Letter/Report about disruption and community divisions Laurel MS
Charles Hartfield, COFO

[See PDF Scan to view the original of this letter/report. This text-version has been re-typed from the original, formatted into paragraphs, and some typos have been corrected.]


Hello Alicia,

On my previous letter, I stated that we were having some difficulties here with the people of the community. Well, that were just half of the story. This is the part that I didn't tell you about because things wasn't too clear at that time; and isn't too clear at this point. The main issue is this, distrust among the leader of Laurel, although we knew distrust exists among us and the leaders of Laurel a long time ago. But this. Is what brought it out so that everyone could see it.

A man came from L.A., California with a proposition to build a community center for the people of Laurel., with no strings attached, he said. This man came as a representative for an organization named Laurel Labor Union, and his job consisted of nothing, but to observe the work that we were doing. But he went a step further than that. This man presented the plan to the community without giving the full investigation that is required. He knew nothing of our relationship with the community and the glory seekers that called themselves the Negro leaders of Jones County.

So, the following days we held a meeting with the people of the community which I suggested. At the first meeting, the people weren't so radical as to speak out and the local preacher took the meeting over and made the small people feel inferior by making statements like this: that the professional people should run the center if it should be built. And the guy from California, did worse by asking if there were any college graduates, and doctors and other professionals in the meeting. This really closed the meeting to the common people.

If you should come here, you would see that I was talking about. So, that meeting were lost as far as the commons man were concerned. A meeting was set for a week later to discuss the center further. So, the meeting night came around and at this meeting, things really got out of hand. In fact, it wasn't a meeting but a witch hunt.

Mr. Frank Young, the labor union representative, accused one of the COFO workers of being a commie, and threatened to slug her; and that blew the top of the house. Because he was then looked up on as a troublemaker, and we did some investigation about him. And the result came very promptly from his superiors. The first thing, this man wasn't representing anyone, and he wasn't even with the organization or nothing like that. So, we got this information and we began to call people that this man had talked with. And told him what a liar that this man is, but the people that Frank had gotten to; they refuse to believe any of the things that we had told them; despite the letter that they got from the LLU.

So, this is where we are now, if the center don't be built that people will blame us for the loss. The bad thing about it, the LLU office said that they didn't tell Frank that they were going to build a center at all; but assisted us and the one that we have already. And all this means, that we will be accused with the loss of the center. And the people will stop coming around to the meeting anymore and we will be taboo to the community. And all of this came from California. This is all I have to write you about concerning the California liar.

Freedom Fighting Force Charles Nelson Hartfield