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States’ Rights Now, States’ Rights Tomorrow, States’ Rights Forever


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States’ Rights! has once again become the go-to response for those eager to contest actions by the federal government. The phrase’s breakout moment came early last year, during the stimulus fight, when governors Mark Sanford and Rick Perry, among others, began giving voice to the Southern grito. More recently it have been the basis for lawsuits that various state attorneys general have filed against health-care reform.

Though I’ve read very little of what is being written and said on behalf of states’ rights, I will still say that no one is arguing the case more floridly and fervently than this fellow:

State sovereignty is already being ravished by a trend toward a federal court dictatorship.

That’s MacDonald Gallion, the attorney general of Alabama, speaking on June 8, 1961, just days after mobs had, um, ravished the Freedom Riders in three attacks in his state.

Gallion delivered his speech, “CORE and Freedom Riders — Red Shadow Over America,” at the State Coliseum (which I think is this building in Montgomery). Luckily for us, the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission put a copy of it in its files, and we can read it today.

Gallion hits the usual marks of the day: the Freedom Riders are “so-called”; they are “meddlers” and “misfits”; he is in possession of “vital” information that will reveal the the Riders as Communist dupes.

The so-called “freedom riders” who have been swarming into Alabama and the Southland may be, in large part, a foolish group of meddlers, bleeding hearts, publicity seekers and assorted misfits, but make no mistake about it, those who are actually directing this assault are aware of the cause they serve.

I charge here and now that the cause they serve is not the cause of freedom – it is not the cause of democracy – it is not the cause of religion – and it is NOT the cause of Americanism.

IT IS A COLD, CALCULATED, DELIBERATE ATTACK UPON AMERICA ITSELF — UPON THE VITAL ORGANS OF OUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT – UPON AMERICAN PRESTIGE IN THE WORLD – AND UPON THE VERY EXISTENCE OF AMERICA AS THE LAST GREAT BULWARK ACROSS THE PATH OF ATHEIST COMMUNISM IN THE WORLD.

According to Gallion, the Communists were cleverly exploiting the race issue, promoting certain goals that would soften the United States and prepare it “for deliverance to the Red cause.” What were these goals?

School desegregation, desegregation in churches, in eating places, on buses and in parks, equal employment and membership in integrated trade unions, interracial housing and intermarriage.

It is frightening to note that in less than forty years, almost all of these goals have been achieved.

Frightening indeed. And here we not quite 50 years after Gallion’s dire warning, living in a Communist dictatorship. Fortunately, an Islamic takeover is expected soon.

The bulk of Gallion’s speech is a rather tedious red-baiting of one Rider in particular, Walter Bergman, a World War II veteran and professor.

Bergman was 61 when he rode the bus from Atlanta to Birmingham on May 14, 1961. It was Sunday, Mother’s Day. After the bus reached Alabama, Klansman on board took it on themselves to rearrange the passengers to their liking: whites up front, blacks in the back. When Bergman protested, the Klansmen stomped him unconscious, in front of his wife, Frances, also a Freedom Rider.

Along with several other riders, notably James Peck, Bergman was beaten again by the mob that was waiting for them — with police permission — at the bus station in Birmingham. Ten days later, he had a stroke. Bergman spent the rest of his life in a wheel chair.

Walter Bergman, Champion Of Civil Liberties, Dies at 100” read the headline on his New York Times obituary, in 1999.

Finished with Bergman, Gallion moves on to his big finish:

I am firmly convinced that the South stands today as the last great bulwark of strength – the last bastion of defense – across this dangerous march to the left, and we have had our set-backs all the way from Virginia to New Orleans, to Little Rock, and here right in Montgomery, but let me further say that this is no time to stop fighting, this is no time to become discouraged. It is no time to bow our heads in object defeat.

ON THE CONTRARY, IT IS THE TIME TO FIGHT WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE LAW WITH ALL THE DETERMINATION AND WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE WISDOM THAT WE CAN MUSTER AT OUR COMMAND.

If we don’t, ladies and gentlemen, we will simply be stampeded, and unless the brakes are applied, constitutional government as originally contemplated in our scheme of government will be totally a thing of the past.

State sovereignty is already being ravished by a trend toward a federal court dictatorship.

But the hour is getting late and the hands of the clock move on.

A surreptitious and camouflaged tool in the scheme to destroy American democracy as we have known it, is the exploitation of the racial issue. More terrifying, are indications of federal sponsorship.

To my way of thinking, the race issue is a side issue to the real issue involved – that is the issue of maintaining the integrity of state sovereignty and our American way of life, as opposed to Communistic inroads.

We, the people of the State of Alabama, have been handed down a great heritage and the mandate to maintain our constitutional form of government as was originally intended by our founding fathers.

We, as Alabamians, as Southerners, and as Americans, must continue our fight for the integrity of state sovereignty and that original form of constitutional government, which has made this the greatest Nation on the face of the earth.

In this, I know we will not – we must not fail!

Recall that this stirring call to fight “within the bounds of the law” comes from the chief law enforcement officer of a state that had only days before outsourced the defense of “constitutional government” to the Klan and told police to look the other away. (The FBI looked away, on purpose, as well.)

And to think we are still arguing about what presidential candidate Ronald Reagan could have possibly meant when he uttered the phrase “states’ rights” nineteen years later in Philadelphia, MS.

The full text of Gallion’s speech after the jump. The original text is here.

CORE AND FREEDOM RIDERS – RED SHADOW OVER AMERICA
BY
MacDONALD GALLION, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ALABAMA
STATE COLISEUM, JUNE 8, 1961

(Acknowledgment of Introduction)

We gather here tonight at a time of grave peril in the history of our beloved State of Alabama. It is an inspiration to me to greet you here tonight. I know that perhaps there are many things that you had rather be doing — many places you had rather be — than here tonight, but I know you came because of your concern for your Nation and your State and your community. You came because as good citizens you felt an obligation to be informed and thereby to inform others of some of the grave problems that we face, and to learn of some of the forces who have promoted and sponsored these troubles upon us.

When I was asked to speak here tonight, I very frankly could think of many things that I had rather be doing than discussing the distasteful matters before us, but as your Attorney General, and due to the fact that information has come into my hands which I think is vital to you, I felt an obligation to share this information with you in a frank discussion of the problems facing the South and for that matter the entire Nation today.

We here in Alabama have had a front-row seat in watching America’s Communist-front in action. We have seen peaceful, law-abiding communities in Alabama turned into arenas of violence and of conflict.

AND UNFORTUNATELY WE HAVE SERVED THE CAUSE OF THE COMMUNIST AGITATORS IN SO DOING.

I intend tonight to rip away the mask of so-called “peaceful or passive resistance” and reveal the ugly face of Communism behind it. I intend to reveal a portion of the shocking part that our Federal government has played in this deadly game, but let me first make one point crystal clear.

WE DO NOT SERVE THE CAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, THE CAUSE OF DEMOCRACY OR THE CAUSE OF THE SOUTH WHEN WE ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE DRAWN INTO VIOLENCE, NO MATTER HOW VEXING MAY BE THE PROVOCATION BEHIND IT.

The so-called “freedom riders” who have been swarming into Alabama and the Southland may be, in large part, a foolish group of meddlers, bleeding hearts, publicity seekers and assorted misfits, but make no mistake about it, those who are actually directing this assault are aware of the cause they serve.

I charge here and now that the cause they serve is not the cause of freedom – it is not the cause of democracy – it is not the cause of religion – and it is NOT the cause of Americanism.

IT IS A COLD, CALCULATED, DELIBERATE ATTACK UPON AMERICA ITSELF — UPON THE VITAL ORGANS OF OUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT – UPON AMERICAN PRESTIGE IN THE WORLD – AND UPON THE VERY EXISTENCE OF AMERICA AS THE LAST GREAT BULWARK ACROSS THE PATH OF ATHEIST COMMUNISM IN THE WORLD.

Let’s take a good hard look at the factual record.

A group known as Congress of Racial Equality, better known as CORE, has been the moving force behind these assaults that have brought a crisis to America and a grave invasion of our State sovereignty by the Federal government. This group, because of its rather recent origin, doesn’t itself as an organization, have the Communist Party appendage to its record by former investigations of the United states [sic] Attorney General; the United States House of UnAmerican Activities Committee, the United States Senate Internal Security Committee or like official investitative [sic] agencies.

But we do find CORE under the virtual sponsorship of the present United States Attorney General in its forays to create trouble in the South.

I am now going to read you a shorthand transcript of a conversation between United States Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Mr. George E. Cruet, Manager of the Greyhound Bus Terminal, in Birmingham.

Unknown to Mr. Kennedy, this was taken down by Mr. Cruet’s secretary on an extension phone. It was made during the actual conversation:

(QUOTE CONVERSATION)

Here then you have the United States Attorney General referring to the “freedom rider” trip as the “project” and you have him making the statement that “We” have gone to a lot of trouble to see that the “freedom riders” accomplish the project. You have the United States Attorney General threatening the bus management to continue on at a time when violence had already occurred and the situation was inflammable.

Here was the representative of the Federal Government encouraging instead of discouraging the continuation of a trip by wild-eyed radicals that had already created chaos. Certainly, the so-called, [sic]“freedom riders” were encouraged by Attorney General Kennedy. They had been advertised weeks in advance.

One Susan Wilbur was a white “freedom rider.” I have an affidavit in my hand stating that she was a student at Peabody College in Nashville and became a member of the Nashville Students Non-violence Group, which worked in conjunction with CORE. She stated that her bus fare was paid for her from Nashville to Birmingham and from Birmingham to Montgomery, and she indicated that Attorney General Kennedy had discussed the trip with Miss Diane Nash, who is the secretary of the Nashville Students Non-violence Group, and was considered by her the coordinator of the group. She stated that she thought the conversation was by telephone, and she further stated that to begin with they were not worried about anything as they understood “we had federal protection all the way to New Orleans, Louisiana.”

This shows clearly the juvenile approach of Bobby Kennedy who decided to play politics fast and loose to the endangerment of the security and peace of citizens in Southern cities whose emotions had already been rubbed raw by the taunting arrogance of the left-wing CORE directors.

You know what happened in Anniston, in Birmingham, and in Montgomery. You know of the almost constant contact of Attorney General Kennedy with Martin Luther King, Shuttles-worth and other agitators. You know of his ordering federal marshals in an invasion of Alabama — with a notable exception here and there – against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Alabamians.

This was at a time of tenseness in the situation and wanton disregard for state sovereignty, for state laws, and for the peace, and was totally uncalled for and unnecessary.

It was while the United States marshals still patrolled our streets that I decided to seek an answer from President Kennedy himself as to whether he knew of the nature of CORE, and of James Douglas Peck, who led the first assault wave of the so-called “freedom riders” into Alabama.

I requested governmental investigation of the subversive background of the leaders of this group of highway agitators, and with your permission, I will read that letter.

(READ LETTER TO PRESIDENT)

To date I have received no answer, but I assure you I will continue to pursue the matter UNTIL I DO GET AN ANSWER.

In the meantime, let me supplement that record. Let’s turn our attention first to Dr. Walter Bergmon, who is an official of CORE in Detroit, who admittedly helped to organize the first “ride” and who himself physically was a “freedom rider”.

Official files of the United States House Un-American Activities Committee in my hands give a partial picture of the background of this 62-year old follower of the Marxist line.

He has been either a member or sponsor, or both, of at least six organizations officially listed as subversive Communist fronts.

I’ll name them — they included the Civil Rights Federation, Friends of the Soviet Union, Third Congress of the American League of Fascism, Commonwealth College of Mena, Arkansas, Council of United States Veterans, Inc., and the People’s Institute of Applied Religion.

This letter organization has been called by J. Edgar Hoover as one of the most violently pro-Communist fronts of them all.

The Federal government itself must have had something more than doubts about Dr. Bergman’s loyalty to America because in 1953, while on a so-called “study” tour in Europe, the United States State Department recalled his passport.

But let’s look a little further into the background of Dr. Bergman, the CORE organizer and “freedom rider.”

He was a research professor at Wayne University in Detroit before going into “simi-retirement” [sic] to better serve his radical masters.

Wayne University, you may recall, is the college which last year created such a turmoil in Detroit when it dropped its barriers against Communist lecturers and indeed invited Communist lecturers to come in.

The history of that college has been one of harboring Communists and allowing Communist-front student groups to operate openly on its campus. It is one of a half-dozen colleges widely enjoying the reputation as a safe harbor for Communists and for espousal of the idea of world revolution.

A booklet called “Commies On The Campus” was compiled a few months ago about this Wayne College, which nurtured such as Dr. Bergman. It tells of the history of the school in its defense of Red professors and Red causes.

I am going to quote just a few excerpts from this pamphlet:

“There was active on the Wayne campus a group known as American Youth for Democracy, listed officially as a Communist-front.

“A race riot broke out in an off-campus bar, and there appeared the next day the following newsletter:

“Because the CP (Communist Party) did not realize that racists would organize and use ‘force and violence’ upon students, we inadvertently warned them by stating the time the group of students were going to the Alcove. The CP (Communist Party) did not organize this group and most of the students were not political figures, however: “THE CP (COMMUNIST PARTY) SUPPORTS ANY ACTIVE MOVEMENT FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF DEMOCRACY.

“We propose for immediate action:
“1. That the administration make a public statement condemning attacks upon students whose only crime was to drink with their friends.

“2. That the Student Council call a mass meeting to discuss concrete action on the Alcove and on Civil Rights in general.

“3. That the Student Council, all student organizations, and every student, send letters to the Police Commissioner protesting the facet that the police Commissioner protesting the fact that the police did not enforce the law.

“4. That all student aid the Student Council to boycott the Alcove.

/Signed/ THEODORE DREISER CLUB,
STUDENT DIVISION,
COMMUNIST PARTY, U.S.A.”

Does that sound shockingly familiar?

This group, like the “freedom riders” not only planned to break laws and customs, but NOTIFIED everyone of their intentions in advance.

They sought violence, promoted it, and then they found it. Then they screamed about lack of police protection, yelled about civil rights and talked of boycott.

Note, also, that while this was signed by this cell of the Communist Party, U.S.A., they didn’t hesitate to put their support behind ANY ACTIVE MOVEMENT TO ENFORCE DEMOCRACY.

Now remove that locale from Wayne University to Montgomery, Alabama.

The pattern is identical with the technique of the so-called “freedom riders” even down to the loose use of the word “democracy.”

Let’s look again at a familiar pattern for Wayne University, the base of Dr. Bergman’s operations, the Chairman of the MICHIGAN SENATE COMMITTEE IN CHARGE OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, Senator Matthew Callahen accused the Wayne group, in his words, of:

“Inciting racial hatred and using minority groups as stooges in hope of creating civil turmoil.”

Is this picture familiar? Isn’t it the same pattern the so-called “freedom riders” and CORE have developed in Alabama and the South?

Wayne University, amazingly still, has on its staff a professor, Arvid Jacobson, who pleaded guilty to spy charges and served three years’ imprisonment after he admitted giving Finnish military documents to a Russian agent. However, this appears to be NOT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO FIRE A PROFESSOR AT WAYNE.

Let’s go just one step further on Wayne, the base of “freedom rider” Bergman, and quote from a recent speech one of the history professors made to a club there. He said and I quote:

“The American faith in material and economic progress cannot stand up against Communism with the cutting edge of its faith sharp.”

And further noted that the Communists have “a purpose, a sense of destiny, conviction, and dynamism and thus it appeals to people in quest of social justice.”

So much for “freedom rider” Bergman and Wayne University, and back to Dr. Bergman’s CORE.

There is much additional testimony about the Red activity of Dr. Bergman going as far back as 1936.

In testimony before a special committee on Un-American Activities, October 13, 1938, Walter S. Reynolds, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Un-American Activities, American Legion, Department of Michigan, had the following to say of Bergman:

“Dr. Walter C. Bergman is a radical professor in the Research Department at Wayne University, who hides his real “red” color by calling himself a member of the Socialist Party and by being a personal candidate for political office on the Socialist ticket. August 31, 1936, with William Weinstone, SECRETARY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY FOR THIS DISTRICT, he was present at a meeting sponsored by the Conference for the Protection of Civil Rights…where boycotting of Hearst papers was planned because of the exposure of the trustees of the Spanish Loyalist government…”

On September 3, 1936, he appeared at a meeting at Arena Gardens sponsored to aid the Spanish Communists. Quoting again:

“March 14, 1937, Bergman acted as Chairman at a meeting at Northern High School at which Weinstone appeared as the principal speaker…”

On October 19, 1938, a former Communist Party member, Clyde Morrow, of Detroit, testified about Bergman to the same committee.

I quote:

“On May 27, 1933, the Communist Party held a demonstration at Grand Circus Park, Michigan. . . Bergman asked the audience to arise and sing the “International” (the official song of the Communist Party).

“Winding up the talk by saying:

“‘The only form of government needed here is the same that we have in the Soviet Union.”

I could go on and on at great length to document Dr. Bergman’s activities under the Communist influence, but I believe this has been proved sufficiently.

This is the man, along with Peck, who we have already identified, who helped organize and physically lead the assaults of the “freedom riders” on the Southland.

Where was the real center of direction? Was it in Peck’s New York, or Bergman’s Detroit? Or was it in Moscow?

But let us follow the old saying that two swallows do not make a summer, and perhaps two Communists do not establish CORE as a Communist vehicle, and so let’s dig just a little deeper and look at the records of seven of CORE’s Advisory Committee members, and I want to emphasize that the records I quote on the seven Board members of CORE are from the official files of the United States Senate Internal Security Subcommittee:

(READ UNITED STATES SENATE INTERNAL SUBCOMMITTEE OFFICIAL REPORTS ON MUSTE, BALDWIN, RANDOLPH, LILLIAN SMITH, CHALMERS, REED AND WATSON)

In addition to these seven, a number of others listed with CORE have associations with Communist-front groups. I am naming names tonight — these records include Algernon D. Black, long a leader in the NAACP, as well as CORE, and Earl B. Dickerson.

We have many mis-leaders of the Negro race who fit into the pattern long ago laid down in the Communist blueprint for subversion. They have shown their true purpose and they openly declare they will disobey any laws that tend to restrict their activities, yet they hollo loudly for the federal government to force compliance, even at bayonet point, when they feel that such forced compliance is in keeping with their race-mixing programs.

In 1935, there was published by the “Workers’ Library Publishers,” officially representing the Communist Party, a 48-page pamphlet written by two well known Communists, James W. Ford and James S. Allen, and it was called “The Negroes in a Soviet America.” It urged the Negro of the South to rise up and promised that the Negro would be supported by RED ARMY VOLUNTEERS – we have seen the very same thing happen in Korea, in Iraq, and other countries that have been swallowed up behind the iron curtain.

The Communists further promised that “any act of discrimination, of prejudice, against a Negro would become a crime under the revolutionary law . . . ”

Now that’s not very much different from what is currently being proposed by some of the more left-wing civil rights advocates in Washington today.

Let’s go further and quote from another official Communist Party publication, a book entitled “A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century,” which sets forth Communist policy:

“We must realize that our party’s most powerful weapon is racial tension. By propounding into the consciousness of the dark races that for centuries they have been oppressed by the whites, we can mold them to the program of the Communist Party.

“In America we will aim for subtle victory. While inflaming the Negro minority against the whites, we will endeavor to instill in the whites a guilt complex for their exploitation of the Negroes.

“We will aid the Negroes to rise in prominence in every walk of life, in the professions, and in the world of sports and entertainment. With this prestige the Negro will be able to intermarry with the whites and begin a process which will deliver America to our cause.”

As far back as 1922, a Communist Party organizer in America by the name of John Pepper, wrote practically the same words and he listed twelve aims of the Communists in America, and stated that when these were achieved America would be softened and ready for deliverance to the Red cause. Among these aims included the following:

School desegregation, desegregation in churches, in eating places, on buses and in parks, equal employment and membership in integrated trade unions, interracial housing and intermarriage.

It is frightening to note that in less than forty years, almost all of these goals have been achieved.

It is interesting to further note that Pepper stated that the Negro was basically a religious race and that they would have to be approached by a massive infiltration and use of their churches. How well have we seen that come about with our Reverend Martin Luther Kings, Shuttleworths, and Abernathys!

It is of vital concern to you and to me – and it should be to every American, no matter what his color – that an active vehicle serving the cause of Communism in America is operating arrogantly in our midst.

And I charge that CORE which sponsors these so-called “freedom rides” is such an organization.

I do not say that every integrationist is a Communist – that, I think, would be a foolish statement to make. But I do say that many of these integrationist groups are under the Communist influence and the creation of civil disorders and racial unrest is certainly to the delight, and in many cases, under the direct sponsorship of the Communist cause.

We, particularly in the South, have had set-back after set-back in our fight in this cause. I am firmly convinced that the South stands today as the last great bulwark of strength – the last bastion of defense – across this dangerous march to the left, and we have had our set-backs all the way from Virginia to New Orleans, to Little Rock, and here right in Montgomery, but let me further say that this is no time to stop fighting, this is no time to become discouraged. It is no time to bow our heads in object defeat.

ON THE CONTRARY, IT IS THE TIME TO FIGHT WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE LAW WITH ALL THE DETERMINATION AND WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE WISDOM THAT WE CAN MUSTER AT OUR COMMAND.

If we don’t, ladies and gentlemen, we will simply be stampeded, and unless the brakes are applied, constitutional government as originally contemplated in our scheme of government will be totally a thing of the past.

State sovereignty is already being ravished by a trend toward a federal court dictatorship.

But the hour is getting late and the hands of the clock move on.

A surreptitious and camouflaged tool in the scheme to destroy American democracy as we have known it, is the exploitation of the racial issue. More terrifying, are indications of federal sponsorship.

To my way of thinking, the race issue is a side issue to the real issue involved – that is the issue of maintaining the integrity of state sovereignty and our American way of life, as opposed to Communistic inroads.

We, the people of the State of Alabama, have been handed down a great heritage and the mandate to maintain our constitutional form of government as was originally intended by our founding fathers.

We, as Alabamians, as Southerners, and as Americans, must continue our fight for the integrity of state sovereignty and that original form of constitutional government, which has made this the greatest Nation on the face of the earth.

In this, I know we will not – we must not fail!

Related posts:

  1. Why ‘Kayo’ Hallinan Wasn’t a Freedom Rider
  2. Dodie Smith-Simmons
  3. Westbrook Pegler: ‘The Miserable Fraud Called Freedom Riders’
  4. Barnett to Kunstler: What If Your Daughter Married One?
  5. An EZ Guide to sounding smart when talking about the Freedom Rides


1 Comment

Thank you for posting! What an interesting item from the Alabama time capsule. Frankly, it is a speech that would barely seem out of place today at a tea party rally. I hope these interesting speeches are from all sides are preserved for future generations.

Posted by anon on 14 February 2011 @ 12am