Thursday, May 15, 2008

45 years to deliver a letter



In 1963, William L Moore wrote a letter to Mississippi Gov.Ross Barnett opposing segregation
and planned to walk his message from Chattanooga, Tn to Jackson, Ms, on April 23, 1963 he was shot in the head twice and killed. Several attempts to deliver this letter has resulted in nearly 700 people being arrested and beaten, some prisoned and fed crushed glass in their food and hit with electric cattle prods... the letter never made it to it's destination.
On April 23, 2008 Ellen Johnson and myself walked the original letter ( given to us by Bill's widow) from Attalla, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi, 320 miles in order to bring recognition to William Moore and all the Freedom walkers of 1963.

I would like to thank the very nice people and Police in Alabama and Mississippi, your concern for our safety was greatly appreciated. We have come a long way since 1963.

4 comments:

me said...

This blog made me cry! How can I get a copy of his letter. This should be taught in schools! I want my children to know about William L. Moore and his letter. How can I get a copy of his letter? I would like to show it to my sons and keep it for my grandchildren!

Rich Rodriguez said...

Here is the letter's contents:

Dear Governor Barnett:

I have always had a warm place in my heart for Mississippi, the land of my childhood and my ancestors. I dislike the reputation this state has acquired as being the most backward and most bigoted in the land. Those who truly love Mississippi must work to change this image.
Frankly, I do not know which is worse - to be raised to believe that one should be happy to live in poverty and die twice as fast as the white man and to be told to reject the ideas of those who tell you democracy means the right to vote whatever the color of one’s skin; or is it worse to be raised as members of a sort of ‘master race’ which fights a losing battle to preserve injustice with barbaric laws and police state methods.
The British were wise in that they dissolved their empire before they were forced to do so. Consequently, the governments of countries such as India and Nigeria are stable and friendly and democratic. The French, on the other hand, held onto their empire as long as they could. Thus the bitter strife in Laos, Vietnam, Algeria.
The end of Mississippi colonialism is fast approaching. The only question is whether you will help it to end in a friendship like the British, or try to hold onto what is already lost, creating bitterness and hatred, as did the French. For our sake, as well as the Negro’s, I hope you will decide to try the British way.
The white man cannot be truly free himself until all men have their rights. Each is dependent upon the other. Do not go down in infamy as one who fought democracy for all, which you have not the power to prevent.
Be gracious. Give more than is immediately demanded of you. Make certain that when the Negro gets his rights and his vote that he does not in the process learn to treat the white man with the contempt and disdain that, unfortunately, some of us now treat him.

Sincerely,

William L. Moore

Michael said...

What a great video. I can't believe the governor didn't see you, even from the cynical-PR-perspective a terrible move.

Did you get mainstream media coverage?

Ken Loukinen said...

Hello, Thank you for you kind words. We were handing out copies of bills letter along the way and I still have a few copies. I would be glad to send you one. Just send me a self addressed stamped envelope to Atheists of Broward County, PO Box 246743, Pembroke Pines, Fl 33024. Be sure to remind me that you want a Bill Moore letter
This is an exact copy of Bill Moore's letter to Gov. Barnett and the other side has a letter to JFK. The original is exactly the same.
KenL

Michael...We did make the front page of the Gadsden Times on day one and the Jackson ABC affiliate made us their lead story. I will soon repost the video on current.com as a "vc2" upload...if you would please vote for it it can be aired on Current TV I will be posting it on Monday June 30...please pass the word. Thanks