The Eyes of Willie McGee: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South - Alex Heard (2010)



CL: Jackson Clarion-Ledger

Compass: The New York Compass

CRC: Civil Rights Congress

DW: The Daily Worker

JDN: Jackson Daily News

LLC: Laurel Leader-Call

LOC: Library of Congress

MDAH: Mississippi Department of Archives and History

NAACP: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Rogers: Lauren Rogers Museum of Art Library

SRC: Southern Regional Council

NYT: The New York Times

WaPo: The Washington Post


sorrow night: Hansberry, Masses and Mainstream, July 1951, 19–20.


F. Aegerter: “Mrs. Roosevelt Calls McGee ‘Bad Character,’” CRC press release, June 1, 1951. CRC papers.

from obscurity to fame: See Rowan, South of Freedom, “Run! The Red Vampire!,” 174–92; Zaim, “Trial by Ordeal: The Willie McGee Case,” Journal of Mississippi History, Fall 2003, 215–47.

The story began: State of Mississippi v. Willie McGee, December 1945 Special

Term, Jones County Courthouse, Laurel, Mississippi; CLJDNLLC, December 6–7, 1945.

Hinds County jail: CL, December 14, 1930.

thousands of individuals: see “15,000 ‘Free McGee’ Pleas Swamp Wright,” Compass, July 29, 1950.

“Dear Mr. President”: Willie McGee letters, April 30, 1951, CRC papers.

Faulkner: Meriwether, Essays, Speeches & Public Letters by William Faulkner, 211–12; Blotner, Faulkner, 539.

Einstein: “A Letter from Albert Einstein,” NYT display ad, May 4, 1951.

State Department: JDN, April 25, 1951.

Combat: Rowan, South of Freedom, 191.

Mayella Ewell, Tom Robinson: Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 172–77, 190–242, 269–70.

love affair: Willie McGee’s initial account of his alleged relationship with Willette Hawkins appeared in an autobiographical statement he wrote for his first appeals lawyer, Forrest Jackson, which he and others expanded on later. See Dixon Pyles’s interview with a Daily Worker investigator, CRC papers, 1952; Willie McGee’s affidavit, February 3, 1951, Hinds County Courthouse, Jackson, Mississippi, CRC papers; and Rosalee McGee’s affidavit, July 25, 1950, MDAH.

“depraved, enslaved, adulterous woman”: References to Mrs. Hawkins were cut from “A Black Woman Speaks” when Beah Richards published a collection of her poetry in 1974. The original version, which she read at a civil rights meeting in 1951, is widely available on the Web. See

Carol Cutrere: Williams, Orpheus Descending, 27–28.

Roosevelt was no coward: Cook, Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume Two1933–1938, 153–54, 177–81; Janken, White, 209–11.

China, Soviet Union: NYT, July 27, 1950; see “Execution of M’Gee Blasted by Moscow,” Toler Papers, Mississippi State University.

Julius Rosenberg: Meeropol, The Rosenberg Letters, 98.

CRC origins: “Congress on Civil Rights” invitation; Walter White memo, May 1, 1946; Marian Wynn Perry memo, May 7, 1946, NAACP papers.

“the Communists persuaded”: Eleanor Roosevelt to Roy Wilkins, July 18, 1950; Walter White to Eleanor Roosevelt, July 24, 1950, NAACP papers.

“added suspicions”: Eleanor Roosevelt to Aubrey Grossman, March 14, 1951, CRC papers.

radio broadcast: “Willie McGee Execution,” Jim Leeson audio recording, May 7–8, 1950, University of Southern Mississippi oral history collections.

execution scene: CLJDNLLCNYT, May 8, 1951.

Dray seemed convinced: Dray, At the Hands of Persons Unknown, 397–405.

as did Mitford: Mitford, A Fine Old Conflict, 160–94.

not proven fact: Brownmiller, Against Our Will, 239–45.

Carl Rowan in Laurel: Rowan, South of Freedom, 174–92; Rowan, “McGee was Going to Die,” Stag, March 1953.

Adolphus and Marjorie McGee: In Tales of Wo-Chi-Ca: Blacks, Whites and Reds at Camp, authors June Levine and Gene Gordon recall these as the names of two McGee children who attended a leftist summer camp in the late 1940s.

Mary Mostert: author interview, September 2004; Mostert, “Death for Association,” The Nation, May 5, 1951; Mostert, “Internet Journalism—the Guerilla Warfare Wing in the Media and Propaganda War,” July 26, 2003,

“Willie McGee…raped my mother”: Sandra Hawkins e-mail to Mary Mostert, July 17, 2004.

Richard Barrett: author e-mail to Mary Mostert, September 13, 2004; see Nationalist Web site:

McGee family: author interview with Tracey McGee, December 2004.

Bridgette and Della: author interviews, February 2005.

brave CRC spokesperson: Willie McGee series, Compass, June 14–19, 1950.

Life story: “The End of Willie McGee,” May 21, 1951, 44–45.

McGee obituary: Mississippi Enterprise, May 19, 1951.

Cleaven Jordan: author interview, May 2005.

Hawkins obit: LLC, March 27, 1967.

Evelyn Smith McDowell: author interview, May 2005.

Hawkins sisters: author interviews, May 2005.


McGee photograph: Time published this picture on May 14, 1951.

lynching figures, 1890 to 1930: see Thompson, Lynchings in Mississippi, for decade-by-decade comparative figures of state and national totals, 35, 98.

Lang and Green lynching: Chicago Defender, November 7, 1942, March 6, 1943; Journal and Guide, October 17, 1942; Clarke County Tribune, October 16, 1942; NYT, October 13, 1942; Atlanta Daily World, October 16, 1942; DW, October 27, 1942.

Madison Jones report: Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom, 14.

Governor Bailey: Thomas Bailey subject files, MDAH.

Hernando executions: NYT, February 12–13, March 17, 1934; LLC, March 16, 1934.

initial arrest: LLC, November 2–3, 1945.

“Willie Magee” arrest: LLC, November 5, 1945.

“Magee” confesses: LLC, November 10, 1945.

trial fast-tracked: Ibid.

Laurel population: Laurel City Directory, 1945–46.

Laurel history: LLC, “Chemurgic Trek Edition,” March 1939; Hodge, “The Lumber Industry in Laurel, Mississippi, at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century,” Journal of Mississippi History; Key, “Laurel, Mississippi: A Historical Perspective” Busbee, Mississippi: A History, Bynum, The Free State of Jones; Payne, The Oak Park Story and Laurel: A History of the Black Community, 1882–1962; Mississippi: The WPA Guide to the Magnolia State, 222–26; Rogers, subject files.

Davis Knight: WaPo, December 19, 1948; Bynum, The Free State of Jones, 1–7.

Pachuta: see McGee’s autobiographical statement in Dixon Pyles’s interview with Daily Worker investigator, 1952, CRC papers.

Jasper McGee: Laurel City Directory, 1922–1923, 1936.

the red line: Payne, LaurelA History of the Black Community, 67.

“Chemurgic City”: LLC, “Chemurgic Trek Edition,” March 1939.

Masonite: subject file, Rogers.

“‘New South’ in the heart of the Piney Woods”: Key, “Laurel, Mississippi: A Historical Perspective,” 25.

Oak Park Vocational High School: Payne, The Oak Park Story, 7–13.

“‘liberal Laurel’”: author interview with Ralph Boston, August 2008.

Sam Bowers: Debra Spencer interview with Sam H. Bowers Jr., October 24, 1983, MDAH.

McGee’s arraignment: LLC, December 3, 1945.

Boyd and Koch: Ibid.; Louis Burnham to George Marshall and Milton Kemnitz, December 26, 1945, CRC papers.

Burkitt Collins: subject file, Rogers.

“strongest charge”: LLC, December 3, 1945.

Ouida Keeton: Lampton, “The Rest of Your Mother,” Journal of the Mississippi State Medical Association, January 2003; Valentine, “Unraveling the Ouida Keeton ‘Legs’ Murder;” trial proceedings, and verdict, Keeton subject file, Rogers.

Eudora Welty: Journal of the Mississippi State Medical Association, January 2003.

Howard Wash arrest and trial: State of Mississippi v. Howard WashMemphis Commercial Appeal, June 29, 1942; LLC, October 17, 1942.

Wash lynching: FBI report, Jackson field office, “Lynching of Howard Wash: Laurel, Mississippi,” November 4, 1942; NYT, October 18, 1942; LLC, October 17, 1942; Memphis Commercial Appeal, October 25, 1942.

Enoc P. Waters: Waters, “Two Lynched Boys Were Ace Scrap Iron Collectors in Mississippi Town,” Chicago Defender, March 6, 1943.

Emergency Committee: DW, October 27, 1942.

Paul Johnson Sr.: Atlanta Daily World, October 16, 1942; LLC, October 17, 22, 1942; JDN, October 20–21, 1942.

Wash investigation and lynching details: FBI report, Jackson field office, “Lynching of Howard Wash: Laurel, Mississippi,” November 4, 1942; LLC, October 17, 19–20, 1942.

federal lynching trial: Memphis Commercial Appeal, October 18, 1942; January 13, April 15, 22, 25, 1943.

first trial: CLJDNLLC, December 6–7, 1945.

“It becomes our painful duty”: State of Mississippi v. Willie McGee, December 1945 Special Term, sanity hearing, 3.

“horse play” and sanity hearing: Ibid., 5–27.

Willette Hawkins: State of Mississippi v. Willie McGee, December 1945 Special Term, direct testimony, 3–11.

first trial, direct testimony: Ibid., 12–84.

first trial verdict: LLC, December 7, 1945.


Forrest Jackson background: subject file, MDAH; author interview with Lucile J. Ross, May 2009.

ran for Senate: Jackson subject file; “Bilbo’s Successor,” Newsweek, November 3, 1947.

Hall on Jackson: Carsie A. Hall to Prentice Thomas, October 15, 1942, NAACP papers.

Willie Carter: Tushnet, Making Civil Rights Law, 59.

folded into the mix: CRC press release, May 22, 1950, Kaufman papers, Smith College; Horne, Communist Front?, 13.

Jackson hired: Louis Burnham to George Marshall and Milton Kemnitz, December 26, 1945, CRC papers.

McGee wanted Wingo: State of Mississippi v. Willie McGee, December 1945 Special Term, 28.

Burnham investigation: George Marshall to Louis Burnham, December 13, 1945; Burnham to Marshall and Milton Kemnitz, December 26, 1945, CRC papers; author interviews with Margaret A. Burnham.

The Neck, K.C. Bottom: author interview with Cleveland Payne, November 2007.

Jackson’s appeal: Forrest Jackson to Jones County Circuit Clerk, December 28, 1945; Jackson telegram, January 3, 1946; LLC, December 28, 1945.

“Bilboism”: see “Demonology,” NYT, September 2, 1935, 16.

Robert Taft: Fleegler, “Theodore G. Bilbo and the Decline of Public Racism, 1938–1947,” Journal of Mississippi History, Spring 2006; CL, April 27, 1946.

“Oust Bilbo” campaign: Horne, Communist Front?, 56; “Unseat Bilbo Campaign Begun by Mississippi Voters,” CRC “action bulletin,” September 16, 1946, NAACP papers.

fat target: Bob and Adrienne Claiborne, “Listen, Mr. Bilbo,” People’s Songs, March 1947; NYT, November 12, 1947; DW, November 11, 1946.

“merchant of hatred”: Lehman, Saturday Evening Post, June 29, 1946.

bright spot: Morgan, Redneck Liberal, 16.

Bilbo as orator: Green, The Man Bilbo, 39.

cola bill: Ibid., 28.

pistol-whipping: Rutledge, Journal of Mississippi History, November 1972, 357–72; NYT, July 7, 1911.

Bilbo background: Green, The Man Bilbo, 9–10; Morgan, Redneck Liberal, 26; author correspondence with Chester M. Morgan.

Mississippi Democrats: Morgan, Redneck Liberal, 5–14.

Bilbo’s rise in Mississippi: Ibid., 37.

2nd term, college consolidation: Ibid., 44–45; Green, The Man Bilbo, 72–77.

New Deal loyalist: Morgan, Redneck Liberal, 70–77.

meaning of “redneck liberal”: Ibid., 47–48.

Bilbo-Hoover feud: NYT, October 20, 25, 1928; JDN, October 20, 1928.

Charley Shepherd: JDN, December 29–31, 1928, January 1, 1929; CL, December 29, 1928, January 1, 1929; Delta Democrat-Times, December 31, 1928.

“investigate 2,000 people”: CLNYT, January 2, 1929.

McGee jailbreak: JDN, February 21, 1946; CL, February 22, 1946.

“Jackson doctors”: CL, January 18, 1946.

Hinds County Courthouse and jail: CL, December 14, 1930.

1944 jailbreak: WaPo, February 28–29, 1944; JDN, February 27–28, 1944.

Gallego and Sorber: CL, September 11, 1954; NYT, September 11, 1954; WaPo, September 15, 1954.

Sherman Street: People’s Voice, January 12, 1946; “Two Minute Justice,” undated press release on McGee and Street, CRC papers; Milton Kemnitz to Abraham Isserman, February 14, 1946, CRC papers; Southern Reporter, Street v. State, 36138, Volume 26, 2nd series, 678–80.

Charlie Holloway: Southern ReporterHolloway v. State, 36075, Volume 24, 2nd series, 857–59.

Street, Holloway executions: Hillegas, “Preliminary List of Mississippi Legal Executions,” 2001; Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 233, frame 0479.

lynching statistics: Thompson, Lynchings in Mississippi; Tuskegee news clippings file, reels 231–34.

lynching motives: Thompson, Lynchings in Mississippi, 34.

Southerners take credit: Black Dispatch, January 26, 1952.

lynching total, 1945: NYT, January 1, 1946.

CRC on Tuskegee: see “Tuskegee Lynch Report Challenged by the Civil Rights Congress,” Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 234, frame 0799.

Alonzo Rush: see Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 233, frame 0594, 1946 totals, ibid., frame 0568.

Attala County massacre: Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 234; CL, December 3, 2006; Mississippi v. Whitt, Attala County Circuit Court, 6293, March 1950; Southern Reporter, Whitt v. State, 37791, Volume 50, 2nd series, 385–87. DW, January 2, 1950; author correspondence with Stokes McMillan.

“‘saved’ from extralegal executioners”: DW, August 4, 1947.

executions for rape: see “Rape Executions in USA, 1800–1964,” Critical Criminology Journal.

“I regret”: Forrest Jackson to Abraham J. Isserman, February 23, 1946, CRC papers.

first appeal: Brief for Appellant, Willie McGee v. State of Mississippi, Mississippi Supreme Court, 36116, March 28, 1946.

first trial reversed: LLC, June 10, 1946; McGee v. State, 36116, June 10, 1946; Southern Reporter, Volume 26, 2nd series, 680–84.

Smith v. Allwright: U.S. Supreme Court, 321 U.S. 649 (1944); Rowan, Dream Makers, Dream Breakers, 124–27.

“floodgates of hell”: Fleegler, Journal of Mississippi History, Spring 2006, 9.

“queen of Greater Liberia”: Ibid., 15.

“Dear Dago”: Bilbo to Vito Marcantonio, July 24, 1945, Marcantonio papers, New York Public Library; NYT, July 13, 24–25, 1945; Green, The Man Bilbo, 102.

Take Your Choice:

“distinctly wooly”: for this passage, Bilbo cited America’s Greatest Problem: The Negro, by R. W. Shufeldt.

Take Your Choice sales: NYT, March 8, 1947.

“Mississippi is white”: Henderson and Shaw, Collier’s, July 6, 1946.

“red-blooded Anglo-Saxon man”: Etoy Fletcher, NYT, June 23, 1946.

Bilbo won: NYT, July 3–4, 1946.

Senate investigates: NYT, July 2, September 7, November 17, 1946.

1946 elections: NYT, November 6, 1946.

black Mississippians in World War II: Thompson, Lynchings in Mississippi, 119.

1,000 Mississippians voted: NYT, July 3, 1946.

1941–1946 lynching statistics: summary report on lynchings between 1913 and 1952, Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 234; SRC clippings file, “Lynchings 1946.”

Isaac Woodard: NAACP press release, July 11, 1946; “Isaac Woodard Case, 1946,” SRC clippings file; NYT, August 19, 1946, November 14, 1947; WaPo, November 6, 1946.

Orson Welles:

Woody Guthrie:

Columbia riot: “Columbia, Tennessee” and “Columbia, Tennessee Riot, 1946,” SRC clippings file; NYT, February 27, March, October 5, 1946; Egerton, Speak Now Against the Day, 366–69.

Georgia lynchings: “Lynching, Monroe, Georgia 1946,” SRC clippings file; Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 233; NYT, July 27, 31, December 20, 1946; Egerton, Speak Now Against the Day, 366–69.

John Jones: “Lynching—Minden, Louisiana, 1946,” SRC clippings file; Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 233; NYT, August 16, October 19, 1946; WaPo,

November 28, 1946; Fairclough, Race & Democracy, 113–18; Egerton, Speak Now Against the Day, 369–70.

Max Yergan: Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 233.

kickbacks: NYT, November 1, 1946.

Bilbo’s cancer: WaPo, September 8, November 23, 1946; New Orleans Times-Picayune, January 5, 1947.

“Un-seat Bilbo”: Horne, Communist Front?, 56; CRC “Action Bulletin,” September 16, 1946, CRC papers.

Dashiell Hammett: WaPo, October 14, 1946.

crossed paths: Lawson, Black Ballots, 105.

Bilbo hearings, Jackson: CL, December 3, 5, 1946; JDN, December 3, 1946; WaPo, December 3, 4, 1946; NYT, December 5, 7, 1946; Lawson, Black Ballots, 105–15; “Hearing of the Special Committee to Investigate Senatorial Campaign Expenditures,” 1946, 79th Congress, 2nd Session, 333–61.

Bilbo hearings, Washington: WaPo, January 3, 5, 1947; NYT, December 7, 1946; JDN, December 29, 1946, January 3–5, 1947.

He left, by car: JDN, January 5, 1947; WaPo, January 6, 1947.

Gerald L. K. Smith: Green, The Man Bilbo, 118.

Bilbo’s death: NYT, August 22, 1947; Black Dispatch, August 30, 1947.


second trial begins: LLC, October 7–9, 1946; CL, October 8, 10, 1946.

stubborn Collins: LLC, October 10, 1946.

“Twenty troopers”: LLC, October 7, 1946.

Dixon Pyles: Pyles interview transcript, Mitford papers, Ohio State; Pyles interviews with Chester M. Morgan, the Mississippi Oral History Program, University of Southern Mississippi, 1983.

Bilbo and labor: Morgan, Redneck Liberal, 76.

…and CIO: NYT, May 10, 1946.

thirty minutes: Pyles interview, Mitford papers; author interviews with Todd Pyles and W. O. Dillard.

Collins steps aside: Pyles interview, 1952, CRC papers.

Stennis changes venue: LLC, October 16, 1946; CL, October 17, 1946.

Spivak and Pyles: Pyles interview, 1952, CRC papers.

Hawkins libel suit: CL, August 2, 1951; Willet [sic] Hawkins v. Freedom of the Press Company, Inc., United States District Court, Southern District, August 1, 1951, National Archives, New York.

“very frightening”: Breland interview, 1952, CRC papers.

McGee’s affair story: Pyles interview, 1952, CRC papers.

Dray and Pyles: Dray, At the Hands of Persons Unknown, 397–405.

“a decent guy”: Bella Abzug interviews, Columbia University.

“theoretical foundation”: Laurent Frantz letter to CRC, September 23, 1946, CRC papers.

racist language: Horne, Communist Front?, 78.

Crafts: SRC clippings file, “Mississippi Mob—Craft Brothers 1946” Horne, Communist Front?, 196; NYT, August 20, 1946.

Truman on Powell: McCullough, Truman, 576.

prepared to shoot: Breland and Poole interviews with Daily Worker investigator, 1952, CRC papers.

Pyles background: author interviews with Todd Pyles and Courtenay Stringer; Dixon Pyles interviews with Chester M. Morgan, the Mississippi Oral History Program, University of Southern Mississippi, 1983; Pyles interview transcript, Mitford papers, Ohio State; McCain, The Story of Jackson, Biographical Sketches, 704; Mississippi: The WPA Guide to the Magnolia State; subject file, MDAH; U.S. Army Certificate of Service, December 31, 1945.

Dewey Swor: CL, September 3, 1948.

Hattiesburg: subject files, MDAH.

the same judge: after stepping aside in Laurel, Burkitt Collins returned to preside over the case in Hattiesburg. See LLC, November 14, 1946.

McGee in Hattiesburg: JDN, October 18, 1946.

“[H]e was crazy”: Breland interview, 1952, CRC papers.

sanity motions: motions, instructions, and partial testimony from the second trial are contained in the records of Mississippi Supreme Court case 36116, McGee v. Mississippi, MDAH.

grand-jury challenge: McGee v. Mississippi, 36116, transcript 3–104.

Scottsboro Boys: see Norris v. Alabama, 294 U.S. 587 (1935); NYT, April 2, 1935.

jury selection: Ibid.

sentencing guidelines: Ibid., motions and instructions, 24.

second trial, direct testimony: State of Mississippi v. Willie McGee, case 36411, summary of testimony, Kaufman papers, Smith College; Hattiesburg AmericanCLJDNLLC, November 12–14, 1946.

Pyles was aggressive: Hattiesburg American, November 12, 1946.

definition of rape: Ibid., motions and instructions, 31.

“she didn’t holler”: Breland interview, 1952, CRC papers.

McGee placed on stand: Ibid.; Hattiesburg American, November 13, 1946.

Bond, Waller, Bessie McGee: State v. McGee summary, Kaufman papers.

“We don’t ask you to turn Willie loose”: JDN, November 14, 1946.

McGee convicted: Hattiesburg American, November 14, 1946.


Sandra Hawkins: Hawkins, “My Mother’s Voice,” unpublished manuscript; author interviews and correspondence with Ann, Sandra, and Dorothy Hawkins.

FBI file: in 1977, the FBI released several hundred pages of headquarters documents, labeled “Willie McGee,” to historian Al-Tony Gilmore.

“next room”: see, for example, the CRC’s “Willie McGee Case Fact Sheet,” March 30, 1948, Kaufman papers, Smith College.

Pyles, McGee affidavits: Pyles interview, 1952, CRC papers; Rosalee McGee affidavit, July 25, 1950; Willie McGee affidavit, February 3, 1951.

Potiphar’s wife: Rowan, South of Freedom, 187.

“Willie McGee was murdered”: DW, May 9, 1951; Hawkins v. Freedom of the Press Company, Inc.

“ludicrously charged with rape”: Abzug profile, Stonewall Veterans’ Association,

“Wilametta Hawkins”: Edwards, Rape, Racism, and the White Women’s Movement, 13.

“Mrs. Willett Hawkins”: Horne, Communist Front?, 78–80.

“despite persuasive evidence”: Mitford, A Fine Old Conflict, 161.

“traveling salesman”: Rowley, Richard Wright, 392.

“ferocious spat”: Dray, At the Hands of Persons Unknown, 399.

“A Question of Race”: Brownmiller, Against Our Will, 239–45.

Emmett Till: Crowe, Getting Away with Murder, 50–69.

“a deliberate insult”: Brownmiller, Against Our Will, 245–48.

“provocative distortion”: Davis, Women, Race & Class, 197.

legal analysis: Zaim, Journal of Mississippi History, Fall 2003, 215–47.

McGee exonerated: Radelet, Bedau, Putnam, In Spite of Innocence, 332–33.

first affair stories: DW, February 25, 1951; Daily People’s World, March 2, 1951; “Fact Sheet On Willie McGee,” Kaufman papers.

“one-day ‘trial’”: DW, December 12, 1945.

“Two Minute Justice”: draft press release, CRC papers.

boilerplate dismissal: DW, May 28, 1950.

divorce papers: Eliza Jane Magee v. Willie Magee [sic], Covington County Chancery Court, Collins, Mississippi.

Leroy Jensen: author interview, September 2006.

Bertha Mae Crowell: author interview, September 2006.

Shubuta lynchings: NYT, December 21, 1918.

1920s Klan: see Chalmers, Hooded Americanism.


McAtee: NYT, July 31, 1946; Lexington Advertiser, August 1, 1946.

Woodard: Chicago Defender, July 20, 1946.

“Negro Made Blind”: NYT, August 18, 1946.

postwar violence: Egerton, Speak Now Against the Day. See “Epidemic of Violence,” 359–75.

Georgia lynching: NYT, July 27, 1946.

John N. Popham: NYT, February 9, 1947; December 14, 1999; Salisbury, Without Fear or Favor, 352–56; author interview with John N. Pophera IV, November 2009.

Costigan-Wagner: NYT, April 10, June 4, December 30, 1934.

1933 lynchings: Thompson, Lynchings in Mississippi, 98.

Princess Anne lynching: NYT, October 19, 1933.

Southern legislators were opposed: see, for example, “‘Lynchings at Vanishing Point,’ Says Dixie Solon; Lauds South,” Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 233, frame 0286.

“gangster amendment”: Colmer papers, University of Southern Mississippi.

Walter White’s appearance: Kahn, “The Frontal Attack,” The New Yorker, September 4, 1948, 28.

lynching investigator: White, A Man Called White, 39–60; Janken, White, 29–55.

meeting with FDR: Cook, Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume Two, 1933–1938, 153–54, 177–81; Janken, White, 209–11; NYT, January 5, June 17, 1934.

Truman, White meeting: NYT, September 20, 1946.

“pale with horror”: “The President Means It,” Walter White, February 12, 1948, David K. Niles papers, Truman Library.

Truman on Woodard: Harry Truman to Thomas C. Clark, September 20, 1946, David K. Niles papers, Truman Library.

“American crusade to end lynching”: Chicago Daily Tribune, September 24, 1946; Duberman, Paul Robeson, 306.

“swelling wave of lynch murders”: Duberman, Paul Robeson, 305.

Truman, Robeson meeting: Chicago Daily Tribune, September 24, 1946; Louisville Courier-Journal, September 29, 1946.

Iron Curtain” speech: NYT, March 6, 1946.

British imperialism: Duberman, Paul Robeson, 304.

Truman appoints committee: NYT, December 6, 1946.

Recy Taylor: Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 233.

Yarbrough rape case: LLC, March 10–12, 1947; Yarbrough v. Mississippi, 1947, Mississippi Supreme Court case files, MDAH. Also see Southern Reporter, Volume 32, 2nd series, 436–40.

Second trial coverage: PM, November 15, 1946.

PM’s origins: NYT, October 18, 1940.

“Just a few lines”: Bessie McGee letters, CRC papers.

“Rosa”: Ibid., July 16, 1947.

second appeal filed: CL, November 16, 1946.

second appeal: McGee v. State, 36411, August 6, 1947.

“sordid and revolting”: McGee v. Mississippi, reply of appellant, September 12, 1947.

Willie Earle lynching: “Willie Earle” subject files, SRC clippings file; Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 233; NYT, May 11, 13–15, 17–18, 21–22, 1947; “Trial By Jury,” Time, May 26, 1947, and “Twelve Men,” Time, June 2, 1947; West, “Opera in Greenville,” The New Yorker, June 14, 1947; Egerton, Speak Now Against the Day, 371–73.

“offenses against decency”: Sumter Daily News, February 18, 1947, SRC clippings file.

“The President may be interested”: David K. Niles to Matt Connelly, February 19, 1947, Truman papers, Truman Library.

Despite the usual complaining: Atlanta Journal, March 7, 1947.

Life: “Lynch Trial Makes Southern History,” Life, June 2, 1947, 27.

“delighted, giggling”: West, “Opera in Greenville,” The New Yorker, June 14, 1947.

“mad dog”: Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 233.

pulled out all the stops: NYT, May 21, 1947.

Earle verdict: Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 233; NYT, May 22, 1947.

1946 elections: “New faces of 1946,” Smithsonian, November 2006.

Lincoln Memorial speech: NYT, June 30, 1947.

To Secure These Rights: NYT, February 3, 1948.

and text of report: NYT, October 30, 1947; President’s Committee on Civil Rights. To Secure These Rights: The Report of the President’s Committee on Civil Rights, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1947,

‘repugnant’: NYT, February 3, 1948.

first Jackson meeting: NYT, February 13, 1948; Hillard, A Biography of Fielding Wright, 86.

Fielding Wright background: Frederickson, The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932–1968; Hilliard, A Biography of Fielding Wright: Mississippi’s Mr. State Rights; subject files, MDAH.

Bailey death: NYT, November 3, 1946.

Trudell, Lewis, Meiers: WaPo, January 2, 1947; NYT, January 5, 1947; JDN, January 4–6, 9–10, 1947.

Clemency denied, Wright praised: CL, January 12, 1947.

execution: Hillegas, “Preliminary List of Mississippi Legal Executions,” 2001.

“He doesn’t get angry”: Memphis Press-Scimitar (reprinted in JDN, August 3, 1947).

Wright inauguration speech: JDN, January 21, 1948.

governors’ meeting: WaPo, February 9, 1948.

Jackson meeting, February: NYT, February 13, 1948.

Jackson meeting, May: CL, May 10–11, 1948.

“If…you have become so deluded”: NYT, May 10, 1948.

Wallace background: Culver and Hyde, American Dreamer.

Wallace dumped: NYT, July 22, 1944; American Dreamer, 353–66.

“The Way to Peace”: “Selected Works of Henry A. Wallace,”; NYT, September 13, 1946.

Byrnes: NYT, September 14, 1946.

“a pacifist one hundred percent”: Culver and Hyde, American Dreamer, 425.

Wallace dismissed: NYT, September 21, 1946.

Progressive Party candidate: Culver and Hyde, American Dreamer, 456–58.


U.S. Supreme Court: NYT, December 9, 1947; Patton v. Mississippi, 332 U.S. 463 (1947).

Patton case: The Meridian Star, February 28, March 1, 1946; Patton v. Mississippi, Mississippi Supreme Court, 36298, 1946; Southern Reporter, Patton v. State, 36298, Volume 29, 2nd series, 96–100.

Mississippi Supreme Court: McGee v. State, 36411, February 9, 1948. See Southern Reporter, Volume 33, 2nd series, 843–49.

as far back as 1880: Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303 (1880); Patton v. Mississippi, 332 U.S. 463 (1947).

McGee reversal and dissent: McGee v. Mississippi, 203 Miss. 592 (1948); Southern Reporter, Volume. 33, 1948, 843–49.

McGee indicted: JDN, February 19, 1948.

black grand jurors: NYT, February 10, 17, 1948; LLC, February 17, 19, 1948; McMillen, Dark Journey, 221–23; Wharton, The Negro in Mississippi, 137.

“considered unusual”: JDN, February 16, 1948.

Pyles quits: Pyles interview, Mitford papers, Ohio State.

“Communist front,” Eisler: HUAC, Report on Civil Rights Congress as a Communist Front Organization, February 15, 1947; NYT, December 12, 1946, February 5, 1947.

Rankin on Communism: Congressional Record, July 18, 1945, 7737.

Abzug’s first Mississippi trip: Abzug interviews, Columbia.

Isserman and Abzug: “Summary of Activities of Abraham J. Isserman in Labor and Civil Rights Matters, 1930–1961,” 14. Papers of Maurice Isserman.

Alvin London: Abzug interview, Columbia; author interview with Ann London Liberman and Mitch Liberman, August 2008.

New York Bar: NYT, May 2, 1948.

“all Oriental and gorgeous”: “What Makes Bella Run?” New York, June 20, 1977.

looked like Shirley MacLaine: Harold Holzer interview in Levine and Thom, Bella Abzug, 77.

Macy’s: Abzug interviews, Columbia.

Abzug background: Ibid.; author interviews with Liz Abzug; Levine and Thom, Bella Abzug; Hunter Bulletin, May 27, 1940; NYT, November 26, 1939.

Hunter College: NYT, November 26, 1939, May 23, 1940.

American Student Union: Abzug interviews, Columbia; NYT, January 5, 1936, January 10, 1941.

issues of the day: Abzug interviews, Columbia; Savitzky, “Armistice Day—and The Last World War,” Hunter Bulletin, November 6, 1940.

ASU contingent: WaPo, February 11, 1940; Hunter Bulletin, February 26, 1940.

“The Yanks Are Not Coming”: Hunter Bulletin, February 26, 1940.

“a campus pink”: New York Post, March 10, 1941.

“pure fabrications”: Hunter Bulletin, March 25, 1941.

Martin Abzug, law school: NYT, September 21, 1970; Abzug interviews, Columbia; Harvard Crimson, May 6, 2003

Cammer: NYT, September 17, 1950, October 25, 1995.

Witt: NYT, August 4, 1948.

Pressman: NYT, August 28–29, 1950.

Abzug on Pressman: Abzug interviews, Columbia.

Abzug on Poole: Ibid.

drinking problem: FBI file, John Poole.

“Jewish woman lawyer”: Abzug interviews, Columbia.

“quite an experience”: London interview, 1952, CRC papers.

Poole background: author interviews with Donna Poole Mills, Beverly D. Poole, Carolyn Poole Ellis, Buddy Evers, and Emmett Owens.

train accident: “Young Johnny Poole Packs Wallop, Will,” undated newspaper clipping, Poole family papers; author interview with Emmett Owens.

“Smiling Johnny”: undated Memphis Commercial Appeal clip, Poole family papers.

Poole at Millsaps: Bobashela (yearbook), 1942–45; Purple and White (newspaper), February 4, 1944; Poole family papers.

House race, 1947: Poole family papers.

“Dad must have sensed the danger”: from “Crossfire,” unpublished manuscript by Donna Poole Mills.

third trial: State of Mississippi v. Willie McGee, MDAH; (See Supreme Court case 36411, McGee v. Mississippi.) LLC, February 26, 28, March 1–6, 8, 1948; JDN, February 27–28, March 4–5, 7–8, 1948; CL, February 28, 1948.

Deavours: Poole interview, 1952, CRC papers.

Swartzfager: author interview with Jon Swartzfager, November 2007.

pretrial testimony: State of Mississippi v. Willie McGee, 16411, 3–501.

direct testimony: State of Mississippi v. Willie McGee, 16411, 502–910.

‘If that is all…’: McGee v. State, 36411, filed August 6, 1947.

Poole and Spivak: Poole interview, 1952, CRC papers.

Poole quits: Ibid.


third trial appeal: John Poole to Abraham Isserman, April 26, 1948, CRC papers.

McGee to Cadden: Willie McGee letters, CRC papers.

“don’t stop working for Willie”: Bessie McGee to Abraham Isserman, June 1948, CRC papers.

CRC reply: Abraham Isserman to Bessie McGee, June 25, 1948.

“come to see me”: Willie McGee letters, August 17, September 29, 1948, CRC papers.

Poole’s libel suit: John Poole to Abraham Isserman, April 26, 1948; John R. Poole v. Mississippi Publishers Corporation. U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi, Jackson Division, 1324, National Archives, Atlanta, Georgia.

“One Defense Cut Off”: JDN, March 10, 1948.

George Marshall: WaPo, April 22, 1948, May 15, 1948.

Smith Act arrests: NYT, July 21–22, 1948.

trial under way: NYT, March 8, 1949.

“The recent indictment”: Commager, “Should We Outlaw the Communist Party?,” NYT, August 22, 1948.

“Reichstag fire”NYT, July 21-22, 1948.

Pollsters blew it: NYT, October 31, 1948.

1948 electoral totals:

May Day: NYT, April 18, 1947.

“distance himself”: Culver and Hyde, Henry Wallace, 464–65.

“in no sense a Communist party”: NYT, August 3, 1948.

“obscene, hideous people”: NYT, April 17, 1948.

Foster on U.S.-Soviet conflict: NYT, May 29, 1948.

“erratic comet”: Macdonald, Henry Wallace: The Man and the Myth, 93.

John Coe: The Worker, February 22, 1948.

Sidney Ordower: author interview with Steven Ordower, March 2005.

Southern swing: Culver and Hyde, American Dreamer, 493–96; NYT, August 30–31, September 1–3, 1948; WaPo, August 28, 30–31, September 3, 1948.

Vicksburg: “Vicksburg Surrenders,” Time, July 9, 1945.

Wallace in Mississippi: JDNVicksburg Evening Post, September 2, 1948; NYTWaPo, September 3, 1948.

William L. Patterson: Patterson, The Man Who Cried Genocide; William L. Patterson papers, Howard University; FBI file, William Patterson.

George Marshall’s imprisonment: DW, June 1, 1950.

“mass indignation”: Patterson, The Man Who Cried Genocide, 7–13.

fanatical father: see “…Life History of Party Functionaries,” Patterson FBI file.

“What the Jew is to Germany”: Patterson FBI file, Chicago field office report, December 12, 1945.

Robeson’s early rise: Duberman, Robeson, 19–109.

Sacco and Vanzetti: Topp, The Sacco and Vanzetti Case, 1–51; Patterson, The Man Who Cried Genocide, 75–90; Felix Frankfurter, “The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti,” The Atlantic, March 1927; NYT, August 18, 23–24, 1927.

Palmer bombing: NYT, June 3, 1919.

Palmer Raids: Ackerman, Young J. Edgar, 6, 113–23, 155–63, 340.

“There was…William Patterson”: Sinclair, Boston, 682–84.

“people’s university”: Patterson, The Man Who Cried Genocide, 90.

the Scottsboro Boys: Carter, ScottsboroNYT and WaPo coverage, 1931–35; Patterson and Conrad, Scottsboro Boy.

arrests and first trials: Carter, Scottsboro, 3–50; NYT, March 26, April 9–10, 1931.

ILD, NAACP: Carter, Scottsboro, 51–103; NYT, June 21, 28–31, July 6, December 28, 30, 1931.

Powell decision: Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45 (1932); NYT, March 25–26, April 10, May 17, June 1, October 11, November 8, 1932.

Patterson, ILD: Carter, Scottsboro; Patterson autobiography, FBI file.

Samuel Leibowitz: Carter, Scottsboro, 181–82; for an example of Leibowitz’s murder cases, see “Frame-Up Charged in Gordon Murder,” NYT, June 19, 1931.

threatens to quit: NYT, April 3, 1933.

lynch rumors: NYT, April 6, 1933.

second Scottsboro trials: Carter, Scottsboro, 192–242; NYT, March 28, April 6–10, 1933.

Ruby Bates recants: NYT, April 7, 1933.

“Jew money from New York”: NYT, April 8, 1933.

Haywood Patterson verdict: NYT, April 10, 1933.

bribery attempt: NYT, October 2, 1934; Carter, Scottsboro, 308-309.

Horton voids conviction: NYT, June 23, 1933.

Patterson’s third trial: NYT, December 2, 1933.

Norris decision: NYT, April 2, 1935; Norris v. Alabama, 294 U.S. 587 (1935).

Scottsboro conclusion: see Patterson and Conrad, Scottsboro Boy, “Timetable of Events in the Scottsboro Case,” 301–309.

Haywood Patterson’s escape: NYT, July 21, 1948.

third Mississippi Supreme Court appeal: McGee v. Mississippi, 36892, January 28, 1949.

…and opinion: McGee v. Mississippi, 36892, April 11, 1949. See Southern Reporter, Volume 40, 2nd series, 160–72.

Poole’s follow-up: “Suggestion of Error,” McGee v. Mississippi, 36892.

stay granted: LLC, June 3, 1949.

execution preparations: Ibid.

Poole and Roberds: London interview, 1952, CRC papers.

Brogan declined to accept: CRC press release, June 3, 1949, Kaufman papers; JDN, June 3, 1949; DW, June 5, 1949.

U.S. Supreme Court appeal: Willie McGee v. State of Mississippi, No. 238, “Petition for Writ of Certiorari,” National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Rosenwein and Silverman: NYT, October 20, 1947, December 15, 1955; Report on the National Lawyers Guild, HUAC, 1950.

Brown v. Mississippi: 297 U.S. 278 (1936); NYT, February 18, 1936.

Screws v. United States: 325 U.S. 91 (1945).

Murphy’s death: NYT, July 20, 1949.

Screws case: 325 U.S. 91 (1945); WaPo, October 8, November 3, 1943, May 10, 1945; Waldrep, The Many Faces of Judge Lynch, 170–72.

Mississippi response: McGee v. Mississippi, No. 238, brief of appellee, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Murray L. Schwartz: “Faculty Obituary: Murray Schwartz,” UCLA School of Law, February 19, 2009; author correspondence with Marshall L. Small.

Supreme Court procedures: Wagman, The Supreme Court: A Citizen’s Guide, 8–9.

Christopher memo: U.S. Supreme Court papers, No. 238, 1949, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Schwartz memo: Clark papers, Tarlton Law Library, University of Texas, Austin.

Smith Act trial: NYT, March 8, 22, April 28, June 1, July 8, 12, October 9, 1949.

Browder, Duclos: NYT, May 25, 1945, March 30, 1947, March 22, 1949.

Peekskill riots: NYT, August 28–29, 1949.

Abzug at Peekskill: author interviews with Liz Abzug.

Supreme Court declines: CL, October 11, 1949.

Smith Act verdictNYT, October 15, 1949.

new death date: DW, June 13, 1950; Kaufman case timeline, Kaufman papers, Smith College.


London’s complaint: London interview, 1952, CRC papers.

Poole’s libel suit: John R. Poole v. Mississippi Publishers Corporation, Southern District of Mississippi, National Archives, Atlanta, Georgia; Dixon Pyles interview transcript, Mitford papers, Ohio State University; Southern Reporter, Volume. 44, 2nd series, 467–77.

“intimidate me”: NYT, May 3, 1955.

“Rosie Lee Gilmore McGee”: JDN, June 7, 1950.

“She is a Negro woman”: “This is the story that Detroit papers were afraid to touch,” by William Allan. Undated clipping, Mitford papers, Ohio State.

Saffold family: U.S. Census report, Carroll County, Mississippi, April 17, 1930.

Bertha Mae Crowell: author interviews, December 2007.

“I am the wife of Willie McGee”: Rosalee McGee letters, CRC papers.

“many other crimes”: Ibid.

“the jailer got angery”: Ibid.

“Lawyer Poole”: Ibid.

“Willie is almost crazy”: Ibid., October 13, 1949.

Patterson letters: Ibid., October 11, 1949.

press release: “A Wife Pleads to Nation for Innocent Husband: ‘Please Don’t Let Willie McGee Die!’” October 31, 1949, Kaufman papers.

Compass series: Compass, June 14–19, 1950.

Marvin Murray: Compass, June 16, 1950.

Murray execution: Jackson Advocate, July 3, 1948.

informational swap meet: author interviews with Tracey McGee, Donna Poole Mills, Liz Abzug, Bridgette McGee Robinson, and Della McGee, July 2007.

Jim Crow spokespeople: Bessie McGee letter to Abraham Isserman, June 1948, CRC papers, and DW, June 18, 1950; Carter, Scottsboro, 244–45; Daily Worker, February 6, 1951; Haywood Patterson subject files, Michigan CRC papers, Wayne State University.

Dixon Pyles, Rose McGee: interview transcripts, Mitford papers, Ohio State University.

Lottie Gordon: Rosalee McGee letters, February 23, 1950, CRC papers.

“how meny children”: Ibid., March 21, 1950.

Christmas card: box 10, frames 0456–57, CRC papers.

“i work so hard”: Ibid., April 4, 1950.

Kinderland: Gordon letters to Rosalee McGee and S. Davidovitch, CRC papers.

Rosalee speeches, travel: DW, May 18, 22, 24, June 18, 1950; NYT, June 18, 29, 1950; Jackson Advocate, July 15, 1950; Compass, July 28, 1950.

“bad company”: LLC, July 19, 1950.

Katharine Carr Esters: author interview, November 2007; Esters, Jay Bird Creek and My Recollections.

Boys & Girls Club: see “Small Town, Big Dream,”


McCarthy: Matusow, Joseph R. McCarthy, 19–26; Oshinsky, A Conspiracy So Immense, 103–14; NYT, February 12, 21, 1950.

China, Germany, A-Bomb: Donovan, Tumultuous Years, 51, 84, 98–101; NYT, September 24, October 2, 8, 24, 1949.

Hiss: NYT, January 22, 1950.

Fuchs: Roberts, The Brother, 195; NYT, February 4, 1950.

Greenglass, Rosenbergs: Roberts, The Brother, 244–45, 269, 271; NYT, June 17, July 18, August 12, 1950.

Emanuel H. Bloch: NYT, July 18, 1950.

North Korea: NYT, June 25, 1950.

CRC’s McGee crusade: JDN, July 17, 19, 23, 1950; LLC, July 18, 1950.

Sullens: Skates, A Southern Editor Views the National Scene; “Punch Lines by Sullens,” Collier’s, September 13, 1947; McCain, The Story of Jackson, volume 2, 12–15; JDN, December 24, 1950; November 20–21, 1957.

pugnacious Sullens: “Southern Scorcher,” Time, January 18, 1943.

“Chimneyville”: McCain, The Story of Jackson, volume 1, 196–202.

Johnson, Sullens fight: JDN, May 3, 1940; CL, May 3, 1940; Johnston, Politics: Mississippi Style, 18–21, 46, 55; “Pizen Slinger,” Time, May 13, 1940; “Punch Lines by Sullens,” Collier’s, September 13, 1947; WaPo, May 3, 1940; author interview with Paul B. Johnson III.

Sullens and Bilbo: Green, The Man Bilbo, 52; Morgan, Redneck Liberal, 228–29; Skates, A Southern Editor Views the National Scene, 239–40; CL, June 26, 1931.

“Remember her”: JDN, November 3, 1928.

“write and wire”: CRC press release, October 22, 1949, Kaufman papers.

15,000 people: Compass, July 29, 1950.

mysterious CRC activity: LLC, July 18, 1950.

Ella Fitzgerald: “M.I.S.S.I.S.S.I.P.P.I.,” Music Business, July 1950.

Compass series: June 14–19, 1950.

the Compass…had a place: NYT, May 2–3, 17, 1949; June 1, 1949. (The Compass debuted in May 1949 and ceased publication in November 1952, NYT, November 4, 1952.)

“beginning to boil”: William Patterson letters to Jack Raskin, July 12, 1950, Michigan CRC files, Wayne State University.

R. H. Harris: JDN, July 19, 1950.

“Communists Coming Here”: JDN, July 19, 1950.

“explosive case”: Abzug interviews, Columbia.

Patterson on Abzug: William Patterson letter to Jessica Mitford, May 29, 1975, Mitford Collection, Ohio State University.

error coram nobis: NYT, August 20, 1927, January 5, 1954, May 20, 1955, January 26, 1979, March 16, 1986; WaPo, October 23, 1983; Zaim, The Journal of Mississippi History, Fall 2003, 238.

McGee’s petition: Mississippi v. Willie McGee, Petition for Writ of Error Coram Nobis, No. 1268, July 21, 1950.

tea leaves: LLC, July 21, 1950.

Swartzfager’s reply: Mississippi v. Willie McGee, State’s Answer, July 22, 1950.

Poole in Laurel: Poole, Bloch, Abzug affidavits, July 1950, MDAH.

coram nobis dismissal: LLC, July 22, 1950; Collins, Mississippi v. Willie McGee, July 22, 1950.

B. Frank Carter: Affidavit, Hinds County Circuit Court, July 24, 1950.

Poole disbarment: LLC, July 22, 1950; DW, July 24, 1950.

Jackson in the 1950s: Memphis Commercial Appeal, January 19, 1953; Jackson City Directory, 1952–53; Beautiful Jackson: In Pictures; author correspondence with Jerry Dallas.

“a new industrial empire”: Memphis Commercial Appeal, January 19, 1953.

Jackson businesses: Jackson City Directory, 1950; Dallas, “Capitol Street, Jackson, Mississippi—Then and Now,”

new and old capitols: Oxford Eagle, February 16, 1950; Mississippi: The WPA Guide to the Magnolia State, 214–15, 217–18.

Jackson office buildings: CL, JDN, September 7, 1986; JDN, May 14, 1953; CL, April 6, 1956, February 5, 1986; Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings, 82–83.

…and hotels: Eastland papers, Ole Miss; McCain, The Story of Jackson, volume 2, 60; subject files, MDAH.

Farish Street: Mississippi: The WPA Guide to the Magnolia State, 221; James Rundles interview.

Greene on CRC: Jackson Advocate, July 22, 1950.

police, American Legion: JDN, July 19, 22, 1950.

“lies and propaganda”: LLC, July 20, 1950.

Klan, Spinks: JDN, July 17, 1950; NYT, August 7, 1947, March 26, 1950.

FBI reports: FBI file, “Willie McGee.”

manageably sized group: CL, July 20, 23, 1950.

black CRC members: FBI file, “Willie McGee.”

Gene Weltfish: Gacs, Women Anthropologists, 372–77; NYT, December 22, 1942, August 5, 1980.

Franz Boas: NYT, December 22, 1942; Stocking, The Shaping of American Anthropology, 307–16.

The Races of Mankind: Benedict, Race, Science and Politics, 167–69, 182–83; Price, Threatening Anthropology, 113–15; WaPo, April 28, March 9, 1944; NYT, March 6, 1944.

Stoll and Ordower: author interviews with Anne Stoll (September 2004) and Steven Ordower (March 2005).

germ warfare: NYT, September 26, 1952; Time, “Brother, You Don’t Resign,” October 6, 1952.

Weltfish and Columbia: NYT, September 26, 1952, April 1, 1953.

Winifred Feise: CL, July 21, 1950; author interview with Winifred Feise, October 2006; NYT, April 6, 8, 1956.

Johnson, Dombrowski: NYT, October 6, 1932, January 10, 1949; Egerton, Speak Now Against the Day, 299–301.

“two men and two women”: LLC, July 14, 1950; CL, July 21, 1950.

“It was not a rape.”: author interview with Winifred Feise.

train station: subject file, MDAH Historic Preservation Division.

clemency delegation: FBI file, “Willie McGee” JDN, July 25, 1950; Compass, July 26, 1950.

McGehee ruling: LLC, July 25, 1950; JDN, July 26, 1950.

Harry Raymond: JDN, July 25, 1950; NYT, March 8, 25, 1930; April 22, August 26, 1930.

Harold J. Lightcap: See “Tribute to a Workingclass Journalist,” eulogy for Harry Raymond by Simon W. Gerson, Gerson papers, Tamiment Library, NYU.

Rose Lightcap: NYT, August 11, October 25, 1950.

seating arrangements, legionnaires: Compass, July 26, 1950.

clemency hearing: JDN, July 25, 1950; CompassDWNYT, July 26, 1950; FBI file, “Willie McGee.”

“aged Jacksonian”: JDN, July 26, 1950.

violence stories: NYT, July 27, 1950; JDN, July 26, 1950; DW, July 27–28, 1950; FBI file, “Willie McGee.”

train station attack: Compass, July 27, 1950.

Fifth Circuit: NYT, July 26, 1950.

airport violence: JDN, July 26, 1950.

Grossman’s demands: FBI file, “Willie McGee.”

Burton stay: Burton papers, LOC; Compass, July 27, 1950; U.S. Supreme Court telegram, July 26, 1950.

Rosalee learns of stay: JDN, July 26, 1950; FBI file, “Willie McGee.”

Jackson aftermath: CL, July 27, 1950; JDN, July 27, 1950; FBI file, “Willie McGee.”

“this writer”: FBI file, “Willie McGee.”

Klan gunfight: Ibid.; JDN, July 27, 1950.


“They are all hot”: Willie McGee letters, CRC papers.

Laurel reaction: LLCJDN, July 27, 1950.

“nastiest group”: LLC, August 9, 1950.

letters to Wright: Willie McGee case correspondence, MDAH.

letters to McGehee: JDN, August 11, 1950.

letters to Burton: Burton papers, LOC.

“fomenting discord”: Colmer remarks on the floor of the U.S. House, July 31, 1950, Colmer papers, University of Southern Mississippi.

Martinsville stay: DW, July 27, 1950.

Daily Worker editorial: DW, July 28, 1950.

Thackrey editorial: Compass, July 27, 1950.

Supreme Court rosters: Urofsky, Division and Discord: The Supreme Court under Stone and Vinson, 1941–1953.

Raberthe Hanks: Hanks letter to Aubrey Grossman, March 8, 1952, Danny Grossman papers.

“I can’t even visit Willie”: Rosalee McGee letters, CRC papers.

Rosalee’s work problems: Ibid.

death of sister: Ibid., October 2, 1950.

Percy Greene: Ibid., October 24, 1950.

Gracie Lee: Ibid., October 7, 1950.

wish list: Rosalee McGee letters, December 29, 1950, CRC papers.

“pajama suit”: Willie McGee letters, November 21, December 26, 1950, CRC papers.

Poole disbarment: LLC, July 22, 1950; DW, July 24, 1950.

libel case: Poole interview, 1952, CRC papers; JDNCL, June 30, 1950.

Poole withdraws: JDN, August 16, 1950.

Easterling response: Undated clip, Kaufman papers, Smith College.

contempt of Congress: Goodman, The Committee, 179–81.

Patterson, Lanham. Compass, August 6, 1950; NYT, August 6, 1950, April 10, 1951; “Gentleman from Georgia,” Time, August 14, 1950.

contempt charges: NYT, August 27, 1950.

Rosa Lee Ingram: Horne, Communist Front?, 205–6; Patterson, We Charge Genocide, 99.

one hint: FBI file, “Willie McGee.”

Rosalee’s affair story: Rosalee McGee affidavit, July 25, 1950.

appeal filed: Abzug letter to J. P. Coleman, November 24, 1950; NYT, November 23, 1950.

“without proof so far”: CL, November 26, 1950.

Louis Lautier: Atlanta World, November 29, 1950.

Schwartz: MLS memo, 254 Misc., 1950, Reed papers, University of Kentucky.

Burnett: JGB memo, January 11, 1951, Douglas papers, LOC.

Supreme Court declines: NYT, January 16, 1951.

“No More Interference”: JDN, January 17, 1951.

Worker reaction: DW, January 17, 1951.

“My hart is hurt”: Bessie McGee letters, CRC papers.

“I was dead broke”: Rosalee McGee letters, CRC papers.

confusion and hurt feelings: see “The Patterson-Wilkins Correspondence,” NAACP press release, November 23, 1949, and William Patterson to Thurgood Marshall, June 15, 1950, NAACP papers.

mistrust his intentions: Chicago field report on William Patterson, November 4, 1947; FBI file, “William Patterson,” 7–52, 128–30.

Martinsville: Rise, The Martinsville Seven; Patterson, The Man Who Cried Genocide, 156–68; “The Martinsville Seven Case,” unpublished report by Robert Harris for Len Holt, August 21, 1964, Patterson papers, Howard University; Daily Worker coverage; Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 234; SRC clippings file, “Martinsville, VA, Rape Case 1949–1951.”

“cannot…be associated”: Atlanta Daily World, June 18, 1949; Rise, The Martinsville Seven, 63–65.

“guilt or innocence”The Nation, March 3, 1951, 212.

“alleged victim”: Patterson, The Man Who Cried Genocide, 161.

Battle grants stay: NYT, November 11, 1950.

Vinson and Burton: NYT, February 2, 5, 6, 1951.

“mass pilgrimage”…“vigil”: DW, January 29, 1951.

executions: NYT, February 3, 6, 1951; DW, February 5, 1951.

“funeral pyre”: DW, February 7, 1951.

“Communist calliope”: Time, February 12, 1951.

“Martinsville Chant”: William Patterson papers, Howard University.

“unconcern”: Moon, “The Martinsville Rape Case,” The New Leader, February 12, 1951.

McGee’s affair stories: See Dixon Pyles interview with Daily Worker investigator, 1952, CRC papers, and Willie McGee affidavit, February 3, 1951, Hinds County Chancery Clerk’s Office, Jackson, Mississippi, CRC papers.


new execution date: LLC, February 5, 1951.

affair story revealed: DW, February 25, 1951; Daily People’s World, March 2, 1951; “Fact Sheet On Willie McGee,” Kaufman papers, Smith College.

habeas corpus plea, denial: “Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus,” McGee v. Jones and Brogan, March 5, 1951; CL, March 6, 1951.

new flourishes: Raymond, Save Willie McGee, February 1951.

second alibi: Hettie Johnson affidavit, March 4, 1951, MDAH.

stay appeal: NYT, March 16, 1951; CL, March 6, 1957.

“Mississippi”: Mitford, A Fine Old Conflict, 160–94.

White Women’s Delegation: Ibid. 160–65.

her memoir of her fifteen years: Ibid. 62–64, 279.

Faulkner visit: Ibid., 181–183; Daily People’s World, April 13, 1951.

Rowan Oak: Blotner, Faulkner, 258–63; author visit.

Faulkner press release: LLC, March 28, 1951.

“an outrage”: delayed Daily People’s World clip, datelined March 20, 1951, Mitford papers, Ohio State University.

Faulkner retreats: JDN, March 26, 1951; Boston Guardian, March 31, 1951; Meriwether, Essays, Speeches & Public Letters by William Faulkner, 211–12; Blotner, Faulkner, 539.

“fictitious imaginations”: LLC, March 28, 1951.

“Those people, all women”: William Faulkner to Robert M. Bridgeforth, March 30, 1951, MDAH.

Faulkner had a knack: Williamson, William Faulkner and Southern History, 300–6.

“Gothic fascist”: Blotner, Faulkner, 411.

“I’d fight for Mississippi”: NYT, March 15, 1956; United Press, March 16, 1956; The Reporter, March 22, 1956.

Patton: “Trouble Now Over at Oxford,” unlabeled clip from MDAH subject file, “Lynching to 1925” JDN, September 8, 9, 1908; NYT, September 9, 1908.

Higginbotham: NYT, September 19, 1935; CL, September 19, 1935.

“Dry September”: Faulkner, Collected Stories of William Faulkner.

W. H. James, Faulkner: Memphis Commercial Appeal, February 2, 15, 1931.

Intruder: Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust, 1948; Blotner, Faulkner, 490–91, 500–3, 508–10.

Wilson review: “William Faulkner’s Reply to the Civil-Rights Program,” The New Yorker, October 23, 1948, 120–28.

MGM: NYT, July 18, 1948.

Oxford, Intruder: Carter, “No Phony Magnolias,” WaPo, May 1, 1949; undated Oxford Eagle profile of Juano Hernandez, Faulkner papers, University of Mississippi; NYT, April 10, 1949; Oxford Eagle, October 6, 1949; Memphis Press-Scimitar, October 12, 1949, Faulkner papers.

Mitford in Oakland: A Fine Old Conflict, 98–138, 160–63.

three other CRC delegates: Daily People’s World, April 13, 1951. (In A Fine Old Conflict, Mitford changed the names of several characters: Wachter and Hopson were called “Rita Baxter” and “the Youth Comrade.”)

Mitford background: Lovell, The Sisters; Mitford, Jessica, A Fine Old Conflict and Daughters and Rebels; Mitford, Nancy, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate; Pryce-Jones, Unity Mitford: An Enquiry Into Her Life and the Frivolity of Evil; FBI file, “Jessica Mitford”’ author correspondence with Constancia Romilly, Lester Brody, and Peter Y. Sussmon.

Hitler meets Unity: DeCourcy, Diana Mosley, 143–45.

“perfect Nordic beauty”: NYT, October 21, 1939.

Diana, Mosley wedding: DeCourcy, Diana Mosley, 173–75.

arrested and released: WaPo, November 18, 1943, June 30, 1948.

“mysteriously ill”: NYT, January 3–4, 1940.

put a pistol to her head: DeCourcy, Diana Mosley, 205.

Inch Kenneth: NYT, February 31, 1940, May 31, 1948; DeCourcy, Diana Mosley, 295–96.

Jessica, Esmond: Lovell, The Sisters; 177–79, 217–40.

Spanish Civil War: NYT, December 27, 1936.

“The story…made headlines”: Lovell, The Sisters, 230.

“Threats of imprisonment”: NYT, May 19, 1937.

They moved to America: Mitford, A Fine Old Conflict, 18–22.

Washington Post articles: the Post series began on January 28, 1940, and ran periodically over the next few months.

Romilly’s death: WaPo, December 4, 1941; NYT, December 5, 1941; Mitford, A Fine Old Conflict, 22.

employee evaluation: Mitford FBI file, April 8, 1943, memo.

“boring and oppressive”: A Fine Old Conflict, 30.

joins Communist Party: Ibid. 62–64.

Mitford in Needles: Daily People’s World, March 12, 1951.

…in St. Louis: Mitford, A Fine Old Conflict, 172; Tuskegee news clippings file, reel 234, frame 0650.

second group: DW, March 28, April 17, 1951.

“story of sick horror”: Daily People’s World, March 12, 1951.

Mitford in Jackson: A Fine Old Conflict, 172–81.

“bare-legged Chicago women”: JDN, March 17, 1951.

Mayor Thompson: JDN, March 16, 1951.

careful tally: delayed Daily People’s World clips, datelined March 18 and 19, 1951, Mitford papers, Ohio State University.

skeptical teacher: Daily People’s World, March 19, 1951.

MacGillivray: YWCA subject file, MDAH; author interview with Simmie Roberts.

Hudgins: Daily People’s World, March 19, 1951.

CRC chapter activity: much of the FBI file on Willie McGee consists of field reports about McGee-related meetings held by CRC chapters around the U.S.

Washington vigil, Rosalee travels: Daily People’s World, February 26, 1951; Rosalee’s activities in the spring of 1951 are described in the Willie McGee FBI file, press releases in the CRC papers, and in various newspaper stories in the Jessica Mitford papers.

stay arguments: “Petition for Stay of Execution,” McGee v. Mississippi, March 15, 1951, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

“very bad practice”: JDN, March 15, 1951; NYT, March 16, 1951.

letters to Black: Black papers, LOC.

campus controversy: Ibid.; Michigan Daily, March and April 1951.

Black orders stay: NYT, March 16, 1951.

“Justice Again Ravished”: JDN, March 18, 1951.

Supreme Court hears arguments: NYT, March 21, 1951.

Burnett: William O. Douglas papers, case 417, 1950, March 23, 1951.

Schwartz: Ibid.

McGee denied: NYT, March 27, 1951.


W. O. Chet Dillard: correspondence and author interview, November 2007; Dillard, Clearburning, 35–65.

civil rights suit: CL, May 6, 1951.

Coe drops out: Coe to Abzug, April 25, 1951, Coe papers, Emory University.

Abzug on arrests: Abzug interviews, Columbia.

clemency hearing: CL, May 5, 1951; LLC, May 5, 1951.

“Rightly or wrongly”: Abzug and Coe, pardon petition to Fielding Wright, May 5, 1951, Toler papers, Mississippi State University.

“bestial hands”: Carroll Gartin statement to Fielding Wright, May 5, 1951, Toler papers, Mississippi State University.

no clemency: CL, May 8, 1951.

mass arrests: NYTJDN, May 6, 1951; DW, May 7, 1951; Ken Toler memo to Life, Toler papers, Mississippi State University; Abzug interviews, Columbia; Honey, Black Workers Remember, 203–6.

Lincoln Memorial, White House: CLDW, May 7, 1951; Randall, “Democracy’s Passion Play: The Lincoln Memorial, Politics, and History as Myth,” 249–50; People’s Daily World, May 7, 1951.

aborted Laurel trip: CLJDN, May 6, 1951.

May letters: Willie McGee letters, CRC papers.

McGee talks to reporters: CL, May 8, 1951.

McGee statement, lawsuit: JDN, May 8, 1951; “Note to Editors and Organizations,” CRC press release, May 14, 1951, NAACP papers; London interview with Spivak, 1952, CRC papers.

Mize says no: CL, May 8, 1951.

“McGee was visibly nervous”: Ibid.

Deavours, Tabor: author interviews, November 2007.

electric chair: subject files, MDAH.

Willie Mae Bragg: CL, October 13, 1940.

Bill Minor: author interview, May 2005.

crowd description: author interviews with Bill Minor, “Warren Tabor,” and Wayne Valentine Jr.

“he paid too much”: Rowan, South of Freedom, 191.

Max Lerner: New York Post, May 8, 1951.

“Let me sign this thing!”: Daily People’s World, March 13, 1951.

Oppenheim: Ibid., March 16, 1951.

Harvey Bellet: NYT, April 1, 1951.

Abyssinian Baptist Church: Harlem CRC pamphlet, MDAH.

“Negro white unity”: Anne Shore letter to William Patterson, March 13, 1951, Michigan CRC papers, Wayne State University.

Chicago march: Chicago Defender, April 28, 1951; author interview with John Polk Allen, September 2004.

Barkley: Daily People’s World, May 1, 1951.

Walter White urged chapter members: Walter White memo to “NAACP Branches, Youth Councils and College Chapters,” March 7, 1951, NAACP papers.

somebody else’s news: See “McGee and the Martinsville 7,” Chicago Defender, May 19, 1951.

Freedom extra: Willie McGee clippings, 1948–51, Michigan CRC papers, Wayne State University.

Diego Rivera: undated clipping, Mitford papers, Ohio State University.

Shostakovich: JDN, April 21, 1951.

London theater demonstration: Undated Daily People’s World clip, Mitford papers, Ohio State University.

Lumpkin: JDN, April 30, 1951.

Truman letters: Truman papers, Truman Library; “Text of Open Letter to the President,” May 2, 1951, NAACP papers.

front-page news in France: “French Legislators Mourned McGee,” undated CRC press release, NAACP papers.

Paris protests: DW, May 8, 1951.

China, Soviet Union: LLC, April 9, 1951; “Execution of M’Gee Blasted by Moscow,” Toler papers, Mississippi State University.

Fifth Circuit appeal: New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 8, 1951.

appeal to Truman: McGee petition, May 7, 1951, Coe papers, Emory University.

Troy Hawkins arrival: CL, May 8, 1951.

Ernest Goodman: “Counsel for the Common People,” videotaped interview with Ernest Goodman, 1995, produced by William Bryce, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University.

final appeals: NYTNew Orleans Times-Picayune, May 8, 1951.

crowd shot: Life, May 21, 1951, 44–45.

decoy: author interview with Wayne Valentine Jr., November 2007.

McGee execution: CLJDN, LLCNew Orleans Times-PicayuneNYT, May 8, 1951.

broadcast: “Willie McGee Execution,” Jim Leeson audio recording, May 7–8, 1950, University of Southern Mississippi oral history collections.

“blood-curdling cries”: Abzug interviews, Columbia University; Goodman interview, Wayne State University.

Robeson, Sullens: unidentified newspaper story in Mitford papers, datelined May 1951; JDN, “The Low Down on the Higher Ups,” May 8, 1951.

Josephine Baker: Pittsburgh Courier, May 12, 1951; “Josephine Baker Homage to McGee,” undated CRC press release, NAACP papers.

looked thoroughly defeated: Life, May 21, 1951, 44–45.

McGee’s last letter: Hall papers, New York State Library.


Gus DeLoach: author interview, November 2007.

Jon Swartzfager: author interview, November 2007.

Swartzfager: Luke Lampton interview with Paul Swartzfager.

federal courts: Zaim, Journal of Mississippi History, Fall 2003, 216.

Patterson imprisoned: NYT, June 29, November 20, 1954; January 28, 1955.

“never forget”: William Patterson letter to MaryLouise Patterson, July 17, 1954, William Patterson papers, Howard University.

CRC folds: NYT, January 8, 1956.

“Secret Speech”: NYT, June 5, 1956.

Fast and Mitford: A Fine Old Conflict, 255–80; NYT, February 1, 1957.

Patterson on A Fine Old Conflict: Mitford to Patterson, August 9, 1977, Mitford papers, Ohio State University; Patterson to Mitford, September 9, 1977, Patterson papers, Howard University.

McGee case summarized: We Charge Genocide, 77.

CRC cried “frame-up”: Michigan CRC files on Haywood Patterson, Wayne State University.

U.N. petition: Patterson, The Man Who Cried Genocide, 169–208; Patterson, ed., We Charge Genocide: The Historic Petition to the United Nations for Relief from a Crime of the United States Government Against the Negro People, 3, 109, 116; NYT, November 21, 1951.

Paris speech: Patterson papers, Howard University.

Channing Tobias: Patterson, The Man Who Cried Genocide, 184–89; NYT, November 5, 1951, November 6, 1961.

CRC “swindle”: Pittsburgh Courier, May 19, 1951.

Baker, McGee: “Mrs. Rosalie McGee” affidavit, Parish of Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana, May 17, 1951, CRC papers.

“I no it did good”: Rosalee Safford to CRC, July 14, 1951, CRC papers.

Rosalee claims harassment: Norfolk Journal and Guide, May 10, 1952.

Prisoners Relief Department: Reports of the Subversive Activities Control Board, Volume 1, 1966, 647.

1955 hearing: DW, April 21, 1955.

Jesse James Harris: author interview, September 2008.

Hawkins libel suit: CL, August 2, 1951; Hawkins v. Freedom of the Press Company, Inc., National Archives, New York.

Grayson L. Tucker: Spivak interview, 1952, CRC papers.

CRC activists: the Detroit CRC branch was especially active in looking for new witnesses. See Anne Shore letter to Bella Abzug, March 20, 1951, Michigan CRC papers, Wayne State University.

procedural back-and-forth: Hawkins v. Freedom of the Press Company, Inc., National Archives, New York.

libel settlement: NYT, May 6, 1955.

She traveled to New York: author interviews with Ann, Sandra, and Dorothy Hawkins.

Abzug on Poole and London: Luke Lampton interview with Bella Abzug.

Abzug and Coe letters: June 13, 20, 1951, Coe papers, Emory University.

Poole libel case: Dixon Pyles interview transcript, Mitford papers, Ohio State University.

Poole’s practice collapsed: Chancery Court, Hinds County, Mississippi, “Petition for Disbarment of John Poole,” 1954.

Poole disbarred: Ibid.; CL, May 5, 1954.

chess champion: Poole family papers.

suicide: CL, November 14, 1980.