July 2, 1964

There have been about 80 of you newsmen in Philadelphia and Neshoba County since the three “civil rights” workers disappeared. It is unfortunate that it takes such a tragedy as this to get you to visit our town. The people here don’t like the circumstances any more than you do, but fate has ordained that we are the victims, so we must make the best of it.

We are glad to have you among us. With only a few exceptions, the people will be nice, courteous and considerate of you; realizing that you are merely doing your job in the way you think best and the way your editors have directed.

However, the people of Neshoba County and Mississippi should not be expected to be on the “giving” end alone. You have a responsibility yourselves. You have the integrity of your profession to uphold; to report things as they are, and not merely copy that will sell your newspapers in the big cities.

When writing of our way of life and the conditions under which we live, you also have the responsibility of not deceiving your readers; of being honest with us, yourself and not taking statements out of context to paint us as “backwards” and “ignorant”. We want the truth to be known about us and with only the few exceptions, you will find that we have no desire to withhold truthful information that you might want. We laugh at ourselves for many of our customs, which are sectional, but we resent the exaggerations which have appeared in many publications.

We have copies of some of your reports which we think and know are incorrect and misleading. However, we would be the last to tell you what to include in those reports and how to do your assigned job. We do expect a ‘fair shake’ and ask that you review some of your stories after having been among us for the past week or ten days, and ask yourself if you have been objective.

We want all of you to enjoy your stay here as much as possible. We want you to be comfortable, and we want you to have a friendly feeling toward us when the time comes for you to pursue your job elsewhere.

We think you are nice fellows, love your families and want to get ahead. But don’t step in our faces on your way.