|1967. Alan McSurely and Margaret, poverty workers in Pike
County, Kentucky, incurred the ire of the local elites. Their home was bombed, their
personal papers seized in a raid and turned over to the United States Senate, and they
were indicted under the same law the Bradens were charged with violating.
|It was about eight o'clock on an August evening. I looked out the kitchen
window, and there were these men prancing through the grass. They all had guns. I said to
myself, "My goodness, they must be looking for an escaped convict." The next
thing I heard was a knock. Men burst in the front and back doors. They told Al to sit
down, but before he could he was shoved onto the couch and placed under arrest for
sedition. "Hold your head up." one of the men who was taking pictures said to
Al, "I want to see how you'll look when you hang." I couldn't believe my eyes or
ears. The commonwealth's attorney, Thomas Ratlift, sat down on the chair next to the
bookcase and began going through our books, one by one, putting them in piles. Other men
went into the bedroom and took the bed apart. They went through the dresser drawers and
the closet. They rooted through Al's desk and boxes of our papers. They just took
everything. "Lookie here, Thomas," one said, "the Village Voice.
That's where all them beatniks are." It was bizarre, comical, and terribly
frightening at the same time. Then they got some papers that showed I had worked for SNCC.
Thomas Ratliff said, "Let's get her, too."