Box 19, Folder 11, Document 4

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Box 19, Folder 11, Document 4

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8132 Carr Place
Springfield, Virginia

October 1, 1966

Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr.
City Hall
Atlanta, Georgia

Dear Mayor Allen:

The other evening I watched on a nationally
televised news program as you expressed your feelings
regarding the nomination of Lester Maddox for the
democratic candidate for governor of Georgia. I
was born and raised in Georgia, went to college in
Atlanta, and still consider myself a life-time citizen
of that state where I frequently return to in order to
visit my old home and relatives and friends. I have
lived away from Georgia, however, for the past fifteen
years, and during this time I have tried to look upon
Georgia and the rest of the south as objectively as
possible, to listen to the criticisms and to try to
understand all viewpoints, both within and outside the
state. I presently live in the Washington, D. Ce area,
but most of my recent years have been spent in the west,
So, I feel that I am fairly well qualified to express
a sound judgement of your nationally televised statement
on the Georgia nomination of Maddox,

If I were currently living in Georgia, I do not
know whether I would even be supporting Maddox. I
learned long ago that outside the south it is extremely
difficult to get a true picture from the news media of
people and events in the south--on the whole. Consequent-
ly, I feel that I know too little about the man to try to
judge him. However, he apparently has been a successful
business man, with very little formal education, and that
is a much greater accomplishment than you can say for a
lot of successful politicians who have had much formal
education. Determination and common sense are of far
greater worth than merely formal education. You said that
Mr. Maddox was “totally unqualified" to be the governor of
Georgia. Upon what do you base this? Certainly not upon
the fact that he had the courage--that most people lack=-- of
daring to stand up for his legal rights a couple of years
ago at his business establishment in Atlanta. This no doubt
piqued you, as Mayor of Atlanta, at a time when anyone who
opposed so-called civil rights was considered stupid by the
so-called liberal press and other news media. Is this the
real reason you dislike Mr. Maddox? I truly wish that I
could learn the answer to that.

Mr. Allen, although you gave Mr. Maddox much
more harsh criticism than I think the man deserves,
the thing that really hurt me in your statement,
and the real reason for my writing this letter, was
your complete condemnation--if not damnation-- of
the state of Georgia and the people of Georgia. If
you are so "ashamed" of the state of Georgia after
this nomination, then why don't you leave there? Why
don't you have the courage to back your convictions
as Mr. Maddox has? I have a feeling that you might
have been playing to the so-called liberal elements
of Atlanta when you so castigated the state of Georgia
for nominating a man of such stern conservative prin-
ciples. If it was not for this reason, then why did
you condemn the state of Georgia such as you did? What
did such a statement accomplish? What good did it do?
You, yourself, were the only one who stood to gain from
such verbal extremism. If it was not to improve your
position at the voting booth in Atlanta, was it to in-
prove or confirm your image before those so-called
liberals outside the state of Georgia, such as Abraham
Ribicoff, Bob Kennedy, Jacob Javits, and others of that
ilk whom you so impressed at the recent committee hear-
ings in Washington? --the same hearings that were turned
into a political circus, as witness the questioning of
the Mayor of Los Angeles, Did it ever dawn on you, Mr.
Allen, that you might have only been used at these hear-
ings and that you might have only been bait for some other
political fish being sought after by the politicians who
conducted these hearings?

If you want to disagree with or oppose Mr. Maddox,
then that is your right. But don't condemn the people
of Georgia and be "ashamed" of them for expressing the
democratic right to nominate a candidate of their choice.
You are actually condemning the democratic processes of
this country by going on national television to let the
rest of the nation know that through your lofty judgement
you are now "ashamed" of the people of Georgia, even though
a great majority of them think that you are wrong. Your
ill-considered statement hurt the great state of Georgia,
and it hurt me, as a Georgian, and I want to let you know,
Mr. Allen, that I am ashamed of you. It is just such
statements as this that inflame the rest of the country
against the south. I do not agree all the way with Gover-
nor Wallace of Alabama, but he certainly understands, better
than do you, the distorted views that others have of the
south, and he is to be commended for trying to straighten
some of the distortions rather than contributing to them
as you have just done. Believe me, the state of Georgia
is to be praised, not condemned, It is one of the best.

Yougs very jtyuly,
copy: ok tec
Mr. Lester Maddox Tonn fe Pet

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