Letter from Rose Garland Rivers in Northampton, Massachusetts, to Mr. Miller.

Dublin Core


Letter from Rose Garland Rivers in Northampton, Massachusetts, to Mr. Miller.


Scottsboro Trial, Scottsboro, Ala., 1931; African Americans--Civil rights--Alabama; African Americans--Imprisonment--Alabama; Miller, Benjamin Meek, 1864-1944


Rose Garland Rivers, a university acquaintance of Governor Miller, encloses and explains a clipping that reports of African Americans being lynched or burned "down there." She asks Governor Miller to take this up and correct this false impression of the state. Governor Miller responds that he has no way to correct misstatements, but that they will be overcome.


Rivers, Rose Garland


Alabama Governor, Scottsboro Case appeals to the Governor, SG004239, Folder 2, Alabama Dept. of Archives and History








United States--Massachusetts--Northampton

Text Item Type Metadata


May [1] 2pm

Gov. Benjamin Meek Miller,
Office of Governor-

U.S. Veterans' Administrative Hosp.
Northampton, Mass.
May 1-'33-

My dear Mr. Miller-

Should old acquaintan-
ces be forgot? Its been a
long time since we knew
each other at the University.

Through the years I had
occasional news of you from
your brother than whom I
had no better friend.

Even so I would know
you now as Governor of our
State. I regret I have had
no opportunity to congratu-
late you. Though late my
wishes are none the less

We have in common a

love for our State and an
ever readiness to serve her.

It is in the interest of my
State that I am writing.

During my sojourn in the
State of Massachusetts I have
been cordially and kindly
treated, but any criticism
of my State I cannot let

There has been much agi-
tation here regarding the
Scottsboro case which has been
so widely discussed.

I am enclosing a clipping
which is a report of a pub-
lic meeting which I attend

I was so indignant and
hurt that I could hardly

hold my tongue. But I did, and de-
termined to write to you.

It is a true report, except all isn't
This man Harlow, professor of Theology
at Smith College ran for Congress last
fall on the Socialist ticket. Its possi-
ble that he is using this case as propa-
ganda. Anyway he presided, and
gave a most revolting story of the
Scottsboro case, and the first trial.
He told things that I do not believe.
The he introduced this negro, Davis,
and it is about his talk that I am
chiefly concerned. He said the South
was the land of oppression, and illus

trated. The clipping gives most of that.
But he kept repeating that a negro
in the South couldn't do this or that
or he would be lynched. His favorite
expression was "they lynch them
down there".

Then in a liquid, insinuating voice
he said "down there they burn them
at the stake". He went on to give a
vivid account of the negro tied to it
stake, soaked in gasoline, and slowly
burned, his cries being heard for
miles around.

I feel this should be taken up and
corrected. This negro Davis should
not be allowed to promulgate a false

story that is defaming to
our State.

In all my long life in Alaba
ma I never heard of a negro
being burned at the stake,
and if so atrocious a thing
had happened I undoubtedly
would have heard it.

This negro, no doubt finan
ced by the Socialist party,
is going from city to city
telling this story.

Wouldn't you like to have
your secretary write to Prof.
Harlow and tell him that
you expect him as a Christ
ian minister to stop this
negro from voicing such
an outrageous statement.

Of course I do not under-
stand why this case is not

dropped, there seems no foun-
dation for it, or justice in it.

But you no doubt have
your reasons, and I believe
in our Alabama men.

You have my sympathy in
the critical financial difficult
ies in Alabama, especially
the crisis that threatens the
schools. When we have made
such heroic efforts to bring
up educational standards,
and have been rewarded
with signal success, it
is most distressing to
have to curtail this work.

It is splendid the noble
sacrifice teachers have made,
and continued to teach
without salary.

I hope better times are not far off,
and you will reap the reward for
your earnest efforts.

With all good wishes I am
Sincerely yours,
Rose Garland Rives.

May I suggest that you ask Raymond
Daniel of Temple Graves to write to
Prof Ralph Harlow of Smith College if
you do not care to have it come from
your office.

May 11, 1933

Miss Rose Garland Rives,
U.S. Veterans' Administrative Hospital
Northampton Mass.

Dear Miss Rives:

Your letter received and appreciated.

I understand you position and how
such misrepresentations distress you. There is
no way for us to correct mis-statements. Truth
and sober judgment will finally overcome it.

With best wishes I am
Yours sincerely,

B. M. Miller,