<Photo: General Walker returns to Dallas from a Missouri insane asylum, October 7, 1962 -- one week after the Ole Miss racial riots.>
Back to the 1976 manuscript of George De Mohrenschildt (hereafter DM). On Saturday, April 13, 1963, George and Jeanne DM drove to the Oswald home at 10 PM, uninvited. The Oswalds were in bed, but George and Jeanne would not stop ringing the doorbell until the Oswalds got up and welcomed their elder guests inside. Marina showed Jeanne around their small, upstairs apartment while George and Lee Harvey Oswald (hereafter LHO) stood upon the small balcony to talk about world events. George writes that they spoke about “the unfortunate rise of ultra-conservatism in this country, and of the racist movement in the South.”
As we saw in the past couple of blog posts, George De Mohrenschildt regarded the resigned General Edwin Walker to be a Southern ultra-conservative racist. On October 1, 1962, JFK and RFK themselves had sent General Walker to an insane asylum after the racial riots at Ole Miss University, which he reportedly had led, where hundreds were wounded and two were killed.
Walker and the rioters were protesting against US Federal Marshalls defending the right of the University’s first Black American student, James Meredith to attend classes there.
It was a famous legal case in America, and it was a famous racial riot. At the end of the riot, the rioters lost and JFK and RFK had Walker arrested the next morning. They immediately send him to a military hospital in Springfield, Missouri for a 90-day psychiatric examination.
In a few days, however, the ACLU obtained the release of General Walker (after all, political psychiatry is dirty pool). Walker returned to Dallas where he cooled his heels for the month of October 1962. The photograph that accompanies this blog post is dated October 7, 1962, when Walker returned to Love Field in Dallas directly from the Springfield sanitarium, wearing the clothes that he wore when he was committed by JFK. (Notice the tear gas stain on his shoulder.)
In November 1962 Walker faced a Grand Jury in Mississippi to answer for those racial riots. The hearings lasted through late January 1963, when Walker was finally acquitted of all charges.
Walker quickly planned a coast-to-coast speaking tour with segregationist preacher, Billy James Hargis – and they toured the Southern States lambasting JFK and the NAACP as radical Communists in the service of the USSR. It was in this context that George DM, Volkmar Schmidt, and LHO would insult Walker by calling him “General Fokker” and comparing him with Hitler.
George also writes that he remembered LHO speaking fondly of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and that the Civil Rights of Black Americans were topics upon which George and LHO would completely agree.
QUOTATONS FROM GEORGE's 1976 MANUSCRIPT
There is much more to review with regard to the unusual biography of George DM, but for this blog post, I will only review some revealing sentences from his 1976 manuscript, “I’m a Patsy! I’m a Patsy!” I will emphasize two key themes in the following quotations from George DM’s 1976 manuscript, namely: (1) that LHO was a fierce advocate of Civil Rights for Black Americans; and (2) that George DM agreed with LHO 100% on this topic.
Please note that I won’t agree or disagree here with George DM’s claims in his manuscript. My only goal in sharing these quotations is to reveal George DM’s perspective. George wrote:
Lee was indeed all wrapped up in his work, books, his ideas on equality of all people, especially of all races; it was strange indeed for a boy New Orleans and Texas poor White family, purely Anglo, to be so profoundly anti-racist.
George said that LHO expressed intense sentiments against US racism – and vowed to die for the cause of Civil Rights for Black Americans. George wrote:
“Segregation in any form, racial, social or economic, is one of the most repulsive facts of American life”, he often told me. “I would be willing any time to fight these fascistic segregationists – and to die for my Black brothers.”
George calls LHO’s political position his “faith.” Also, George explicitly says that he agreed with LHO on this sensitive topic in 1963, writing:
Lee’s faith, his strongest belief was – racial integration. He told me on many occasions – “It hurts me that the Blacks do not have the same privileges and rights as White Americans.” And I agreed with him.
George’s claim in the next quotation is compromised by the fact that the last time that George and LHO spoke was on Saturday, April 13, 1963 – and this was months before JFK actually came out publicly in support of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Still, here is what George wrote:
Kennedy’s efforts to alleviate and to end segregation were also admired by Lee, who was sincerely and profoundly committed to a complete integration of Blacks and saw it in the future of the US. “I am willing to fight for racial equality and would die fighting if necessary,” He told me once.
George DM dramatizes LHO’s concern for racial minorities – including American Indians – and illustrates his perception that LHO was a fan of Black American culture and music in New Orleans.
Because of his poor, miserable childhood, he probably compared himself to the Blacks and the Indians and commiserated with them. He loved Black children and admired their cute and outgoing ways. He also was fond of the Black music and folklore with which he as familiar from his childhood days in New Orleans.
George also portrays LHO as emotionally targeting White Supremacists in the US, calling them “hate groups.” George also explicitly aligns himself with LHO on this point:
Lee despised the reactionary groups, the White Supremacists, the so called “hate groups” and did not hide his feelings. I naturally agreed with him.
George argued that LHO was not militaristic – either as a Communist or as a Capitalist. George portrays LHO as worried that the US Pentagon would take over the US in a Nazi-type of authoritarian regime.
I pause here to report that the resigned General Walker also told his closest followers that a Race War was coming to the US, and that it would become so violent that civilians would beg the Pentagon to restore order. The Pentagon would comply, prophesied Walker – but then the Pentagon would never again return control to civilians whom they no longer trusted. Walker’s dream appears to be the mirror image of LHO’s worry. George wrote:
Lee did not like any militarists, Russian or American. He thought that someday there could be a coup d'état in this country organized by the Pentagon and that the country would become a militaristic, Nazi-type, dictatorship.
George again repeats his theme that LHO regarded US racism as the worst threat to
US Democracy. George wrote:
Then we…spoke of the unfortunate rise of ultra-conservatism in this country, of racist movement in the South. Lee considered this the most dangerous phenomenon for all peace-loving people.
To fully illustrate LHO’s commitment to US Civil Rights, we can read George’s claim that LHO was a fervent advocate of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thus, George wrote:
Of course, Lee greatly admired Dr. Martin Luther King and agreed with his program. I just mention it here, but he frequently talked of Dr. King with real reverence.
Several couples in the Russian expatriate colony in Dallas despised LHO as a defector. George defended LHO in no uncertain terms. George wrote:
Many local people, especially Russian refugees, resented Lee because he had deserted these US, the “country of the brave and the free” and many considered him an outright traitor. And he, a 100% native-born American would smile and say: “Who are the real Americans? Only the Indians, Blacks, and the Mexicans from the South-Western states, to whom this country originally belonged!”
George defends LHO’s anti-segregationist politics with the strongest terms – perhaps too strong. He calls LHO “noble” and his opponents, “trash.” George wrote:
In this he was so different and so noble compared with the Southern trash and rednecks, whose segregationist idea stems from their fear of the Blacks, of their strength and of the possibility of their prominence in every field of human endeavor. Education for the Blacks was an anathema for them, while Lee was whole-heartedly for it.
George strongly voiced his agreement with LHO on the topic of these politics. Speaking entirely for himself, he writes:
This was the time when Blacks had to sit at the back of the bus, couldn’t eat in restaurants or stay in the hotels and motels reserved for Whites. It angered and annoyed me. At the time I didn’t have many contacts with Blacks, except with some artists, teachers and preachers. But in my profession, I couldn’t afford to have Black friends often in the house, I would have been blackballed and eliminated from the competitive field.
George claims to quote LHO’s conversations with him verbatim. In those conversations, LHO took a harshly critical position on US history. George wrote:
[Lee said,] “America is a racist society from its very origin. The arrival of the pilgrims and elimination of the Indians. United States is dishonest country because it’s based on the spoliation of its rightful owners. This country is based of hate and intolerance. And finally,” concluded Lee, “I think American Anglos hate this country because they ruined it to such an extent. Just look around – ugliness and pollution!”
George DM back in 1976 portrayed the political opinions of Lee Harvey Oswald as progressive and ahead of his time. So much that LHO’s opinions could be considered contemporary inside the US left wing of our own day – more than a half-century later. George wrote:
In our last meetings Lee often expressed his concern about this country – past and present. Its origins – according to him – by the hypocritical pilgrims, through Indian genocide, invasion of the Continent by greedy and hungry European masses…
George portrays LHO has sharply criticizing White Americans for many if not all of the curses of American history, including American Indian history. This narrative involved the savage practice of scalping. George wrote:
…Lee was keenly aware of the fact that it was the White man who had brought in “scalping” during the American-Indian war. And later, somehow, the Indians, [allegedly] cruel and contemptuous, were charged with this unpleasant procedure.
George used melodramatic hyperbole to canonize LHO’s prophetic vision of America’s sins. George wrote:
Before the [forced school] bussing confusion arose in this country, Lee was keenly aware of the racist cancer eating America’s healthy tissues.
George in April 1963 was preparing to move to Haiti for a lucrative oil and mineral exploration contract. George would causally discuss this with LHO, who would encourage him in this foray into this Caribbean nation populated entirely by Black citizens. George wrote:
Incidentally, Lee knew Haiti from his readings was the oldest, independent, Black Republic in the world. He was aware that Haiti had helped US during the War of Independence, a fact not known to many Americans of his age and background.
Again, speaking entirely for himself, George used strongly worded phrases to condemn the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, and blaming J. Edgar Hoover, whom he openly despised with a purple passion. Without citing any evidence but echoing rumors he heard from Jim Garrison’s movement, George wrote:
Dr. Martin Luther King was shot in a cowardly way by an ignorant redneck, possibly encouraged by another redneck – but clever and powerful that one – J. Edgar Hoover, who hated and despised the Blacks. The award of the Nobel Prize for Peace to Reverend King was the ultimate insult to Hoover.
The fact that LHO would occasionally burst into anger – either against Marina or against other Russian expatriates, or against what he regarded as injustice – had to be explained. George DM would try to explain it by citing the “rotten world” and LHO’s deep concern for the poor. Speaking for himself and Jeanne DM, he wrote:
We like to speak of Lee’s…frequent outbursts of justifiable anger at the existing situation in this rotten world of ours, of his deep concern for the starving and poorer than himself, of his worry and his pity for the racially segregated, for masses deprived of their just rights by the clever manipulators.
George also cited an extreme political opinion by a Southern medical doctor who advocated racial integration by using the extremes of State force. George claimed that LHO held the same opinion, writing:
A professor of medicine…born in Alabama, believes that intermarriage and sexual integration is the only way to combat racism. The ones who disagree “should be shot”, he says. Lee agreed with this opinion, I remember.
Finally, George DM draws a general conclusion about LHO from the bulk of his 1976 manuscript. George wrote:
It must come out clearly from all the material I had gathered here that Lee was above all, anti-segregationist. He was ‘anti’ any people who discriminate against any minorities, against any underprivileged.
There is the summary. LHO was “above all anti-segregationist.” Also, George DM agreed entirely with LHO on this political view. The implication must be clear – George took the same attitude toward the resigned General Edwin Walker that LHO took. They both despised Walker’s openly racist and segregationist politics.
They called him, “General Fokker.” They compared Walker with Hitler. They shared this view with the German engineer, Volkmar Schmidt. Given this orientation, we may argue that even if George DM knew nothing about LHO’s plans to shoot General Walker – George DM was nevertheless aligned with LHO in spirit during that historical act.
That is the summary. I should note here that my personal opinion is that George DM exaggerated LHO's position in some places, and probably put his own words into LHO's mouth in other places. We have reason to doubt some of George's narrative, based on the findings of Jim Garrison with regard to LHO cooperation with Guy Banister in New Orleans, as well as various anachronisms in George's narrative.
Be that as it may -- the point of this blog post was to report what George DM said, and how George himself interpreted the events of 1963 and the personality of LHO.