Letter From Mississippi Governor Johnson to California Governor Brown
March 2, 1965

[The letter below was written in 1965 by Mississippi Governor Paul B. Johnson to California Governor Pat Brown. It is in response to a telegram sent two days earlier from Governor Brown inquiring about a California student, Hardy Frye, who was detained in Mississippi for civil rights work.

When Frye was picked up by the police in Holly Springs, Mississippi, someone saw it happen and got word to the SNCC office. The SNCC folks called the Friends of SNCC office in Sacramento, CA, where Frye had been a student. That office made an urgent call to the California governor's office. Thus, Brown's telegram. The Mississippi governor responded with this letter. A professor who knew Frye from school was at that time also an aide to Governor Brown. He gave Frye a copy.

Frye, an African American, grew up in Alabama. He was fingerprinted when he enlisted in the army in 1956. He worked as a civil rights organizer in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. (The Mississippi governor is mistaken about Louisiana.) He went on to earn a PhD at U.C. Berkeley. Now in his seventies, he is Professor Emeritus from U.C. Santa Cruz and visiting professor in African-American Studies at U.C. Berkeley.]

March 2, 1965

[To] The Honorable Edmund G. Brown
Governor of California
Sacramento, California

Dear Governor Brown:

Reference your telegram day before yesterday, my apologies for the delay in answering but I wanted the real facts pertaining to Hardy Frye, racial agitator currently living in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

Frye was interviewed yesterday and he states that he has not been threatened by anyone nor does he fear for his life. In July of 1964, Frye was threatened by a half-wit by the name of Rayford Landreth but Frye states that he understood this man to be a half-wit and paid no attention to such threat.

Frye is from Alabama. He was fingerprinted in l956 at Montgomery. He was a drop-out at Sacramento State College, leaving in his Junior year. He worked in Plaquemine Parish, Louisiana, in the summer of l963, as a racial trouble maker. He came to Memphis, Tennessee, on June 29, 1964 and later to Holly Springs, Mississippi, from Oxford, Ohio, where he received his training in the racial school for extremists. Sheriff J.M. Ash and State Police investigator Duncan talked with this man and he stated to them that he has not been threatened with arrest and does not feel his safety to be in danger as a result of his activities. In the summer of l964, the record shows this subject to have been arrested for the use of profanity over short-wave radio in Marshall County, Mississippi. He was not prosecuted on these charges.

He was detained from 11:05 A.M. until twelve noon. Shortly after this, he complained that he was [illegible].)

Again, I apologize for the delay in my answer but I do sincerely hope the enclosed information will be of some benefit to your office and I stand ready at any time to serve you or the good people of California.

Your friend,

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