Anti-Communism and Colleges/Universities

This is a memo from Earl Johnston Junior the director of the Mississippi state cut sovereignty commission, to honorable Paul B Johnson, governor and Carol Garten, lieutenant governor. It is dated May 5, 1964, and is on Mississippi state sovereignty commission letterhead. The report is about A D Biettel, Tougaloo college.<br />
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Our pipeline information from Tugaloo says the trustees gave as their reason for dismissal of Dr. Beittel that he was in efficient. This will certainly work to our advantage. Had Dr. Beittel been asked to resign because of racial agitation or collaboration with communist front organizations, he could have made a martyr out of himself. As it is, he can say nothing because the trustees would naturally answer any statement he made by stating he was discharge for inefficiency. And it efficiency rating is difficult for any professor to overcome in seeking new employment.<br />
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We also have been informed that the bill we proposed in the legislature two separate authority of the Mississippi a credit in commission from the southern association is a weapon very much feared by Tugaloo authorities. If Mississippi accreditation is taken away they stand to lose considerable money which otherwise would be available from certain foundations. This bill, SB1794, it’s now all the Senate calendar, and we recommend that it be speedily past and signed into law.<br />
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We also are informed that during the weekend, the SNCC office on Lynch Street in Jackson had on display a big picture of Kruschev with this caption “our man in Moscow.“ We have pass this information onto local press for a possible news picture if the photograph is still on display.<br />
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We have had no direct contact with the Tugaloo trustees since the announcement about Dr. Beittel  <br />
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We will keep you informed as to future developments.<br />
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Signed Earl Johnston Junior.<br />
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CC: Honorable Shelby Rogers

A memo written by Erle Johnson, Jr. to Paul B. Johnson and Carroll Gartin about removing the state accreditation from Tougaloo College because of their civil rights activities. 

In the 1960s, Tougaloo College in Jackson played an important role in the civil rights movement. The traditionally African American school sponsored speakers, musicians, and activists who spoke out against segregation.  

In 1960, A.D. Beittel was hired as president of the college. His arrival coincided with an active period in the movement in Mississippi. During the first two years of his presidency, he promoted equality at the institution, witnessed Tougaloo students getting arrested in demonstrations, and often, bailed these students out of jail. Beittel never admonished Tougaloo students and faculty for their activism. At times, he was a participant in the demonstrations. 

The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission believed that Beittel and Tougaloo Chaplain Edwin King Jr. were "veteran supporters of communist causes and communist enterprises."  To be marked a communist was a common side effect of being involved in the move toward integration.  In addition, Beittel welcomed activists and supposed communists (like Carl and Anne Braden and James Dombrowski from the Highlander School) from all over the country to speak at Tougaloo, which only increased his reputation of encouraging communist activities.  

By 1964, several groups were working toward removing Beittel as president of Tougaloo in an effort to halt the activism on the Tougaloo campus. The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission collected information on Beittel to discover enough information for dismissal. The Commission took its information to Governor Paul B. Johnson Jr. to disseminate to the electorate. Due to the efforts of anti-communist groups in the state, Beittel was asked to resign from his position as president of Tougaloo College.  

To reprimand Tougaloo College for their support of the civil rights movement and their association with alleged communists, a bill was discussed to change the laws regarding accreditation of colleges in the state. Up to that point, if a college was accredited by the regional organization (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) then it was automatically given accreditation by the state. The proposed bill changed this by giving the state the ability to refuse accreditation. With the loss of accreditation, students who graduated from the school could not teach in Mississippi.  The students would be able to teach in other states only after taking supplementary classes to elevate them to the level of accreditation.  With the announcement of Beittel's departure, the threat of the accreditation bill disappeared having served its purpose.