To the Editors:
Some months ago a talented Negro member of the lower body in Michigan’s legislature from Detroit was found to have been using the impressive credentials of an eastern white lawyer who had stopped breathing years before.
Although proof of his misrepresentation was ample he was subsequently re-elected. His legistative brethren took a dim view of the largeness of his fiction, and after hearings refused to seat him. Then the poor fellow’s troubles multiplied, and the stories in the newspapers daily dealt with the amount of time he would ultimately be obliged to do in the stir.
Never did they reckon that the man who called himself Daniel West was even more resourceful than our own Jimmy Hoffa, who at last count was into his union for well over a half million bucks for the cost of legal resistance to the findings of many courts.
Mr. West just took a powder, and neither hide nor hair has been seen of him since, or so our automated, frustrated police report. To his own people I am sure Mr. West did what has been necessary for many talented colored men and women of obscure heritage.
It just so happens that I have not had to resort to a fictional background, although many “shanty Irishmen” have with the applause of their ilk ringing in their ears. The latest is Municipal Judge Francis X. Morrissey of Boston who has simply taken a page out of precedents set for him by other heroes of the Irish masses there and elsewhere.
Just the other day I met a gentleman who is on my list of ever so many persons for whom I have no respect. I reminded him of the many fine things I have done for Detroit, but chose to name only one. I did not reproduce my species as he had done, thereby perpetuating an incalculable damage to an almost irreparable community shambles.
I wish Dick Rovere had inquired of anybody in the news gathering trade hereabouts. Both before and after my McCarthy days there have been many dragons slain by me, some of my feats bringing great distress to a tragically univocal daily press.
It is true, as stated by Dick, that my addiction to the “curse of my race” cost me many posts. I have not tried to substitute the Water of Lourdes for what I was obliged to give up some years ago, and I have a strong aversion to the retelling of the events of the Spanish American war.
One last point to keep the record as straight as I dare; I was cultured and brought to limited maturity in a suburb of Boston known for the opulence of its principal population. The McIntyres were not of that stripe, but like the Kennedys who took up residence there before moving on to Westchester, we had our share of amusement observing the mannerisms of the more segregated shanty Irish outside our enclave.
As for Skid Row, much that is known of it and my own estimate of what causes it to exist in so many places could fill a book. Were I to author such a volume I should be obliged to say that in it is the greatest concentration of intellectually honest folk in any community.
I should also have to say I never had the courage to take up residence in it, although it is unsafe for me to make too much of my lifelong affinity for soap and water, lest the slight difference in status be carefully drawn.
To Dick Rovere I owe at least the thanks for disclosing my not unimportant part in closing the book on the most fiendish human being in my long list of confrontations with bestiality, up to that time, below the rank of United States Senator.
December 9, 1965