John Kasper, The Intruder: Part 3, Afterwards

[Part 1 ; Part 2]

Kasper spent a lot of 1957 in court. When he was out on bail or appeal, Kasper would travel and give speeches at segregationist events. On March 22, for instance, he spent the night in a Knoxville jail and appeared in court the next day. Two locals posted bond and Kasper promised the Court to not create any more “inconveniences”. Then two followers drove him and Admiral Crommelin to Clinton, where they spoke to a crowd. “Crommelin opened up on the jews,” Kasper wrote Pound, “The crowd went wild. Last Aug. when I first went to Clinton they didn’t know what a kike was. I’m very proud of that educational feat.” [Marsh, pp. 189-191]

Kasper might testify in his own defense and deliver long lectures to the judge and/or jury. Many of Ezra Pound’s words came out of his mouth, “local control of local issues” for instance. He might include a plea to release Pound. And he would quote John Quincy Adams or Louis Agassiz or Thomas Hart Benton. Admiral Crommelin appeared as character witness from time to time. At one trial he said that, someday, a statue of Kasper would stand in the courthouse square. Kasper had a number of different lawyers. On one occasion he was defended by Ross Barnett, who would become Governor of Mississippi in 1960 and try to keep James Meredith from enrolling at Ole Miss. Barnett told the jury that Mississippi Senator James Eastland wanted them to know that “874 public-school children in Washington. D.C. ‘have loathsome and contagious diseases, and 97% among them are colored.'”

Kasper continually denied that he had anything to do with violence, but no one believed him. In February, Kasper addressed a group in Alabama that was supporting several men accused of dynamite bombing. This was now a common occurrence in Birmingham, nicknamed “Bombingham“, and Atlanta, where synagogues were attacked. Every time a bomb went off, Kasper was a suspect.

Kasper’s name began to be linked to that of J.B. Stoner, Georgia lawyer and active segregationist. Stoner was a virulent anti-Semite, who said that being Jewish should be a capital offense. He also said that blacks were not fully human, but “somewhere between the white man and the ape”. Stoner was suspected of more than a dozen bombings, mostly synagogues and churches, but not convicted of any until 1980. Stoner was connected with Edward Fields, who was connected with the KKK. Kasper, Stoner, Fields, and Kasper’s old comrade Asa Carter were on an FBI watch list. Whenever a bomb went off, local agents had to ascertain their whereabouts.

Asa Carter was never charged with any bombings. After his North Alabama Citizens Council folded, Carter founded The Original Ku Klux Klan of the Confederacy, a para-military outfit. In 1957, members abducted a black man (“We just wanted some nigger at random”), castrated him, poured turpentine on his wounds, and left him bleeding. Six men, one of whom was involved in the Nat King Cole attack, were charged. Two turned State’s evidence and got five years in prison, the other four got twenty years. But, in 1963, George Wallace’s government commuted these sentences and restored full civil rights to the four serving twenty years. The other two served their full sentences and their criminal record was not expunged.

In Knoxville, February 28, 1957, someone set off a stick of dynamite next to an auditorium where Louis Armstrong was performing. Armstrong quieted the crowd. “It’s okay, folks. It was just my telephone ringing.” Five days before, a huge blast in Clinton had injured a black woman and her baby.

These bombings did not sit well with many White Citizens Councils. The WCC had claimed that they would prevent violence, not commit it. And there was a certain amount of class snobbery; the WCC was basically middle-class. Members liked to point to “rednecks” and “poor white trash” as troublemakers, even as they privately applauded the trouble they made. The main Tennessee segregationist group, the Tennessee Federation for Constitutional Government, was headed by Donald Davidson, one of the Fugitive poets, now a Vanderbilt professor. Davidson distrusted and avoided Kasper. The TFCG provided a legal fund for accused Clinton segregationists, but not Kasper. Kasper never bothered to make allies of any of these more genteel groups, he wanted an Attack unit.

In January, 1957, Kasper began a speaking tour of Florida. The next month, a huge cache of explosives was discovered near Miami. Four of Kasper’s followers were charged after a cross-burning. The State government decided to neutralize Kasper and subpoenaed him to testify before a legislative committee. There, Kasper was questioned about explosives and so on, but the questioning soon switched to Kasper’s relationship to black people. Kasper was asked about stories that had been printed in New York papers describing his socializing with blacks, even dating black women. He had to admit that the stories were true. Particularly damaging was the statement by a male dance instructor that he and Kasper had slept in the same bed. There may have been no sexual activity but the hint of homosexuality spiced the entire story. Asa Carter remarked, “This will about fix it for Kasper in the South.” [Webb, Rabble Rousers, p.70]

A Nashville Klan leader, Emmett Carr, told a reporter that “one or all three of these things about him is true: He’s an integrationist working backward, a government agent, or he hasn’t got all his marbles.” The rumor that Kasper was an agent provocateur was widespread. After the Florida hearings, a KKK local cancelled Kasper’s speaking engagement. In May, Kasper was thrown out of a KKK meeting in Clinton. (Kasper was never a Klan member, although various sites on-line identify him as such.)

Kasper needed to restore his reputation as a die-hard segregationist. He managed to get an article in the University of Virginia Spectator titled “Segregation or Death” which ran alongside of William Faulkner’s “Letter to the North” and Sarah Patton Boyle’s “Why I Believe in Integration”. [all linked here toward bottom of the page] The University of Virginia has a rather checkered history around civil rights. Kasper’s article is full of Poundian notions about race. Pound sent a copy to Dallam Simpson, a Texan who had published Four Pages, a poetry magazine, at Pound’s direction.

dearD/m Too bad the KKK is illiterate and keeps on with clichés re/ fascism, and
Mus and Adolf/ WHEN JK ventures on ideology as per enc. nowt is said of it in
the chew press/ I doubt if ANY of his audience has faintest idea of meaning of
the marked pp/

Pound to Simpson, quoted Marsh, p. 195

The Jim Crow issue of UVa’s Virginia Spectator. Contents linked here at bottom.

During his time in Clinton, Kasper made excursions into Kentucky (where the National Guard was called out) and Tennessee cities. An organizing effort in Louisville failed, as did attempts to organize in North Carolina. Kasper was unable to get any support in Oak Ridge. Florida didn’t want him and the deep South didn’t need him. And he was losing the competition for Pound’s approval with Dave Horton. While on trial in Tennessee, broke and unable to make bail, Kasper received a registered letter from Horton demanding he repay money owed the Cadmus bookstore.

In July, 1957 Kasper and six others were found guilty of contempt of court for refusing to obey an injunction in Clinton. A reporter from the Washington Afro American wrote:

. . .he was a pathetic sight. No longer was he a mere rabble rouser from the North, seeking to roll back integration in the South. He was a lonely, desperate prisoner of the Klan. The people around him neither respected nor trusted him. They only used him. When the all white jury returned the guilty verdict against Kasper and his six codefendants, his co-conspirators turned their fury upon him. Their bitter expressions said he was the cause of their involvement.

Samuel Hoskins, “Reporter’s Row. The Last Time I Saw Frederick John Kasper.” Washington Afro American, October
22, 1957, quoted in Marsh p.200.

Kasper became more desperate in his attempts to rouse the public. At the end of a day’s testimony, he would attend a rally and make speeches, not caring what impression he was giving to the Court. Kasper’s rhetoric became more and more violent.

The Nashville Campaign

General Kasper plans the Nashville Campaign. [Photo: Jack Corn, Nashville Tennessean]

Nashville was the largest Southern city to begin desegregation in 1957. In August, Kasper began creating turmoil there.

Frederick John Kasper, 27, the tall, hawk-faced agitator from Camden, N.J., began to whip up the crowd. “The Constitution of the U.S. gives you the right to carry arms,” he said. “If one of these niggers pulls a razor or a gun on us, we’ll give it to ’em . . . When they fool with the white race they’re fooling with the strongest race in the world, the most bloodthirsty race in the world.” Hot-eyed Rabble-rouser John Kasper mentioned the name of one of Nashville’s Negro civic leaders and dramatically held up a rope, then talked hazily about dynamite.

“The Battle of Nashville”, Time, Sept. 23, 1957.

In August, Kasper visited schools that were preparing to de-segregate, trying to mobilize parents and the community at large. He found an ally in Fred Stroud, a Bible Presbyterian minister. Kasper maintained contact with his family’s church throughout his life. He seldom discussed this in his letters to Pound, who thought Christianity was tainted through its Jewish ancestry. Stroud believed that God created black people as a servant race for whites. Advocating racial equality was to defy the Lord’s Will.

Fred Stroud [photo: copyright Nashville Public Library]

On September 8, Kasper gave the speech quoted in Time above, and a crowd formed around the Fehr School. 500 people mobbed up and began breaking windows and burned crosses near black-owned homes. The police came out in force and stopped the rioters. It was rumored that the Fehr School would be dynamited and police beefed up their presence there. At 12:33 that night, the Hattie Cotton school was dynamited. No one had thought this elementary school was a segregationist target. One black child had entered the first grade there and few paid attention. Maybe it was the bomber’s second choice.

Police quickly rousted Kasper from his bed in a rented room and took him in. Meanwhile, an informant said that Kasper had shown him dynamite and tried to get him involved in a bombing. Police searched, but the dynamite had disappeared. Another informant claimed Kasper had talked to him about dynamiting. But there was not enough evidence for an indictment. This was the closest Kasper came to being charged for bombing. He was charged with vagrancy, released from jail and immediately re-arrested on illegal parking charges, released again, and a few hours later charged a third time, this time for incitement to riot.

Just as in Clinton, the community turned against Kasper:

. . .when you start dynamiting schools, well, you are hitting the white folks’ pocketbooks. Schools were built with tax funds. And we’re not going to let some dumb son of a bitch like John Kasper come down from the north. In fact, Kasper probably did more to desegregate Nashville than any one person, just by being such a jerk.

Will Campbell interviewed 2003. Campbell was a white minister and civil rights worker in Nashville.

The violence over de-segregation caused Congress to consider measures that would make it a Federal offense to defy a Federal Court injunction, thus making it possible to bring in the FBI. There was a debate about making bombings, especially school dynamitings, Federal crimes. President Eisenhower had proposed a Civil Rights Bill earlier in 1957 to protect black voting rights. The bill was attacked in committee by Mississippi Senator Eastland and was the target of the longest filibuster in Senate history led by South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond, ex-Dixiecrat candidate for President. The bill finally became law, September 9, the first Civil Rights law to pass Congress since Reconstruction. The law would be strengthened in 1960 and again in 1964.

Meantime, on September 4, Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas, called out the National Guard to stop the de-segregation of Little Rock’s Central High School. President Eisenhower removed the National Guard and brought in the 101st Airborne to enforce de-segregation. The Little Rock event took the spotlight away from Tennessee. (Faubus, incidentally, tried to keep Kasper out of Arkansas.)

Kasper claimed that his convictions showed that there was no “freedom of speech”. His appeals were running out. Kasper had followed Bryant Bowles’ path and suffered the same fate: he had become irrelevant and unwanted. Kasper returned to his mentor, Ezra Pound.

The Wheat In Bread Party

When a new acolyte appeared at St. Elizabeths, Pound would assign them a task. Pound told visitors that if they hung out around him, he was liable to put them to work. Now Pound assigned Kasper the task of forming a new political party and also assigned a new member of the Kindergarten to assist him.

reproduced in Hugh Witemeyer, “The Strange Progress of David Hsin-fu Wand”,
Paideuma: Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics
Vol. 15, No. 2/3 (Fall & Winter 1986), pp. 191-210

David Wang (aka David Hsin-fu Wand) had left China when Mao triumphed in 1949. Wang was then 18. He frequented Kasper’s New York bookstore and wrote to Pound in 1955, visiting him in 1956. Wang wanted to be a great poet, but became distracted by extreme politics after writing Pound. Wang admired John Kasper and wanted to found his own version of a White Citizens’ Council. Wayne Dynes: “When I asked how a non-Caucasian person could fulfill this role, he said that he was only acting as a place saver until some real white person came along to take his place.” Wang vehemently denied being a white supremacist. He did admit to being against race-mixing, though that did not stop him from proposing marriage to several young “muses” who hung out at St. Elizabeths.

The political party that Kasper and Wang were to organize was a very Poundian creation. The “Wheat In Bread Party” (= WHIB) got its name from an English controversy about bread flour. Various substances were used to whiten wheat flour all over Europe. Governments had tried to persuade their populations that whole wheat flour was more nutritious than the adulterated stuff, but people refused to buy it. Customers wanted snow-white bread. Enriching wheat flour with vitamins further confused the matter. (This is still an issue in the UK.)

Pound wrote to Wang:

For a little serious conversation re/points not covered during Wang’s visit.
O.K. eugenics/ very necessary /
endocrinology not kikietry.
spot distractions /
WHIB. Wheat in bread party.
a concept the incult should agree on/from poetry to politics
Unfortunate that J. K[asper]. shd/ be on local line, not on universal slogan /
What they get diverted FROM is issue of money.
& tax SYSTEM.
both of which need INTELLIGENCE on the part of anyone who is generating resistance.
ergo there are items for aristos.
all the mutt can object to is the AMOUNT of the taxes. [EP to Wang, Jan. 1957 ]

The notion of “local” as opposed to “universal” politics had been Pound’s main criticism of Kasper’s activities early on. Now Pound wanted him to form a political party presumably dedicated to the universal, as symbolized by Bread. According to Wang:
“The Whibs aim to restore the Constitution to the republic so that it has the same relationship wheat has to bread.” (Oct., 1957, Marsh, p. 206)

Kasper and Wang made plans to run WHIB candidates in Tennessee, one for governor, one for Senate. They ran on a segregation ticket and lost, but by then Kasper was in prison. On November 21, 1957, appeals exhausted, he walked into the Federal prison in Tallahassee, flashing a copy of Mein Kampf at the reporters around him.

While Kasper was incarcerated, WHIB became, briefly, North American Citizens for the Constitution, which, in turn, was absorbed by the National States Rights Party. The NSRP was more or less the Right-wing organization that Furniss had spoken of creating. It’s founder was Edward Fields and its leader was J.B.Stoner, whose mantra was “We don’t believe in Tolerance.” Stoner was later James Earl Ray‘s defense attorney. One of the NSRP’s founding meetings was attended by an FBI informant who reported that Admiral Crommelin addressed the meeting, saying that Crommelin disagreed with the notion that violence was needed to advance their cause. Someone in the audience asked “if he did not think that acts of violence had helped to hold back integration, and he replied he did not think so.” The same report mentions that Crommelin was attended by Matt Koehl, young neo-Nazi companion of Eustace Mullins.

Goodbye Grampaw

Many of the people who wanted to free Ezra Pound from St.Elizabeths thought that John Kasper’s notoriety was a barrier to the poet’s release. Now, with Kasper in jail, the friends, poets, and family all made a push for the Attorney-General to noll pros, decline to prosecute, the charges against Pound. The problem is, there were so many of them, split into various factions, that no one could agree on anything. Robert Furniss took on the task of coordinating the negotiations for Pound’s release. He succeeded and, in April, 1958, the US government ended the prosecution of Ezra Pound — provided, of course, that he didn’t regain his sanity. Pound was delivered into his wife’s custody. They spent a few weeks in America — Pound stayed at St. Elizabeths long enough to get his teeth fixed — then Dave Horton drove them to visit William Carlos Williams for two days, then on to New York, where Pound sailed to Italy. Upon arrival, he gave the fascist salute.

The Kindergarten fell apart. Sheri Martinelli was upset when Pound chose another honey-pot girl, Marcella Booth, to travel with him as secretary, or assistant, or something. Martinelli wrote some angry screeds and then travelled west to join the Beats.

David Wang began looking to William Carlos Williams for guidance. Williams was Pound’s oldest friend. Many of Pound’s friends had left him over the years, some because of his politics, most because of his irascible personality. Williams was one of the few who stayed and told Pound, repeatedly, that he was full of shit. He hated the anti-Semitism and the fascism, and let Pound know that he thought his ideas were bunk. Pound replied in kind. Wang responded to Williams the same way he had to Pound: utter devotion. His ideas turned 180 degrees. In one letter (30 June 1959), Wang expressed contempt for Dave Horton, referring to him as still ‘‘promoting the elimination of Jews, Negroes, and other ‘inferior’ people’’. (letter from Wang to Williams)

This kind of shift in thinking demonstrates, I think, just how malleable these young people were, how desperately they clutched at anything that might give them direction in life. Marsh points out that Pound could have gotten Kasper to stop his activities at any time. Noel Stock, an Australian who published many of Pound’s writings under pseudonyms, said that he was completely under Pound’s spell when he was 24.

. . .the rubbish which we, his correspondents, fed to him, or the rubbish which he in turn fed to
us. . . . a good number of us, because we believed in him and (not least) sought
his praise, helped to confirm him in the belief that he alone possessed a coherent
view of the truth.

Stock quoted in Marsh, p.4

Marsh suggests that this was not good for Pound, that being worshiped brought out his bad qualities. But Pound was the adult; he set the agenda and made the rules. Socrates was sentenced to death for the crime of corrupting Athens’ youth. Pound was never charged with that offense.

It strikes me sometimes that Pound meant to annoy the US government. He liked to see himself as a Trickster figure. He hated not being able to testify against the treason charge. He hated even more being called insane. Maybe he thought, All right then! You want treason? How about young home-grown fascists who want to destroy the Constitution? I’ll show you treason! Well, that’s far-fetched, I guess, comes from too much reading of conspiracy theories. But I do think, the town of Clinton, Tennessee could have been spared a whole lot of pain and terror, if Ezra Pound had gone to trial as he wished.

Kasper Goes to Jail

One after another of Kasper’s convictions ran out of appeals and he began serving consecutive sentences. He complained about being attacked by a black inmate in the Tallahassee Federal prison. In early 1960, Kasper was free on bail for a few weeks waiting for the results of his Supreme Court appeal. He lost and was consigned to the Davidson County Workhouse in Nashville where he remained until July, 1960.

In April, Kasper asked to see an FBI agent. So, two agents went to interview Kasper. He particularly wanted them to understand that he he knew some Nazis, but that he himself was not a Nazi. Kasper complained that his mail was being opened and that workhouse conditions were medieval. When he uttered these complaints before a judge, Kasper was told that he had a bed, clothes, food, what more did he want? Then he was sent back to break rocks with a sledgehammer. More interesting to the agents was that Kasper said that he would tell them anything they wanted to know. They sensed that this man wanted to be an informer. To demonstrate his willingness to cooperate, Kasper told of marijuana coming into the workhouse. He said he was offered a “stick” for twenty cents by a black inmate.

Kasper was finally released from jail in July, 1960. He travelled to N.J. and visited with his mother, then back to Nashville where he was staying at the house of Grace Dawson, a retired court clerk. On several occasions over the next month, Kasper contacted the FBI and indicated he would be willing to help them any way he could. On September 7, he showed up at the Philadelphia Office of the FBI. There he said “he has decided to have no further connection or association with segregation movements. He indicated that because of the recent Federal legislation dealing with this problem and the fact that his name has become so controversial, he could be of no further use to this sort of movement.”

The National States’ Rights Party nominated Orval Faubus as its 1960 Presidential candidate and offered Admiral Crommelin for Vice-President. Faubus had no real interest in running; he was Governor of Arkansas and meant to continue being Governor. Still, he allowed his name to be used. [Reed, Faubus, p.265]

Whatever Kasper meant, when he said he was done with segregation movements, he certainly wasn’t done with the issue. What Kasper now said was that separate white schools should be set up. Although he didn’t say that public funds be used to establish a segregated private school system, that became the standard playbook for most of the Southern states in the late ’60s, when the final legal arguments of Massive Resistance collapsed. Then Segregation Academies flourished in America.

The 1960 movie about the Scopes Monkey Trial, Inherit the Wind, was embarrassing to some Tennesseans and there was a move to repeal the 1925 statute that made the teaching of evolution illegal. Kasper was opposed. He had digested a lot of Louis Agassiz for Ezra Pound and put out a Square Dollar book of his writings. Agassiz had been anti-Darwin and convinced that black and white humans were separate species. Now Kasper printed up a leaflet on the “Permanence of Type”, Agassiz’ term, meaning: there is no change, no evolution; the species is permanent. There were rumors that Kasper might attend a State Legislative Education Committee meeting, but the Committee chairman remarked that if Kasper showed up, he wouldn’t call the police, he would grab him by the ear and personally throw him out. Kasper also put out some economic leaflets, quoting Ezra Pound and Thomas Hart Benton.

So Kasper was developing a new group, a non-violent group, but it all fell apart when he had an affair with the wife of a group member. That person “put John Kasper on the road” and John Kasper’s organizing ended.

A month or so after the scandal, Kasper married a young Norwegian woman he had met in Tennessee. Back in Nashville, the couple lived at Grace Dawson’s for a time. Ms. Kasper was allergic to cats and Grace had a few, so the Kaspers found a new place to live.

Kasper worked a temporary job at the Sunbeam bakery, making holiday fruitcakes. After Christmas he began selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. He still talked about running for office and writing a book, but did neither. The FBI quit watching him in late Summer, 1962. That’s when Kasper decided to visit Pound in Europe.

A few months after Pound landed in Italy, Dorothy Pound managed to ship honey-pot Marcella Spann back to the US. Ezra Pound had been a blazing source of energy to all those around him, but he drew that energy from his admirers and followers. With his audience gone, Pound lost purpose and lapsed into depression. In 1960, Dorothy had him committed for a while and he seemed to improve a little. He probably had electro-shock treatments then. In 1961, Pound developed a urinary tract infection and was hospitalized again. Now Olga and daughter Mary became principal caretakers.

When Kasper tried to contact Pound, Olga intervened. Eventually Kasper and his wife had lunch with Dorothy, but he never got to see Grampaw. Dorothy had her own medical problems and returned to England (and son Omar), leaving her husband to his mistress. Kasper wrote Pound a letter wishing him good health and sent Dorothy a card.

Back in Tennessee, Kasper was quiet until 1964, when the National States’ Rights Party nominated him for President in the upcoming election. His running mate, J.B.Stoner, was suspected of many bombings, particularly of Atlanta-area synagogues. The FBI sent some agents to have a chat. Kasper told them that he was not interested in running but that the NSRP nominated him anyway, as they had done with Faubus. The NSRP, “America’s Largest Third Party”, entered only two presidential races, each time with candidates who refused to run. Kasper said he would vote for Goldwater. There was no more talk of Kasper becoming an FBI informant.

Kasper was now running the “Volkswagen Service Center” and had a reputation as a decent mechanic. But Volkswagen had not authorized use of their name and brought legal charges against Kasper. Eventually he changed the name of his business to “Import Service Center”.

Earlier in the year, Kasper’s young wife was in hospital after throat surgery for an asthmatic condition, when Kasper was charged with “Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor” for making sexual overtures to a 13-year-old black girl. The charges were later dropped — an FBI report claims that Kasper was somewhere else when the incident took place.

The FBI decided that Kasper was no longer an active threat, but they did interview him whenever a bombing took place anywhere near him. As late as 1967, Kasper was interviewed about a bombing. He was then living in Toledo, Ohio working for a cosmetics company. Over the years he lived in New Jersey and Florida as well, shifting his first name to “Fred” rather than “John”, possibly to avoid recognition as the fire-eating segregationist of the 1950s.

Afterwards

Asa Carter’s Confederate Ku Klux Klan collapsed after Carter shot two members in a quarrel over finances. He moved on to work for George Wallace. Wallace was accused of being a “moderate” on racial matters by a political opponent who defeated him in 1958. Wallace swore he would never be “out-niggered” again. So Carter was brought in. He was disdained by others on Wallace’s team and it was never publicized that he was around. They kept Carter hidden in the Capitol basement and got him worked up to write racist material. “We fed him raw meat”, said Wallace’s finance director. Carter wrote Wallace’s “Segregation forever!” speech which helped elect him governor in 1962. Later, when Wallace became a national figure and needed to soften his rhetoric, Carter was dumped. He took it hard and actually ran against Wallace in 1970 and picketed his inauguration as Governor. Finally, Carter left Alabama and began a new life as “Forrest Carter”.

Forrest Carter wrote two successful books. First was The Outlaw Josey Wales, which was made into the Clint Eastwood movie. In 1976, with a second book about to appear, Forrest Carter was interviewed by Barbara Walters. By this time, Carter was claiming to be Cherokee, but many reporters recognized him. Forrest Carter denied being Asa Carter, even after he was outed, and continued with the deception for the rest of his life. The Education of Little Tree was Carter’s “memoir” of growing up Cherokee. Eventually it was revealed as a hoax, but by then Carter was dead. He was a heavy drinker who became angry and belligerent when drunk. In 1979, at his son’s house, he got into a fistfight with family members, fell and hit his head on a counter, and asphyxiated on his own vomit.

The National States’ Rights Party faded in the ’70s as Stoner dabbled in politics and Edward Fields became more attuned to the KKK. In 1976, the FBI quit its surveillance of the NSRP. After Stoner’s 1980 conviction for bombing, the group disappeared.

Admiral Crommelin kept running for office and losing. He became discouraged with the electoral process, which he thought was rigged by Jewish Communists, and began talking of militant action. He was a suspect in a synagogue bombing in 1958 and, in 1962, when James Meredith was trying to enter the University of Mississippi, was with a group that tried to bring a carload of weapons to the ensuing riot. (Webb, Rabble Rousers, pp. 127-28) When Crommelin and the National States’ Rights Party wanted to use violence during the integration of the University of Alabama, it was Asa Carter, now working for Governor Wallace, who dissuaded them. But in 1963, Carter aided Crommelin in forming the paramilitary Volunteers for Alabama and Wallace.

General Del Valle had only run once, unsuccessfully, and that was enough for him. Del Valle proposed forming “a powerful, armed resistance force” that would bring a “return to Constitutional government”. Crommelin agreed. The two attempted several times to organize a military unit they could command. The Sons of Liberty was one such, but neither Crommelin nor Del Valle could get many men to volunteer. (Webb, p.140) In 1964, George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of the American Nazi Party, informed the FBI that Crommelin was plotting to overthrow the government.

General Pedro Del Valle died in 1978. What was left of the Defenders of the American Constitution went with him.

Crommelin’s speeches became more erratic as time went by. He said integration was “a Jewish directed scheme to mongrelize the White Race, so that the almighty Jew can sit upon a throne to rule a world populated by a mass of mulatto like zombies.” (Wexler, America’s Secret Jihad, Chapter 2) Admiral Crommelin died in 1996. His life was celebrated by the State of Alabama, which remembered him as one of the “Dixie Demons”, heroes of World War II. There was little mention of his political beliefs.

The citizens of Clinton

Those who had lived through the Clinton events were scarred by it. Reverend Paul Turner struggled in his life. A friend: “…his spirit was broken. The fire that had carried him through Clinton was just a candle glow… Gone was the trust in God to protect him in doing what was right even when it was hard and dangerous.” In 1980, he lost a position as professor at Golden Gate Theological Seminary in California. In December that year, he killed himself.

School principal D.J.Brittain was also hurt by the reaction of other Clinton residents to his stand. He became bitter and cynical, though his professional life in New Jersey was successful. Brittain retired back to Tennessee. In January, 1988, his beloved wife died of cancer. A month later, Brittain shot himself. He requested that all of his papers having to do with Clinton be destroyed. [from interviews cited in Rachel Martin, Out of the Silence: Remembering the Desegregation of Clinton, Tennessee, High School, (unpublished PhD dissertation)]

But it was the kids going to school who were the front-line troops during the de-segregation struggle.

Bobby Cain is still a little bitter. Months of walking to school, running the gauntlet, always looking over your shoulder, fearing for your life, not showing a light after dark because it might attract gunshots, the sudden blast of dynamite — this, I think, is the kind of thing that leaves someone with PTSD. To survive the experience with only a little anger is a victory of sorts.

After a year at Clinton, Regina Turner Smith was asked by white teacher Margaret Anderson if it had been worth it. Smith said, “I don’t know. I’ve thought about it a lot. The only thing I know is maybe it will make it easier for someone else.” She began to cry. [Anderson, Children of the South, p.64]

The Kindergarten

Pound’s Kindergarten aged. David Wang became David Hsin-fu Wand. He worked with William Carlos Williams, wrote some good poetry, and pursued an academic career. In 1977 Wand attended a meeting of the Commission on Minority Groups in New York and fell, jumped, or was pushed to his death from a hotel window.

Eustace Mullins moved to his mother’s house in Staunton, Virginia, where he continued to write racist and anti-Semitic books and articles, including a bio of Ezra Pound. He travelled and gave speeches about the International Banking Conspiracy to Right-wing groups. He was speaking in Ohio when he suffered a stroke and died in 2010.

Mullins’ companion, Matt Koehl, joined the American Nazi Party. He swiftly rose in the ranks and became leader of the party after George Lincoln Rockwell was murdered. The party splintered in the late 70s and early 80s. Koehl led an esoteric faction and appears to have apprehended Nazism as religion. He died in 2014.

Dave Horton established a Nevada law practice. He was involved in the Sagebrush Rebellion in the 1970s, a battle over grazing rights and other Federal land-use issues, which has continued into the present century . He also attempted a scheme to mint money locally. Land-use and money are definitely Poundian targets. Horton was the “steady” one, still working on Ezra’s program.

Ezra Pound and Olga Rudge lived together until his death in 1972. Dorothy was notified in England and she sent instructions for a Protestant funeral, but by the time Omar arrived in Venice, three days later, Olga had already interred Pound on the island cemetery of San Michelle. She reserved the gravesite next to his and was buried beside him when she died at the age of 100, thus claiming final victory in the long battle with Dorothy.

Retired auditor Frederick John Kasper was fishing when his boat capsized and he drowned near Osteen, Florida in 1998.

NOTES:

Alec Marsh, Ezra Pound and John Kasper, Saving the Republic
Clive Webb, Rabble Rousers: the American Far Right in the Civil Rights Era
FBI reports on Kasper.
Asa Carter FBI Report
Ernie Lazar FOIA Collection: Extreme Right Groups
Michael Newton, The National States Rights Party: A History
The FBI created a monograph on the NSRP in 1966, updated 1970. You can read it, with update, here for free or you can buy it in a number of editions.
There is also an FBI monograph on the American Nazi Party.
Stuart Wexler, America’s Secret Jihad: The Hidden History of Religious Terrorism in the United States (History of the Christian Identity movement and its friends and off-shoots. Several people in this post are mentioned, including Crommelin, Fred Stroud, and Carl McIntire .)

Margaret Anderson, The Children of the South.

David Moody, Ezra Pound: Poet. Volume III, The Tragic Years: 1939 – 1972
Daniel Swift, The Bughouse: The Poetry, Politics, and Madness of Ezra Pound
There are many accounts of visits to Pound at St. Elizabeths. A bunch can be found at Jstor.org (free registration). Use key words in the Search.

Roy Reed, Faubus: The Life and Times of an American Prodigal

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