Letter, Erle Johnston, Jr., to Paul B. Johnson, Carroll Gartin, and E.K. Collins; 25 February 1964.


Letter, Erle Johnston, Jr., to Paul B. Johnson, Carroll Gartin, and E.K. Collins; 25 February 1964.


Erle Johnston, Jr. (1917-1995)


Paul B. Johnson Family Papers, M191, Box 135, Folder 6, Historical Manuscripts, Special Collections, The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries.




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This is a memo from the director of the Mississippi state sovereignty commission, Earl Johnston Junior, to Governor Paul B Johnson, lieutenant governor Carol Garten, and chairman of the state judiciary committee EK Collins. The letter, written on Mississippi state sovereignty commission letterhead, was written on February 25, 1964, and the letter concerns Tougaloo college.<br />
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The memo reads as follows:<br />
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One. Reference is made to Senate Bill 1672, and act to repeal the charter up to go to college, now in the state judiciary committee. The files of the sovereignty commission are available at any time to the governor, lieutenant governor, or judiciary committee for inspection. Revocation of the charter would be a popular, punitive actions against Tougaloo. In our opinion it is doubtful that revocation of the charter would slow down any of the current activities at the institution, unless a law could be pass prohibiting any private educational institution from operating within the state without a charter. If the only effect of the revocation is placing the physical properties of Tougaloo on the tax rolls, the college we could reap a rich harvest from sympathizers by raising thousands of dollars over and above whatever taxes may be assessed. In fact, they would probably welcome an opportunity to use this act as a basis for persecution propaganda. We certainly favor revocation of the charter if it can be a step toward curtailing Tougaloo activities.<br />
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Two. We recommend that consideration be given to a movement designed to limit the certification of Tougaloo graduates as teachers in Mississippi schools. If we can aluminate certain accreditations now being enjoyed at Tougaloo, it is possible we could do more to hurt the enrollment in the reputation of the institution.<br />
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Three. Reference is made to section 6791.5 in the Mississippi code, volume five, re-compiled, entitled “commission on college accreditation. In paragraph three of the section, the last sentence reads “provided, however, that all colleges and universities on the southern association list... shall be included on the official list“ of the Mississippi commission on college accreditation. Under this law, Tougaloo College is automatically given full accreditation because it is fully accredited by the Southern Association. Before the Mississippi commission would have authority to consider
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Withdrawing accreditation from Tougaloo, this paragraph three would have to be amended to illuminate the reference to “southern association.“<br />
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For. If this amendment, as proposed, is adopted, the Mississippi accrediting Commission could deny certification of Tougaloo graduates as teachers in Mississippi schools. There are many Tougaloo graduates who are now teaching in Mississippi schools, but most of them graduated before the administration of President AD Beittel. To deny the certification would affect Tougaloo two separate fields. first, the graduates would not be issued certificates to teach in Mississippi. This would deprive them of an opportunity to employ the tactics they have learned in stirring up racial unrest. Second, although the graduates were teach in other states, because Tougaloo would still be accredited by the Southern Association, it is very likely these other states would recognize the Mississippi accrediting commissions action and require Tugaloo graduates to take refresher courses at secondary schools in the states where the graduates apply to teach.<br />
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Five. There is also the possibility that the southern association would want to investigate the reasons for withdrawal of accreditation by the Mississippi commission. If so, this would give us a first-hand opportunity to show the southern association that Tougaloo has long since departed from the Ames and purpose is to find in its charter, namely, for education, and now has become a sanctuary for law violators and alleged subversive groups. We could make a very good cause for the southern association.<br />
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Six. We generally recommend that consideration be given to denying accreditation of Tougaloo Graduates as well as the proposed revocation of charter.<br />
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Signed by Erle Johnston, Junior.


Erle Johnston, Jr. (1917-1995), “Letter, Erle Johnston, Jr., to Paul B. Johnson, Carroll Gartin, and E.K. Collins; 25 February 1964.,” Online Exhibits at Southern Miss, accessed June 14, 2024, https://usmspecialcollections.omeka.net/items/show/224.

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