Letters from Mississippi -- Columbia Mayor E.D. McLean's Notes (1965)
Updated: 6 September 2013
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When Rev. Bill McAtee was writing his book, Transformed: A White Mississippi Pastor's Journey Into Civil Rights and Beyond, he had a lot of help from Chris Watts of the Marion County Historical Society, who provided him with numerous documents and photos from the Society's files, particularly from Mayor E.D. "Buddy" McLean's files relating to civil rights activity in Columbia. With many thanks to the Historical Society, here are some of the documents Rev. McAtee has shared with me. Some are related to the direct activities I was involved in, others relate to the more general context in Columbia at that time. They offer insight into what was going on around us, and how we and our activities were viewed by others.

Note: This page generally contains small representations of the document scans Rev. McAtee sent me. Almost all the scans have been altered to increase clarity by reducing brightness and increasing contrast. Where the content of any of these at this size is not clear and I feel it is important, I have included a link to a larger version that is accompanied by a transcription of the text, so that the information is available in both graphic and text form. These larger versions are linked by previous/next arrows.

Document List
(asterisks link to larger versions, where available)
   Our names  (Aug 1?)
   Misc. names  (Aug 2)
   CAP agenda  (Aug 2)
* Meeting with restaurant/cafe owners  (Aug 3)
   Telegram from PA to mayor/police  (Aug 4)
   Telegram from mayor to PA  (Aug 5)
   Meeting of town officials & others  (Aug 6)
   People "in area"  (Aug 11)
* Picketing ground rules  (Aug 25)
   Random notes  (Aug 26)
* August chronology  (Aug 26)
* Talk with Jim Draper  (Aug 27)
* Pre-arrest picketing meeting  (Aug 28)
* Meeting with Negro leaders  (Aug 30)
   Note on Ann Marsh  (Aug 30?)
* Meeting with Curt Styles on picketing  (Aug 31)
* Summary of what's happened, what next  (Sep 2?)
   Note about Louis Ashley  (Nov 15)

Mayor McLean memo 1:
names of Freedom House staff
(Perhaps August 1 or July 31 --
July 1 is impossible, since we only arrived later)
Mayor McLean memo 2:
Rev. McAtee's book refers to a meeting on August 2 between the Mayor and a SNCC group that wanted to use the library, where the Mayor's mother was the librarian. It was arranged that each could check out five books. It is likely that this list was that group. The local black addresses may have been to guarantee the books could be retrieved if necessary.

Agenda of a CAP organizing meeting
to try to coordinate three counties
to bring in federal anti-poverty funds.
(August 2)
    Discussion with restaurant owners (see larger image)
(August 3)

Telegram sent from Elmer Maas (faculty, Juniata College, PA) et al
to Police Chief E.E. Johnson, about the fire-bombing
There were apparently also two other telegrams from that area.
(August 4)

Reply telegram from Mayor McLean to Prof. Maas, et al,
understanding that Ann must have written PA friends
(August 5)

Town officials and others present at the mayor's meeting to discuss how to create a positive atmosphere and leadership for the community in the inevitable changes coming. At this meeting the basis for the subsequent 5 Statements of Belief was laid.
(August 6)
    "Persons in the area" -- not all names legible
(August 11)

Mayor McLean's notes on a legal rationale for arrests (see larger image)
(August 25)

Random notes
mention Jim Draper and Mac Secrest
(August 26)
    The mayor's chronology of August events
(see larger image)
(August 26)

Mayor McLean's notes on a talk with Jim Draper (see larger image)
(August 27)

Mayor McLean's notes from a 9AM meeting with us and others to air concerns and come to some agreement on picketing (see larger image)
(August 28)

Notes for mayor's morning meeting with local Negro leaders
(see larger image)
(August 30)
    Ann Marsh was apparently a Quaker. This is apparently the mayor's reminder to himself as judge in the 8/30 trial that she will be affirming, rather than swearing, to tell the truth. Why my father's name shows up here is unknown, unless he had contacted the mayor on some aspect of the legal issues.
(on or before August 30)

Notes on a meeting with Curt Styles to discuss picketing protocol.
(see larger image)
August 31
    This note indicates something I didn't previously know -- that Louis Ashley was in town late in the fall, apparently advocating for people in trouble and working on adult education. The note mentions Septima Clark, the "Queen Mother of the Civil Rights movement and the remarkable director of education and teaching for SCLC. Somehow I'd never heard of her. Ouch!
(November 15)

Front side                                                Back side

The Mayor's attempt to sum up the events so far and what yet needs to be done.
(see larger images, with reoriented reverse side)
(around September 23)