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Preview: EXEMPT

Preview: EXEMPT




Chapter 1  


It was 11:15 am on Thursday, the 27th day of April,1961, I was sitting in class at Yale Law when an assistant for Professor Manning came into the class saying there was an urgent call for me. I thought it must be Maggy, my fiance, so I rushed to the office and picked up the phone. “Richard, this is Ms Jones calling for Robert Kennedy, he wishes to see you. There will be a car, a dark gray Chevrolet waiting for you at Sterling,( that is Yale Law School ) at precisely 2:45 pm. Please come out, get in the car and leave with the driver. You will be told where you are to meet. This is confidential, do you understand?” she asked.

I left at 2:43 pm and sure enough, the dark gray Chevrolet is parked in front of Sterling. I opened the door and to my surprise, an attractive young girl not more than 25 was driving. She said I am Elizabeth, call me Liz, I am an agent with the FBI assigned by the AG to protect you. Are you ready to go?

“Yes, where are we going?” I asked

“You are going to spend a lovely weekend at Hyannis Port, the Kennedy compound, perfectly secure, the entire D.C. community knows the AG is spending the weekend with family so the coast is clear for us to be there,” she said.

“Liz, how long have you been around to protect me?” I asked.

“Just assigned Wednesday, orders from the AG,”she said.

“How long is the drive to Hyannis Port?” I asked

“It will depend on Friday traffic. It takes us about 3 hours, a nice drive, sit back and relax, want some music?” Liz asked.

No thanks I prefer quiet. The sun had begun its descent in the West casting shadows and streaks of orange on the Eastern coast as we approached Hyannis. The landscape was flat to rolling with an incredible view of the Atlantic bathed in the sunset. Within 10 minutes we were driving up a circular drive to the Kennedy main house. Rolling lawns running to the sea, I can see why the Kennedy family chose this place to make home. The main house is a large white clapboard, very Cape Cod house. The grounds are enormous, large circular drives leading up to the main house, I could see two other houses nearby, I assumed part of and why they call this the “Kennedy Compound”. Liz parked in front and led me to the entrance.

Robert Kennedy opened the door, welcome Richard so nice of you to come on short notice he said. Come meet the family. he said.

Ethel Kennedy, Robert’s wife, was chasing children out of the living room, the children thought it a game and were running her around in circles. I counted five children, exhausted Ethel came up saying how nice to meet you Richard, we have heard much of your exploits, all good. You saw my children, later when we have dinner I will grab them and let you meet the flock. Ena, our children’s Nanny is caring for Ted and Joan’s baby Kara. Come to the back and meet the rest of the family. Joseph Kennedy, his wife Rose are sitting on the terrace overlooking the sea, Ted and Joan are in the study reading.

Joseph stood up shook my hand, Richard delighted to meet you, we have had many conversations about you, we finally meet, this is Rose my darling wife, she started to rise so I said don’t get up you look so comfortable stay, I went to her and kissed her hand, which brought a lovely smile to her face.

Richard, come meet Teddy and Joan, Ted has the most charming smile, he is a larger man than Robert or John, has the look of a ball player.

“Ted said; young Richard, the lion hearted, we meet at last, welcome to our home, Joan who is very pregnant, just smiled and said hello.”

“Ethel, leading me back to Robert saying, Eunice and Sargent will be here tomorrow with their three children, John has to be in D.C. until tomorrow evening, then he, Jackie and the children will be here. You are in for a gang fight this weekend, care for anything to drink?” she asked.

“I would love a cup of tea if you have one,”I said.

“Tea! This is an Irish family most prefer something stronger in the evening, observing my smile,” she said, tea it is young man.

”Robert approached me saying, well Richard, what was so important that you had to go to the rather novel way of communicating with me, Sargent Porter was a good choice, very reliable man,” he asked.

“Sir, I would prefer if we could speak in private on some matter,” I said.

“Good idea, let me bring father though, he hates to be left out of anything that affects the family,” he said.

Joseph Kennedy with Robert at his side motioned for me to follow them, we went down stairs into a basement, not a normal basement mind you, this one had a movie theater, wine cellar that looks like a ship, and what they called a sipping room. I suppose if you have that much wine you need a place to drink it, enough wines to fill a good size market.

“Sit down Richard, would you like to try some of the finest wines in the world,” Joseph asked.

“No sir, I have my tea,” I said.

“Good boy, never approve of drinking even though I am in the liquor business. What do you want to discuss that involves my family?” Joseph asked.

“Sir, what I am about to relate to you please do not think it disrespectful in any way, I am simply relating facts.”

“Speak out son, we are very direct people here,” Joseph replied.

“Let me try to bring this into some order, I suppose it all began when I first was assigned a law case during my first few weeks at Yale Law School. That case which you are all familiar with was the Danville, Virginia matter, in which I contacted then Senator Kennedy for his support. I have a benefactor, a very wealthy important man who for some reason chose me to attend Yale Law, that was not my choice, or even ambition, he along with members of his circle when they found out I had contacted Senator Kennedy told me I was to have no contact with Kennedy or show any support for his campaign, they wanted Nixon as their man. They however once the election was over said it was okay for me to have contact. At the inauguration, which I attended as a dinner guest of the Drexel family, who’s daughter Margaret, I am now engaged to marry, I was introduced to several of the members of President Kennedy’s cabinet and advisers who are “friends” of their circle.”

“Later at the reception at the Mayflower a woman along with her companion came to my table, saying, Jack told me to say hello, her name was Mary Pinochet Meyer, she sat with my party for a time and then went to the next table to sit with Katherine Graham of the Post. It was not long after that when MacGeorge Bundy came up to my table speaking to William Drexel, they were friends, and asked who I was. He then came up to me saying he would like to talk, gave me his card and asked me to call him. For some reason of which I was not aware of this upset William Drexel immensely, first he told me never to call him and second he left D.C. the next morning cutting a day off of his plans. This upset his daughter, his wife and myself, as his attitude had suddenly changed from one of happiness to anger.”

“It was some time later after Margaret and I announced our engagement that William told me that he had phoned Bundy telling him to “stay away” from me, he told me that Bundy was a dangerous man, but a friend of their inner circle of families also that he was placed in the position of National Security Adviser by them. William then told me that Mac Bundy’s interest was piqued by Mary Pinochet Meyer coming up to me, someone he did not know, and was interested to find out why. He told me that Mary Pinochet Meyer is the ex wife of Cord Meyer, a very high up CIA official, she herself has been an agent with extensive knowledge of extraordinary secrets the agency would never allow to be divulged. I was also told this not by William but by a friend of my family who was a high ranking intelligence officer and retains a top secret clearance, that Mary Pinochet Meyer and President Kennedy are now and for some time having an affair, they were neighbors in Georgetown. There are certain people within the CIA who are very concerned she is passing information to the President. Mary Pinochet Meyer is under constant monitoring, her phones are tapped, some believe she even has tracking devices sewn into her clothing, she is not aware of any of this. I have had my house in New Haven broken into, my office in Alexandria broken into, my phone tapped, all by CIA agents,”

“How do you know this Richard,” Robert asked.

“I told you I have a friend, who knows their operations, we have a photo ID of the man who broke into my Alexandria office and we were able to ID him, I am not at liberty to tell you more,” I said.

“Good Lord Richard, you seem to know more than the damned FBI who reports to me, have you told anyone else of this? How is it that a young man, a second year law student, has these connections? How were you able to get Sergeant Porter to deliver a message to Jack and I, hell not even our Intel people could pull that off,” Robert said.

“Sir. I can only say all things are by The Grace of God. To answer your question, No! I have not told anyone of this, but that is why I needed to make contact in the most unusual manner,” I said.

Richard, do not talk of this to Jack or anyone, father and I will handle that part, come on let’s go up now dinner will soon be ready. Ethel. please show Richard around a bit, father and I need to talk with Teddy, Robert told her as he and Joseph went into the study, shortly after; Joan came out and asked, what’s going on Ethel, why all the tension all of a sudden?

“I don’t know anything Joan, just Bobby and Joseph wanted to speak to Teddy, no big deal, let’s set the table, ask Ena to set the table for the children in the kitchen, that way they can eat and play, we can talk,” Ethel said.

“Richard, has no one shown you to your room?” Ethel asked.

“No, it seems I have been occupied since my arrival,” I said.

“I did not bring a change of clothes, I left directly from school, I was not planning to take a trip,”  I said.

“Don’t worry this house is full of extra clothes, come upstairs with me we will fix you up, we don’t dress for dinner so anything goes here,” she said

She led me to an upstairs corner bedroom with a super view overlooking the waters of Nantucket Sound, the closet was stocked with shirts, both long sleeve dress shirts and polo’s of many colors, khaki pants and shorts. You will find something that fits I am sure, in the bath here there are extra toothbrushes, and stuff, help yourself, do you want to change for dinner?

“Richard, please don’t feel uncomfortable, this family is used to people dropping in, staying over, we enjoy it. Wash up, get comfortable and come down, dinner will be ready in about 30 minutes,” Ethel said.

I sat down on the edge of the bed to take time to gather my thoughts, perhaps Maggy was right, this is not my responsibility, let others handle it. I could see that Joseph particularly took what I said with a great deal of concern, the look on his face reflected that. When I went back downstairs everyone was congregating in a living room talking, when I walked in a sudden hush came over the room.

“Richard, come in, would you like a glass of wine now?” Robert asked.

“I think I will sir, my family is expecting me home this weekend. I need to phone to let them know something came up, they are used to that with me so I am sure it will not be a concern,” I said.

“Certainly Richard, though for now, it is best if you do not say where you are, go to the study where you met Teddy there is a phone on the desk,” Robert said.

“Mom hi, I won’t be home this weekend as planned, just too much I need to do, please call Thomas and let him know, he is expecting me, love you, say hello to Dad for me,”I said.

“I will son, when do you expect to come home?” mon asked.

“Soon Mom the betrothal party at the Drexel’s is now set for June 6th on Saturday, be sure Dad has the time marked off, see ya,” I said.

The family was walking to the dining room, Ethel took my arm showing me to the chair next to her between Joan and Robert. Joseph gave a toast, “to my family, and this young warrior Richard, now a friend”, You will meet Sarge tomorrow, he was a Yale Law man like yourself. Teddy here played football for the Harvard varsity squad. He scored the only touchdown in the big game, the Snow Bowl against Yale.

“Do you play any sports at Yale?”Joseph asked.

“No sir, my schedule hardly lets me sleep, let alone compete. I did play football while at Duke, 2nd team though, never made varsity,” I said.

“What do you do besides stir up the colored folks in the south, and go to school?” Joseph asked.

“Sir, I never considered helping people to be stirring them up. A lawyer is supposed to take cases of all in need, those people certainly need all the help they can get,” I said.

“Ted piped in, that is correct, I know how those southerners treat the colored, as if slavery still exists in this country, they lost that issue and will never allow the colored people to be free as long as they have anything to do about it, damn disgraceful, it will be changed only with a fight,” he said.

“Ted from what I hear that fight is coming soon,” I told him.

“Joseph spoke out, save this conversation for tomorrow, I want Jack to be here. Son, I don’t mean to pry into your personal business, but circumstances as they are you are now in my family, I like to know everything, how do you manage to be involved in all this, pay for Yale Law, have a from what I am told a grand house in New Haven, and manage to keep up with the work at Yale, takes a lot of money to do all that. You must be one hell of a smart man to have Yale Law admit you after only 2 years at Duke,” Joseph said.

“Sir, I manage the schedule although only because at Yale Law both my mentor Professor Manning and Dean Rostow believe in me. I am a hard worker, however independent in my views. I have the good fortune to have a benefactor who provides my housing, the school is on scholarship, and I have a foundation, Pathway, that provides me a monthly income. Now, I have established an Investment Company, called Tech Investments, that will enable me to provide sufficient income for my new wife, and my interests,” I said.

“What do you invest in, may I ask?” Joseph replied.

“The coming computer age,it is my belief that in a very few years every business, every college, every government organization will not only need these new machines, they cannot exist without them. Pathway is providing scholarships to bright new creative people who will lead the information revolution,” I said.

“How old are you, Richard?” Joseph asked.

“Past the age of consent sir,”I replied.

That comment brought a huge laugh from all at the table.

“Good answer Richard, cheers to you,” said Teddy. Let’s have another toast on that one,” Ted said.

“Be careful in your praise Teddy, I just might be financing this man for President after Jack’s two terms,”Joseph said.

“Richard, another question; who is your benefactor?” Joseph asked.

“Sir, you know him, I am not at liberty to disclose that without his approval, I gave my word and I keep it,” I said.

I respect honor in a man, not much around anymore,” Joseph stated.

“How about you, Richard, any questions for us?” Joseph asked.

“Only one sir,” I said

“Well, don’t be shy, ask,” he said.

“What is the Kennedy family view towards the coming war being pushed in Southeast Asia?” I asked.

“Boy, you go for the throat that is one hell of a question,” Joseph said.

“My family is not in the war business, we do not grow wealthy off the bodies of American boys, we do not believe in the need for war, but our views are not in the majority. There are those who profit from war, there are those who lust for the glory of war, some only care for the control conflict brings, however they do that from the comfort of their homes. I lost my oldest son Joseph in war, Jack was injured in a war I tried to avoid. The Kennedy family will never support a war that is not to protect our soil,” Joseph said.

“Sir, that is what I hoped for, my work, my life’s work is to prevent this tinkering with lives. I want to bring this message to every University in our Nation, those students who are the future of this nation, they have no idea what or why things are planned for their very life,” I said.

“Richard, you have my support and I speak for the entire Kennedy clan, be careful though, this view will bring you many enemies as it has us,” he said.

“I know that sir, but I have a secret weapon that they do not,” I said.

“What may I ask is that weapon?” Robert asked.

“God loves me, that is why I fight, it is for Him,” I said.

“Does not God love all Richard?” Joan asked.

“Joan, I don’t know if He loves all the same, the Word of God indicates he does not, however you will have to ask him as I cannot speak for God,” I said

“You don’t mince words Richard, maybe you should not be a politician,” Joseph commented.

“It was never my intention to be a politician, I am not able to tell people anything except the truth, nor do I wish to, most people do not want the truth they want comfort,” I said.

The rest of the evening was spent not as a unit but each branch of the family taking care of their needs which is as it should be. Joseph, looking very tired, asked to be excused, he and Rose left to retire, I asked the same just wanting to be alone to think for a time. Sleep, rest, throw out the trash is what I wanted. I lay in this strange bed wondering why and what was to be tomorrow, where was my Maggy as I dropped into oblivion to sleep at last.. The constant drum of the surf, searching for the shore is what finally woke me, the same sound that had lulled me to sleep now called me to rise.. One day I must splurge and purchase a watch, not knowing the time made me anxious, was it time the rest of the family would be up, should I dress and go down, I am not quite comfortable here yet, oh well I will shower and dress, perhaps take a walk one the beach while it is still quiet. Surprisingly I found a pair of khaki pants waist size 33 which fit, that with a white button-down Brooks Brothers shirt made me feel at ease. Just as I was going out the door I heard the whish-whish-whish of a helicopter setting down. We used to go to Fort Lejeune for Sunday services, and my father was asked to speak many times, so I was familiar with the sound of helicopters. Looking out the window I could see from the markings this was carrying President Kennedy, I thought it best if I wait now until called, allowing the family to greet.

“Hey Richard are you up?” Robert called.

“It was Robert at the door when I opened it, what are you doing here alone, Jack, Jackie and the children are here and want to say hello, come on don’t be shy,” he said.

I walked with Robert into a drawing room where the family was taking turns holding the baby John Jr, and loving the very pretty child, Caroline. Jackie was the first to approach me, I use the familiar name because this family only uses nicknames with each other.

“Richard, how lovely to see you, Hugh told me you had dinner with my family last week, my you get around? He spoke extremely favorably of you and your fiance, Margaret Drexel, he said in fact he was considering adopting you both. I suppose because you are both Yale men and this family is all Harvard; he was smitten by your honesty and intellect,” Jackie said.

Caroline was clawing at her mother for attention, honey met our friend Richard, say hello properly, Caroline departed after a quick Hi.

“She is only four now so please forgive her manners,” Jackie said.

“Forgive! I don’t think at four, I even knew how to say Hi to a stranger,” I said.

“That is our baby John Jr. Ethel is holding, she is fantastic with children, I don’t know how she keeps up with her flock, but she does, nothing gets past her,” Jackie said.

“Come say hello to Jack, he is looking forward to seeing you, he was astounded when Robert told him you were coming here,” she said.

“Richard, we don’t hold dances here but if you give lessons all will partake, welcome,” President Kennedy said.

“Mr. President, it is almost too much for me, it is an honor not only to be a guest here, but to meet you in private, is beyond my dreams,” I said.

“Richard, cut out the Mr. President crap, we are friends and family here, this is not a reviewing stand, as he put his arms around me in a warm greeting. Are we going to have some breakfast or are we all starving, the children are hungry, I am famished, and our guests must think we don’t have any food,” Jack said.

“Relax Johnny, the food will be ready in 5 minutes, go wash up,” Rose said.

“Joseph,came in, and proclaimed, get outside you all, we are having breakfast on the grass, come on,” he said.

What a lovely spectacle, the sandy beach with waves gently rolling in, giving off a gentle spray with the onshore winds, the lawn seemed to want to join the surf, the tables are set with starched white linens, the staff is scurrying back and forth to the kitchen, bringing out the plates of food while hot. Pancakes, sausages, scrambled eggs, pitchers of orange juice with champagne to make mimosas, the most delicious looking steamed crabs I have seen, my mouth is drooling, but I must wait for all of the family to eat first.

“Come on, Richard grab a plate, fill it up, we won’t run out, we are Irish here and love our food, first come first served,” Joseph chided me.

“Jackie was going to sit in the chair next to mine, so I hurried to pull it out for her, that courtesy brought forth a sweet smile,” thank you sir Richard.

“That is how Maggy, Margaret, addresses me I told her,” I said.

“How sweet, Nina told me that you two were very much in love, she was envious of the warmth between you. What was your impression of her husband, Newton?” Jackie asked.

“I am afraid I was engaged by your father, or step father Hugh, Nina, and Michael Straight to pay much attention,” I replied.

“That is a great way to evade my question, but I understand. How about Nina, she asked?”

“My dear Jackie, please don’t put me on the spot, I thought all your family were special, Nina is also, she needs more loving attention was my impression,” I said.

“Dear Richard, you can say the same for the entire world, that is what most lack and seek,” Jackie said.

The next two hours were very special to me, I will cherish them forever, we ate, drank mimosa’s, Teddy told me they are just fresh orange juice, and conversed, it was no different than my family in Wake Forest when we held a barbecue for family and friends, everyone is happy, contented, the way humans should be, the only difference is the setting. The older children had their fill now, they only want to play, they are running around throwing stones to the sea, happily giggling as children should, their play reminded me of our church, we have a playground for the young ones, I loved to hear their laughter, their screams, you knew they were happy by the sounds. Children like adults are silent when sad. I wish all people could be like these children forever, contented, no fears, no worries, just loved.

“Hey men enough sitting, gabbing like women. Let’s play ball, Teddy yelled out as he brought forth a football, Richard, you said you played for Duke, let’s see what you got, go out for a pass,” he said.

I ran out for a long pass, thinking this guy has a good arm, he deftly threw the ball into my bucket.

Good catch for a Yalie. Sarge and Patricia will be here shortly, then we can have a real Harvard v. Yale game, Sarge is another Yale man like you. Here they are now, come and say hello, Teddy led the way to the approaching car.

“Hi Sis, Sarge, have you had breakfast?” Ted asked.

“Long ago, the kids needed to be fed early,” Patricia told him.

“Come you two I want you to meet our friend, Richard Martinson, a Yale Law man like you Sarge,” Ted said

Greeting were exchanged all around when:

“Sarge Shriver asked me, ” What brings you to Hyannis?” Richard.

”Sarge, he came to play football with us, come on have a coffee, let’s get the Harvard/Yale game going,” Robert spoke out, swiftly changing the subject.”

Jack said his back is bothering him so he will referee for us, let’s set teams. Teddy you, me, Jr. and David will go against Sarge, Richard, Bobby and Maria, sounds even right? Here guys put these napkins in your pants for flags, pull the flag, play is stopped, okay. The game went on for one hour and 30 minutes, including the 30 minute half time, the Kennedy’s like things in order. Great fun was had by all, Harvard won 28 to 14, which made Teddy delighted, damn it we finally beat you Yalies.

Ethel and the other women took the children in for a snack, Jack said come on men we are going to the sipping room for a chat. Joseph was already seated as we entered, Richard sit next to me, Jack next to him, Bobby and Sarge sit on this side please. A large pitcher of water and 6 glasses were at the center table. Joseph began; we asked Richard to come here this weekend to provide us some inside information about what the colored folks are planning soon. He was instrumental in swinging some votes to us, he has good relations with many of the civil rights movement leaders, Sarge, this background is for your information, we have worked with him in the campaign. Richard, fill us in on what you know about any demonstrations that are in the works.

“I have a good friendship with Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, a leader of CORE, a really super guy. He is very tough, I would not care to meet him in the alley, packs a pistol and would not hesitate to use it if provoked. Tough but honorable, he keeps his word and expects others to do the same. I also developed a relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he is more of a Gandhian, non-violent person than Walker, but all have lost their patience with the horrendous conditions with which they are made to live under in most of our Southern States. They do not trust politicians, they do not trust the police, for good reasons, they do not trust white people in general. I grew up in an all white community, an all white school, all white church, so I was never aware of the conditions imposed upon an entire race of people, they are treated as second, no third class citizens without simple rights. This has gone on now for hundreds of years, they are fed up and demand change. They ask for nothing except the same rights as given to others. Our constitution provides that all men shall be treated equally, but they are not. When I asked them to support the campaign of President Kennedy it was with the belief that things would change, laws already on the books, such as, the Interstate Commerce Commission that issued a ruling in Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company (1955) that had explicitly denounced the Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) doctrine of separate but equal in interstate bus travel. The ICC has failed to enforce its ruling, consequently, the old Jim Crow segregated travel laws remain in force throughout the South.”

“That is what will be challenged now. These what they term Freedom Rides will begin this coming week in D.C. planning to travel in integrated seating on Trailways and Greyhound buses, throughout the South, traveling through Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi ending in New Orleans.”

“They know there will be resistance, some violent, they are prepared to face arrest, even beatings by KKK clan members who enjoy police protection, but they will receive the publicity they seek. The rest of this nation and the world for that matter will see how we the Americans treat our citizens. I do not believe this will show us to be “The Land of The Free” to the rest of the world. The people will not be deterred by force, they have been subjected to that forever, the time for freedom is now. They look to you, sir, to grant them that,” I said.

“Damn, damn this will be a real mess. Is there any way to forestall this Richard? What can we do to work out some compromise that will appease the movement and the southern politicians?” Jack asked.

‘Here is what Dr. Walker said for me to tell you; “I speak for C.O.R. E, and Dr King, “actions speak louder than words” We heard his words and supported his election, now we want Action,” he said.

“You could let them know that you were requiring the ICC to enforce the law and that Federal Officers would offer protection, then no violence would ensue from those southerners’ the matter would end,” I said.

“Richard, the turmoil that action would create at this time is impossible for us, would they stop if we promised this in the near future?” Jack asked.

“My opinion sir is that nothing will stop this now, these people are hungry, starving to be free, starving people have no fear. This train has left the station, it will not stop until segregation is ended,” I said.

“Bobby, you best have your people on alert, things could get ugly soon,”Jack said.

“Richard, I thank you for your presentation, may I ask if you encouraged these people to start this?” Jack asked.

“Not in any way sir, I was only advised of the plans by chance last week, that is why I thought this needed to be brought to your attention,” I said.

“Richard, I am glad you did, however this comes at a difficult time, you must know of the damn mess in Cuba. I have Generals begging for wars, I have the Russians causing tension, the entire world is in an uproar, now this mess at home,” Jack said.

“Richard, please excuse us for a time, need to talk in private, you understand,” Jack said.

“Certainly sir,” I replied.

This looked like a good time to take that walk on the beach, I went upstairs, walked out the rear, the children were playing on the lawn, I could see Ethel and Patricia sitting in lawn chairs watching the play, they did not see me as I walked down the beach sat down to watch the surf thinking about what had happened downstairs.

Lost in thoughts, I was startled when a man’s voice called out, Mr. Martinson, The President asked me to have you return to the house, please come with me. It was very obvious from his attire that he is a Secret Service man. Hi, Richard, Bobby and I are returning to D.C. now, meetings have to be held to prepare or forestall this, I sincerely appreciate all that you told my Father and Bobby, we have asked agent Jones, to pick you up, return you to New Haven, then watch over you for a time, let her know of anything, she will let you know how to contact her.  For myself and all our family, thank you, with that President Kennedy went directly to the waiting Helo. Within 30 minutes I was in the car of the FBI agent Liz, heading home. What a weekend this has been, extraordinary for anyone.How did I get where I am? This for me was that beginning.

My future begins today, and it will be whatever I make it tomorrow. I look forward to new things, new people, and undoubtedly new opportunities, but not without a little reservation as I head into the unknown. It was a beautiful brisk autumn morning this Monday, of August 21, 1960. I approached the house, I would spend a considerable amount of my time during the next two to three years. This is my first trip to New Haven, Connecticut, so I took my time driving up from Wake Forest, North Carolina, in the yellow 1955 Chevrolet Convertible my father gave me upon graduation from high school. Uncle Stan, what I call him, is not related, but he and my father are close friends and gave me directions to the house he arranged for me to live in. He said, drive up US-1 to Church Street, in New Haven, turn left and continue. Church Street becomes Whitney Ave at Grove St, until Trumbull St. Turn right to Lincoln, turn left to the corner of Bradley Ave, No. 18 on the left.

I left Wake Forest at 7:00 am, Saturday morning, August 19, intending to visit a family friend, Morris Bechtel, in Philadelphia before going to New Haven. Morris is a good friend of the family. He frequently said, Dickey, before you start college, come up and visit the family cottage outside of Philadelphia. His family is a significant benefactor of Duke. I am sure his vision of a family cottage would not be mine. Why do people continue to call me Dickey, my name is Richard? It irritates me, but I never say so. Darn it, I am no longer twelve, but twenty years old. I sure wish they would leave off that childish nickname.

The drive up US-1 to Philadelphia is estimated to be about eight hours. I told Morris to expect me around 5:00 pm. I need to pick up US-1. Once on the highway north, I have plenty of time to think. In North Carolina, there is one thing we have, an abundance of trees. There is not much interesting to see between Wake Forest and Richmond, only more trees. The traffic is light this Saturday morning, except trucks, which are a continuous convoy. My heart is pounding as I leave Wake Forest, I am on my way. On my way to where? Today seems like a journey into the unknown. This is a journey I had not planned or envisioned. Someone is directing my life, who or why I do not know.

One thing I am sure of is, nothing is as it seems. I am twenty years old, with less than two years of undergrad school, heading off to Yale Law School. I never wanted to be a lawyer. I did not apply to Yale, either the college or law school, so how is it I have in my hand a letter of acceptance? Yale Law School is the most challenging law school in the nation to be admitted. They only accept two hundred new students a year. The admission department screens every applicant, and the small number of applicants they select must go through an even tougher trial. Then a test by three members of the faculty, who score each applicant with a grade. Four is the highest grade. Only those with a perfect score of twelve are admitted. There are also fifty to eighty outstanding students admitted each year who do not have to undergo this screening process. They are exempt.

I suppose someone must feel I am an outstanding student. I did not consider myself such. What does it mean to be exceptional? The word, excellent, leaves it open to interpretation by whoever can make that determination. Grades wise, I have done well in all my years in junior high, senior high, and my short time at Duke. My Father considered a B to be a failing grade. He is a person you listen to, intently, if you want peace. I only received one B in the last six years. School is easy once you understand the code. They grade mostly on test scores. Tests are simple; the questions are apparent when you read the texts. Tests generally ask similar questions, what date did this happen. Where such and such are, and who did what and when. The only important question that never seems to get asked is, why? When preparing for any exam, I would scan the text looking for items on the exam. Not complicated once you understand their system.

Perhaps the reason I did well in school is due to my Father, Walter. He is a Methodist Minister, Pastor of the church in Wake Forest, where I spent three days every week regardless of my wishes. Father does not believe in wasting time. He had a library built as an addition to our house, and it is full, thirty large shelves of books. He expected me to read every book in that room. Up until high school, I spent many hours in the library. Father was appointed to the General Conference of the Methodist Church when I was in middle school at twelve years of age. He is now traveling more, and that certainly helps my social life. Even when Father is out of town, he has the warden, my Mother, Marion, to watch over me. She is as strict as Father, perhaps more so, if that is possible.

Good gosh, almost noon, I need to stop for gas and food. My stomach has been calling me for over an hour. I am past Richmond heading to D.C. Ashland is ahead. I will stop for gas and fill my tank. Cost me four dollars and twenty-five cents to fill up the car with gas and another eighty-five cents to fill my stomach. I left for school with three hundred dollars from the family and another one hundred twenty dollars of savings. Father gave me an American Express Card with the proviso that it should be used only in an emergency. No more stops until I reach Philadelphia and Morris. Should only take me about four and a half hours, I am still on schedule. Leaving the maze of Philadelphia continuing on US-1 north, I found the turn off Morris told me to take and drove east to State Street, which follows along the Delaware River banks. The cottage is not difficult to find as the properties out here are as large as city parks. As I turned into the driveway. I could see about a half-mile down a large house. As I got closer, this is not a house, but an estate that looks larger than the White House in D.C. Four Greek Columns graced the front entry. The main house appeared to have thirty or more rooms.

All I can see are lush gardens and a myriad of tree-lined paths. Even though it is fall, the leaves have turned color and are falling, yet everything looks untouched. I see not one leaf on the ground. They must have a staff of ten or more to care for the grounds. This place is so imposing even kings would blush with envy. I am not envious, only somewhat concerned. Who are these people, and why am I here, rushed through my mind? The front door opened, and out came a man dressed in formal butler attire, “Mr. Morris is expecting you,” he said. “Please follow me,”

He led me into the study. Morris is not there, so I looked around. The room is grand, if somewhat stuffy. Two large picture windows have centered between a large portrait of someone I assume essential. The center of the place has a large fireplace with another imposing picture hanging over it. Glass doors on either side of the fireplace leading to a dining room. The room is impressive, but not a place to spend with your chums from school. Warm, but too formal for my taste. I am peeking at pictures on lamp tables under the windows,

“Dickey,” Morris startled me. “Glad you could come, do you have a bag to bring in?”

“Yes,” I said. “On the back seat of the car,”

Morris said, “Come on, let me show you to your room; you are planning to spend the night, right?”

“Of course, how often do I get to stay in a palace?” I said.

Morris took me upstairs to a long hallway leading to a room overlooking the Delaware River, the banks of which are right in the estate’s backyard. I drew the curtains, looking out onto the most unbelievable scene in my young life. I could see off to my right the porch if it can be called such. There are at least eight massive Grecian columns. They appear to be marble surrounding the patio that supports a terrace above. Each column looks to be thirty feet high and about twelve feet around. The porch overlooks manicured grass lawns extending to the bank of the river. Large pine trees hem the yards. I could imagine what fun it would be to hold a football game here. It is large enough to accommodate the entire Duke squad. I wonder if any of them have ever been invited here.

“Dickey,” Morris said. “The family is not in town today, so I thought we might enjoy dinner on the porch. Did you bring a jacket, it gets a little chilly once the sun sets?”

“Sure, mine is the car, I will get it,” I said.

“Your bag is on the way up now. Why don’t you freshen up from your drive and come down at about 6:30 pm?” he asked.

As soon as Morris left, I jumped onto the soft-looking poster bed, looking around the room. Why am I here? This place is larger than the Grand Hotel, and it seems like it is only Morris and I. There is only one staff member, the butler. Why did he bring me to this place? Morris never behaved like one who needed or wanted to show off. Just the opposite, whenever he was at our house, he played the piano, listened to jazz, which is the only music my Father cares for and spent hours talking to Father. He acted very mellowly, here he seems a little stiff. Anyway, I am curious and will find out soon enough.

Wearing my dark blue Duke blazer over a white turtleneck and my best pair of khakis, I descended the stairs. Not aware of his name, Butler Joe did not offer, nor did I ask, waiting to take me out to the porch. Morris is sitting at a round table covered with a white linen tablecloth. Not a wrinkle in that fabric. The table has only two places set. However, there are four chairs. I wondered if someone else was coming later. The glistening white china trimmed in gold. The silver, indeed not plated, but solid sterling. There is a baccarat crystal decanter in the center and baccarat crystal goblets beside each plate.

“Hi Dickey, come sit,” Morris asked. “A beautiful evening, isn’t it?” As Morris reached for the decanter to pour me something of whatever is inside, I held my hand up as if to say no, thank you.

He smiled and said, “I forgot Dickey, you do not drink alcohol, do you? “You are not home now. You are a man headed off to conquer the World. It is time to learn and experience new things, new people, and new ideas. From this day, everything will be new for you. So let me pour you a taste of this excellent Bordeaux, raise our glass to your journey,”

The wine is extraordinary. I did not tell Morris, but this is not my first glass of wine or other alcoholic beverages. Father always told me that what I do, what others see me do, can either harm or help them in their lives with Christ. He said, Richard, you must live your life as others expect from a Christian Leader. If they see you intoxicated or acting unruly, then everything we have told them is a lie. Be upstanding in all you do. Be a model for all. Let them see the love of Christ through you. I can say this with all sincerity, my Father never once spoke a foul word. He did nothing I could say was inappropriate. He was firm, but a father must be to guide his child.

Dinner is superb; we started with crab bisque served with hot fresh baked rolls. Joe, as I call him, brought out a plate with a fish filet, assorted green vegetables, and boiled baby red potatoes served with butter and sour cream sauce. I enjoy eating healthy foods, properly prepared can be a feast to the body and comfort to the soul. The conversation at dinner is cordial, simple small talk meant to make everyone comfortable, but without substance. I am still trying to understand why I am here. Joe came and asked about the dessert; I said, none for me, thank you. It is starting to get a little cold with a breeze coming in from the river.

“Let’s go inside by the fire,” said Morris.

“Great idea,” I said. “I am ready for warmth,”

I followed Morris into the library, where Joe had a roaring fire. I rubbed my hands to soak the warmth into my body. Joe brought in a tray with two glasses of port wine. Morris looked at me with a warm grin and said,

“Dickey, I bet you wonder why I asked you to come here today, don’t you?”

“Yes,” I said. “That has crossed my mind,”

“Your Father has been a friend to our family for many years now. “I am not at liberty to explain all to you today, but let me say, our family and others value him and you. I am the last person in our family who should be advising you, government, politics, business, those areas I leave to others more suited. I love the arts, I love music, but I love my freedom to do as I please as long as it does not harm the family. I know you best, so it is left to me to be your consul. Our family was here before there was the United States of America. The family served the King. The family served Washington as he led the revolt against King George. Our family is still serving this Nation in all manners. Some serve in government, some in banking making America prosperous, some serve as advisers to those who govern. This Nation, Our United States of America, has been generous and kind to us. We have to continue to guide the Nation as it becomes the leader of the World. In the next few years, many changes will come upon this Nation. The country will need intelligent, strong people in positions of power to help the Nation adjust. We have watched you for several years and believe you can be a vital part of the new order to come. Can we all count on you?” Morris asked.

I sat there silent, not knowing what to say, still trying to decipher what he said. Dear Lord, I sit in the house of one of the most powerful families in the Nation, and he is asking me to help them!

“Of course,” I said. “I also have to help this Nation, and this family that is helping me. Morris, you can count on me now and forever,”

“We do not need to make a blood oath to that effect, but we can toast to the future, may it exceed our dreams,”  Morris said and with that, we drank the last of the port.

“Morris,” I said. “I think I will turn in now; it has been a long, eventful day, and tomorrow I leave for Yale,”

I lay looking out the window, watching the current flow in the river. I thought to myself, did I jump into the water? Nothing is as it seems. I lay in bed for hours and could not sleep. My mind is churning, trying to understand all this. Why was I summoned to this great house? It was not an invitation as I thought back, but a summons to appear. Then it occurred to me why. If Morris met me at any other place, what he had to say would have little effect, it would seem like idle boasting. What if he said this to me at a corner cafe in Wake Forest? It would have no meaning. Here in this palace, it showed authority and power over me. I knew it was to intimidate me, that’s why I am here tonight. Well, I am intimidated and impressed. Yet, I slept with the understanding that at last, I realized why I am here. I do not understand why I am off to Yale. The reason, I will discover for myself. Nothing is as it seems.



Chapter 2


I awoke late in the morning. The sun had already risen, shining over the waters of the river. After my shower, I got dressed and went downstairs. Joe, the Butler, is standing there. He said your breakfast is on the porch. Morris was not there, but my place is set. A fresh glass of grapefruit juice is poured. Soon Joe came out with a tray containing a bowl of hot oatmeal with raisins and toasted English muffins spread with butter and strawberry jam. Somebody had taken a great deal of effort to learn my preference for food. Dinner last night, and now breakfast served as I would. Just as I had finished my meal, Morris came out. He had been in the library completing letters he had to send, he told me.

“Dickey, I want you to take this card,” he said. “It contains a personal phone number that you can reach me at any time. Do not give this number to anyone, but keep it if an emergency you can reach me,” I took the card and put it in my wallet.

“Time to hit the road, Morris, I appreciate all you told me, and the opportunity to spend the night in the cottage. I am now off to Yale,”

“Dickey,” he said. “I will be in touch, have a good trip, go up US-1 to New Haven, Morris said as I drove away”.

I drove over to Morristown to pick up US-1 and calculated it would take about three hours to arrive in New Haven. Since leaving Morris at 9:30 am I should be at the house by 12:30 pm or 1:00 pm As I drove in silence this Sunday morning, I could not get the discussion of last night out of my head. The sentence I found most troubling was when Morris had said, Our United States of America. Being an avid reader, I understand words mean something. Why did he say Our United States of America? Most would say, The United States of America. One thing I learned is that wealthy people use words like weapons. They understand the power each word has. Most people don’t consider the meaning or Authority of a word when using it, but these people understand words can control people.

The time was a little past noon when I turned off at Church St in New Haven. Now, all I need is to find a house in East Rock. It is easy to follow the direction Uncle Stan gave me. The area has all tree-lined streets. Some places appear to have been built over one hundred years ago. I can tell this area was very substantial in its day and still is what I consider an upper-class neighborhood. The neighborhood looks far more expensive than most college students could afford. At Duke, I lived in a dorm with three roommates. I approached the house at number eighteen, Lincoln Street. The house appears to have four or five bedrooms on the second floor. I cannot tell how large the house is, appearing to be over thirty-five hundred square feet. What do I need for such a large place by myself? The front of the house has a large porch that reminds me in a small way of the Bechtel house in Philadelphia. Not as grand, but the patio has eight similar Grecian columns surrounding it—the front yard with a small hedge lining the walkway to the house. The Bradley Street side is where the garage is. I parked in front of the house, looking for the key Uncle Stan sent me. The key is in the envelope, with the directions and instructions I had put in my overnight bag. Now let’s see the inside.

Opening the front door, I am shocked. The house looks like a family is living here. The front entrance has a foyer with a staircase leading upstairs. Glass doors on the right side leading to a drawing-room, on the left side to the living room. You entered the dining room and a large butler’s pantry leading into the kitchen from the living room. Off the kitchen is a breakfast room or morning room as Mother would call it. The furnishings are elegant; nothing I imagined would be this palatial. My word, the president of Yale, would be content to reside here. I feel a little uncomfortable with all this, and would be happy to have a small apartment in town. Why in the world would I need something like this? At least, I am not paying for it.

I went from room to room, checking out everything, looking in all the closets, drawers, and cupboards. The pantry is full of all kinds of food, cereals, oatmeal, flour for pancakes, even my favorite pure maple syrup in the kitchen. Everything I could want is here. Even the refrigerator has fresh milk, grapefruit juice, butter, eggs, sliced ham, and meats’ various cuts of meat. The cupboards are complete with glasses, china for every day, and formal fine china, and crystal glasses. I am overwhelmed. Father’s house is not this impeccably furnished. I hope he does not get upset when he sees this place.

Now, to see upstairs. As I started up the staircase, looking down on me is a large portrait of Uncle Stan. He is watching me even now. That feels a little creepy, but what the heck is his house? The first two rooms appear to be guest rooms. Both have their bathroom—each room furnished with every detail considered—one place in blue and the other in yellow. The bathrooms, even the towels, are coordinated with the theme of the room. There is paper for the toilet, hand soap by the sink is also blue in one, yellow in the other, even toothpaste on the counter. Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to do all this for me. Why? Down the hall is the Master bedroom. The room is about twenty feet by twenty feet with a sitting area next to a fireplace adjacent to a picture window overlooking the rear yard. The bed is a king-size four-poster bed with a solid white comforter cascading to the floor. There are six pillows stacked up that look so comfortable I want to jump right in. This bathroom is all gleaming white, the tiles, the towels, and the shower and bathtub’s curtain. Windows on two sides, one is overlooking the rear yard, the other looking out to Bradley Street. There is a back stairway leading to the rear porch, rear yard, and the garage.

What I want now is a cup of coffee. There is a coffee maker with a canister in the kitchen that holds what smells like fresh ground coffee. In a few minutes, the kitchen was filled with the aroma of coffee brewing. It reminds me of the commercial for Aunt Jeremiah pancake mix, Mm-Mm good. I filled my cup with this delight, poured in some fresh cream, went into the morning room to sit at the table and look around. On the table was an envelope that said on the outside, Welcome to New Haven Dickey. I opened the envelope with a little trepidation. Inside is a two-page letter from Uncle Stan. It began,

 Dickey, you have looked over the house and found everything and more than expected. Your curious mind is asking why he is doing this for me. Correct? I have known your Father for many years; he is a good man. He has been helpful to many of us. I have no son of my own, only a stepson. He is a fine person who will be capable of carrying on for me when my time is at an end. I do not know how much time is left as my health is not as good as it was. We watched over you for many years and believe you will develop into a great leader for the Christian community. Your Lord, said in Luke 12:48, For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Dickey, you have and will be given much. All that is asked is your loyal services. If I am here to guide or help you, I will do so. Suppose I am not here to advise or help you with another will in my place. You were with Morris last night. He will also be there to assist you in any way possible. Call me anytime you need me. With that understood, I wish you the best as you start this new chapter in your life. Yale will be useful to you and for you. Do not become involved in all those clubs and societies at Yale. Those are ambitious men who need to seek approval and benefit from others. Those groups will make your future difficult, serving the Christian Church. Many of those clubs are not friendly to Christians.  

His text was longer, but this is the vital part. My coffee is cold. I went into the kitchen to pour another cup and decided it was time to bring in my things from the car. At least, I have an answer to my other question, why am I at Yale? I am here to serve the Kings. How is my problem? That will be for later. Today, I need to absorb this. I planned to tour Yale Law School today, but don’t want to now. Check-in is not until Tuesday with orientation on Wednesday. I am going upstairs to that comfortable looking bed, enjoy my coffee, and think. I lay on my bed for two hours; it is almost 7:30 pm and I am not hungry. Having put away my clothes and personal items. I went down to the kitchen to enjoy a bowl of cereal, which always has a calming effect. Feeling more relaxed, I went up to the bedroom and made a fire in the fireplace. It has a gas starter, and there are wood logs.

The fireplace’s small wing-back chair provided a warm, comfortable place to plan out my coming day. It is my habit to leave nothing to chance. I prefer to plan my day in full, so I accomplish what is needed. Sitting here by the fire, listening to the burning wood’s crackling, smelling the pungent odor of the smoke, I picked up Uncle Stan’s letter to reread it. A couple of words bother me; perhaps I am not clear in their meaning. My concern is similar to when Morris said, Our United States of America, instead of The United States of America.

Here, I focused on two words Stan used, first is we. Who is We? Then the phrase, “Your Lord,” He did not say Our Lord as I would. Words have power, more power than most people understand. Men of power do not use words idly. Even though some questions I had have been answered or discovered, now I have another and quite possibly more important question. I was going to telephone my Father and ask him, but this came back to my mind. Morris said my Father had helped them in many ways, but he was not at liberty to tell me. In the letter from Uncle Stan, he also said my Father was helpful to us for many years. Father, never spoken of any relationship with either Morris nor Stan, is he hiding something from me? I will need to find out for myself. Tomorrow, I will check-in with admissions and look around campus.

The sun was peeking through the windows when I awoke at 6:00 am There was a Yale shuttle schedule on the desk that said I could pick up Whitney’s shuttle at 7:15 am. I do not want to drive. It is only a few blocks to the Law School Campus. If I miss the shuttle, I can walk. By 7:00 am I dressed, ate a small breakfast, picked up my letter of acceptance, and left. I took a small 35 mm camera to take pictures to send to friends; to them this is a big deal, Richard at Yale. The Admission’s office is not open until 9:00 am giving me over an hour to walk around and take photos. I walked the entire square block from Wall Street to York, back down Grove, to High Street, and returned to the Wall Street entrance.

The library in my family home contains thousands of books, including several on architecture. The Gothic style of the Sterling Law Building is to impress and inspire those fortunate enough to attend this great school. Buildings are much like temples to the people who commissioned them. That is why there is so much symbolism embedded in the architecture—every facade on the Sterling Law building adorned with Owls’ figures. There is also a statue of a large horned goat. I read extensively on the meaning of symbols used in Churches, Temples, Libraries, Government Buildings, Banks, and other important edifices. Symbols have a special purpose, to those who built the buildings and many who utilize them. A building with a cross atop, you know it is Christian. When you see a building with the square and compass displayed, you know it is a Masonic organization.

Symbols have been used for millennia in public buildings and monuments such as the Egyptian Obelisk found in Washington, D.C. Each symbol has a profound meaning and purpose. The owl holds significant importance in occult societies. In medieval times in western and central Europe, it was believed owls were witches in disguise. To this day, the owl is considered a witch’s familiar. Secret societies consider the owl a symbol of the oracle of intimate knowledge. At Yale, the Skull and Bones Society is associated with The Bohemian Club of New York and their Bohemian Grove in California. At the Grove in California stands a giant forty-foot high concrete owl. That owl used in all their occult mock human sacrificial ceremonies.

Now it is time to go to the Admission’s office and get checked in. “Welcome to Yale” were the first words out of her mouth when I handed the Admission’s clerk my acceptance letter.

Then she said, “We are expecting you, Mr. Richard. Dean Rostow asked us to let him know when you arrive, just a minute, please, Dean Rostow asked if you would stop by his office right after orientation in the morning.”

“Most certainly,” I answered.

I thought to myself, why is this person calling me Mr. Richard, and why would the Dean of Yale Law School want to see me?

“Sir,” she asked. “Would you like a tour of the law school?”

“Yes,” I said. “I would, I was around the outside, but not seen the rest,”

A young lady came out from an adjacent office; this is Rachel. She will show you around.

Follow me, Rachel said; we will start in the courtyard. We went down a small staircase to the door leading to the Law School Courtyard. Here in the courtyard, Mr. Richard, the students, the faculty, and the staff all use this area to study, meet, and relax. We hold many events here, including the law school picnic, and even classes are held here. Let me show you The Table, and this is the central meeting place for all the Yale Law School community. I am sure you will spend a lot of time here. Over here on the right is Classroom 127. It is our largest classroom; many lectures and events are held. Now let me show you the seminar rooms. These are where first-term small groups meet. Down this hallway is the student lounge where you can meet friends, watch television, or discuss the day’s events.

Upstairs is the Lillian Goldman Law Library. The library has six levels and holds one of the world’s largest collections of printed legal materials. You will spend a lot of time here. Here in the main reading room, there are many many carrels to read and study in private. We will go back downstairs and see the Levinson Auditorium, here we hold large Law School programs, special events, and some guest lecturers. Now, I will take you to my favorite spot on campus, the Dining Hall. It is open from 8 am to 7 pm except for Friday they close at 3:30 pm That is the show, said Rachel. If you need anything, just call the Admission’s office and let me know. I will; thank you very much you making this tour pleasant. Once Rachel left, I went back to the library to take a more in-depth look. Yes, I thought, many questions will be answered in this library.

Tomorrow is orientation day, then the first small classes meet. Orientation went almost as expected, what Yale means, how Yale will affect your future, what Yale expects from you and how many Yale grads changed the world. To be honest, I did not hear most of what was said. I am only thinking about meeting Dean Rostow and what he wants with me. As I approached Room 104, the office of the Dean, I wondered if something was wrong. Uncle Stan and my Father had taken care of all the details. I had not even read most of what they provided.

The assistant sitting behind the desk said, “You must be Richard.”

“Yes, I am,” I replied.

“Have a seat, Dean Rostow will be with you in a moment,” she said.

A buzzer sounded on her desk; you can go in now, she smiled as she told me. I read up on Dean Rostow, an academic giant. Meeting him in person, he was all the more impressive. Here is a man who knew what he wanted and how to get it. He looks like what you would envision as a Supreme Court Justice.

“Come in, Richard, take a seat. I am told a lot about you, all good things I might add. You must be concerned why I asked you to come in?” he said.

“Yes sir, I am a little anxious about that.”

“Stan, your Uncle Stan, as you refer to him, is fond of you. He believes that your good character, your brilliant intellect, and your steadfast determination, will enable you to be a great leader for the Christian Community. He said you would make Yale proud one day. I trust his judgment. We at Yale will do all we can to help you grow. I trust your Time here will inspire you to reach high. Richard, Stan is one of the most powerful men in this Nation and the world. He and his associates control the finances of this country and most of the world. Money is power; without it, Yale would not be able to train the leaders of tomorrow. Stan has high expectations of you, which is why he is personally funding the cost of your time at Yale. Don’t let him or Yale down. Do your best. All the resources you need are here. I asked Professor Manning to mentor you. He is brilliant. Listen to him, work hard, and apply yourself. You will find the environment here different from Duke. We do not put a lot of emphasis on classroom time. You can study and work wherever you are most comfortable. I am familiar with the house you occupy. It is a unique environment to learn, quiet, and comfortable. Are there any questions you have of me?” Dean Rostow asked.

“No, Sir, I am thankful to be here,” I said.

What I want to do is get out of there and go to the house. This day has been longer than expected. Nothing is as it seems.  Richard, someone called out as I was leaving the office, I turned, and Dean Rostow’s assistant said,

“Your small group is set to meet shortly in room 108. Do you know where that is? she asked?”

“Yes, thank you,” I said.

Rachel had shown me these rooms yesterday. It was no trouble to find. The door is open, and sixteen students are chatting away when the Professor enters, saying, “Now the fun begins,”  Once we all went through the perfunctory introductions, exchanged names, the Professor said, I am Manning, Professor Manning. Today, your regular schedule will begin. First, I would like to ask each of you one question, why are you here? Who wants to start? When he said that, I turned my head sharply toward him. He must think I tried to speak because he said, OK, you go first pointing to me. What is your name?

“Richard is all that came out.”

“You are up from Duke?”  Professor asked.

“Yes, sir,” I replied.

“Well, go on, why are you at Yale Law School?” Professor asked.

“That is to be determined is my answer,” I said.

I could feel and see all the other new students looking at me in silence as if they did not know if they should laugh or not. Professor Manning was silent for a moment looking at me intently, and said, that is one of the best answers I have heard to that question. None of us can see the future. We only know we are on a path to greater understanding and purpose. Most of you have plans and dreams of where this journey will lead. Some hope to join significant law firms, many desire to be political leaders; others want to change the world. Whatever your dreams and aspirations, the end will be determined by your actions and by the people with whom you surround yourself. At YLS, we value creativity in law. Not the usual rote reading of cases, then retaining them in memory. What we want to see is how you think, how would you plead a case.

Let me assign you an example case to plead. In this case, the City of More, just a name folks, filed an eminent domain action to acquire a small family farm through their redevelopment agency. This farm has been in the same family for over 95 years. Both residential and commercial properties surround the property. A large developer proposed to the City the taxes received from this farm are inconsistent with the city treasury’s needs. They submitted an extensive development that will bring in new tax revenues of over $225,000 per year. The city council approved the proposal, now all they need is the land. You have been retained by the property owners to fight this action. They do not want to sell at any price. Each of you can pick up a copy of the complaint on the table by the door. You have until next Monday to bring me your response.

I went upstairs to the library, checked out four books, and went home to study. I read cases in Circuit Courts of the State, State Court of Appeals, Federal Courts, Federal Appeals, even Supreme Court cases. From what I read, it will be difficult to prevent the City from taking the property. Most cases hinge on the amount of money paid for the property, not to stop the Authority from taking. Professor Manning said the owners do not want to sell at any price. I reread the complaint and all the accompanying documents. In reading the deed, this 40-acre property deeded to a former slave family in 1865. The farm has been in their family ever since. Wow! I now have the answer, how to save the farm. The case will not be a civil eminent domain action. It is going to be a civil rights action and perhaps the most massive suit to date. I understand how to accomplish this. We won’t waste time and the owner’s money fighting the City. We will attack the City and make them capitulate.

The Civil Rights Act of 1960 signed into law on May 6th, this year by President Eisenhower. It appears to ensure the rights of Colored Americans to vote. The law is new, and I am confident this can be a hot potato issue. Federal Judges will most certainly expand the purpose to include all civil rights. The Colored population now assured their voting rights; both political parties will be fighting for their vote. The vote of the Colored community can swing the power in many of the Southern, Mid-Western and Eastern States. The City of More! Watch out; we are coming. I see these six means to unify different groups to defeat the City of More. More, against more.

  • File a civil rights lawsuit in Federal District Court

(b) Rally prominent lawyers interested in Civil Rights. They will file amicus briefs in support.

(c) Bring the case to the attention of Rev. Martin Luther King and other civil rights activists. The activists will relish—the publicity. Rallies can be held outside the farm drawing National attention.

(d) Bring in a publicist to bring all these forces together.

(e) Have more liberal columnists write stories for the New York Times, The Washington Post, etc. many others will pick it up. The Nation will rally to the farmer’s defense.

(f) The Presidential election season is upon us. Contact the campaign staff of each candidate. Let them understand the political implications for their candidate. The candidate who jumps in first will collect the reward, votes.

This campaign has the winning edge, ‘public opinion’; the best part is it will not cost a dollar. All parties have a purpose of contributing their time and skills. More critical, Civil Rights will become the central issue it should be, both in the Courts and the public arena. Monday morning, I turned in my response to Professor Manning’s complaint. He was collecting one from each student. Manning took them to his desk and read each paper. I watched as he only glanced at some of the work even though many seemed like ten-page documents. I must have got this wrong as I had written only one page. Manning is reading my paper I can tell as it is the only one-page answer given. He sat there pondering something, then looked up at me and said, “Richard come here, please,” Darn it, my first week at YLS, and I am on the shit list already. I almost stumbled over the fellow’s chair next to me as I walked forward, trying not to look at anyone, but I could sense all staring at me. Richard, I want you to read this to the class as he handed me my paper. My first thought is he was trying to embarrass me; well, he did an excellent job of it.

I stood and read my text. Finished, I looked around the room for a response from someone.

Finally, Manning said to the class, does anyone have comments?

The fellow sitting next to me got up and said, Professor, I think that is brilliant. I wish I had seen it so simple. John Ely is his name. I remember from last week when we all made introductions; now, I will never forget him. Professor Manning then turned to the class and said, You all did beautiful work, but most missed the keywords. They do not want to sell at any price.  Remember, what I told you the other day, at Yale, we value creativity in law. You all got hits to use a baseball analogy. However, Richard hit it out of the park. Now! I will let you in on a secret. The case given is not a mock case; this case was sent to us to see if we can help this family.

Richard, the staff will prepare the Federal Court Complaint you will review before it is filed. You are assigned to do the rest. You outlined it, you can either work from home or Yale up to you. I want you to clear it all with me. We will assist in locating the law firms and law professors to add support through filing Amicus briefs; they will line up to do that. We will help find the best public relations firm that would love the publicity this case will bring. Some of our students likely have family in the news business. Query them and enlist their help. More is not the name of the actual City involved in this case; here are the details. I took the papers from him and went to sit down, Richard, you cannot win this case sitting in that chair, go to work, and report each day. I never wanted to attend law school, and now I love it.

Before leaving YLS for my house, I went to the library to find everything they have about Danville, Virginia, the site of this case. Nothing looks interesting; I might as well go to the house to conduct research. Father will know the Pastor of the Methodist Church in Danville. That is the best place to start. Local pastors are familiar with everyone in their community who is pulling the strings of power. I have not spoken to Father since I arrived at Yale. There is much to talk about as I dialed the phone,” Hello,” Father answered.

“Father, how are you and Mother?” I asked.

“It’s about time you called,” he said, somewhat grumpily,

“Father, this first week has been unbelievable. Professor Manning assigned me a case to prepare. I believe this will be a milestone in the Civil Rights Movement,” I said.

“What did you say, Civil Rights, explain,” father said. “Why would anyone assign you a case, you have only been there a few days?” he said.

“That is what makes this so exciting,” I replied.

I explained in detail all that had transpired in the last few days with the facts of the case. When I told Father the lawsuit is in the City of Danville, Virginia, he is silent for a time, then he said,

“Richard, Danville, is a hotbed right now. Reverend Dr. William Watkins of the Mount Vernon Methodist Church in Danville is a friend. We discussed events in the City, how they are affecting his Church and the other Churches. It is not good, I tell you. This past April, Danville almost had riots in the streets. Some Negro High School students tried to use the Danville Memorial Library, this is not allowed in a segregated town, and they are refused entrance. The City, rather than let the incident escalate, closed the library. I hear the Negros organized and filed a Federal Civil Rights case against the City that is not resolved,” he said.

“Father, I want to go to Danville to meet with Pastor Watkins. Will you, please phone him to let him know I am coming to meet him?” I said.

“Richard, I will be on one condition. You are not to let anyone in Danville learn why you are there. Tensions are running high there; I do not want trouble for you or Pastor Watkins. Do not use his name unless he allows you to, is that understood?” he said.

“Yes, sir, it is, and thank you,” I said. “I will leave in the morning; please tell him I should be there on Wednesday,”

I will phone Professor Manning and clear this with him.

“Hello, Professor Manning,” this is Richard.

“Yes, Richard, how may I help you?” he said.

“I need to go to Danville to meet with Dr. William Watkins, Pastor of Mount Vernon Methodist Church. My Father knows him and is arranging for me to see him. He will provide the contacts I need for this case. There is much more to this case than appears on the surface, but I should find answers. It should take me two days down and two days back. I will be in class next Monday, is that OK?” I asked.

“That sounds reasonable, keep track of your expenses, we will be reimbursed, have a good trip,” he said.

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