Letter from Mississippi -- From Revs. Dickson and McAtee to Selected Community Leaders:
"FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION"Posted: 23 September 2013
|This letter was sent by Columbia ministers N.A. Dickson and William McAtee to a group of community leaders in the context of a refusal on the part of the city school board to submit an integration plan to the federal government. It was mailed out the very day we northerners arrived in Columbia -- a coincidence unbeknownst to both parties.|
We are writing you as one who we feel is concerned with the total welfare and the future of our community. From the outset we would like to make it clearly understood that this letter and its contents are totally unofficial, but is the effort of two individuals who are vitally interested in the life of the community. Since time is a vital factor and busy schedules prohibit personal contact, we have chosen this way of communicating with you and other key leaders of the community.
Fully appreciating your position of leadership, we simply ask you to consider honestly and carefully the realities presented in the enclosed sheet. The decision is completely yours as to what action you must take in light of this information. We have no proposal to make as to how best to handle the details; however, we will work with any group should our assistance be desired. It is our hope that the organizational initiative will come from the responsible business leaders working together with our elected officials.
Here again time is of utmost importance, for as the leadership goes, so goes the community. By our action or inaction we will set the future direction of life in our city. A healthy community atmosphere beneficial to all individual citizens and businesses will not just happen, it must be worked for.
Enclosed you will find, also, a list of people to whom this letter has been sent. As far as we are concerned, feel free to share the contents of the sheet, "FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION," with anyone you know who is interested in the welfare of the community. If you feel there is any merit in these suggestions, we urge you to contact our city officials immediately expressing your concern and offering them your support.
"FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION"
Without passing judgment on the city school board for its decision regarding the submitting of a plan, the following possibilities may arise which must be seriously considered:
Therefore, to minimize the disruption of the community life should any of these possibilities become fact, a large and broad segment of the community must publicly insist on peaceful compliance so that order might be maintained and law be justly applied to all citizens.
To this effect:
-- In the personal collection of William G. McAtee and
in the McLean File, Marion County Museum and Archives