Highlander Folk School, Communist Training School, Monteagle, Tenn. Georgia Commission on Education.

Highlander Folk School, Communist Training School, Monteagle, Tenn.

Atlanta: Georgia Commission on Education, [1964?]. First edition. One of a number of propaganda items commissioned and distributed by the Georgia Commission on Education (GCE), which sought to link the civil rights movement with Communism in order to disrupt school integration efforts. When the Highlander Folk School held its 25th anniversary on Labor Day weekend in 1957 and invited notable civil rights activists (or what the GCE termed "specialists in inter-racial strife”) like Martin Luther King, Jr., the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, and Rosa Parks, the GCE sprung into action and sent photographer Ed Friend to infiltrate and document the event.

The front page includes information on the Highlander Folk School leaders and a listing of "Communist Affiliations of persons in attendance at the Labor Day Weekend;" inside are 15 black & white photographs documenting the various workshops and integrated social activities; and the rear page includes an editorial comment from the staunch segregationist Georgia Governor and chairman of the GCE, Marvin Griffin, as well as an exhaustive list of affiliations or speaking engagements by four of the Highlander leaders, James Dombrowski, John B. Thompson, Don West, and Aubrey Williams, to various Communist or Communist front organizations. The GCE's efforts were not unsuccessful, as the Highlander school faced increasing scrutiny until its charter was revoked in 1961. It later reorganized as the Highlander Research and Education Center and exists today as a social justice organization.

Incidentally, the photograph of MLK, Jr. included as one of the 15 interior photos was reproduced widely by many right wing organizations and in a variety of formats: postcards, flyers, handbills, and posters, and was used as irrefutable evidence of his Communist sympathies. Our copy was reproduced by “The Sandtown Story,” an Atlanta area newspaper, in the same original large format around 1964. We find a notice in a 1964 issue of the Councilor, the newspaper of the White Citizens’ Council, advertising this edition.

A large sheet folded (17 ½” x 22”), 4 p., photographs. Horizontal and vertical folds with a couple of tender spots at folds, but about Near Fine. Five copies of this format listed in OCLC (Duke, Vanderbilt, Arkansas History Commission, UC Davis, & the National Library of Australia). Item #07820

Price: $650.00