I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

Missing Posts: If you have a link to a post that's not here or are looking for posts from Summer of 2010, check this page.


NY Times obit for Lee Lorch, little-known civil rights fighter from the 40s-50s

Here’s a truly amazing obituary for Lee Lorch, a mathematician who led a fight against segregation in the Stuyvesant Town housing project in New York, and then, losing his academic position in New York, was variously at Fisk University in Nashville, and then at Philander Smith in Little Rock, just in time for the […]

A short history of Civil Rights hoaxes, possibly part of an ongoing series


August 16, 1913:  Yes, there are people out there who believe that Leo Frank really did murder Mary Phagan and the charge of anti-semitism is a hoax.  Seriously.  This was of course a Southern-fried version of the blood libel, one of history’s most vile hoaxes.

After the October, 26, 1934 lynching of Claude […]

This “it’s a hoax” crap has a long and discouraging history as a racist trope

I find it very depressing that, seeking someone to speak for the local community, the New York Times went with this:

“It’s a mistake to base any decision on this, whether it was done by white racists or whether it was a hoax,” said Frank M. Hurdle, an Oxford lawyer and blogger. “Now, if […]

The pending loss of a Civil Rights area landmark building in Meridian

Regular readers of this blog are familiar with the sad story of the gradual collapse of the store at Money, Mississippi, where essential events leading up to the murder of Emmett TIll occurred in the Summer of 1955.

There’s a similarly sad tale recounted on the Mississippi Historic Preservation site, about the planned […]

The after-story of Lusco’s waiter Booker Wright in the NBC Mississippi documentary from 1965

Last night, Dateline aired an update of a documentary NBC news had made in 1965 about race relations in Mississippi.

The original documentary is available online in the first video here.  Before getting to the subject, at about the 10th minute, I was surprised to hear Josphine Haxton (better known as the writer Ellen Douglas), whose […]

Katzenbach was dismissive to George Wallace, saying “I’m not interested in this show.”

Nicholas Katzenbach, whose government service (mostly in the Justice Department) encompassed much of the major issues of the 1960s, from civil rights to Viet Nam to the Kennedy assassination.  He famously encountered George Wallace at “the schoolhouse door” at the University of Alabama, and was in Oxford with the Marshalls to assure James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi.

Folks who have read Robert Caro’s latest installment on Lyndon Johnson would have encountered him.

He was first headed the Office of Legal Counsel (at the request of his friend Byron White), and was later Robert Kennedy’s number two until replacing Kennedy in 1964 when Kennedy ran for Senate.

From his New York Times obituary:

Perhaps his most tense moment in government came on June 11, 1963, when he confronted George C. Wallace in stifling heat on the steps of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Mr. Wallace was the Alabama governor who had trumpeted “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” and vowed to block the admission of two black students “at the schoolhouse door.”

Mr. Katzenbach, flanked by a federal marshal and a United States attorney, approached Foster Auditorium, the main building on campus, around 11 a.m. Mr. Wallace was waiting behind a lectern at the top of the stairs, surrounded by a crowd of whites, some armed.

“Stop!” he called out, raising his hand like a traffic cop.

Mr. Katzenbach read a presidential proclamation ordering that the students be admitted and asked the governor to step aside peacefully. Mr. Wallace read a five-minute statement castigating “the central government” for “suppression of rights.”

Towering over Mr. Wallace, Mr. Katzenbach, a 6-foot-2-inch former hockey goalie, was dismissive. “I’m not interested in this show,” he said.

The students were registered about four hours later.  …

Continue reading Katzenbach was dismissive to George Wallace, saying “I’m not interested in this show.”

Mike Wallace interviews Thurgood Marshall in 1957…

John Q. Barrett, law professor at St. John’s University and biographer of Justice Jackson, writes on the Jackson email list about Mike Wallace interviewing Thurgood Marshall in 1957:

On Tuesday, April 16, 1957, …. Mike Wallace had a televised conversation with Thurgood Marshall, Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc.  The […]

Mississippi Civil Rights Leader Cleve Donald has died

He was the second black student to graduate from Ole Miss in the 60s.  He got his start as a student in the Jackson Movement led by Medgar Evers. Jerry Mitchell reports:

“Cleve was one of the student leaders,” [Leslie] McLemore said. “The movement gave Cleve the foundation for what he did later in […]

If you want to know the story about Jim Silver…

“any intelligent man is not going to remain long in a state where jackasses roam the legislative halls, braying at their betters.”  Hodding Carter, suggesting that Ole Miss Law Professor William Murphy would soon leave Mississippi because of the attacks on him from state officials.  Quoted in a footnote in Eagles, The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss.

I want to […]

“Look away, look away…” James Earl Ray’s backwards mug shot

While I was otherwise occupied, a historic batch of photographs emerged from a county archive in Memphis, all taken by a Memphis State student at the request of the police department there, of James Earl Ray as he was brought to town to face charges for murdering Martin Luther King.  One is above, […]