Monday, August 10, 2015

Bigotry or compassion?: We learned it from our parents, teachers, and mentors: Resolve to do better, after pondering A.H. Tebault, Jr.

Former Record Publisher ALFRED HUGH TEBAULT, JR. A/K/A "HOPPY" has died.
Forgive him.
On June 11, 1964, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote reform Rabbi Israel "Sy" Dressner that St. Augustine was "the most lawless place in America." On June 18, 1964, our Nation's Oldest City saw the largest mass arrest of rabbis in American history. Our future United Nations Ambassador, Rev. Andrew Young, later recalled that St. Augustine was the only place where the movement's "hospital bills exceeded our bail bond bills."
Make no mistake about it, ALFRED HUGH TEBAULT, JR., a/k/a "A.H. TEBAULT, Jr." A/K/A "HOPPY TEBAULT was a segregationist.
An enemy of civil rights and civil liberties, HOPPY TEBAULT defended and deflected evil Sheriff LAWRENCE O. DAVIS and evil Police Chief VIRGIL STUART.
TEBAULT was probably a member of the Ku Klux Klan -- if not, he followed its orders, printing locations of KKK rallies, printing names and addresses of African-American students and parents (whose cars and homes were firebombed and who were fired from jobs and evicted from homes). Thankfully, TEBAULT's death means there are no privacy exemptions to FBI files, and we can "read all about it."
A.H. TEBAULT was St. Augustine Record Publisher, 1963-1966.
A.H. TEBAULT was part of domestic terrorism in St. Augustine, Florida.
A.H. TEBAULT chilled, coerced, intimidated, excoriated, scorned and threatened First Amendment protected activity, using the then-monopolistic St. Augustine Record to suppress civil rights workers' vigorous in defense of First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth Amendment rights.
TEBAULT was an evildoer, allied with evildoers -- what RFK would call "The Enemy Within" here in St. Augustine, Florida.
Federal law, federal courts and great litigators (like William Kuntsler) defeated them.
TEBAULT believed in the fictitious doctrine of "state's rights." TEBAUlt printed page-one hateful fatwas from embarrassing segregationist Mayor JOSEPH A. SHELLEY, M.D., beloved local baby doctor who threatened African-American students with arrest, blacklisting and lifetime unemployment. SHELLEY was a national figure, going on the NBC Today Show to preach hate.
TEBAULT introduced WILLIAM L. PROCTOR, Flagler College Chancellor, to local influentials, served as Flagler College Vice President, and helped Flagler College become what it is today.
The truth and the Record's hagiography are below.
We learn, for good or evil, or both, from our parents, teachers and mentors.
My father and namesake (Edward Adelbert Slavin, Sr.) was an 82nd Airborne Divn. World War II paratrooper, a Realtor® who was told by NAACP in 1968, "Congratulations, Mr. Slavin, you're the only Realtor® who would show a black couple a home in West Berlin, New Jersey." Both my parents were union organizers and spoke out for working people all their lives, and taught me to do the same. I was blessed to have parents, teachers and mentors who taught tolerance and understanding. From a humble, near-miraculous birth as an only child (after twelve years of prayer to St. Jude, the patron Saint of hopeless causes) and upraising in rural New Jersey to Georgetown and Memphis State and working for three Senators, a brilliant labor attorney, AFL-CIO and two federal administrative law judges and representation of outspoken workers, I was blessed. My path did not follow the same path as TEBAULT. And as Pope Francis would say, "WHO AM I TO JUDGE?"
What if I were, by accident of birth, born as ALFRED H. TEBAULT, Jr. and not Edward Adelbert Slavin, Jr.? Would I have done the same? (Like Mayor SHELLEY, my father later appeared on the NBC Today Show, only to defend Vietnam War protesters: when I was in middle school, he responded to a question from Joe Garragiola, proudly stating, "My son is anti-war.")
It was truly sad to read the St. Augustine Record's pitiful news obituary of Mr. TEBAULT (below). Obviously, a talented, friendly person, TEBAULT's parents, teachers and mentors did not give him what he needed -- love for his fellow critters. During 1963-1966, TEBAULT's dupery and denunciation of "outside agitators" in general and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were a blight and a stench on this community. So are our all-white Sister Cities and Rotary Clubs (see below) and other all-white institutions in Our Town, a disgrace to the human race.
Obituaries at The New York Times are pre-written for well-known people, avoiding embarrassing displays of hagiography. TEBAULT was no Saint: he was a man, just like the rest of us. He deserved a perceptive obituary, the result of thought, not WILLIAM PROCTOR's spin.
Resolve to do better for the people whom you parent, teach and mentor -- yes we can! Raise your children and inspire your friends to love one another, and not to advance trite tropes, or worship false gods, or kill for evil empires or propagandize for sick twisted bigotry (e.g., friends don't let their friends vote Republican).

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