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November 22, 1978 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1978-11-22

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Page 4-Wednesday, November 22, 1978-The Michigan Daily

tMl C dibga n a t4
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Eighty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom

A tree grows i*n Dallas


Vol. LXXXIX, No. 66

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan


Diggs' resignation

NOW THAT Detroit Representative
Charles Diggs has received a
three year prison sentence on federal
fraud charges, he should once again
consider the responsible course open to
him all along-resignation.
Buoyed by his overwhelming
reelection vote in this month's
balloting, as well as by the hope that he
might get off with probation for his
multi-count conviction last month,
Rep. Diggs apparently hoped to hang
onto his post. The prison sentence,
however, certainly complicates
matters. If he wishes, Rep. Diggs could
represent his constituents from his
cell. There is virtually no way he could
be ousted now save a two-thirds vote of
Congress-something which has not
been done since the Civil War.
The 13th district congressman has
portrayed himself as the victim of a
Justice Department strategy to single
out prominent black leaders for close
scrutiny. Implicit in this claim is the
argument that keeping Rep. Diggs in
office would thwart this federal plot
and help preserve a strong minority
voice in Washington.
This could not be further from the
truth. Even if, Rep. Diggs somehow
manages to dodge the jailer for a few
years and fight off a house vote to oust
him he will hardly be an effective

voice for black concerns in Congress.
His influence now is nil. By hanging
onto his House seat, he assures that his
constituents will continue to lack any
serious representation in the capitol.
If, on the other hand, Rep. Diggs
were to resign, Gov. William Milliken
would appoint a temporary
representative and a special election
would be held. This would give voters
of the 13th district the opportunity to
send an individual with a similar
political outlook to Washington, D.C. In
all likelihood, the 13th district's
predominantly black electorate would
make sure that minority
representation is maintained in
In his more than two decades in
Congress, Rep. Diggs has often
provided effective leadership on behalf
of the less'advantaged members of our
society. He has done much work for the
cause of minority rights, through the
Congressional black caucus, which he
helped found, and through the
Democratic leadership.
Now that his effectiveness as a
fighter for these causes is gone, he
should step aside so that someone else
can carry on these struggled. His
decision to desperately cling to office
can only hurt the interests of the people
he purports to serve.

By Marguerite Oswald
Today marks the 15th anniversary of
the assassination of President
John F. Kennedy. November 24 is the
same anniversary of his accused assassin,,
Lee Harvey Oswald. In the following
account, Oswald's mother, Marguerite
Oswald, recalls her feelings on' the day of
her son's, and the President's, funerals.
This article was written for Pacific
News Service. .
Lee Harvey Oswald was picked up by the
Dallas police on November 22, 1963,, as a
suspect in the assassination of President John
F. Kennedy. For two days and nights he
proclaimed his innocence, always denying he
had anything to do with the killing of
President Kennedy or Patrolman J. D.
Tippett. We know his face was badly bruised.
The pictures showed it. He had black eyes and
scratches on his face when I visited him in jail
on November 23, 1963.
He said, "Don't worry, mother, I will get an
attorney. I know my right. Please do not
That was the last time I saw Lee Harvey
Oswald, my son, because on the morning of
November 24, 1963 he was shot by Jack Ruby
while handcuffed in police custody before
millions of people who viewed the tragic event
on television. He had just turned age 24 on
October 18, 1963.
I hope that I will be able to bring something
into the lives of those who read this story, and,
in some manner, bring about a better
understanding of the Oswald family, victims
of circumstances over which we had no
I have tried to portray our feelings when
our beloved son, brother, husband and father
was murdered and buried in one of the most
heart-rending funeral services, for me at
least, that has evern been conducted.
On the morning of November 25, 1963, the
day of the funeral, the family was lodged at
the Inn of the Six Flags, Arlington, Texas,
between Dallas and Fort Worth. We were
under the protective custody of the United
States Secret Service. My daughter-in-law,
Marina, my son, Robert, myself, and Lee's
two adorable little girls, June Lee and
Rachel, were together.
I was told one hour in advance to make
ready, that Lee's funeral was about to take
place. The Secret Service agents did not ask
me &I needed anything, but wanted to know
Marina's size because they wanted to buy her
a dress. They went into nearby Arlington,
Texas, and selected two black dresses so that
Marina would have a choice.
They brought Lee and Marina's first born,
June Lee,' age 21 months, a new outfit and
some high-top shoes. I helped dress baby -
Rachael, who was only one. month and two
days old. The baby had no new clothes, nor
did I, but this was all right with me, for
Marina and June Lee did.
We left 'to go to Lee's funeral, where
services were to be held at'4:00 p.m. in the
chapel on the grounds of Rose Hill Burial
Park ... his wife, Marina, his two babies, his
brother robert, and myself. His older half-
brother, John Edward Pic, was not present,
because he was a career man with the United
States Air force, in uniform at the time, and
the government decided it best that he not
Earlier, after Robert had contacted three
ministers who would not help us in our

sorrow, or take the boy's body into a church,
or even partcipate on the grounds, one
minister, after much persuasion, finally
consented that we would have chapel
services. He refused to bring the body into the
church, but finally consented that we would
have chapel services.
So much for Christianity as we know it
today ... the laws of our land state clearly
that a person is considered innocent until
tried by a jury and found guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt ...
There is a beautiful chapel on the grounds
of Rose Hill Burial Park on the outskirts of
Fort worth.
Our family did think the minister would
keep his word; but when we entered the
chapel, it was empty. My son, robert, cried
bitterly because his brother's body was not
there. Lee's body had been brought to the
chapel and had remained there for about an
hour. But someone had ordered the t body
removed to the grave site.
As we got to the grave, Mr. Paul G. Groody,
who was the funeral director from Miller's
Funeral Home, came forward and said,
"Mrs. Oswald, I'm sorry, but we don't have a

television program - abit President
Kennedy's grave. As I waged, the scene
shifted to my son's grave anc bent forward
with renewed interest. But t! announcer's
next words cut to the bottom ohy'heart.
"The assassin's graver has n it a dead
tree," he said. And a picture is shown of a
tree. The leaves had fallen off zd it certainly
looked dead. Not one time jAhe past six
months had my composure brten, but this
time, alone in my house, I brie down and
wept uncontrollably.
To hear my son referred to E an assassin
without the qualified "Alleg& was more
than I could take. He was only he accused,
had never stood before a jurr, never been
tried nor convicted. And then sere was the
picture of the dead tree. I knewothing about
the tree, which was a weeping %low.
I soon learned it had been ]anted a few
days earlier, since my last visit to the
cemetery. I did not know who pLit there; but
it had not been watered, and appared to have
died immediately. I. had takei a personal
interest in keeping Lee's, grave eat-looking,
for many people passed by to takoictures for
I was determined that by the rxt Sunday

I hope that I will be able to bring something iro the
lives of those who read this story, and, in some ninner,
bring about a better understanding of the Oswald ;tinily,
victims of circumstances over which we had no contro

Too little, too late

TODAY IS THE 15th anniversary of
the assassination of President
John F. Kennedy. Most will pause
momentarily to remember what they
were doing when they first learned of
the Dallas shooting. But now that day
is so distant that the circumstances of
that dreadful event seem almost
meaningless in the context of our
present lives.
And so the final weeks of the House
Assassinations Committee seem anti-
climactical. We heard no startling
revelations. No intricate conspiracies
were unearthed. Many gaps in the
assassination stories of both President
Kennedy and Rev. Martin Luther
King, Jr., were filled in; new questions

have been raised and new gaps exist.
What if the full details of those two
murders were finally disclosed to the
public? What good would that
information be 10 and 15 years after
the fact? Granted, it would probably be
too late to have any effect - even if the
committee learned of a conspiracy.
But one basic premise remains: the
public has a right to know what
actually happened in order to possibly
prevent similar unfortunate blows to
So it seems that the intent of the
committee was good and sound. But,
as usual, the government has moved
too little, too late. Again, the public is
left without the truth - the whole

Then Reverend Louis A. Sanders, who is an
executive for the Fort Worth area Council of
Churches, stepped forward and soid, "Mrs.
Oswald, if you like, I will help out."
The Reverend Saunders had not preached a
sermon in eight years. He had come to the
cemetery on his own, he told me. He had no
time to prepare a sermon, and he had left his
bible in his car, parked two blocks away.
The Reverend Saunders began, "We have
come here today to lay away the body of Lee
Harvey Oswald. We are not here to judge him,
but to bury him. May God have mercy on his
Then he turned to newsmen and security
men and said, "His mother has informed me
that Lee was a good son to her, a good
husband to his wife, and a good father to his
We insisted upon remaining until the coffin
was lowered into the grave. Then Marina
went over and picked up a handful of dirt,
making the sign of the cross. I was surprised,
but assume this is also the custom in Russia. I
followed suit, and so did Robert.
As we left the grounds, I noticed a sight I
had seen as we came in, and one I shall never
forget. The cemetery flag was at half-staff. Of
course, I knew it was flying low because of
our President had died. But to me, you see, it
meant also that my son was being buried
under a flag that was at half-staff, too.
Sometimes there is joy.even in sorrow.
The three men who died in Dallas were all
buried on the same day. First, President
Kennedy, then Patrolman Tippett, then my
The pain and sorrow of Lee's burial
followed me for many months. It was
climaxed in May, 1964, when I was watching a

my son's grave would be the niceslooking in
that particular section of Rose :ill Burial
Park. I drove all over Fort Worth ad went to
Arlington, Dallas; and finally b ,,k to Fort
Worth before I found }what I was loking for. I.
was seeking sodded, grass, the kind that
comes in rolls, alreaiy grown. Finally, I
found a greenhouse thathad'he gass.
The greenhouse owne- brcughtut a roll of
fresh-cut sod and I made ready .o pay him.
"No, Mrs. Oswald," hc sail. "I'm a
sympathizer. I would nit acce)t payment
from you. It won't cost youoe cert." a
My next problem was th "&ad" tree. I
pruned it. I had no shears, ustan ordinary
pair of scissors. As I wQred, one of the
cemetery workers approachl me and said,
"Mrs. Oswald, that tree is did. We'll dig it
up for you if you like."
"Oh, no," I answered. "Lech tree ale-,
and let me see what I can do.' 1 lit sur
there was life left in the roots. ;Gwen,,
every doy for a week, morning anevenii
water the tree.. It was stifling hot i rexas, but
I worked anyway.
And in five days, the "dead" trf. in which
the television announcer found so nch ironic
symbolism, started to bloom! It wjust love
and care that transformed this mbol of
shame"' into a symbol of beauty.
Some may wonder why I tak4guch an
interest in the grave.
First of all, my son is buri there.
Regardless of what the world says=, thinks,
he is still my son. I keep the graveice, too,
because of the many people who con to visit
the boy's grave.
I, as a mother, want these people tgo back
home knowing a mother's love for, son is

Editorials which appear without a by-line represent a con-
sensus opinion of the Daily's editorial board. All other editorials,
as well as cartoons, are the opinions of the individuals who sub-
mit them.
... ... ... . ...- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..-..-.*--.-~....................

Letters to the Daily


. What happened at
New Fork conference
To the Daily:
The front page of today's Daily
contains an opionated slander of
our organization that is presented
with, the appearance of being
news reportage.
The background of the story is
this: our political position in
reference to the liberaton of
southern Africa is that our
primary responsibility is to force
the United States to remove its
support from the vicious fascist
forces of racist apartheid. This
can be accomplished in this coun-
try only by building a mass
popular movement. Some of our
opponents on the left disagree
and claim that we instead should
urge support for particular
guerrilla groups in Africa.
A very similar debate occurred
during the Vietnam war. These
same opponents offered to the
American people the slogan
"Victory to the Viet Cong." We
put our support behind such
slogans as "Out Now" and "U.S.
Out Now from Indochina." Many
millions of Ameicans rallied to
such slogans as "Out Now" and
the anti-war movement in the
United States played a significant
role in the ultimate triumph of

the large majority of independent
persons. The position of the YSA
was carried overwhelmingly.
Although the last two hours
were wasted with political in-
fighting, the conference had
previously agreed unanimously
to support activities this coming
Your reporter completely
failed to understand the political
issues involved and instead dwelt
on the discord. He also seems to
have accepted the charges made
by partisans, but then fails to ac-
credit them properly, making it
appear that the words were in-
stead mouthed by independents ;
a "Harvard conferee. One such
quote is placed in bodface on the
front page: "The YSA and SWP
don't have much grassroots sup-
port so they try to dominate
meetings." The article even im-
plies we were responsible for
threats and disruption, when
such was the work of our op
We reply: It is not our modus
operandi to dominate or disrupt
meetings, nor to hurl slanders.
We are sure that there is a great
deal of grassroots support to get
the U.S. out of Africa. We are
convinced that the fascist apar-
theid regimes can continue to
exist only with the: U.S. military-
industrial comDlex as its accom-

attention that some people object
to our using the party name SOC
(Student Organizing Committee)
in the LS&A student govern-
ment election.
Apparently, SOC was an active
party at this university several
years ago, but has not been used
in recent years. It is not our
intent to duplicate the views or
party positions of the former
party SOC. Rather, we are
simply reviling a dead party
name, as has been done in
several -other cases in the past.
We feel it is 4 good name and
conveys our feeings about one of
the main purposes of student
government organizing
Again, we did not mean to
offend anyone ir, adoping the
name SOC. We hop to make it a
name that is known and
respected for its efbctiveness to
students and effe(tiveness in
student governmen. We hope
that SOC's former members can
accept these aims ind realize
that we hope to make iothing but
a positive contributiorito student
-The Student Crganizing
Crym mittee

To the Daily:
I find it amusing tat Julie
Weeks (Letters, 116 would
even think of looking tohe Daily
for "intellectual enrichient." As
an undergraduate frog 1971-75,
and an alumnus since then, I
have found the Daily ireful only,,,
for pizza coupons and'.itillatind
"Personals." What toes she
expect from a bunch a 19-year-
-Jirt Grondin
To the Daily: '
I was disappointed t( see your
article on the "sex center"
receiving front page priority.
Why give attention b such a
ludicrous operationTlt>eems the
sex promoted at the center is
purely for pleasure r "self-
awareness" not sincere
expressions of love as it should
be. So why further such an
attitude toward sex when there is
enough immorality arcund as it
If the article was just
sensationalism, it still seems
uncalled for. I should think you
would have no trouble selling
papers on the merits of real
journalism alone!
.-Jim Pegues


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