Southern Conference Education Fund Report on Hearing by Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, February 15, 1961

Southern Conference Education Fund Report on Hearing by Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, February 15, 1961

Transcript

[Image of Carl Braden and Len Holt ?]
Carl Braden and Attorney Len Holt Before Florida Committee
SCEF Photo by Beasley
Southern Conference Educational Fund, Inc.
822 Perdido St., Suite 404
New Orleans 12, La.
Feb. 15, 1961
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--- A hearing by the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee revealed how spies are planted in integration groups to report to state officials in the South.
Three such spies were exposes when the committee made a desperate but unsuccessful effort to show that the integration movement is controlled by so-called subversives.
Those exposed were Mrs. C. C. Collins and Ernest M. Salley, both of De Land, Fla., and Mrs. Mary Mueller of Mobile, Ala., formerly of Tallahassee, all white. They told of attending integrationist meetings and subscribing for integration literature at the instigation of R. J. Strickland, committee investigator.
Salley even went so far as to allow himself to be subpoenaed to the committee hearing so he could take part in consultations between Carl Braden and his attorney beforehand.
Braden, a field secretary and editor for the Southern Conference Educational Fund, New Orleans, had been subpoenaed by the committee while making a speech before the Volusia County NAACP in Daytona Beach.
When Salley appealed for help, Braden offered to introduce Salley to Len Holt, Norfolk, Va., nationally known civil rights attorney who was to represent Braden before the committee. The Rt. Rev. C. Ewbank Tucker, A.M.E. Zion bishop, was also Braden's attorney but was unable to be present.
Holt, Braden, and Salley met the night before the hearing and Salley employed Holt to represent him. The spy obtained a copy of a statement


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[Image of Carl Braden and Len Holt ?]
Carl Braden and Attorney Len Holt Before Florida Committee
SCEF Photo by Beasley
Southern Conference Educational Fund, Inc.
822 Perdido St., Suite 404
New Orleans 12, La.
Feb. 15, 1961
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--- A hearing by the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee revealed how spies are planted in integration groups to report to state officials in the South.
Three such spies were exposes when the committee made a desperate but unsuccessful effort to show that the integration movement is controlled by so-called subversives.
Those exposed were Mrs. C. C. Collins and Ernest M. Salley, both of De Land, Fla., and Mrs. Mary Mueller of Mobile, Ala., formerly of Tallahassee, all white. They told of attending integrationist meetings and subscribing for integration literature at the instigation of R. J. Strickland, committee investigator.
Salley even went so far as to allow himself to be subpoenaed to the committee hearing so he could take part in consultations between Carl Braden and his attorney beforehand.
Braden, a field secretary and editor for the Southern Conference Educational Fund, New Orleans, had been subpoenaed by the committee while making a speech before the Volusia County NAACP in Daytona Beach.
When Salley appealed for help, Braden offered to introduce Salley to Len Holt, Norfolk, Va., nationally known civil rights attorney who was to represent Braden before the committee. The Rt. Rev. C. Ewbank Tucker, A.M.E. Zion bishop, was also Braden's attorney but was unable to be present.
Holt, Braden, and Salley met the night before the hearing and Salley employed Holt to represent him. The spy obtained a copy of a statement

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Feb. 15 release--2
that Braden planned to make to the committee the next day when refusing to testify.
The statement accused the committee of violating his rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constituion, guaranteeing freedom of speech, press, religion, association, and petition.
Salley gave the statement to the committee, which then told Braden he could either answer all questions fully or not be required to testify at all. The chairman, Rep. William G. O'Neill of Ocala, hurled the usual charges at Braden.
He shouted: "We will put in evidence that you are interested in agitation, stirring up sit-ins, and that you have no desire to improve the position of the Negro but to further the Communist cause."
After conferring with Holt, Braden told the committee: "This is a somehat unusual procedure which you have set up. I disagree with what you have said. It is based on inaccuracies and false assumptions. I refuse to testify because you are violating my rights under the First Amendment."
Braden and Holt then sat down in the front row at the hearing and listened to the spies describe their work. Mrs. Collins told of attending meetings of SCEF and other groups and of receiving literature and letters which she turned over to the committee.
Salley said he attened a meeting in Orlando in March, 1960, at which a statewide committee was set up by persons and groups interested in civil rights and civil liberties. The inquisitors were especially concerned about a group set up in Tallahassee to alert people all over Florida against repressive legislation.
Salley told how he spied on SCEF, the NAACP, and the Council on Human Relations. He also made reports on peace groups. One on occasion, he even took a three-hour tape recording, part of which was played for the investigating committee.
Reporters later asked Braden if he and SCEF were concerned about spies and informers in the groups with which they work. Braden replied: "We never give it a thought. We are not doing anything subversive or unlawful. We take everybody at face value until they show that they are not what they say they are. We refuse to play into the hands of the segregationists by being suspicious of people. That's what they want us to do."

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Southern Conference Educational Fund,
822 Perdido Street
New Orleas 12, Louisiana
Miss Priscilla Stephens
107 Cooper Hall
Florida A & M University
Tallahassee, Fla.