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John Dock | A voice from 50 years ago…

“John Dock” was the pen name used by the writer of an opinion column seen in the Cabot Star-Herald, Lonoke Democrat and Carlisle Independent in 1963 and 1964; the writer remarked on events and developments of the time. Confirmation of the identity of the writer, who offered an often—satirical view, has not yet been determined.

General Delivery

Liberty, Arkansas

August 8, 1963

Mr. Abraham Lincoln,


Dear Mr. Lincoln:

I hope you’ll excuse me for just up and addressing a letter to you, especially when I never knowed you, but I think we needs some help.

It seems that folks is beginning to get some things confused lately. My history has told me all about the terrible decisions that you had to make at the time of the Civil War, and I understands your feeling that all men is created equal in the sight of God, whether they is black, white, green, or pink. I know that there aint many people who want to go back and fight the Civil War again, ‘cause there’s some places that are just getting over it now. I know too that lots of us in the South haven’t been quite fair to some of the colored folks. But I don’t think that anyone should try to give one man freedom by taking away another man’s rights.

Trouble is, we got some young sprouts running around in Washington now who can see only one side of the story. They are trying to give one group rights by walking on another groups rights. For instance, just recent the Armed Forces was told that in racial problems the colored man who thought he was being hurt had the right to complain, and the accused had no right to know who complained or to face his accuser. Now, this don’t sound good, does it? Another thing, they’s trying to force folks to hire colored people whether they’re qualified or not! Now, as for me, I’m in favor of a fair shake (that’s modern talk) for everyone, and I think our colored people should be citizens just like the rest of us - with the same rights, AND the same responsibilities. In Arkansas we had been making a good bit of progress in racial matters until they got to pushing us too hard, and I imagine you can remember how stubborn a Southerner gets when you try to push him.

What I was wondering was, do you think you could come explain some of your views on our country to our new president? His name is John F. Kennedy, and I guess you remember where the White House is. I think they still got you a room there!

If you can come, would you tell him what “government of the people, for the people, and by the people” means?

Sincerely, John Dock

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