Featured Post



Saturday, April 6, 2013


To make sense of this, please scroll down to read parts 1, 2, and 3 first.---------------Hugh Murray
             “What did I tell you?  Huh!  What did I tell you?  Didn’t I tell you they were going to get him.”  It was probably early 1964 when my Uncle Jim greeted me with those words.  I was living with my parents and had returned from a store, and Jim was there on a rare visit.  He was a machinist on ships and had sailed all over the world.  Jim was a few years older than my dad, shorter, but very strong.  They had both been raised in dire poverty; their mother died giving birth to Huey.  Their father had been in the military, but died out West.  (Only upon my father’ death did I learn that he did not just die, he had committed suicide.)
            Jim and Huey were raised in New Orleans near the city dump.  Huey told me he could push his hand against the wall, and it would move away from the floor so he could see the ground.  Breakfast might consist of weak tea and stale bread from which they scattered the roaches.  My dad finished school at 3rd grade, but use to lie saying he had finished 5th grade instead.  His “brudder” had a similar education.
            My dad generally worked 5 days a week and drank Friday nights – unless Jim was in town.  They would sit in the kitchen and reminisce about their struggles.  Huey was younger and bigger than Jim.  As a young man, Huey had wanted to be a boxer, and some photos showed him with a developed body.  One of his first jobs was as a bouncer in a prohibition-era saloon.  He allowed the wrong person in the door, and he and other employees were arrested for breaking the law.  However, the newly elected Roosevelt Administration indicated repeal, and the charges against all were dropped.  Nevertheless, finding a job in the Great Depression was not easy.
            Huey met my mother when she was employed as a clerk in a store owned by one of her many brothers.  Her dad had 13 children by two wives; one died and he had remarried.  My mom, Millie, was the eldest from the 2nd wife.  My grandfather or great grandfather had fled the famine in Ireland, come to Illinois, joined the Union Army, and following the war, ventured South.  My grandfather was in the liquor business, and had a sizable home with a large yard not far from down town.  He and his friends and associates would play poker at his home.  Millie must have been there, for one of his associates was taken with her, and she with him.  They decided to get married.
            When Millie invited one of her older half sisters, the sibling replied, “It would be better if you married a nigger!”  Millie’s mother had been German-Lutheran, but converted to Roman Catholicism on her death bed.  The whole family was Roman.  Millie was rather well educated, having graduated from 8th grade.  (She may have received a better education than those receiving a BA today.)   She was surely more of a rebel, for when she was going to marry Gus Cohn, she was going to do it in the Reform Synagogue, and she was converting to Judaism.  Only two brothers from her side attended her wedding.
            Gus was short and older than Millie.  I know little about him, because my father, Millie’s second husband, did not like to hear about her first marriage.  Gus sold liquor, had a car, and a Black chauffeur.  Part of his territory was Mississippi.  A Jew, a Black, and a Catholic who had converted to Judaism, travelling in Mississippi to sell liquor may not have been the most popular group.  Occasionally, they would be insulted and denounced by ministers.  Then, in the hotel at night, they would receive a phone call from the same minister, asking to purchase liquor discreetly.  Gus would not sell to them under such circumstances.  At the state line when they returned to Louisiana, Millie said the chauffeur would always give a big sigh of relief.  After a few years, Gus died of leukemia.  Millie, not having been born into the tribe, returned to her family and Catholicism.  But she remained philo-Semitic.
            While most white New Orleanians spoke with a Brooklynese-Jersey type accent, my mother’s was more Northern, more standard Mid Western.  I recall at her funeral some of her sisters speaking about the “goils,” and  referring to older women.  My dad counted, won, too, tree, fo.  In NO an accent usually revealed a religious preference – Brooklynese meant a native and Catholic; Southern drawl meant born elsewhere and Protestant.
            Millie was older than Huey, but she was an attractive blond who stood 5’ 2.  Huey was a bit over 6’.  They were married in a civil ceremony, and later I appeared.  Millie was better educated and helped Huey in many small ways and in trying to get jobs.  When I was a baby, he drove a laundry truck, an electric vehicle.  Because he had a young child, he was not drafted, but worked building ships at Higgins Shipyards, ships which historian Stephen Ambrose credits with helping to win the war against the Axis.  Years later, Huey would die of a cancer associated with asbestos, which he installed when building the ships.  While Huey was building the ships, Jim was manning them, carrying supplies to the Allies.  He said sometimes the ships were made of concrete, and only one torpedo from a German U-boat would have sunk the freighter.
            Shortly after the war I was in bed near the kitchen and overheard Huey and Jim speaking about old times.  “If only Hitler had won.”  The other agreed.  It would have been much better for the German people.  (Huey, Jim, Millie, and I were all half German, the other half green Irish on one side, Orange Irish on the other.)  Whatever their personal views, Huey later assured me that if drafted, he would certainly have fought against the Germans.  Jim was facing the German enemy every time he sailed the ocean – and there were German U-boats spotted near the mouth of the Mississippi.  As a mischievous child I quickly learned how to start an argument between my parents.  Friday night, when Huey drank, I could turn the radio onto CBS WWL for a program the Goldbergs.  Huey would go into a rant on the Jews, and Millie would nervously endure it.
            Yet things were not so simple.  I was going on 10 and on a Wednesday as the radio was reporting the latest election returns (things were slower then).  “Daddy, who is winning?”  Truman he replied, with a big smile.   Millie than added, But Dewey is supposed to win.  Huey had voted for Truman.  My mother preferred Dewey, but did not vote.
            I don’t know how old I was, but I was quite young, when my mother woke me one morning, “Go beat up your father.”  What?  Why?  Jim and been over the night before, and with Huey they decided to turn off the small gas heater near my bed.  Then they would turn it on again, but without a match to light it.  They would eliminate the sissy son.  Millie stopped them.  She saved my life.  We often read about Muslims who kill their children for reasons of honor – “honor killings.”  It is not only Muslims.  Father-son relations are often difficult.  (Millie saved me then, but she may have lived to rue her decision.  Her last words to me were, "He's no good.")
            I chose to speak Northern, like my mom.  I did well in school and was a good boy.  I had been christened Catholic, but neither parent was particularly religious.  It was simply a way to get ahead in Catholic New Orleans.  Not having much religious training, Millie’s relatives intervened and pushed her into having me attend catechism about 7th grade.  I rebelled, and it was the only class where I disrupted things.  A few years later, I found the Unitarian Church.
            Shortly after my arrest in the sit-in, I stopped by my parents’ home.  Jim’s wife was there, holding her head as if the world had ended.  Because I had joined CORE and the integrationists, Jim decided to do something to restore honor to the family.  He sent some money to George Lincoln Rockwell of the American Nazi Party.  In the following years when we met, his usual greeting was “How are the burr heads doing?”  He meant the Blacks.  I would roll my eyes.
            I do not know exactly when, but for a time he quit sailing and drove a taxi, a Metry Cab.  He lived in Metairie, the suburb adjacent to NO.  In the 1960s with the new Administration, he would sometimes say, “Oooh that Bobby.  They’re goin to get that Bobby” (meaning Attorney General Robert Kennedy).  I ignored such fulminations.  But he said this more and more when I saw him.  I dismissed such ravings.
            It must have been early 1964, the first time we say each other in awhile.  Jim gloated, “What I tell you?  Didn’t I tell you they were going to get him?”  What do you mean? What are you talking about?” I asked annoyed.  “Didn’t I tell you they were goin to get Kennedy?”  “What?!” my tone rose in amazement.  Then I added, “Well, you said they were going to get Bobby.”  “So they got the other one instead.”  Shocked.  Then exasperated I asked another question, “Who is the they you keep talking about?”  “The mob out in the Parish.”  Out in the Parish meant Jefferson Parish, where Metairie is located.  The mob there was Carlos Marcello.
            In 1964 this sounded so bizarre, I then walked away from such foolishness.  Why should I, a Tulane grad with a BA and an MA listen to the ravings of a poorly educated taxi driver?  My arrogance, my ignorance was exposed in my dismissive tones.  Later many researchers seek to link Marcello, who at times worked with Banister and Ferrie, to the assassination in Dallas.  In early 1964, it just seemed crazy to me, and I changed the subject
            Jim may not have known anything.  He may have just been raving.  But I wish I had listened more to my poorly educated relatives.  I might have learned a great deal.    


Please read Parts 1 and 2 before Part 3.-----Hugh Murray
            I got to know Oliver better in 1960 as the integration crises heated up.  In February of that year students in North Carolina began the modern sit-in movement.  (It was not “the first,” but it was the spark that set the movement aflame.  Columbus was not the first to discover America, but his voyages would thoroughly change both the New World and the Old.)  In response to the Carolina sit-ins, similar demonstrations spread in many areas of the South.  In New Orleans too, some of us wanted to join the protests.  This was especially important because before the 1960 census figures were calculated, New Orleans was still the largest city in the South – as it had been for over a century.  It was also a vanilla city, too, though barely.  Soon Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, and other Southern cities would outrank New Orleans, but in 1960, the Crescent City was still the most populous one in the South.
            Lanny Goldfinch, son of a Baptist minister, and a Tulane graduate student in philosophy, told me one spring day that there would be a meeting at Dillard U. (one of the Black colleges in the city) to plan for a sit-in.  I was familiar with Dillard because of my involvement with the Unitarian Church.  American Unitarians were a small denomination, numbering fewer than 100,000 in 1960.  Although both the Washington, D.C., and the Charleston, S.C., churches were established by Vice President John C. Calhoun, by 1860 the religion was associated with Abolition and questioning entrenched institutions.  At the end of the Civil War only two Unitarian Churches survived in the South – those in Charleston and New Orleans.  The New Orleans church continued in that tradition of radicalism on race, and after WWII it was a center of the Henry Wallace Progressive Party in the Louisiana.  In the 1950s its minister, Rev. Albert D’Orlando was summoned before the national House on Un-American Activities, and his wife admitted to have been a member of the CP around 1940.  Herbert Philbrick of “I Led Three Lives” fame, alleged that the minister was still a secret Communist.  At one point, a small bomb exploded at his residence, but no one was hurt.  By the early 1960s, with the mounting struggles against segregation, the church required a 24-hour guard.  To be a Unitarian in the 1950s was to be an integrationist.
            But as a high school student around 1955, I was unaware of this background when I first attended the Unitarian service.  It was an old church building that looked like many other Protestant Churches.  President Taft, a Unitarian, had attended the church when he visited New Orleans in the early 20th century.  It appeared as a typical Protestant church, except the stained glass windows included signs of the zodiac, and there was no cross.
            Not knowing anyone, I sat on a small side pew near the back, one that had room only for 3, with a wall on one side.  Shortly after the service began, a couple arrived late, and desiring not to disrupt the general service, they moved to enter the pew with me.  To make room for them, I pushed toward the wall and suddenly realized, they are Black!  What are they doing in a white church?  I had never sat beside Blacks as equals before.  Isn’t this against the law?  I began to breathe with difficulty, and I felt the blood as it rushed to my face and undoubtedly reddened by appearance.  Sure, Blacks might attend a Roman Catholic mass, but they would know enough to sit on the last rows and not with whites.  Moreover, they would wait till all the whites had received communion before they would go to the rail to receive theirs.  And almost all the Protestant churches were segregated.  Even at the Billy Graham Crusade for Christ that I attended at Pelican Stadium in the mid-50s, the audience was segregated.  What was this couple doing beside me?  My father would soon be referring to this as “that Bolshevik church.”  I continued to attend this church.  I was not reborn in Christ, but I was becoming reborn on the race issue and shedding my segregationist world-view.
            At the Unitarian Church in 1957 I met Dr. Georg Iggers and his wife Dr. Wilma Iggers.  They alternated between the synagogue and the Unitarian Church.  Both had fled Hitler’s Europe in the late 1930s, met and married in the New World.  They had only recently arrived in New Orleans from the north – Little Rock, where they had taught at Philander Smith College, a Black institution.  In NO, Wilma was teaching at Xavier (the Black Catholic college) and Georg at Dillard.  He also taught a course at Tulane, where I also knew him.  Georg had been on the board of the Little Rock NAACP, and he was quite surprised by the mobs then erupting at Central High.  He had thought the integration would go smoothly.  After all, Arkansas Gov. Faubus was a liberal Democrat.  It took Republican Pres. Eisenhower to send troops to quell the disorders, perhaps the first time troops were sent South to insure the safety of Blacks since Reconstruction.
            I asked if I could sit in one of his history classes at Dillard, and he agreed.  (I do not want to repeat everything covered in my article published in 1978 in the J. of Ethnic Studies, “The Struggle for Civil Rights in New Orleans in 1960.”  This is available on line at http://www.anthonyflood.com/murray.htm.  For more details on some items discussed here, you might consult that article.)  I did go to Dillard for a number of weeks and attended his class.  No one was rude to me, and I made a few friends, including Shirley, who was active in the local NAACP.  I also joined.  But in the late 1950s, the NAACP was outlawed in Louisiana because it refused to disclose its membership list.  To do so would have resulted in intimidation and possible firings of any teachers who were discovered to be members.  While appeals were in the courts, the New Orleans Improvement Assn. was established, basically as a front-group for the NAACP.
            In the spring 1960 Lanny Goldfinch and I went across town to Dillard to the meeting to energize action against segregation.  I was surprised at the large crowd of hundreds in the auditorium.  I arrived after the meeting had begun, and a number of speakers told of the protests then occurring in many areas of the South, including Baton Rouge, and that now Dillard students must do their part.  There were loud cheers.  Several speakers made the same point, to roaring applause.  Then, Rev. Gandy, the university’s chaplain spoke.  He was a rousing speaker and agreed that Dillard should take a stand for freedom.  But why imitate others?  The others had sat-in.  That was now old hat.  Dillard should take a unique, Dillard approach – do something special to Dillard.  He too gained enormous applause.  In effect, he had defused the call for a sit-in, and likely arrests – and trouble for students, parents, and the college.  Instead of sit-ins, Dillard students would march on campus (where no whites would see them), and then march carrying signs on the sidewalks facing the street in front of the campus.  Arrests would be unlikely for such a demonstration, and Dillard could say that it had done its part.
            Neither Lanny nor I decided to join the specifically Dillard march.  Soon thereafter, Lanny told me of a group picketing on Dryades Street because the A & P supermarket refused to hire any Black clerks.  Not at the same time, but both Lanny and I did join the small picket line of two permitted by law.  The sponsoring group was the Consumers League, a Black organization.  It was my first picket line, and not a very pleasant experience.           
            National CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) desperately sought to expand in the South, and its recruiters met with some from the Consumers League and expanded.  Rudy Lombard a Xavier student, Oliver St. Pe from Loyola, Archie Allen, from Dillard, myself, and others were interested.  We met at the Negro YMCA on Dryades St. and soon the organizers were seeking volunteers to go to a CORE training institute to be held in late summer in Miami.  CORE had been founded in the early 1940s, but it was quite small and usually limited to cities in the North or West.  With the sit-ins, its philosophy of non-violent resistance to oppression was being practiced.  It had made some inroads in 1960 into the South, but was now competing with SNCC, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.  A CORE chapter in New Orleans would greatly strengthen the organization.
            I wanted to go to the training session.  My parents wanted to know more.  Would I be the only white?  No there will be perhaps a thousand people from all over the nation, most of whom would be white.  Would I be the only white from New Orleans?  I probably would not be able to go unless another white from the city attended too.  Oliver was going!  I could persuade my folks.
            In two cars, eight of us drove the 22 hours in non-air-conditioned discomfort in August 1960 to arrive at a Black motel.  I was stunned to discover there were no thousands – for this was no convention but a training institute in non-violence.  There were only about 50 of us, 8 arriving from New Orleans.  Our training sessions were conducted by day in the Sir John’s Motel lounge where we sat around small cocktail tables and learned about non-violence,  We also engaged in practice protests whereby some held picket signs, and others in our group would act as the segregationist hecklers, or attackers.  We were trained not curse back, not to insult back, not to hit back, not to…
            Our sessions drew some prominent instructors.  One day our teacher was Jackie Robinson, the baseball legend.  August 1960 was an election year, and he informed us that he supported Nixon and the Republicans.  Another day, the teacher was Rev. Martin Luther King.  He told us he was supporting Democrat John Kennedy, but was not doing so publicly, or not at that moment.
            One day the leaders divided us into small groups to test the restaurant inside Shell’s City supermarket.  I was partnered with another New Orleanian, Ruth Dispenza, a very light-skinned Black.  We were at a table for two, and other CORE testers were scattered in groups of  two, three, or four in the restaurant.  The manager responded by turning up the air-conditioning.  When Ruth and I complained of the cold, they told us it was to get the niggers out.  (Clearly, they assumed we were a white couple.)  Later 16 members of our group, from tables obviously integrated, were arrested.  Oliver was among them.  (I will have a footnote about the dates of this training institute)
            When we returned to New Orleans, rumors circulated that CORE was planning a sit-in in New Orleans – which it was.  Tulane sent emissaries to warn Lanny, Bill Harrell, and myself that the university policy was that anyone arrested would be suspended from the university until proven innocent.  Because a sit-in case would probably be judged guilty on the local and state levels, we might have to await a US Supreme Court decision, which, if it ever came, might take several years. (Which it did.) Meanwhile, we would be suspended from the university.  As I had my small job at the university library, I would also lose my employment.  And I would have to move from my parents’ home.  All of us were facing difficult decisions.  Oliver would not be participating in this action, for he had already been arrested in Miami.
            On Friday 9 September 1960 seven of us entered the large Woolworths at Canal and N. Rampart Streets.  Light-skinned Ruth was our leader, and we were seated dark, light, dark, light, etc.  Bill Harrell, a graduate student in sociology at Tulane, and I, a 21-year-old grad student in History at Tulane, were the only whites.  Archie Allen from Dillard, Joyce Taylor, Jerome Smith and another were the seven.  We were not served.  I was not wearing my glasses as a precaution, for if attacked I did not want glass in my eye.  After an hour, the area of our counter was closed, and we were roped off from the general public.  Someone said my father was there to get me out of the demonstration, but without my glasses when I turned to see, I was not certain it was him.  I suddenly panicked at the thought of a possible headline, “The only violence, a father beats son out of demonstration.”  One more possibility to worry about.  The police would not allow him through.  Eventually, the New Orleans District Attorney Richard Dowling arrived, read us the law on segregation, and had us arrested.  (Dowling was predecessor to Jim Garrison.)
            We were taken to a police station on N. Rampart, then to the main jail on Tulane Ave, where Bill Harrell and I were questioned by the NOPD Red Squad, and then transferred once again to Rampart St.  Because of the transfers, we missed all the meals.  We were released on bail around 9 pm.  Archie Allen and I had not eaten so, joined by Carlos Zervigon (of Mexican and Cuban heritage), we went to a Black restaurant, Whitey’s, on either Louisiana or Napoleon Ave.  The waiter approached: “I can serve you (pointing to Archie), but not you two (indicating Carlos and me.)”  What??  Then he revised, “Well I can serve you two (Archie and Carlos), but not you (me).”  We were all dumbfounded.  Archie and I had been arrested earlier that day when Woolworths would not serve Blacks.  Should we be arrested that very night because Whitey’s would not serve whites?  None of us wanted another round of arrests.  We left.
            I stayed over with different friends for a few days – at the home of Carlos, then at the home of Oliver, then…The Tulane Board quickly met and changed its policy.  It judged the arrest of Bill and myself to be political and not criminal, so we would not be suspended.  Also, I could keep my part-time, low-paying job in the library.  Terrific news.
            Because of the threats, my father had to borrow a gun and bullets to protect his home – even though I was not living there.  He borrowed them from a co-worker on the water front.  When things finally quieted down, and my dad returned the weapon, his co-worker asked, “Why did you borrow so many bullets?  Only one would have done the job.”  Meaning, shoot me.  I was not a popular figure.
            I could not continue to live as a gypsy, from one friend to another each night.  Oliver lived with his parents in a far-out burb and wanted to move closer to Loyola for his senior year.  We agreed to share an apartment.  We found one, large, furnished, just two blocks from the St. Charles street car line, which wobbled leisurely to both Loyola and Tulane.  Touro Infirmary was nearby, and it was a safe neighborhood.  We were on the 3rd floor of a 4-storey old building.  The total rent was $45 a month, or $22.50 each.  To save money, we decided not to get a phone.
            Oliver was a handsome, 23-year-old senior studying sociology at Loyola.  He had had troubles in school and beyond when he was younger, but that was all in the past.  He did have one disconcerting habit, however; he never looked directly when he spoke to you.  Only when I roomed with him did I discover that Oliver was legally blind!  But I had never seen him wear glasses.  He knew I was somewhere out there, but did not look at a person’s eyes.  He received heavy LP records of books that he could listen to.  I even earned small sums by reading to him some of his assigned books in sociology.  He could read, but only after inserting hard contact lenses in each eye, and then wearing extremely thick glasses.  I suspect that with such magnification, he could only read part of a word at a time.
            The neighborhood was safe, but was it safe for us?  Oliver had been arrested with CORE in August, but that was in Miami.  I had been arrested in September in New Orleans.  It had been shown on Huntley-Brinkley’s NBC Nightly News (I did not see it because we were still in jail then), and was big news locally.  Not having a telephone, we were not victims of harassing phone calls, but what if we were attacked?  From his parent’s home, Oliver brought his Ruger, a pistol similar to the German Luger.  He wanted me to learn how to use it, just in case there was trouble.  I was most reticent, having accepted the non-violent, pacifistic approach of CORE.  But he insisted.  And if we were attacked, should I allow the defense of both of us to be in the hands of a blind man?  I learned how to use the weapon.
            The apartment was large, furnished, and quiet.  No one resided in the flat above, and I don’t recall any noise from the one below.  There was only one, large bed, so we shared it.  After a month or two, my hand began to roam over his privates; I began to jerk him off.  First, part of him woke, and then the rest of him, and he started shouting, “What the fuck are you doing?”  He was angry.  I was emotionally crushed.  Yet we continued to sleep together after that and my hands continued to roam.  He would physically move my arm, and then lie in such a way that I could not reach.  After a month, he suggested we get into the vacant flat above.  We carried down the two single beds from that apartment to ours, and replaced them above with our large bed.  After that, my hands did not touch him in such areas.
            Oliver had rejected my sexual advances, but he did not reject me.  From December through May we continued to room together, and to sleep in the same room together, but in separate beds.  Oliver and I remained close, we were friends, even though we were very different.  He told me that as a kid he had been a hell-raiser.  He was older than I because he had school troubles.  While considering dropping out of school altogether, he was saved.  He joined a group whose leader provided him with new direction.  He joined the Civil Air Patrol, and the leader was David Ferrie.  Oliver would speak of David while he and I roomed together.  I remembered the name vividly, because I thought it a terrible name, like being David Fruit (perhaps the most common term for homosexual in NO at that time) or David Queer.  But Oliver always spoke of him with respect and even thankfulness.  In early 1961 Oliver said he would be going to a party at David’s home, for he had not seen him in awhile, and he looked forward to it.  I was not invited, for Oliver and I had separate social lives.  When I next saw Oliver, I asked about the party.  His reply was not enthusiastic – “Oh, David was playing soldier.  There were many dressed up as soldiers and with weapons.”  Only much later would I realize that this must have been a gathering in preparation for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
            At the end of May 1961 Oliver graduated with his BA from Loyola, and soon thereafter would be off to Laos, working with the International Voluntary Service agency.  He was there in 1963 when I sent him the clipping about David Ferrie and the Kennedy assassination.  When Oliver returned to New Orleans I noticed he had a large scar on his face.  What happened?  He was still something of a risk-taker.  In Laos, he bought a motor bike and drove it around.  One day he was riding and there was this water buffalo, and…  He returned to New Orleans, married, and had two children.  He continued to work for civil rights, especially those of the disabled.  He died in the 1990s, and there is a building on the campus of the Univ. of New Orleans named after him.
            Why do I include this story?  If Oliver had been gay, we could have engaged in lots of sex in our apartment and no one would have known.  I may not have been handsome, but I was not the ugliest person around.  Oliver rejected me because he was not gay.  Yet, the man who saved him, David Ferrie, clearly was.  Ferrie and the CAP provided Oliver with survival skills so he could return to school and thrive.  Oliver was still a risk-taker: just going to Laos in the early 1960s was a risk, and they driving a motor bike!  Oliver gained confidence to accomplish so much.  Certainly others helped too, Father Fichter at Loyola, and who knows how many others.  But David Ferrie was an important mentor for Oliver.  Did Ferrie also inspire Oswald – another member of Ferrie’s CAP?
            Might Oliver have been sent to infiltrate the integration movement by Ferrie, Banister, or others?  I find nothing to support this.  Oliver was very religious, teaching catechism each week, the Baltimore Catechism at a nearby school.  He partook in a passion play during that year also.  Oliver was in some ways like President Kennedy, a social conservative and an anti-Communist.  He was a Kennedy Democrat.  But perhaps Oliver was more willing to risk more than Pres. Kennedy on the questions of civil rights for Blacks and the disabled  Simply put – Oliver was a good man.  And a hero.  And possibly a saint.  
            And what was my social life like during that year?  I had to work at the library, Friday nights, and 8-5 on Saturdays.  I then taught at the Unit. Sunday School around 9:30 am.  My weekends were busy.  Because of me weekend job, I was unable to attend gatherings as when James Baldwin visited NO.  I also missed the visit of Lillian Smith.  But even today I am still proud of what I taught to the teens on Sundays – What is Justice, using Book 1 and part of Book 2 of Plato’s Republic; then What Happens to the Just Man?, using Job, and then What Does Man Want?, using “The Grand Inquisitor” chapter from Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov.  I attended CORE meetings and a whole new crop of people at Tulane/Newcomb were interested.  Indeed, that year, I would estimate that half of New Orleans CORE members were white.  One member, Margaret Leonard, a blond from Atlanta and a student then at Newcomb, was the subject of a story in Look Magazine, “The Diary of a Sit In.”  My main accomplishment that year was that I survived.
            Lee Harvey once said that if he and Marina had had a boy, they would have named him David.
            One of Oliver's sons was named David.

A photo from the CORE training institute in Miami, summer 1960.  In this picture I am seated on the far right.  In the 2nd photo, Martin Luther King speaks to the group.  There is a question as to when this occurred.  The website for the King papers states he spoke at the first day of the conference, August 31, 1960.  This cannot have been accurate, for it was a 3-week conference, and I was back in NO and arrested on 9 September.  Moreover, 16 members of the CORE institute were arrested at Shell's City in Miami in mid-August 1960.  King did speak to the group on 31 August, but it was not the 1st day of the comference.---Hugh Murray


Thursday, April 4, 2013


Before reading Part 2, please read Part 1.  This may be incomprehensible without information from Part 1.------------------------------Hugh Murray

             Before I get lost in the story of Oliver St. Pe, and David Ferrie, I should get back to November 1963.  On Friday the 22nd President Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas.  On the Sunday the 24th, Oswald was shot and killed in the basement while being transferred by Texas authorities.  On Tuesday 26th, I was interviewed by the FBI (after Harold Alderman had been interviewed.  A summary report of Alderman’s comments are included in v. 26 of the Warren Commission material).  That week, David Ferrie was interviewed by District Attorney Jim Garrison’s men in regard to possible connection to the assassination.  He was handed over to the FBI and then released.  I sent Oliver the news item from the newspaper about Ferrie’s arrest.
            All that and more occurred at the end of November.  On December, all the teachers and staff were paid by the school where I worked, the Junior University of New Orleans, but most checks bounced.  Many of the teachers met and decided to inquire about suing the school.  I was among those not paid, so I had a new worry.  Around the middle of the month, a group of us sued the school.  When the news of the suit was published in the newspapers, parents began to worry about the economic stability of the new school.  At a meeting in the school, the administration informed the staff that only those of us who withdrew from the suit would be paid.  I was among those who walked out of that meeting.  Many were not paid, and the suit continued.  Some teachers sought to form a new private school, and I was invited to join the group.  When they discovered my integrationist background, I was uninvited.
            Meanwhile, JUNO limped along.  But it was losing teachers, student body, and tuition.  To protect the school from Communist agitators and union thugs, the school hired a private detective, Guy Banister.  Those of you who have read about the Kennedy assassination already know the name.  Banister had been an FBI agent in various northern cities, came to New Orleans in the early 1950s and was for a time the Acting Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Dept.  He was active in his church (I think it was Presbyterian) and a strong anti-Communist.
            His daughter, Mary Jane, attended Warren Easton High School, and was in the same grade as I.  Not only did we know each other, I occasionally bowled with her boy friend, “Tex” Don  Sanders.  In high school I was moving toward the Left politically and openly espousing integration.  Mary Jane feared that I was becoming a Communist.  (Example, when almost the whole student body left the school and marched to keep segregation on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Black Monday decision – the one that declared segregation un-Constitutional, I was one of the few students who remained in the school and did not join the march.)  Mary Jane urged me to speak with her father, who might save me from such maddening Left-wing views.  I was reluctant to do so, but Mary Jane was a nice girl (in those days one would not refer to a high school female as a woman).  To please her, I went to her home and was introduced to her dad.  He seemed as reluctant to meet me as I to meet him.  We said a few words, but he showed no interest in a debate or even a discussion, sorting his mail while we spoke.  Our conversation lasted only a few minutes, yet both of us had formally acceded to Mary Jane’s request.  Of course, neither of us had changed our political views.
            Apparently Oswald may have attended Easton for a short time.  Previously, he and I both attended P. T. G. Beauregard Junior High during the same year, but he was in 7th and I was in 9th grade, and there were some 1,000 kids.  (Beauregard was the officer who gave the order for the Confederates to fire upon the Federals at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, thus beginning the American Civil War.)  Even if I had stood beside Oswald in a lunch line, I did not know him.
            One reads today that Banister had sent young people to spy on the Left in New Orleans.  I cannot attest to this personally.  However, while at Tulane University, Clark Rowley from Connecticut became a friend.  I often spoke politics to him, and in time he became the editor of the Tulane University student newspaper, The Hullabaloo.  In the fall of 1964 I was teaching at Dillard University and took one of my Dillard students over to Tulane for a lecture before the Young Liberals Club.  By this time, Tulane had integrated, and the speaker may have been Birmingham’s civil rights activist Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who was then head of the Southern Conference Education Fund.  After the talk, several of the Tulane students and me, with my Black student, went to a nearby pizza place.  There were about eight of us at the table.  The owner came to tell us they would not serve us, and threatened us with arrest if we did not leave.  This surprise incident led to large-scale picketing of the Maple Street campus eateries.  Clark, editor of the Hullabaloo, ran some sympathetic stories.  He was getting information from various sources, including mutual friends in the Liberals Club.  One day Clark also told me then when we first met and began to discuss things, he had been paid to spy on the Left by Kent Courtney, a leading conservative in New Orleans.  This was a shock, but as I said nothing criminal, I was less concerned.  He told me he quit the job with Courtney.  Moreover, Clark did a good, and fair job as editor, and became a friend.
            In January 1964 I was no longer teaching at JUNO, nor at the newer, rival private school.  No one picketed JUNO, and it was cold and the weathermen had forecast snow flurries.  Because it almost never snowed in NO, I hoped to see some, but nothing stuck to the ground that month.  Another Tulane friend who was a teacher at JUNO suffered the financial pinch too.  He had withdrawn from the law suit, continued to teach there, but received only the December check.  The school closed down in early 1964, so he too had to search for other work.  But while teaching at JUNO in early 1964, he would see Banister walking around the school with his pistol hanging from his belt.  In those days, it was rare to have weapons in a school.
            A little later that year Banister was arrested after he stopped a bus when someone had yelled a remark about a female passenger in his car.  I think he stopped the bus, left his vehicle, and boarded the bus waving his gun.  In June 1964 Banister died.  In late 1963 and 1964 Guy Banister seemed to have no connection at all to the Kennedy assassination or Oswald or Dallas.  Even though some of the “Hands Off Cuba” flyers that Oswald had distributed had an address that was for the same building where Banister had his office, in 1963-64 almost no one would have connected Oswald to Banister.  Nevertheless, if anyone had picked up one of Oswald’s Fair Play for Cuba flyers that contained the street address, and had they sent a letter to that address for a Fair Play Cuban Committee, the probably would have been delivered instead to the anti-Castro organization housed in Banister’s office.  (Banister’s office at some point housed weapons to be used in an invasion of Castro’s Cuba.  Banister felt strongly about the issue.)         

Monday, April 1, 2013


This is the first part of an autobiographical sketch.  It begins slowly but perks up.  I think most readers will find it quite interesting.  I will add other parts later.-----Hugh Murray

            I received my MA in August and had to find a job.  I had taught for one semester in the New Orleans Public Schools – junior/senior high, but believed I had been a failure.  I was liberal and believed in allowing the kids to express themselves.  I quickly learned that this was a prescription to lose control of a class.  Once lost, restoring discipline proved difficult for me, and when another job opportunity opened, I took it.  This time, I would only be teaching 5th grade, but it would be a small class of about 20 pupils in a brand new private school.  Even better, my salary would be higher than what I received in the public system.
            The school was a recently acquired, multi-storey building that had been an office building of the federal agricultural administration.  It was kindergarten or first grade up through high school, and three of us taught the 5th grade – Mrs. Flagg, an older woman who had taught for many years in the public schools; a guy even younger than I (I was then 24), and this was his first full-time post; and me.  Our classes were near each other, and at first, we were “roughing it.”  To begin with, we had only fold-out metal chairs, no desks, and not even doors on the class rooms.  One 4th grade teacher led her class in numerous songs, which drowned out our classes, but our complaints to the administrators resulted in reduced music echoing down the hall from her room.  Slowly, the physical surroundings improved: doors closed out much of the extraneous noise; three large tables provided writing space for each of my pupils, twice a week my students left my room for that of the French teacher, and one large room was used for physical recreation.  More importantly, a new system we used for teaching reading was working, and some parents thanked us for teaching the pupils to read for the first time.
            Although I quite enjoyed the teaching, some problems remained, and new ones rose.  For example, the November 1 payday saw many of us holding checks that bounced.  We were issued new ones, and after a week, everyone received our salaries.
            Later that month I was teaching one Friday while Mrs. Flagg was conducting her 5th grade class’s lunch period with free time directly across the hall from my class room.  Doors were in place, so this was not disturbing.  She knocked on my door and requested that I come to her room.  I reluctantly left my room unattended, but assured the class I would be right back.  I closed my door, and then entered her room, swirling with the noise of kids enjoying the recess of lunch time recreation.  Mrs. Flagg directed me to a table where a pupil had brought to school one of the new, small transistor radios.  The 10-year-old, Mrs. Flagg, and I craned over the device to hear above the din of the kids.  We heard the main point of the broadcast, and I then returned to my class.
            I returned, shut the door behind me, and announced – it has just come over the radio that President Kennedy has been shot in Dallas.  Spontaneously, my pupils erupted in cheers of joy.  One girl reacted strangely – she put her head down in her arms on the table and wept.  I was shocked by the general reaction and proceeded to give one of my best history lectures – quite impromptu.  As I spoke, I did not know the seriousness of the President’s injuries, only that he had been shot.  But I had a rare feeling for what I wanted to say, because now I was angry with the kids whom I generally liked.  My speech could not disguise my anger.  “You think that this is the end of integration.  You think that if Kennedy is dead, then segregation will continue, that racial problems will cease.  That is wishful thinking.  At the end of the Civil War, the North won.  But some thought the South might still come back if Lincoln were eliminated.  Lincoln was assassinated.  Killing Lincoln did not restore slaver.  Killing Lincoln did not resurrect the Confederacy.  Killing Lincoln did not restore Southern power.  Lincoln was assassinated, and all that did was make the North more determined to press its ways upon the defeated South.”  My pupils’ initial reaction to the news of the shooting undoubtedly reflected the views of their parents.  Almost everyone assumed a segregationist had killed Kennedy.  About an hour later, the school released all classes early because of the assassination.
            Later that afternoon, I was at home – I was still living with my parents – when I received a phone call from Shelly.  Shelly was an attractive blond who had married Carlos Z. a good friend.  Carlos was of mixed Mexican and Cuban heritage.  He had attended the post St. Martin’s Episcopal School in a burb where his parents resided.  Carlos and I had both attended Tulane University the same years, and more importantly, we had both been members of New Orleans Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) during its first, formative year in the Crescent City (1960-61).  I had been arrested with six others in the very first lunch-counter sit-in in New Orleans in September 1960.  It was an era in the South when anyone who openly favored integration was viewed as a Communist.  Having been arrested in the first sit-in (we were even shown on Huntly Brinkly’s national NBC Nightly News, but I did not see it because we were still in jail then.), and just one of two whites arrested, many New Orleanians thought I was a Communist.  It was an era also when on the radio Rev. Martin Luther King might be referred to as Martin Lucifer King, or simply Lucifer King.
            It was in this background that I heard the words of Shelly Z. – they arrested the man who shot President Kennedy.  He was not a segregationist.  He was a Communist, from New Orleans.  My heart sank.  Fear gripped me.  A communist from New Orleans!  People thought I was a Communist from New Orleans.  What would happen now?
            I knew from history that in 1938 in Paris, a young Jew had shot a German Embassy official.  This would be the excuse a few days later for the massive, anti-Jewish pogrom all over Germany called Kristall Nacht.  Jewish shop windows smashed (the broken glass provided the image for the name of the pogrom), synagogues torched and fire brigades not permitted to intervene unless the blaze endangered neighboring Aryan properties, thousands of Jewish men rounded up, insurance companies ordered not to pay any damages, and Jews fined an amount basically confiscating most of their wealth in the Reich.  Kristall Nacht was the turning point when anti-Jewish actions vastly escalated.
            If this is what happened to Jews in Germany after a Jew killed an Embassy official, what will happen in New Orleans when and alleged local Communist kills the President?  My fears were not entirely irrational.  Kennedy was killed November 22, 1963.  On October 3, 1963 the round up of alleged Communists in New Orleans had already begun.
            A few houses down from where my parents rented, lived Mrs. Pfister, the neighbor who sold my mother Avon products.  Mrs. Pfister was an attractive young woman and good at sales.  Her husband was a bit older, very active in the American Legion, and he had been elected a few years prior to the Louisiana State House.  There, Representative James Pfister soon led the Louisiana Un-American Activities Committee, which competed with the State Sovereignty Committee in exposing Communist organizations.  It was in the 1950s that the State Sov. Committee investigated the subversive nature and Communist background of an organization, and the hearings were broadcast throughout Louisiana.  Listeners could readily learn how the American Civil Liberties Union was a subversive organization with links to the Communists.  After listening to some of the hearings, I joined the ACLU.
            On October 4, 1963 the LUAC led raids on Communists in New Orleans – confiscating the files and photos and such from the office of the Southern Conference Education Fund (SCEF), and arresting its leader James Dombrowski, and arresting two local attorneys, SCEF treasurer Ben Smith and his law partner Bruce Waltzer.  I was on the SCEF mailing list, and it issued a small, monthly promoting integration.  I knew Dombrowski and Smith slightly, and was a good friend of Jack P. a junior member of Smith’s law office.  Over 100 police and other officials partook in the raid, and when officers raided Smith’s home, they used an axe to get in the front door.  Eventually, the case would go to the US Supreme Court.
            The day that occurred, October 4, I had been teaching.  Because of the pleasant weather, I had made plans to play tennis after work, and did so.  When I returned home somewhat later than usual, my mother greeted me with, “Where were you?  I thought they had rounded you up too.”  I had no idea at that moment what she was referring to but quickly found out, as it was big news on the local radio, TV, and the next day’s papers.
            October 4, 1963 the round up of “Communists” in New Orleans had begun.  Now, less than two months later, with a New Orleans Communist killing the President, I was afraid.  The day I had sat-in in September 1960, I knew there would be consequences, and I planned for some.  Before my crime and arrest, I had made arrangements to stay at the homes of friends.  My parents, who like most natives were segregationists, would be safer during a period of frenzied hatred if I were not with them.  But November 22, 1963 was a total shock to me: 1) the killing, which everyone assumed was the deed of a segregationist, and 2) hearing that the killer was a Communist from New Orleans, which might spark mob action.
            So with the phone call from Shelly, which I confirmed by watching TV newscasts, I was emotionally frayed, with fear, and with questions.  Who was Lee Harvey Oswald?  The Left in New Orleans was quite small.  I did not recollect his name or his face when he appeared on TV.  I decided to go out and get drunk, for it might be my last opportunity to do so.  I drove to a place on N. Rampart Street (not far from the jail in which I was booked after the sit-in) called the Blue Note.  Today, my memory fails me.  I was hoping to see some people I knew and ask about Oswald.  I met no close friends that night, but drank a lot.  I drove home late, very drunk, and stayed in bed, hung, much of Saturday.  I was in a dark cloud.  It was not merely the alcohol that had me depressed.
            Sunday morning, or it seemed like Sunday morning, I was still in bed.  My parents called me to the living room where they were watching television – Oswald had been shot, live on TV.  I rushed to see the television with them.  Soon everyone seemed relieved; it was all over.  The murderer received the judgment he deserved.  It was over.
            Well, not quite all over.  I was still phoning friends and asking about Oswald.  Still, no one seemed to know him.  However, I now realized that a Tulane history grad student and his wife had heard Oswald on a WDSU radio interview program the previous summer, and they had told me at that time about the strange guy on radio who had lived in Russia and who was pro-Castro.  The couple had merely heard him on the air, and did not even recall his name.  They had certainly never met him.
            I phoned around and learned of a young Tulane student who had actually spoken to Oswald the previous summer.  Oswald was distributing his Fair Play for Cuba Committee flyers downtown, and Bob Heller, who was a New Yorker spoke with him.  Heller had also been active in New Orleans CORE during the early period, before the Black Nationalist purged the whites from the organization.  I recall his naiveté at an early 1960 meeting.  Heller was a freshman, new to Tulane, and new to New Orleans.  CORE met at the Negro YMCA on Dryades Street, and there was malaise in the group because of growing restrictions, and I think because of the school crisis in New Orleans when two schools were integrated, and a boycott by most white pupils ensued, and hostile parents greeting the handful of children who dared to attend.  Bob suggested members of CORE do something (perhaps picket a store, or sit-in, or I forgot the details).  His suggestion appeared to have support.  I raised my hand, “What if they are arrested?”  Rudy, the chair, shrugged.  Later, when I got to know him better, Bob thought my comment was absurd, for the CORE people were doing something so mild, there was no chance of arrest.  Well, he and some others did the action, and they were arrested.  Bob was more accustomed to law enforcement in liberal New York, not in liberal Democratic controlled New Orleans.  As a former CORE activist, it would have been natural for Bob to chat with someone distributing political literature.
            With all the information about Oswald circulating, I was now aware that I too had one of his FPCC leaflets.  In the summer of 1963 I was working frantically to finish my thesis to get my MA degree from Tulane.  My topic was the Scottsboro rape cases that had occurred in Alabama, beginning in 1931.  What made my thesis unique and controversial at the time, was summarized in one of my articles published in Phylon (1967) based on my work, “The NAACP vs. the Communist Party: The Scottsboro…”  I maintained that the Communist Party and its front organizations had provided a better defense for the young Blacks falsely accused of rape, than had the liberal NAACP.  In 1963 Louisiana, this was not simply heresy, this was nigh treason.  The History Dept. awarded me the MA, but it did not want me back for the Ph. D. program.  Of course, to finish that thesis, I had to spend considerable time in the Tulane Library.
            One day that summer of 1963 as I entered the library building (not the new library, but across from it is the old university library, now the J. Johnson Hall, that houses Special Collections), I noticed on a small table in the foyer, beside the main stairway, a stack of leaflets.  No one was around.  I saw the headline – “Hands Off Cuba!” and I took one.  It was distributed y the New Orleans branch of the FPCC.  I immediately assumed I knew who had left the flyers.  I walked up the stairs to the main desk, then walked behind it to the closed public area for the stacks and the carrels, where graduate students could work with the books they required.  Instead of trotting straight to my carrel, I stopped by that of philosophy grad student Harold Alderman.  I asked him as a raised the yellow flyer, “What are you putting out?”  Alderman had been a member of FPCC in another city, and we had both discussed how New Orleans could use such an organization.  “Let me see that,” he said.  He perused it, but clearly knew nothing about the leaflet or the New Orleans branch.  We were both curious.  There was no phone number listed on the leaflet, just a post office box (other leaflets did have an address, but I do not want to discuss that here).  Should we write?  We both joked that it might be the FBI setting a trap.  We decided to do nothing until we knew more about the organization through the grape vine.  I gave him my copy, and unbeknownst to me, he did do something about it.  He taped the leaflet to the door to his room in the dormitory.  It remained taped on his door until November 22.
            Monday November 25, 1963 was another work-day at school.  Same for Tuesday, November 26.  I returned from school to my parents’ home after work, and soon thereafter, there was a knock on the front door.  Two men in suits identified themselves as members of the FBI to both me and my mother.  As they wanted to speak with me, my mother withdrew to the kitchen.  I had been interviewed by the FBI in 1962, but that concerned the draft.  More pertinent was when I was interviewed in jail following my arrest in the first Woolworth’s sin-in.  Seven of us had been arrested; two of us whites.  Only the two whites were interviewed by the NOPD Red Squad.  We were questioned separately.  They wanted to know everything possible about the new CORE organization.  My objective was to yield as little information as possible.  How large was CORE?  How many members?  Other question directed about the organization.  I tried to be as evasive as possible.  I also refused to give any names.  They asked if I had read The Communist Manifesto.  I had.  Did I agree with it.  I thought the graduated income tax was a good idea.  The questioning was formal, and there was no violence or threat of violence by the police in that room.
            That was September 1960.  November 1963 was different.  I wanted to cooperate as much as possible without hurting anyone unnecessarily.  At that time, the only person I knew to have spoken with Oswald was Heller.  I gave his name and told what I had heard of their conversing on the street downtown.  I told of picking up the leaflet at the Tulane library from a table, but no one was there so I had and still have no idea who put the leaflets there.  I mentioned discussing the leaflet with a grad student.  I neither gave Alderman’s name, nor did I mention that we speculated that mailing to the p. o. box might have been an FBI ruse.
 About 15 minutes after the FBI men left, I received a telephone call from Alderman informing me that he had given the FBI my name, and they might come to see me.  (I had given Heller’s name, and the FBI went to interview him.  And thereafter, wherever Phil Good, another Tulanian saw me on campus, he would blurt “Fink” at me as I passed.  Well, I am glad I cooperated with the agency on this issue.  I think everyone should have done all possible to discover the truth.  And had I not cooperated, then how could I criticize the Warren Report?)
When the FBI knocked that afternoon, I answered the front door with my mother.  They identified themselves as we both stood by the door.  They interviewed me in the living room, while my mother went to the kitchen.  Soon after they left, my mother asked me, “Who were those men?”  I answered, “They were salesmen.”  Later, when my father returned from work and we were eating supper, my mother asked me, “Who were those men who came by today?”  Again I lied, “They were salesmen.”  The cost of swimming against the stream is not only paid by the individual, but by the families and all those close to that individual.  (When my mother died two years later, my father wondered if I should attend the funeral.  He thought some of her brothers might slug me.  Or as he rephrased it, “You killed your mother.”  Sadly, there is more truth in his charge than I dare admit.)
And it was still not over.  I think it was that very week in November 1963 that a small notice appeared in the local newspaper (I forget if I read it in the NO Times-Picayune or the States-Item).  The one paragraph story stated that David Ferrie had been arrested in connection with the assassination of President Kennedy.  What??  I clipped the small item and sent it to my former roommate, Oliver, who was then in Laos.
Oliver St. Pe and I were opposites in many ways.  His folks had come from the country, and I think his parents were more at home in French than English.  They were not rich, and lived in a burb quite a distance from the city.  Oliver as a child was mixing up two languages, so he basically became monolingual.  While I had been “a good boy,” with all the negatives that that includes, Oliver had been a hell-raiser, a semi juvenile delinquent, on the road to trouble.  But he changed, and attended Loyola University of the South, which is physically next to Tulane U.  But in the 1950s there was a chasm separating the Jesuit institution and its neighbor.  Oliver was two years older than I, but when we roomed together, I was already a graduate student in history at Tulane, and he was a senior in sociology at Loyola.  He was a staunch Roman Catholic, and though I had been christened as a baby as a Catholic, by high school I was a member of the First Unitarian Church in New Orleans.  While the students at Loyola were overwhelmingly Catholic, Tulane was about 1/3 Catholic (New Orleanians), 1/3 Protestants (mainly from the rest of the South), and 1/3 Jewish (from NO, the rest of the South, and New York).  There were also differences in curriculum.  The history of philosophy course I took at Tulane was 2 semesters – the first on the ancient philosophers, the second on the moderns.  A few lectures on the medieval philosophers were squeezed in too.  At Loyola, 4 semesters were required, 1 on the ancients, 2 semesters on medieval, 1 on the moderns.
I do not recall when I first met Oliver.  I suspect it was at a gathering of the ICIC, the Intercollegiate Council for Interracial Cooperation.  Under Father Fichter’s sociological umbrella, students from Loyola, Tulane, Dillard (Black Protestant), and Xavier (Black Catholic) could gather.  The ICIC I first learned of around 1958 or 59.  We would not have met at Tulane, because Tulane was all white.  The main purpose of groups like these was to get nice people of differing backgrounds and races together.  The main activity of the ICIC was a general mailing of a cartoon that had initially appeared in a Methodist periodical.  It showed three simply drawn characters – one guy, another sitting atop his shoulders and pounding him on the head, and a third who says, “Well, I can see both sides of it.”  For our mailing, we darkened the color of the victim, and sent it to many in New Orleans.  I probably met Oliver there, but really did not know him them.
I will be adding to this story.----Hugh Murray