Community Activism | Civil Rights | Education | Sources

Bill Smith Letters

bill smith letters 1-1In October 1943, L.E. Faulkner, the vice-president of Mississippi Central Railroad, started writing the Bill Smith Letters.  With the motto "Put first things first.  Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," the letters   were written with the intention of representing the feelings of the average U.S. citizen.  The subjects addressed in the letters promoted the value of capitalism, as well as citizen's rights.  Faulkner was heavily involved in attempting to identify communist activity in the state.  His anti-communism sentiments are often found in the letters. 

During the course of several years, Faulkner published 18 letters.  These letters were distributed to businesses around the United States for circulation among the white, male employees.  After two years of production, over 250,000 Bill Smith Letters had been circulated across the country.





Bill Smith Letter Images

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Help!  Help Keep America American,  Bill Smith Letter 15, April 8, 1946 1-1 Loyal Americans Must Stand Up and Be Counted, Bill Smith Letter 18, November15, 1946 2-1 Memo to a company receiving copies of a Bill Smith Letter about distributing the letters to only white employees, May 15, 1944 Invoice for printing 20,000 copies of  Bill Smith Letter 4 on Mississippi Central letterhead, April 20, 1944