Box 14, Folder 12, Document 94

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Box 14, Folder 12, Document 94

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1607 Orlando St., SW
Atlanta, Georgia
September 8, 1966

Mayor Ivan Allen
City Hall
Atlanta, Georgia

Dear Mayor Allen:

While the Atlanta Journal raves on about the courage of our Mayor in a time
of stress, while this newspaper media continues to condemn the city firemen
for their stand, taken after many, many years of hardships brought about by
low salaries and poor working conditions - while the propaganda continues to
fly about how the citizens of Atlanta are appalled and disgusted with the
striking firemen, I think it behooves you, The Atlanta Journal, Chief C.H.
Hildebrand, Chief Jenkins ad] your Aldermanic Board to really get out and take
stock of how the general public feels, and then face up to the fact that you
are not as popular as you might have been - none of you. When you speak of
people losing respect, you might start with the Mayor and go on down the
list of people above mentioned - many of whom I have had the utmost respect
for in past times.

Sure, I come from a Fire Department family. Since I was two years old we
have had from one to six members of our family on the Department. Today I

can walk in Greenwood Cemetery and see a fireman's grave - a fireman who was
my husband - a fireman who HAD to work two jobs to make a living for his
family - not afford luxuries mind you, but just make ends meet. Many people
asked why he stayed on this job with such a low salary and long hours.«,.and
there is but one answer - he was LOYAL AND DEDICATED, the things his friends
are accused of not being now - these friends who have been LOYAL AND DEDICATED
to the cause of firefighting for as many as thirty years. I believe as
honestly as I know I am writing this letter that the short life he lived can
be contributed in part to the long hours he worked and the pressure of having
to work two jobs. If he were here today, I am sure he would join his friends
and fellow firemen in their effort to better a condition that should have
been corrected many years ago. I have lived to see men that he respected

and admire sell these firemen down the river, and this would have been heart-
breaking to him, for he believed in brotherhood, and certainly he would have
wanted a Chief that would have supported his men, rather than turn from them.

How does the unbiased general public feel?

Listen to the bank teller that openly brought this subfet up yesterday, without
me approaching it in any way: "I am so disgusted with the great Ivan Allen

and his superior attitude. The policemen of this city should first have
walked off their jobs when the Hank Aaron case was at issue, and now they are
being made, in this supposedly land of the free - to work firemen's jobs while
they are 'fired' They need to come out in support of these firemen, instead

of working their jobs at the direction of Chief Jenkins. I hear fhat they are
being paid extra to work and the police that are taking care of regular

police duties have an extra load on them at no extra pay. If there's money to
pay these police extra, why isn't there more for the firemen. Our trouble
here in Atlanta is that our Mayor was born with a silver spoon in his mouth

and it's notmmacessary for him to be interested in the little man. Then Chief

Jenkins has gotten rich since he became Chief of Police and he's more crooked
than the crooks his men catch."

And the florist just today -

"I'll be so glad when things get back to normal in Atlanta if they ever do.
Maybe if Allen had gotten his headbusted the other night, everybody would have
been better off. He sure did boast about running this city and it is

apparent that he does and not to the best intesést of the people. The firemen
ought to walk off and the police should have walked off when this nasty

Aaron situation developed. That's repulsive to every citizen in ths town."

Now, can you say that ALL public sentiment is against these firemen?

You and Chief Hildebrand insult the intelligence of Atlanta citizens when
you say we have adequate fire protection. Why have we needed all these

fire stations and men all these years - why haven't we just gone along with
the some 200 now working and paid them good, decent salaries. Evidently we
thought we needed the other men and other stations. And we question the
calibre of men you are now hiring for firefighting jobs when in just recent
days you have not even been able to fill vacancies - nobody wanted to be

The stations are being manned by Chiefs, Assistant Chiefs, Pire Prevention
Bureau personnel and some few good, real firefighters, but if you would be
honest, and Chief Hildebrand would be honest, and we w@nt te get into name
calling, many of these many now working are men who have not been responsible,
capable firefighters for many years and have been carried so to speak by
these firemen they have now betrayed. Remember, I said some of them still
worki"are GOOD, CAPABLE MEN - but what about the one who was on suspension

and was called back to work - what about another who has had all kinds of
offenses against him and has been hanging by a thread and the others that

are physically sick....don't sell your Atlanta Public short, Mr. Mayor. We're
not as stupid as you think and much of our knowledge comes from personal
experience and personal knowledge - not from heresay, nor from propaganda.

I'm on the Firemen's side, Mr. Mayor. I have yet to find many people who are
not - except those in our city government who choose to make a big deal over
a new stadium rather than see that their employees are paid decent wages.
You've never known what it was to not have enough to eat and not be able to
take care of your family, but believe me, there's many "fired" firemen who
have been in that position, although I feel that some who have taken a

stand against their brother fireman have forgotten this.

I'm sure you have received many such letters and they do not bother you, as
long as you are carrying your point, but I could not live with myself if I
didn't say to you that when you, and the others in authority, lie down at
night, I hope you are able to sleep well with your conscience and that you
can continue to live with the injustice you are doing these good men.

Today we determined in our offices to not buy office supplies in the future
from your company, not that it would affect your profit to gny great extent,
but because the name on various things here is repulsive to us in view of
the position you have taken against our firemen.

Sincerely, |

CC: Chief Hildebrand, Chief Jenkins, The Atlanta Jourtal


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