Just this, and then no more on the subject.
At one in the afternoon of Tuesday, March 9, Martin Luther King Jr., spoke to the marchers assembled in Browns Chapel church, Selma, Alabama:
"I have no alternative today. It was a painful decision. There comes a time a man must decide. I've made my choice this afternoon. I've got to march. I'd rather have them kill me on the highway than make them butcher me in my conscience."
On Thursday, March 11, Robert E. Baker reported in the Washington Post:
"The peaceful confrontation between civil rights marchers and Alabama State troopers in Selma on Tuesday was worked out in advance by Federal officials. LeRoy Collins, head of the Federal Community Relations Service, confirmed yesterday ... that he and John Doar, Assistant Attorney General, worked out details with Col. Al Lingo of the State Patrol, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.,"
[See Turn-Around-Tuesday for background information.]
* * *
Lyndon read a beautiful speech last Monday.
[See President Johnson: "We Shall Overcome" for background information.]
It had been written by his very best speechwriter. His delivery was magnificent. He had rehearsed it well. His eyes glinted with the steel of his determination, as he read the words from the tele-prompter. "Many were brutally assaulted," he said, speaking of Selma. "One good man — a man of God — was killed." His speechwriter had overlooked, perhaps in the heat of passion about Selma injustice, that more than one man is dead. He failed to mention Herbert Lee, Medgar Evers, Bill Moore, Mickey Schwerner, James Channey, Andrew Goodman, Carole Robertson, Darol Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collings, Cynthia Wesley, Virgil Ware, Johnny Brown Robinson, Jimmy Lee Jackson, and a whole host of others.
He failed to mention that Lyndon sent John Doar to Oxford, Ohio, Last June to tell Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney that there was nothing the Federal Government could do to protect them from the murderous Mississippi racists. Three days later, Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney were Lynched.
Yes, Lyndon made a fine speech, with the help of his speechwriters and the Teleprompters. But we'll wait a bit before we pin any roses on him. We'll wait a bit before we pin any roses on him. We'll wait to see what, if anything, follows the words. We've seen the words punctuated with the blood of those who died, and with the tears of the bereaved. And always the words.
The Big Wind from Washington has blown yet again. We shall see if it does anything more than trouble the air.
Lyndon is at a loss to know what to do about Alabama. He is puzzled because he's afraid to establish what he and his attorney general call a "national police force," and he doesn't see any other way to control the whites who refuse to permit Negroes to register and vote.
Lyndon is not that stupid, and don't for a minute believe he is. We're constantly told that Lyndon is one of the sharpest political operators in U.S. political history. If there is anything he doesn't know about political squeeze-plays, then it's not worth knowing. Lyndon knows very well what he could do — he obviously just doesn't want to do it. Consider this.
In his testimony before the House appropriations committee last January, Burke Marshall, then Lyndon's head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice, told the committee members that "there was reason to believe that in the counties listed below Negroes may have been denied their voting right because of discrimination by voting registrars or through intimidation by private individuals or public officials." He then listed some twenty-odd counties in Alabama.
We checked the records of the Small Business Administration, Lyndon's agency for making loans to small businesses which, for one reason or another, cannot qualify for ordinary bank loans. We found that between May of last year and February of this year, the Small Business Administration loaned $4,141,450 to small businesses in Alabama [equal to $30,264,000 in 2012]. Of that amount, more than half, $2,187,750, made up loans to small businesses in counties listed by Marshall as denying the vote to Negroes. Here are the countries which deny the vote, and in which loans were made (figures are total loans in the county — if staff needs the names of borrowers, we'll be happy to provide them):
There are many ways Lyndon could bring these counties into line, if he's so concerned about leaving police matters to the local police. One way would be for him to pass the word down the line that SBA would make no more loans in those counties until they got right with registering black people to vote. This, in turn would mean that the business men in those counties, who want the loans, would begin to pressure the registrars, the sheriffs, the legislators, to ease up on voter registration.
If he doesn't do this, then we'll have a basis for evaluating just what the Big Wind is worth. It says it's opposed to the oppression of Negroes. But it takes federal tax money, a part of which is paid by Negroes, and uses it to finance the very people who are the worst oppressors of Negroes.
* * *
Chrysler Motor Corporation, whose chairman, George H. Love, was such a strong supporter of Lyndon (and whose major stockholders, the Mellon family of Pittsburg, were just as strong Goldwater supporters) announced it will build a $28 million plant at Silverton, near Pretoria, South Africa.
Charles Engelhard's Rand Minds, Inc., will install a $14 million stainless steel plant at Middleburg, South Africa. Engelhard, it will be remembered, is the close business associate of Treasury Secretary Douglas Dillon. Engelhard has with him on the board of his holding company, Engelhard Industries, the former Governor of New Jersey, Robert Meyner. Meyner is married to the former Helen Stevenson, sister of that great freedom fighter in the United Nations, Adali Stevenson, who always finds reasons why the United States cannot support an economic boycott of South Africa.
Scripto, Inc., of Atlanta will open a new plant on May 1, in Capetown, South Africa. Scripto, and its headman, James V. Carmichael, were recently involved in a fight with their largely Negro work force in Atlanta, over the substandard wages and working conditions there.
[See Scripto Strike, Atlanta for background information.]
Carmichael and his associates, among whom are some of Lyndon's staunchest supporters, will doubtless have less trouble with the black workers of South Africa. South Africa knows even more about how to handle black workers than does Alabama. They don't just club them — they shoot them dead wholesale.
If this is a Great Society, then South Africa's must be even greater. Right, Lyndon?
* * *
Lyndon's Agency for International Development just loaned Tshombe's Congo Government $19,023,800 (in Congo francs) [equal to $139,000,000 in 2012] "to assist financing of economic development projects in the Congo." This came just prior to the Congo elections and gave Tshombe a strong arguing point with the people of the Congo, for electing his candidates. It is part of Lyndon's program for developing Uncle Toms on an international scale. And the loan, of course, will free some Tshombe's funds so he can hire more South Africans to make war on the Congolese people.
* * *
Lyndon's Poverty war is really rolling now. Not long ago General Electric Corporation (whose criminal record we ran a couple of weeks ago) got a $10.7 million contract from Lyndon to run a job corps program at Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky. GE will doubtless teach the underprivileged youth the principles of how to get rich without getting arrested, in which its officers and directors are so expert.
Litton Industries, owner of Ingalls Shipbuilding (Mississippi's largest employer), got a $13.4 million contract from Lyndon to run a Jobs Corps camp near Oakland, California. Charles Thornton, Litton's chairman, was a big supportor and fund-raiser for Lyndon and Hubert during the campaign last year.
Incidentally, Lyndon's top poverty fighter, Sergeant Shriver, assured a news conference in Memphis the other day that the poverty war was not designed "for the purpose of forcing integration on the South." He explained that "every governor has the right to veto any of our programs for any reason, and the integration issue could certainly be such a reason."
Philco Corporation, wholly-owned subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company, got an $8.1 million contract from Lyndon to operate an poverty-war training program in Oregon. This is a partially interesting development. Philco, being a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, pays its profits into the parent company. Then Ford Motor declares dividends on its stock, and pays that profit into the Ford Foundation, which own most of the stock of the Motor Company. What does the Foundation do with that?
Well, some of it goes to such worthy (in a nation where at least 30 million people go to bed hungry every night) causes as the JFK cultural center ($5 million was one such recent grant by the foundation.) Some of the rest if it Ford Foundation loans out at interest.
For example, at February 1, 1962 Ford Foundation had at loan $18.1 million to the following finance companies:
American Acceptance Corp., Philadelphia; Associates Investment Co., South Bend, Ind.; Atlantic Acceptance Corp., Toronto, Canada; Beneficial Finance Co., Wilmington, Del.; CIT Financial Corp., New York; Delta Acceptance Corp., London, Canada; Dial Finance Co., Des Moines, Iowa; Family Finance Co., Wilmington, Del.; General Finance Co., Evanston, Ill.; Interstate Finance Co., Duguque, Iowa; Interstate Securities, Co., Kansas City, Mo.; Local Loan Co., Chicago, Ill; and Thorp Finance Co., Thorp, Wis.
These finance companies, of course, prey upon the poor and near-poor. They finance the purchases of automobiles, furniture, clothing, household appliances, etc., for families who can't afford to pay cash. The interest rates they change from 18% to 45%, depending upon the laws of the states in which they operate.
The Ford Foundation, being a "charitable organization", is tax exempt. It doesn't pay income tax on the dividends it gets from the Ford Motor Company, and it doesn't pay any income tax on the interest it gets from the finance companies, after they have squeezed it out of the people. And it won't pay any tax on the $8.1 million that Lyndon gave his child, Philco Corp., as part if the war on poverty.
Is it any wonder that Henry Ford II can afford to spend the winter at St. Moritz, Switzerland, skiing with his new Italian wife, while his employees at Philco are manning the front line trenches of poverty war?
* * *
Lyndon was the first Democrat presidential candidate ever supported by the Ford family. They're all simply crazy about the great society.
* * *
March 18, 1965
Copyright © Jack Minnis, 1965