Welch welcomed all people into the society as members, speakers, leaders, etc including many amazing blacks such as George Schuyler and Julia Brown provided they agreed on the Constitution and the need for individual freedom. Inviting blacks to be speakers and leaders was very taboo in the 50s and plenty of racists were appalled at Welch's progressive views. Welch argued against segregation even before he founded JBS!!! To understand just how dishonest Ernie is, note that what he means by "effusively praised life-long white supremacists like Sen. James O. Eastland of Mississippi" actually refers to JBS giving him a good score based on the constitutionality of his voting record which DID NOT EVEN TAKE RACE INTO ACCOUNT. The fact that the Klan managed to takeover a JBS chapter for a time and that this was the subject of an FBI training monograph proves it was the exception. As Ernie knows, people who publicly expressed racist or anti-Semitic views were expelled from JBS. There were many black JBS chapters in the South too, something that Ernie conveniently omits. Ask why Ernie who knows all these things would try to cherry-pick facts like this? It's because he's dishonest. Now he will respond with a flurry of verbal diarrhea like he always does but now that you know how dishonest he is you can assume that everything else he posts will be similarly dishonest. I for one am out of here, back to Birching and saving America!”

LL-98 deliberately misrepresents the entire history of the JBS.  

The basis for membership in the JBS (by black Americans) was NOT their fidelity to the Constitution or any commitment to individual freedom.  The ONLY African Americans allowed into the JBS had to accept white supremacist arguments which the Birch Society validated and distributed – such as the JBS claim that Martin Luther King Jr. “attended a Communist training school” (referring to Highlander Folk School in Monteagle TN) AND the JBS argument that our civil rights movement was Communist-created, Communist-dominated, Communist-controlled, and “served only Communist purposes”.

Welch never  “argued against segregation even before he founded the JBS” – which is why LL-98 cannot quote anything by Welch which made any such arguments.  More importantly, one has to consider the BEHAVIOR of Welch AFTER he formed the JBS in December 1958.

LL-98 claims that my reference to an FBI training monograph comment about a JBS chapter composed of Klan members was an “exception”.  But, again, LL-98 does not have ANY experience with FBI files so he cannot possibly know the extent to which the FBI discussed racists who joined the JBS nor does LL-98 know how many Klan members were also JBS members.  Instead, LL-98 just fabricates any fiction which he thinks can be used to defend the JBS.  [NOTE:  See part 3 of my discussion of “Racism and the John Birch Society” for specific details concerning this matter.]

It is true that (occasionally) the JBS expelled some bigots from its ranks but that actually was the exception. Those instances occurred when the JBS could not plausibly dispute the FACT that such bigoted individuals were JBS members. 

Very significant numbers of very prominent Birchers were permitted to remain as members despite their well-known bigotry.  This is confirmed by other JBS members – such as William H. McIlhany who authored the book “Klandestine” which pertains to the experiences of Bircher Rev. Delmar Dennis who was an FBI informant inside the White Knights of the KKK of Mississippi. 

McIlhany made the following comment in an email to me:

"I was disappointed that [JBS magazine - American Opinioneditor Scott Stanley NEVER reviewed Klandestine in American Opinion. He also published an article in AO praising Elmore Greaves, who ran the KKK-fundraising front I described in Klandestine, the so-called White Christian Protective and Legal Defense Fund. 

When I asked Scott about this, he said, ‘You can fight the klan if you want. I’ll fight the Communists.’ Which indicated he had not read my book. 

Medford Evans, father of M. Stanton Evans, wrote many articles and book reviews in AO, many of which were excuses for essays he wanted to write rather than real book reviews. He had expertise about Soviet theft of the atomic bomb. But he was also heading up the White Citizens Councils in Mississippi, which I thought was rather embarrassing. I visited him when I lectured in Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 70s. It was clear that he did not like what Delmar did. The Mississippi JBS coordinator at that time also said that some JBS members did not like what Dennis did."

With respect to that last sentence, after Delmar Dennis surfaced as an FBI informant, and he testified against the Klan, Dennis told the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI-Jackson MS field office that there were "numerous resignations by other [JBS] members" in his community in protest of his testimony against the Klan because those JBS members were more sympathetic to the Klan than to Rev. Dennis. [11/28/67 memo by Special Agent in Charge of Jackson field office to J. Edgar Hoover, Jackson file number redacted, serial #36, page 3].

Rev. Dennis was never “expelled” from the JBS despite his public statements that he was a proud life-long racist (aka segregationist).  Ditto for Maj. Gen. Edwin Walker who was the featured speaker at DOZENS of events sponsored by white supremacist groups such as White Citizens Councils and the Ku Klux Klan and Americans for the Preservation of  the White Race events.

LL-98’s comment re: Mississippi Senator James O. Eastland is particularly revealing and typical of JBS double-speak. 

LL-98 refers to the constitutionality” of Eastland’s voting record.  Keep in mind that Eastland was a co-conspirator with Klan officials in their attempts to thwart prosecution of the persons who murdered three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964. 

Eastland sought and received Klan support for his election campaigns at the time when the Klan was listed on the U.S. Attorney General’s List of Subversive Organizations.  

So, apparently, in the JBS scheme of things, life-long white supremacists can assist subversive organizations who commit felonies (including murder) and STILL (according to LL-98 and the JBS) be considered praiseworthy and patriotic Americans whom the JBS then scored VERY high on its “Conservative Index” (now known as “Freedom Index”).  Eastland's score was 96.

Information provided by Rev. Delmar Dennis to his FBI contact at the Jackson MS field office was summarized in a 12/12/66 memo.  The references below to “confidential source” refer to Rev. Dennis:

“On 10/20/66, the confidential source advised that Klan circles in the Meridian MS area were abuzz with the knowledge that Senator James O Eastland has been taking credit for the Federal Government dropping charges against those indicted in the Neshoba County slayings.  Eastland, according to the source, had made his efforts in behalf of those indicted known to (name deleted) Neshoba County Attorney, and other attorneys for the defendants in the Neshoba County case. Source also related that (name deleted) prominent Klan member in the Meridian area, advised that all of the defendants are working earnestly in behalf of Senator Eastland’s campaign for re-election and (name deleted) felt that if Eastland is re-elected he will keep the MIBURN defendants out of jail.”

“On 10/20/66, confidential source also advised (name deleted) that Senator James O. Eastland recently appeared at a political rally held in Forest MS and that Eastland had invited Sam Bowers, Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of Mississippi, to occupy the speaker’s stand with him.  Source also related that Eastland stated that he has been ‘pulling strings for them’ and that Eastland ‘has enough seniority to help them’.”  [Jackson file 197-17905-5, no serial number shown, 12/12/66 SAC Jackson to J. Edgar Hoover]

It should also be noted that Rev. Dennis told his FBI case agent that:

“The Klan in Mississippi has completely infiltrated every phase of the legal, political, social and economic system in Mississippi. The membership in the Klan ranges from common laborers and criminals, to judges, lawyers, doctors and political leaders. While they may not be active members, they are secret members who use their influence to further Klan efforts and aid Klan activities, for example, it is generally known in Klan circles that supervisors who pick juries use their influence to get Klan members on the jury panel."

AND

"I have learned that the Klan uses meetings of the John Birch Society, Masons, and Americans For the Preservation of the White Race to solicit members for the Klan. The Auxiliary Police in Neshoba County is a front for Klan membership in Neshoba County."

In July 1962, Robert Welch sent a letter to Senator Eastland in which Welch informed Eastland that the Birch Society spent several thousand dollars to include with its July 1962 JBS Bulletin, a copy of Eastland's speech entitled "Is The Supreme Court Pro-Communist?" which originally was published by the Virginia white supremacist group, The Patrick Henry Group in Richmond VA.

Welch told Eastland that: "...I agreed one hundred percent" with the statements made by Eastland in the pamphlet.  Welch closes his letter with:  "So let's hope that this increased distribution---to the very people throughout the country who will be most interested in reading your speech---will bring your great effort an added effectiveness which will make this cost seem well worthwhile.  With admiration for both your patriotism and your courage, and with all good wishes, I am, Sincerely, Robert Welch."  

So, Robert Welch affirms the “patriotism” of a life-long bigot who did everything in his power to maintain segregation and white supremacy in Mississippi.  Welch did the same thing with Klan member, Cong. John Rarick of Louisiana.  Welch invited Rarick to speak at a JBS National Council event AND Rarick was also invited to submit articles to the JBS magazine, American Opinion -- which Rarick did write.

It was this type of BEHAVIOR which correctly convinced white supremacists that Robert Welch and the Birch Society was their ally—not their opponent.

Imagine the response by LL-98 (or Robert Welch) if a left-wing politician was connected to the Communist Party and/or that person also worked to support Communist Party objectives!

(5)   “ LOL! Ernie doesn't want you to know that JBS hired speakers to travel across America EXPOSING the Klan!!!! Ernie knows this but he doesn't think you should, because he is dishonest.”

I have already addressed this falsehood previously. 

First of all, I have repeatedly written articles and posted messages online which discuss the very subject matter which LL-98 falsely claims that I don’t want anybody to know about!    This webpage is just another example.  Also see my previous webpage on “Racism and the John Birch Society” for additional historical documentation.  https://sites.google.com/site/aboutxr/

By contrast, LL-98 has written NOTHING and has never presented ANYTHING to show he has done even rudimentary research into historical records about the subjects he pretends to be knowledgeable about. 

The ONLY thing LL-98 does is relentlessly attack and defame ANYBODY who dares to criticize the Birch Society---no matter what accumulation of indisputable FACTUAL evidence is presented --- even when that documentation is provided by other JBS members!

The JBS did not hire “speakers” (plural) to expose the Klan.  It hired Rev. Delmar Dennis.  Before Dennis became an FBI informant inside the White Knights of the KKK of Mississippi, he was heavily involved in several white supremacist organizations including his local White Citizens Council as well as the Americans for the Preservation of the White Race.  In addition, he wrote pro-segregation pamphlets and he formed a whites-only church in his small Mississippi community.

Rev. Dennis was NOT opposed to Klan ideology or white supremacist beliefs.  His objection was solely to violent and criminal activities endorsed or condoned by or undertaken by the Klan.  Nevertheless, the Birch Society never expelled him nor dozens of other white supremacists, neo-nazis, and bigots of various stripes.

HIGHLANDER FOLK SCHOOL AS “A COMMUNIST TRAINING SCHOOL

There were two main arguments created and circulated by white supremacists in our country.  One started during the 1940’s and one appeared after the 1954  U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawing segregated public schools.  Significantly, the Birch Society adopted, validated, and disseminated BOTH arguments.

Starting during the 1940’s, white supremacists attacked the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle TN as some sort of Communist enterprise.

After the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court desegregation decision, many "state's rights" and pro-segregation groups were fond of repeating the assertion that Martin Luther King Jr. had "attended a Communist training school" --- which was meant to be a reference to King's attendance at a 1957 Labor Day weekend seminar at Highlander Folk School in Monteagle TN.

But few people have explained how the description "Communist training school" came about, i.e. whom was its originator?

The Birch Society and its front-group, Truth About Civil Turmoil, (TACT) plastered the country with billboards and postcards showing a photo of King "attending a Communist training school".   The African-American Birchers who became paid speakers for the JBS during the 1960’s repeated this accusation incessantly.

John Birch Society authors like Gary Allen repeated the accusation in his book, "It's Very Simple: The True Story of Civil Rights”.  Many Congressmen inserted remarks into the Congressional Record which described Highlander in that same fashion. 

Speakers under the auspices of the Birch Society’s American Opinion Speaker’s Bureau criss-crossed the country and “revealed the subversive” background of Highlander. Legislative hearings in Louisiana resulted in a report entitled “Subversion in Racial Unrest which featured many witnesses who parroted the charges against Highlander. 

Recently, the former President of the John Birch Society (John F. McManus) posted an article on the JBS website which made a preposterous claim in what was intended to be a rebuttal to an article published in the Boston Globe.  See McManus article here:

https://www.thenewamerican.com/reviews/opinion/item/26903-the-boston-globe-attacks-the-john-birch-society-with-falsities

In his rebuttal, McManus declared that the Birch Society never labeled MLK Jr. as a Communist but notice his reference to King attending “communist training sessions”:

"The Society never, I repeat never, labeled Martin Luther King a Communist. Its publications did show that he hired communists, accepted funding from communists, attended communist training sessions, and frequently started demonstrations that turned into communist-led rioting and destructiveness. It was these associations that led former Attorney General Robert Kennedy to wiretap King’s phone and take other steps to thwart what King was doing. When J. Edgar Hoover labeled King the ‘most notorious liar’ in America, he had plenty of reason to do so."

This is a typical JBS debate tactic.  They use every conceivable linguistic trick to associate and link a person with communists and communism but then claim they never called someone a Communist.  Interestingly, when critics of the JBS refer to associations and links which JBS members and officials have with racists, anti-semites or other noxious individuals, the JBS violently objects to that.  However, the JBS never is concerned about its own comparable behavior.

With respect to MLK Jr. -- notice that McManus uses a plural when he declares that King "attended communist training sessions".  However, this is exclusively a reference to one speech by King at a Highlander Labor Day event on September 2, 1957.  You may read that speech here:

http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/documentsentry/a_look_to_the_future_hfs.1.html#_ftn4

So how did all this get started?

Enter the Georgia Commission on Education.

The Georgia Commission on Education (GCE) was established in 1953 in order to preserve segregated public schools in Georgia. From its inception, the Commission was populated by life-long racists who were convinced that any integration proposal was evidence of a “Communist plot”. 

In the fall of 1954, the GCE’s Executive Director (Atlanta attorney Durwood T. Pye) lobbied for a state Constitutional amendment which would privatize Georgia’s schools in order to keep them segregated. The Constitutional amendment speedily passed in November 1954.

Then, the newly elected segregationist Governor (Marvin Griffin) asked the GCE staff to produce regular reports to the legislature on the status of anti-integration efforts in the State.

Who were the members of the Georgia Education Commission?

The most prominent Commission members were Governor Marvin Griffin (Chairman), Lt. Gov. Ernest Vandiver (Vice-Chairman), Georgia Attorney General Eugene Cook, and Roy V. Harris – all of whom were life-long segregationists.In 1957, Governor Griffin asked the Georgia Legislature to give the GCE authority to hire investigators” and to hold hearings and subpoena witnesses and the Legislature promptly did so. One of the first GCE publications was Ten Directors of the NAACP” which sought to establish the “Communist affiliations” of prominent NAACP leaders.

By the end of 1957, the GCE had mailed over 500,000 copies of its pamphlets attacking the civil rights movement (and the NAACP) as “subversive.    

Its most famous publication, however, was its “expose” of Highlander Folk School (HFS) as a vehicle of a “Communist conspiracy   

When the GCE learned that Highlander was planning a 25th anniversary celebration on Labor Day weekend of 1957, it assigned “undercover investigator Edwin Hugo Friend to register at HFS and observe the event and take photos. 

What did Edwin Friend think his assignment was? 

Friend’s answer to that question may be found in a deposition he submitted in November 1959 for Tennessee court proceedings. Friend said that his assignment as a Georgia “undercover agent” was “to go to Monteagle, Tennessee to the Highlander Folk School and find out whether that malignancy of the NAACP and Communism was leaking out over Georgia.” [John Edgerton, “The Trial of the Highlander Folk School”Southern Exposure, Spring 1978, p 86.]

Using the “findings” of “investigator” Friend, the GCE published a pamphlet with the title “Highlander Folk School: Communist Training School - Monteagle, Tenn.”  

You may see a copy here:

http://www.mdah.ms.gov/arrec/digital_archives/sovcom/result.php?image=images/png/cd06/041961.png&otherstuff=3|85|0|1|1|1|1|41340|

What was particularly compelling about the GCE pamphlet on Highlander were the photographs provided by “investigator” Edwin Friend which showed interracial activities such as square dancing, swimming, and blacks and whites eating together.

Friend also took the famous photograph of “Martin Luther King attending a Communist Training School”. The GCE circulated over 250,000 copies of its Highlander “expose” and Governor Marvin Griffin authorized reprints with or without credit being given to GCE.

So who was Edwin H. Friend?

Aside from being described as a “GCE investigator”, Ed Friend was also described as the “official state photographer for Georgia”.

But Ed had an even more compelling title – he was the official photographer for the Georgia Ku Klux Klan!

Atlanta FBI file 80-1138, serial #3 is a 9/30/67 SAC Atlanta memo to J. Edgar Hoover which contains the following data:

Pg 1: “Friend was not interviewed in view of his reported close association with Calvin F. Craig, Grand Dragon United Klans of America, Realm of GA, and with Robert Shelton, Imperial Wizard UKA.  The files of the Atlanta office reflect that in 1941 Friend was interviewed for position of photographer with the Bureau. He was not offered this position as he was unwilling to travel to Washington for acceptance of such a position.  In May of 1962, (name deleted) reported that on 5/7/62 Calvin Craig, Robert Shelton, and (name deleted) all of whom are Klansmen, Shelton the Imperial Wizard, and Craig the UKA Grand Dragon, Realm of GA, proceeded to the Georgia State Capitol where they contacted a photographer named Ed Friend.”

Pg 2:  “Friend then took Craig, Shelton, and (name deleted) into Attorney General Eugene Cook’s office at the State Capitol. The conversation that ensued related to the coming elections, the County Unit system, and school segregation.” 

“In October 1957, Ed Friend was described as an undercover agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and in this capacity had covered an assignment at Monteagle TN Labor Day 1957.  Friend…subsequently testified before the Georgia Education Commission 10/4/57 regarding inter-racial meetings held at the Highlander Folk School, Monteagle TN and also the attendance of certain CP functionaries at this conference.”

“In March of 1960 (name deleted) reported that Ed Friend was in touch with Calvin F. Craig and asked to borrow a Klan robe from him so that the daughter of the Attorney General, Eugene Cook, who was then in attendance at a school in Connecticut, could use the Klan robe in conjunction with some school activity.”

“(Name deleted) reported in April 1960, that according to Calvin Craig, Ed Friend would appear in a park in front of his laundry about noon to take some pictures of Negro children going to a Catholic school near the park and who were playing with white children.  In April of 1960 (name deleted) reported further that Friend had made the pictures requested by Craig of the inter-racial children playing together. Craig reported that these photos taken by Friend were in the possession of the Governor of the State of Georgia; and the Governor, while he wanted this inter-racial activity reported, did not release the pictures to the Klan, as he did not want the photographer “State” identified as the individual having taken these pictures.”

Pg 3: “In September 1960, the Klan proposed a rally at Stone Mountain GA for 9/24/60 and during the planning stages Calvin F. Craig indicated he would have Ed Friend take pictures at this function.  In view of the above cited close association on the part of Friend with the Ku Klux Klan, Calvin F. Craig, and Robert Shelton, leaders in the Klan, it is considered inadvisable to interview Ed Friend, as if the opportunity presents itself, he will capitalize on any contacts had with the FBI.”

When the GCE published its pamphlet on Highlander, accompanied by a picture of a group of individuals seated in an auditorium (one of whom was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) it described the HFS seminar as being "held to discuss methods and tactics for precipitating racial strife and disturbances." [HQ 61-7511, #206 is copy of GCE publication, “Highlander Folk School: Communist Training School—Monteagle TN].

https://archive.org/stream/foia_Highlander_Folk_School-HQ-5/Highlander_Folk_School-HQ-5#page/n61/mode/2up

Subsequently, Edwin Friend testified before a Tennessee legislative hearing concerning what he "learned" during his "investigation" of Highlander. The excerpt appearing below, reveals his underlying motivation and the basis for him describing Highlander as a "Communist Training School".

"Q: Mr. Friend, was that a subversive meeting there at that time?

A: It was subversive, sir, to the way that I have been taught to live in America.

Q: Explain that to the committee.

A: I have been taught by southern tradition to keep the races separate. I was taught to go to Sunday school and Church. I was taught to respect the other fellow's habitat, and that is what I have always tried to do. Up here it seems like all of those things weren't even considered. It is the primary motive of this group to tear down the forces that were trying to keep the races separate in the South." [Joint Legislative Investigating Committee, State of Tennessee: Investigation of Highlander Folk School, Grundy County Tennessee, 3/4/59, p447.]

Friend was asked another question which produced a revealing answer:

“Q. Do you believe that anyone that espouses the things that you have just said to promote integration for that kind of motive, could possibly be a good Tennessean, a good Southerner, or a good American?”

A. I can guarantee you he is not what I would call a good American, Sir.” [Ibid, p451]

Friend also testified about one of his photos which revealed another matter at Highlander that greatly disturbed him: square dancing!

“This is a square dance held at night in one of the buildings on this estate of Mr. Horton…The approach to this square dance seemed to be very harmless, in that you get a person in the square dance and the caller can call it in such a way that the Negro boy will wind up dancing with the white girl…This was called and invariably he always wound up with one of the Negro boys dancing with one of the white girls in order to get them familiar, and these doctrines were teached [sic] in this school, and in order to break down the resistance to integration in that you had to do it anyway that a person really wouldn’t be conscious of it…” [Ibid, page 443.]

A July 1963 FBI memo summarizes the FBI file on Highlander Folk School:

"Due to the interracial character of the School, it has been the subject of numerous allegations that it represented the headquarters of communism in east Tennessee. An extensive investigation was conducted in 1941 and 1942 as a result of the allegations. These allegations have never been substantiated and much of the information of a subversive derogatory nature concerning this School was later repudiated by the individuals who previously furnished the information...This organization has continuously been involved in the integration movement and as a result charges are being continuously made that it is 'communist'. These charges are based mainly on the opinion of the individuals making the charges that being pro-integration is being pro-communist."  [HQ 64-7511, #286, July 26, 1963, F.J. Baumgardner to W.C. Sullivan].

The attack upon Highlander Folk School was part of a larger effort to discredit and demonize everyone connected to the civil rights movement in the United States -- and in particular to our most prominent national civil rights organizations.  

The John Birch Society cheerfully and enthusiastically joined this campaign to discredit our civil rights movement and everybody connected to it.  In that respect, the Birch Society became an enabler of bigotry and the arguments which racists used to discredit our civil rights movement.

Even in May 2008, the JBS told its members that:

“Just as the John Birch Society showed in the 1960's that the communists basically ran both the civil rights movement and the KKK, the strategy was nothing new."...  [JBS Bulletin, May 2008]

 

 MORE INFORMATION:   ernie1241@aol.com     MY RESEARCH HOMEPAGE

 

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