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Hurston, Z.N. signed typewritten letter to Mary Holland, Merritt Island, Fla. (3p. 8 1/2 x 11). Discusses intentions for...
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00009755/00068
Finding Guide: A Guide to the Zora Neale Hurston Papers
 Material Information
Title: Hurston, Z.N. signed typewritten letter to Mary Holland, Merritt Island, Fla. (3p. 8 1/2 x 11). Discusses intentions for and article on Southern lawmakers.
Series Title: Correspondence
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Publication Date: 1957, July 2
Physical Location:
Box: 2
Folder: 91
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Hurston, Zora Neale
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: AA00009755:00068

Full Text



:Route #2, Box 75
Merritt Island, Florida
July 2, 1957.



Oh, Mis;' ~Ma~ry

I thank you for your most g~energus birthday gift in
every way that I know how, It so happens that' began my cradle days
on January 7 when I tumbled into this sin-sick world (as a good old
stomp-foot Baptist preacher like my father would phnrasle it) The
very gift itself gives cause for celebration for now I will put this
typewriter in the shop for a slight blpt necessary repair,
A book I n writing and a very difficult one,too, on which
I have done a good six years of research. I am conscious of a
a greater competence with the tools of mry trade than formerly. I
would tell you all about it, but there is a superstition of the
writing craft that to do so is like prying open a womb to take a
peep at the embryo, You will have no success with the book if you
talk it while in preparation.

Mluy eyes flung wide open in dismay when I saw the announce-
ment of the series THE SOUTH BAYS PJEVER, by John Be:rtlow M~artin, It
is not that he is failing to do a good and~ objective job, but I had
laid out an article for the SALTURDIAY EVE~NING POST which I planned
to call, TAKE FOR INICTANCE EEE88NEPSD HOLLANJD, in which I am attempting
to show the plight of the Southern law-maker. The general imparess on
in the North is that a Southern Senator is a lay figure, activated
only by racial stimnli, I yearn to show the inevitable prolonged
thought, speculation and pondering in the mind of a cultivated man
like Speseard L. Holland. Myb startling end unhappy experiences at
Technical Library was a good thing, for it pointed up to me the vast
ignorance of that gang of latter-day carpet-baggers, In their great
emptiness, they brve become as ured that mere geography constitutes
intellect and information, i.e. a Northerner, jggy Bortherner, is per
se superior mentally to any Southerner regardless of background and
training, They look at the pictures in LIFE AMD LOOKCl and are convin-
ced of it. Therefore when their sectional religion is disturbed,
they set out to beat down the disturbance so they can return to their
smugnrescs, I am by no means the only one who has recognized this, A
Whi te girl, Carolyn Sutton of Warm Springs, Georgia, who was induc-
on the same day that I was we got to talking as we sat waiting for
the next step in the processing and when she heard my name dbe
recognized it and we did a lot of talking, She has done three years
at Emory and is highly intelligent by nature, She is stuck down in
Base Supply as a Clerk-typist while a waitress from the lower East
sic e of New York and who admits that she has never even heard of
David Lawrence nor Dorothy Thompson is in the Library, and saying
openly, Everybody knows ttyat Southerners don't know nothing."
They have taken this norther-flattering propaganda to their hearts
and when their pretensions meet the realities, they are moved to
to fury and consider that honor and deceny must be thrown over.o
board to defend their ingrained beliefs, As you know, there is
is NOTHING that a man knows which is half so precious as what he
wants to believe To let them know that I saw through their crude
mechanisms, I sa &l one day, H There ma-y come a Gettysburg for







me gue day here, but first, I assure you xshall come for you a Chancel-
lorville." And not a one of them understood what I meant, That shows
you the point I arm making, M~aybe they have found out now because I
have been told that from Mitchell,Pres. of Pe~n Am at Patrick Air
Force Base on down, they ar~e having the screaming heebie-3eebies at
the investigation which the Air Force is giving them. Before they
were awcare that it was being done, they got so lordly ini what they
considered their unchallenged power that they sought to influence the
Florida Industrial Commission office here at Gocon not to allow me
to have the Unemployment money due me, The first week that I went in
to make myg application, the 171 at Desk 4 was most cordial. But t.:e
following Wednesday when I was supposed to get a check for $26.00,
she was very, very nasty and told me that ene could not guarantee
that I could draw the $~416 due me, The money belongs to the company
(Pan American) and you can only get it if they allow you to have itn
The next week she said that my check: had not come from Tallahassee.
Anyway, there was a meeting to be held on me, and then it would be
be decided whether I could get it. I merely asked why such special
attention to me when I was due it? and like Pilate, I walked out
without waiting for an an wer. 'BUT, Mis' Me~ary, you should have seen
her when I showed up the fourth Wednesday, I knew then that the blow
had fallen from Washington, Everything is back to fair and warm;I
knew all along that the Florida Industrial Commission had no idea
of what she had been persuaded to do by gross misrepresentaion from
the department of Office Services at the Base. Nor will I ever tell
on her, Bhe was lied to,

Therefore, you can see the grave necesF~ity to give the votld
some idea of the real conditions in the South and the men who rep-
resent the South in Congress assembled. This is not the South of
say, 1900, MEiat of our law-makers are no mere bigottedl jumping-jacks.
They see the problems, economic and sociological and ponder them
seriously and intelligently, seeking the answers infinitely more
earnestly than the on-lookers from above the Mason-:Dixon lineWe
are blessed with two Senators of good family and education, given
to broad reading and gathering information. I remember only too well
the most extensive Library which Spessa~rd Holland has and know that
the books are really re~adr He has books on the Negro from way back
before the warts between the states, I saw, than and envied him., A
man of such information is not inclined to be brash and mouthy, He
can see too anruh, I have in memory the earnest attack which Holland,
as Governor, made upon the solution of the race question in Florida.
He began at the only realistic place to begin, the foundation, by
stepping up the educational program among us, He is of the Herbert
Hoovelr type, sticks to fundamentals and leaves the flashy gestures
to the demagogues, LOOK~3 and LIEfE will not camp~ on his doorsteps, but
time will show the value of his deeds, This is the kind of article
I have laid out. I shall still se what I can do at SATEKDAY E"VEJNING
POST through Stuart Rose as a follow up to the current series by
Martin. If they do not take it, there are others, AMER~ICAN LEGION
MAGAZINE likes me very much.

How well do I remember meeting yout Never can I forget your
jaunty little tam and the way you wore it. B~ow swell you becaee
your clothes your trim figure topped by a face of lively intel-
ligence and good will towards all m;-nkind glistening up your face.
I hoard the memory of your generous offer to allow me to read in







library at the Executive M/ansion, and when I arrived, how gracious
and kind he was in confirming your assent. And was he stuffed
with information', Not in a showy and pedantic fashion, the kn~ow-
ledge just seeped out where it fitted in the conversation. In
a few minutes it was evident that that traditional Southern question,
" Who's your folks, honey?" was already answered. It does not take
much discernment to tell big wood from brush, Dozens of times I
have said to Negroes that Spessard Hollanld was my ideal of a South-
ern statesman. For the identical reason I prefer a Herbert Hoover
to a ERD; I favored Robert A. Taft over D~wigfht Eisenhower for the
same reason, The Northern Negroes bitterly opposed Taft because he
stated tahen asked by a group of NAACPers at Durham, whether if he
became president he would force desegregation of the schools in the
South, No. The President of the United States is an executive,
elected. t~o carry out the laws made and provided, not to make laws
himself, There is nothing in the Constitution that would give me
the power to interfere and I would not do so, If it was there, I
would follow the law," This stand certainly helped to lose Taft the
nomination, but I do not believe that he ever regretted it. It won
him my deepest respect, trust and a~dmiiation. The rabid ones failed
to grasp the significance of his words. I saw that if you turn an
executive loose to go outside the law in your favor on M~onday,you
have also given him the power to go outside the law on Thursday
against you. No country is safe from tyranny unless the chief ex-
ecutive is kept within the bounds of law made and provided, Now,
they can see what a mess the country is in from Eisenhower's too
susceptibility to pressure. Neither White nor Black know where
they ire except in a hate-'filled, stinking mess. There is an old
Southerbh proverb which says, Never let your head start more
than your rear-end can stand," but in this caper they ha~ve cut,
the reasr~-end ( this seating business) has started more than the
head can figger what to do with. Where do we go from here? Well,
when the loud-m~ouths on both sides nave hollered themselves to
death, then the quiet, prepared Southern statesmen will have to
step in and restore order, Like Napoleon amid the excesses of the
French revolution, TAKE SPESE.NED L. HQLLARD FOR INSTANCE. And
Mary Holland is his voice of gentleness speaking from out of the
whirlIwind.

'Therefore I am very glad to get the famnil~y information you
sent along. With your permission, I shall exert myself mightily
to sell this arIticle on the Senator. I have the handicap of some
national magazines refusing anything favorable to the South, but I
am not discouraged, Something will have to give,


Most faithfully, most lovingly,