Charleston Gazette Mail in Charleston, West-Virginia 16 Dec 1962
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Charleston Gazette-Mail (Newspaper) - December 16, 1962, Charleston, West Virginia
Gazette mail Charleston West Virginia december 16, 1962 to this end i was born. / Rev. Ogden s cruel dilemma at Little Rock editorials sports pm want Ada in this Section Page 1c in an appalling by Don Marsh the Telephone Call placed Rev. Dunbar Ogden or. Situation. The caller was mrs. Daisy Bates president of Arkansas branches of the National association for the advancement of coloured people. Her request was at once disarmingly simple and dismaying by complicated. She asked Rev. Ogden to Muster a group of ministers to be used As escorts the next Day when nine negro children planned to enrol at All White Central High school in Little Rock Ark. There was no question the nine Young items needed help. An angry mob was prowling the High school grounds and gov. Orval Faubus had indicated his willingness to tolerate it. Under the circumstances there was no Way of guaranteeing the children s safety. Rev. Ogden was aware of the tenseness. Earlier that Day sept. 3, 1957 a Young negro lawyer had visited him in his study at the Central presbyterian Church of Little Rock. He said to me i Felt i had to talk to a White person Rev. Ogden recalled. He said i guess you know this is drawing a very Sharp line Between the negro and White people in our Cit Yand he said do you know where the negro people Are today this very morning " or. Ogden he said our negro people Are gathered in Little groups in their Homes in this City with the shades drawn and they Are weeping and praying. Or. Ogden you can t imagine what a tragic thing this is in the hearts and minds and lives of our negro people whether Rev. Ogden was Able to Analyse the subjective reaction of negroes was another problem. He did know the Issue was causing him a great Deal of trouble. He had received other callers and other Telephone Calls that Day. Inadvertently he had become an important figure in the dispute because a few months earlier he had been elected president of the Little Rock ministerial Alliance which was incidentally integrated. /. Mrs. Bates him in extreme difficulty. His sympathy was wholeheartedly with her but More than most men he had reason to examine implications of his decision. The most important one was his feeling that if he helped the negro children he would be forced from i Church. For a Man of 55, the Prospect was not stimulating. / furthermore his world was righting itself after a trying personal experience a break in health that had made it seem of questionable value to him. His wife and children were Happy his place in the Community secure. He knew his position would be Safe if he did t become too deeply involved in the racial crisis. Other ministers had found themselves in the same dilemma. They had chosen discretion Over valor and had escaped unscathed. Nobody would have blamed him had he ignored mrs. Bates. Rev. Ogden discussed the alternatives recently with a visitor in his Home on Kanawha Boulevard. He has lived in Charleston since he became associate pastor of Bream memorial presbyterian Church nearly two years ago. He is not an imposing Man physically. He is neither tall nor Short fat nor thin. Ordinarily he Speaks softly always in a Southern drawl. He uses the phrase just a Little presbyterian minister to describe himself and indeed it must have seemed to him that he was an Ordinary Man caught in an extraordinary situation. Living was Good life had not always offered such cruel conundrums to Dunbar Ogden or. For a Long time in fact he could if he chose have been Able to ill the boys at the luncheon club with pardonable Confidence that he was both master of his Fate and Captain of his soul. To begin with he was a Man of Breeding. He was a native of Mississippi and his family had lived in the South Long enough to have set out the first Magnolia Plant and considerably before Eli Whitney had begun to tinker with a Gadget he was to Call the Cotton Gin. Rev. Ogden s great Grandfather David Hunt was in his Day the richest Man in Mississippi possessor of More than 2,000 slaves. Hunt owned four plantations so luxurious that their doorknobs and hinges were of Silver. Another great Grandfather and a grandmother were of sufficient social standing to have been presented to Queen Victoria. Although his family had been impoverished by the civil War ordinarily Ogden Calls it the War Between the states his father was a distinguished presbyterian minister and the Ogden name and Yili Adilon were equal to any in the South. Rev. Ogden had been successful the his own life. He had graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and he had earned Bachelor and master s degrees from Union theological Seminary in Richmond a. He was Bright personable and so pious and Well bred that his ascension to the tall steeples presbyterian patois for big churches seemed assured. His career did nothing to dissuade the belief. Before he was 40, he was pastor of the first presbyterian Church of Staunton a. One of his predecessors had been Rev. Joseph r. Wilson and Rev. Wilson s son Woodrow had been born in the Staunton manse. He had taken part in a program dedicating Woodrow Wilson s Birthplace As a National shrine in 1942. President Franklin d. Roosevelt was the principal speaker. Rev. Ogden had read a Brief message from the Bible and had chosen deliberately the passage that contains the words mrs. Daisy Bates a Call or help mrs. Dunbar Ogden wife of embattled minister for be shall know the truth and the truth shall make be Rev. Ogden was Busy in Staunton. He served As Secretary for the Board of trustees at Mary Baldwin College he had a Large Church and he was Active in civic projects. His schedule was such that in 1951 he suffered a serious failure in health hovering on a nervous breakdown and his doctor suggested that if he wanted to recover he would have to take a less demanding Job. In 1952, Rev. Ogden moved to pea Ridge , As the name implies is a Hamlet of almost stultifying serenity and within a few years he had completely recovered. One of the reasons he went to Arkansas was because his brother feed is a practising physician there and could look after him. Through his brother he met Virgil Blossom who was to become superintendent of schools at Little Rock and they remained Good friends. By 3954, Rev. Ogden Felt Well enough to accept a Call to become pastor of Central presbyterian Church in the state capital at Little Rock. It was neither the biggest nor the richest Church in town but it was a Clear step Forward from pea Ridge. Since Rev. Ogden had four sons in school at the time he was Happy to make the move. Central Church As its name implies was near the Center of town. It had about 500 members mostly Middle class and it was located within a few blocks of White Central High school of negro Horace Mann High school and of the governor s mansion. More important it was on the front line of the area that divided Black and White Little Rock. As is often the Case much of the White population was scattering to the suburbs and the overcrowded negro area was exploding outward. Familiar happening this outward movement is a familiar development in almost every City that has a sizable negro minority. Sometimes it causes difficulty As Rev. Ogden can attest. His problem started in 1957 when a White family that lived next door to the manse a presbyterian minister s Home prepared to sell its House to a negro. A woman insurance dealer called Rev. Ogden and told him of the impending Sale. She suggested that since the information was t Public he act immediately to dispose of the manse which his Church owned. I asked her if the purpose of that was to get As Good a Price possible for our House with the knowledge that the other houses on the Block would probably bring much less. She said that s exactly it. So i said Well now do you Call this Christian she said she did t know whether it was Christian or not but that was the Way she Felt it should be he refused her plan. With the Aid of an important member of his flock his opinion prevailed. The negro family moved next door and the Ogden found them to be excellent neighbors. It was not his first experience with the problems caused by the Peculiar relationship that exists Between negroes and Whites in the South. Earlier he had helped organize an integrated ministerial association at Staunton Only to see it fail because of the reluctance of congregations of which churches to have it succeed. His position As a Liberal on the question of race was Well known. It was a problem that had worried me for a Long time he said. I remember several incidents from my youth that in retrospect made me examine and reexamine my boyhood Assumption that negroes were inferior. I remember once on a train in Europe How i entered my compartment on a train and saw a Man who i thought was a negro sitting there and How relieved i was when i found that he was from India. And i asked myself Why i Felt that Way it was the same Man. And once in College a group of us paid a negro boy a Dollar to take part in a mock Lynching we used a picture of it in our yearbook and i be since thought what a tragedy it was that he was subjugated to Rev. Dunbar Ogden his Faith was his guide the Point he was t aware of his own humiliation. Another time when a Mississippi Friend and i and my Friend s negro boy were swimming. We started wrestling trying to push each other under the water. I suddenly realized that the negro boy whom my Friend called snowball could have put put him under anytime he chose but it always ended with my Friend on top. And it seemed to be an example of what some people Call Good negro White relations. There is an appearance of everybody dealing with each other in a forthright manner but when All is said and done the negro is expected to knuckle but despite his background and experiences Rev. Ogden like Many other residents of Arkansas was surprised by an increasing atmosphere of danger that had gathered about what was to be he planned orderly integration of Public schools. During the summer Little Rock had become electric with fear and mistrust. White citizens councils were formed and the governor of Georgia made an incendiary speech urging resistance. The Kun flux klan was Active and members called for bloodshed if necessary to keep negro children out of White schools. The City was tense with apprehension. The climactic incident occurred in Early september. On monday sept. 2, gov. Faubus announced that blood will run on the streets if integration was attempted. Therefore. Faubus said he was calling out the National Cuard to protect life and properly. On tuesday sept. 3, opening Ray a jeering mob gathered at the in trance of Central High school and guardsmen did nothing to disperse it. Murder threatened mrs. Bates the a act Leader said she was told the children might be murdered if they attempted to Register. Nevertheless she the children and their parents decided to make the attempt on wednesday sept. 4. At supt. Blossom s request parents were not to accompany their sons and daughters. He feared their presence would inflame the mob. It was against that background that mrs. Bates called Rev. Ogden and asked him to assemble some of his fellow ministers. She hoped the clergy would pacify the mob. When she called me first and explained her purpose i said Well now mrs. Bates ,.,do you think this is the business of tha Church do you think it s part of the work of religion to take part in a move ment that might be thought of As More poetical and social than a churchly nature i said Don t you think it s possible it will be said of the ministers that they be gotten a Little too dramatic going out there and walking with the negro children Aren t there other ways they could help better in both cases she disagreed very firmly. She said it was something that needed to be done. Still unsure myself i told her i would see what i could do and would Call her what transpired next could have been the inspiration for the movie High in the film a sheriff is threatened by the imminent arrival of a gang of desperadoes who Are coming to his town to kill him. At first his townspeople As sure him of their unswerving support. But when High noon the showdown comes he finds himself alone. To some degree the Little Rock clergy played the part of the townspeople. That part of it that met formal educational requirements before becoming ministers was almost unanimously committed to the principle of integration. Many members had preached on the necessity for brotherhood Justice and compassion. Even if they failed to link the a Noble abstractions with the situation in their City As most of them did their intention was Clear. A group of them even signed a petition deploring Faubus use of the National guard. With some Confidence Rev. Ogden began soliciting support. Without bitterness he described what happened. I Don t know How Many i called but quite a few perhaps a dozen the ministers i thought most Likely to go and everyone of them declined to go with me except one Colbert Cartwright who was minister of the Pulaski Heights Christian two other ministers who happened to be visiting in town and who telephoned him to inquire of news volunteered when he explained his predicament. Rev. George Chauncey of Monticello Ark., a presbyterian and Rev. William Campbell of Nashville tenn., a Baptist said they would accompany him if in your judgment you think it s he called mrs. Bates and agreed to meet with the children the next morning before they started to school. He was unable to please turn to Page 10c City police prepare to Stop demonstrators in front of Little Rock integrations say that City policemen tried to be impartial the Long school Shadow of Little Rock 1. Name the speaker and minority Leader of the West Virginia House of delegates and the state Senate president and minority Leader chosen in last week s caucuses. 2. Identify John j. Abt and Joseph Forer. How were they in the news last week 3. What is the name of the missile involved in the controversy Between the United states and great Britain 4. Name the British protected sultanate which rebelled last week. 5. What two pieces of legislation were unveiled last week by the West virginians for improved health care and who will sponsor the Bills in the state Senate 6. In what connection were Dupont s Belle works and the Goodrich Gulf Plant at Institute in the news last week 7. What percentage of its budget did the soviet Union say it would spend on defense 8. Name the rocket used to fire the relay satellite into orbit last thursday. 9. Identify Jack Levine. How was he in the news last week 10. Where is the tracking station that commanded Mariner ii to turn its scanning instruments on Venus Friday answers will be found on Page 3c. 1
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