DSC08838This letter from US Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr. is addressed to James E. Folsom, Governor of Alabama. The Governor was apparently asking for help from the FBI and Department of Justice related to the bombing of 4 churches and two minister’s homes on January 10, 1957,  just weeks after the Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of Montgomery’s city bus system. All four churches — Bell Street Baptist, Hutchinson Street Baptist, First Street Baptist and Mount Olive — and the pastors, Ralph Abernathy and Robert Graetz (the only white minister to publicly support the bus boycott), had actively supported the Montgomery bus boycott that had ended a month earlier. On Sunday, Jan. 13, 1957, the four congregations held services amid the debris.

Two white men affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan were indicted after confessing to the bombings, but an all-white jury acquitted them of all the charges, while spectators cheered.


HERBERT BROWNELL, JR., US Attorney General, TLS (signed letter), measuring approx 10.5″ x 8″.  The letter is singed in black ink, “Herbert Brownell, Jr.” and is dated January 25, 1957.  The upper-left contains a stamp of the seal of the Department of Justice.  The top of the letter features the letterhead of the Office of the Attorney General, Washington D.C.  There is some pencil writing on the upper right of the document, with small staple holes in the upper left.  

Envelope is included.