|FBI Witch Hunting
My huge FBI file stretches from the 1950s to 1979 and involves about 3,000 pages which I've recovered via FOIA. Much is heavily censored. In addition, there are several hundred pages the FBI refuses to release on various grounds, including that of "national security." Here is a small sampling from the many pages specifically classifying me as a high priority agitator: Section A of the Reserve Index, Security Index and Rabble Rouser Index.
FBI agents follow me out of the Southwest, where I'd been involved for several years in radical labor activities.
Radical writing. The story in Mainstream -- The Destroyers -- was later picked as one of the 50 best short stories published in the United States in 1960 (The Best American Short Stories and the Yearbook of the American Short Story, 1961, Martha Foley and David Burnett). It was widely reprinted abroad. The Destroyers involved violent racial prejudice and discrimination in the context of a Southwestern forest fire -- based on an actual situation at a massive Northern Arizona fire I'd been on as a 16 year old in the summer of 1950.
My wife, Eldri, and I went to Mississippi in the summer of '61, for what became six years in the Deep South. I immediately became extremely active in the developing Civil Rights Movement from my base as a professor at Tougaloo Southern Christian College, a private black school. I was Adult Advisor to the Jackson Youth Council of NAACP, a member of the board of directors of the Jackson NAACP, and a member of the board of directors of the Mississippi State Conference of NAACP Branches. With our development of the Jackson Movement, I become Chairman of its Strategy Committee. We met many extraordinarily fine people. One was Mrs. Doris Allison, then a leader of the Jackson NAACP, with whom I still remain in very close contact. Medgar Wiley Evers, Mississippi Field Secretary of the NAACP, was one of the bravest and most decent people with whom I've ever worked. A close colleague, he was shot and killed by the racist Byron de la Beckwith at the climax of our historic Jackson Movement in mid-June 1963. A week later, I and another colleague, Rev. Ed King, were seriously injured and almost killed.
FBI continues targeting me in Mississippi.
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