Ernie Lazar posted this fascinating essay on my Bulletin Board Saturday. I am moving it to my front page to give it maximum visibility.
Dr. Medford Bryan Evans : A Case Study of Conspiracy “Logic”
Medford Evans was a very well-educated individual [bachelor’s degree from University of Chattanooga, magna cum laude; and Ph.D from Yale University.] His 1933 Yale doctoral dissertation (in English literature) was entitled “Samuel Johnson’s Reports of Debates In Parliament.”
From approximately 1928 thru 1942, Dr. Evans was an associate professor of English at several colleges and universities in Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee, and, Louisiana.
From 1942-1943 he was a program writer and announcer at radio station WDOD in Chattanooga TN but he was abruptly fired (see below).
In 1943, Evans started working at the Atomic Energy Commission in Oak Ridge TN and, ultimately, wound up in Washington DC. His last position was (he claimed) Chief of Security Training. I have no clue how his training in English literature qualified him for Security Training.
After leaving AEC, he became Dean at McMurry College in Abilene TX but he soon left that position to work in Dallas at Facts Forum–alongside former FBI Special Agent, Dan Smoot. Smoot fired Dr. Evans in 1955 whereupon Evans took a social science faculty position at Northwestern State College of Louisiana in Natchitoches. He was fired from that position in June 1959 and he subsequently became a John Birch Society Coordinator in Texas as well as a regular contributor to the JBS magazine, American Opinion. In addition, in 1959 Dr. Evans joined the staff of Citizens Councils of America and became Managing Editor of their magazine.
As you can see from this summary, Dr. Evans had a very unstable and volatile employment history. If you hear alarm bells ringing…read on…
In the John Birch Society Blue Book, pages 88-90, Robert Welch discusses Medford Evans in the context of Welch’s plan to set up JBS front groups. One such group Welch thought might be appropriate was a Committee To Protest The Firing of Medford Evans.
Welch then explains how such a JBS front group could work to expose how “Communists” oppose academic freedom when it applies to conservative anti-communist college professors.
Here, then, is Welch’s conspiratorial explanation regarding Evans being fired from his last college position:
“Now Medford Evans is being fired – officially he has been told that his contract will not be renewed next June – from Northwestern State College in Louisiana for no other reason than his uncompromising stand against Communism. This can be shown conclusively to the satisfaction of any reasonable man…In fact, as of now the Leftists behind this deal…seem to want it known that Dr. Evans is losing his job because of his anti-Communism – again as a warning and threat to others like him.”
The beauty of conspiratorial allegations (such as the one just summarized by Welch) is that they combine kernels of truth with outright falsehoods and then weave everything together tightly via sinister innuendo—none of which requires even one iota of actual factual proof, but they always depend upon the extreme unlikelihood that anyone will perform any research into the facts of the matter being discussed.
“No other reason than his uncompromising stand against Communism” ???
Let’s review some factual evidence and THEN you decide if Welch’s paradigm is credible:
1. As mentioned above, Evans was fired in 1955 from his position at Facts Forum by none other than fellow conspiracy adherent, Dan Smoot (a former FBI Special Agent), who, in later years, endorsed the Birch Society.
Obviously, Dan Smoot didn’t fire Evans for “his uncompromising stand against Communism” – so something else must be responsible, right? What could it be?
2. Enter Karl Baarslag. Baarslag served on the Communist desk of the Office of Naval Intelligence during World War II and he was a national American Legion director of countersubversive activities. He edited the American Legion monthly newsletter entitled Firing Line. In 1955, Baarslag supplied information to Rex Findley (of American Legion’s Americanism Commission) about why Medford Evans was fired by Dan Smoot. Findley then passed the information onto his FBI contact, Cartha DeLoach. It turns out that Evans was fired by Smoot due to financial irregularities at Facts Forum.
3. In April 1960, the Chief Investigator for the segregationist Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission (Zack Van Landingham, another former FBI Special Agent) wrote a memo summarizing information he had received concerning the formation of a Birch Society chapter in Jackson MS.
Mr. Van Landingham received this information from his meeting with Bill Simmons, a JBS member in Mississippi and another official of Citizens Council of America. Simmons told Van Landingham, that “Medford Evans was a professor at the Northwest Louisiana College, Natchitoches LA, but was fired because of his anti-integration policies.”
4. Evans’ anti-integration views and activities are well-documented. For example: In 1959 he was Chairman of a strategy committee for the pro-segregation States Rights Party of Louisiana (SRPL). He was also Secretary of the SRPL. In 1962 he joined the staff of the anti-integration Citizens Councils of America and became a CCA Field Director. In 09/62 he wrote an article for the CCA magazine (The Citizen) entitled: “Forced Integration is Communism in Action”. In a column captioned “The South—Soviet Target”, Evans wrote that:
“The South, however, cannot endure, could not survive, the destruction of the systems of legal segregation…Now, the very fact that integration is impossible is the reason why the Communists promote it.”
But this isn’t the end of the saga of Medford Evans. It’s only the beginning!
Because of his employment by the Atomic Energy Commission, Evans was subject to an FBI background investigation. A January 31, 1962 FBI memo summarized their investigation as follows:
“Evans was investigated in 1947 as an Atomic Energy Act applicant when it was alleged that he drank considerably and was unreliable and irresponsible.”
The FBI memo also reports that Evans had been fired by radio station WDOD “due to his heavy drinking and being unreliable” plus Evans had been arrested and fined for public drunkenness in May 1944 in Tennessee.
The FBI concluded that Evans was terminated from Northwestern State College in Louisiana not for his anti-communist beliefs, (as Robert Welch claimed) but because the college wanted the head of their Social Science Department to have training in that discipline. Evans’s training and doctorate was in English and all of his teaching experience prior to Northwestern State College was as an English professor.
So, you can choose from three explanations for the firing of Evans:
1. The Welch fabrication that Evans was fired for his “anti-communist” beliefs
2. Evans was fired for his anti-integration beliefs
3. Evans was fired because his professional training and experience was in a different discipline than that required by the Louisiana college