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Letter to Emerson "Bud" Hill



Letter to Emerson "Bud" Hill


In a letter to his brother Emerson, Forbes Hill details the incident in which he and several others were kidnapped and threatened while campaigning in Georgia for Progressive Party presidential candidate Henry Wallace.


Hill, Forbes I.


Hill, Forbes I.




Queens College Department of Special Collections and Archives (New York, N.Y.)




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Augusta (Ga.)


of Georgia
85 Alexander Street, N.W., Atlanta 3
Telephon... Alpine 8088

I. Marshall
C. T. Pratt
Don West
Mrs. Herman M. Rich
William W. Stafford
Mrs. Lillie Akin
James I. Barfoot
James Edwards
Lawrence Jones
Archer Torrey
Sam W. Williams
William Bowens
Mrs. T. Camp
I. J. Domas
Guy Fraser
Bert D. Gilden
Robert E. Hawkes
Mrs. Floyd Hunter
F.J. Hutchings, Jr.
Judah Katz
Edward Krick
Phillip J. Lorenz, Jr.
John D. Marshall
Mrs. L. Marshall
John W. Newsom
Herman M. Rich
Mark H. Smith
Richard J. Stauverman
William Stephens
A. L. Thomas
Eudice Tontak

Oct. 25, 1948

Dear Bud,
Just a line to reassure you that I was not hurt in Augusta, Sept. 26. I have written the folks since.
The story in the New York Star was very exaggerated. It was written by a very irresponsible girl. Actually the Klan was trying to avoid hurting anyone at all because if there were no tangible evidence the "Klan sponsored officials" would dismiss the whole thing as a publicity stunt. They had done this in Columbus a week earlier. The people there had been taken out at pistol point and not marked at all so the police dismissed the whole thing as a publicity stunt.
In Augusta, however, I precipitated the works by hitting the first Klansman in the window with a baseball bat. I got a black eye and was bonked on the head with an automatic, but no bones were broken and I was not seriously hurt.
It was more scared than anything. The man I hit wanted to hang me and got out a rope. The others though had realized the rage they had kicked up (I got over a hundred letters from all parts of the country to show you how much publicity I got) and most wouldn't hear of hanging me.

As we expected the police and papers tried to prove the whole thing a publicity stunt, but too many people had seen it (there were about 120 men in the deal all told) it happened in broad daylight, so they didn't succeed.
I don't think it politically wise to refute the exaggerated reports just now, though if they got circulated down here it would be disastrous. So don't say too much about it.
Say hello to Leo. Hope your getting on well with your job. You might drop me a line about it.

As ever,

PS I didn't get a chance to mail this letter before coming back to Atlanta from Macon. On the way up, as you know, I was arrested, originally on the charge of burgling a freight car. After talking ten minutes to me of course they knew I wasn't burgling any freight car, but they insisted on reading my papers and found out I was connected with the Progressive Party. Then all hell broke loose. The Chief of Police was obviously a Klansman and these letters were not exactly complimentary to the Klan. He was going to charge me with everything in the book. They sent a railroad executive up from Macon and a solicitor from Forsythe just to prosecute my case. And when they were through with it all they still couldn't hang anything more on me than stealing a ride on the freight from Macon to Atlanta. So the judge fined me $65.00 for this. (Or 6 months in the

This was copied from a copy + I don't seem to have the original. The words cut off are

County Jail. The bastard. The county sheriff who was the only decent guy there.... (rest is cut off + illegible)

"Bud" is Forbes' brother, Emerson Hill.

Original Format

8.5 x 11 inches (216 x 279 mm)


Hill, Forbes I., “Letter to Emerson "Bud" Hill,” Queens College Civil Rights Archives, accessed May 17, 2022, http://archives.qc.cuny.edu/civilrights/items/show/324.