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."