Really Creative Redbaiting [Jimmy Ward, the Mississippi Master]

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at
Fri Jan 24 08:02:10 MST 2003

Note by Hunterbear:

If the smell of wistful fascism travels these days over the Four Directions,
there's certainly another corollary dimension riding right along with it:
Red-baiting.  The country -- and our tortured planet -- may be engulfed in
one of Humanity's greatest "foreign" crises of recent times [somehow
reminiscent of MacArthur's plans to nuke Manchuria], our Constitution is
fighting for its very existence -- and the Redbaiters are coming, to state
it bluntly, out of every dank hole in the country.

I'm not talking about reasonable discussion in the circle of functional
unity [public and otherwise] about whatever-organization's tactical
approaches and related matters.  I'm  talking about smear stuff --
vilification -- whose motives range from "justification" of non-involvement
in, say, worthwhile demonstrations and related endeavours, to efforts to
serve the Bush et al. agenda.

For my part, I've been a target of Red-baiting for almost half a century.
And a couple of adages have served me very well indeed as I've traveled
along the River of No Return:  the old Native saying, "If you fish for
trout, expect to be bitten by mosquitoes" -- and the old-time Wobbly
guideline:  "Better to be called Red than be called Yellow."

In discussing this recently with a good friend and kindred spirit who blends
within himself the best of the Deep South and the Real Southwest, I
commented about some really creative Red-baiting from Old Mississippi -- and
I cited one of the greatest racist smear artists in the history of our
country:  James Myron Ward of the old Jackson Daily News [ the vicious and
venal Hederman press] -- who spent a lot of time [always to no avail] on me.

To my good friend, I wrote in part:

"Our Lair of Hunterbear website is now three years old.  Its major thrust
always been sensibly radical activism -- but a corollary dimension is that
it very effectively counters the multitude of smear and vilification stuff
that I -- like a great many activist organizers -- inevitably attract. And
do so to this very moment. It's been very useful and now there are more than
300 hits per day!

I have a great fondness for your old state, A. [which is that of my
daughter, Maria, fussing congenially in the kitchen with her
half-Mississippi Choctaw son, Thomas.]  But I do have to say that, between
the Hedermans and the Citizens' Council and the Sov Comm -- and then K.
 the Carpetbagger -- and finally E. -- it's certainly tossed a
lot of pure defamation at me.  Here's one from Jimmy Ward in the Jackson
Daily News a long time ago:

Jimmy Ward, Editor, on the front page of the Jackson Daily News, September
26, 1963 did, as he had so often, mixed my Indian background with his
presumption of my politics:

"The Southern Conference Educational Fund, Inc., has announced that Prof.
John R. Salter, Tougaloo College professor who sought to grab control of
Negro agitation in Jackson, has joined Carl Braden, convicted Fifth
Amendment guy from New Orleans. This announcement causes about as much
surprise as day breaking, the moon rising, the sun setting and evening
falling. They are of the same trouble-making tribe. Heap Redskins in that
integrated teepee at Tougaloo.

Jackson gains in citizenship as the mustard-splattered Prof. John R. Salter
of Tougaloo flies East and joins in fellow field traveling Carl Braden,
ex-jailbird who served time for playing mum to Federal agents on his alleged
Communist activities. Salter who also got peppered in lunch counter
demonstrations was supposed to be a great sociology instructor. Now he will
play second fiddle to an ex-convict. What a case of deflation but one must
take orders from on high. Who will be the next to show their real colors.
Not her? Not him? What's going on Tougaloo?

As Prof. John Salter departs and takes up residence in Raleigh, N.C., to
continue his graduate work in hate, let it be recalled that the Daily News
on numerous occasions warned the Negro leadership of Jackson to be careful
of the purposes of those squattin' and sittin' and prayin' incidents last
summer. As Salter joins Braden does the light shine brighter on those
warnings today?

Will the departure of Prof. John R. Salter, heap big trouble-maker who
leaves Tougaloo College to play second fiddle to an ex-convict known as Carl
Braden, have any influence on the frequency of parties being conducted
between students of different institutions of higher learning hereabouts?
Will student still be worried over their grades if they don't participate in
those fancy parties? Who will answer these questions?"

See this clipping and my notes on it at

And again, my Personal Background Narrative at

[Carl Braden, btw, had never used the Fifth Amendment in his appearance
before HUAC.  He used the First -- in a major test case which he lost.
Later, however, Pete Seeger used the First and won.  Also, as SCEF Field
Organizer, I didn't play "second fiddle" to Carl or anyone else.  Basically
I worked pretty much on my own all over the hard-core South, reporting to
our excellent Executive Director, Jim Dombrowski, and to the SCEF Board of
And, finally, there's another sad dimension that was certainly pervasive in
Old Mississippi and the hard-core South generally and hangs in the sick
mists of Our Time Now:  the failure of too many essentially decent people --
in the Left and elsewhere -- to clearly and candidly denounce what can only
be called the madness of character assassination.

Fraternally / In Solidarity

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
Micmac/ St Francis Abenaki/St Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunterbear]

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