During the debate on the tort lev}’, citizensrnhad the opportunity to address thernboard, and Rockford received a foretasternand promise of things to come. StevernBland, the pastor of Pilgrim BaptistrnChurch (one of the largest black churchesrnin Rockford), displayed a stunning disregardrnfor the legal system by asking, “Ifrnthe tort fund was right before [JudgernRapp’s ruling declaring its use illegal],rnwhy is it wrong now?” Roy Dawson, thernchairman of the local NAACP, toldrnboard members that if they didn’t voternfor the tort levy, “this community [thernblack community in Rockford] is goingrnto rise up, and rise up beyond your abilityrnto control it.” Later that night, whenrnDawson saw Mary Hitchcock, one of thernfounders of R.E.A.CH., wearing a teabagrnas a silent protest against taxation withoutrnrepresentation, he responded, “Maybernwe’ll start wearing shackles.” Wliile thernlocal Gannett paper ran extensive coveragernof Bland’s and Dawson’s remarks, itrnfailed to mention —indeed, has alwaysrnfailed to mention—that both Bland andrnDawson benefit from the illegal tort lev’:rnBland’s wife is employed by the schoolrndistrict, and her salary comes entirelyrnfrom the tort fund, and Dawson’s wife isrna principal at a Rockford high school,rnand therefore has discretionary authorityrnover tort spending. A good reporter or arncompetent editor might find such detailsrnimportant.rnDawson continued his scare tacticsrntwo months later, attempting to preventrnBiondo, Delugas, and Strommer fromrnspeaking at a Rockford histitute-sponsoredrnrally on judicial taxation by smearingrnInstitute president and Chronicles’rneditor Thomas Fleming as a whiternsupremacist. His proof? According to arnpress release Dawson sent out on Februaryrn16 (the day of the ralK), “The RockfordrnNAACP has learned that ThomasrnFleming . . . is a national board memberrnof the League of the South.” Chroniclesrnreaders may find it hard to believe thatrnthe NAACP “learned” this fact at such arnlate date, since discussions of the Leaguernand Dr. Fleming’s membership have appearedrnin Chronicles for over four yearsrnnow. Indeed, even the local Gannett paperrnhas mentioned the League, most recentlyrnin October, four months beforernDawson “learned” that Dr. Fleming is arnboard member (perhaps Dawson onlyrnreads the articles that mention him).rnThe fact that the League of the Southrnspecifically rejects racism and whiternsupremacy (and has been attacked byrnjiPABLErnGeorge Gissing, ISew Grub Street (Everyman’srnLibrar)’). Classic fictional account of the undersidernof the literarv’trade.rnKenneth Patchen, Memoirs of a Shy Pomographerrn(W.W. Norton). A writer gains a succes de scandalernwhen his publisher inserts asterisks to indicate thern(non-existent) obscene passages.rnJames Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson (Everyman’srnLibrary). Sprinkled throughout Johnson’s conversationsrnare anecdotes of the 18th-century book trade.rnHenry Regnery, Memoirs of a Dissident Publisher (Harcourt Brace).rnA charming memoir of the life of a great conservative publisher.rnOlivia Goldsmith, The Bestseller (HarperCollins). A spoof of tradernpublishing by the author oiThe First Wives’ Club.rnWilfrid Sheed, Office Politics (Farrar, Straus). A comic no el aboutrnoffice shenanigans at a literar)’ magazine.rnRichard Marek, Works of Genius (New American Library). Arnpublishing executive’s no’el about a best-selling writer who becomesrnincreasingly irrational.rnracist and white supremacist groups)rndidn’t deter Dawson, nor did it stop AldermanrnVictory Bell, Mayor CharlesrnBox, or Superintendent Ronald Eppsrnfrom jumping on the libel bandwagonrnafter the Institute’s “Rally for Rockford”rnattracted over 500 people to the RockfordrnWoman’s Club on a cold and rainyrnMonday night. Since Mayor Box is arnlawyer, his decision to repeat Dawson’srnlibelous charges was surprising enough;rnbut Box went a step further, declaringrnthat any opposition to the federal court’srndecision was equivalent to open revoltrnagainst the federal government and suggestingrnthat Dr. Fleming, the League,rnand The Rockford Institute might wantrnto restore slavery.rnIt’s not surprising that Box, Epps,rnDawson, and other supporters of MagistraternMahoney’s tyrannical actions havernresorted to the race card; after all, theyrnclearly can’t win on the issues. Furthermore,rnthey see their power structurerncrumbling around them, in part becausernof The Rockford Institute’s previous forumrnon the school issue, which has beenrncredited with revitalizing grassroots oppositionrnto Rockford’s political machine.rnIronically, their attacks on Dr. Flemingrnand the Institute have solidified supportrnfor both, and have exposed the real faultrnline in Rockford —not between thernraces, but between those who believernthat the citizens of Rockford should controlrntheir own destiny and those who willrnstop at nothing to maintain their ownrnpower.rn— ScottP.RichertrnOBITER DICTA: The revised and expandedrnedition oiThe Martin LutherrnKing, ]r.. Plagiarism Story by Chronicles’rnmanaging editor Theodore Pappasrnis finally available. See the article onrnpage 43 and the ad for the new editionrnon page 45.rnChronicles’ art director Anna Mycek-rnWodecki has illustrated this month’srnissue. An award-winning artist, she hasrnexhibited her work in Warsaw, Paris,rnNew York, and, most recently, Rockford.rnOnce again, Wendell Berry has contributedrnthree new poems to this issue.rnMr. Berry, the winner of the 1994 T.S.rnEliot Award for Creative Writing, is thernauthor of 33 books of poetry, essays, andrnfiction, including Entries, Another Turnrnof the Crank, and A World Lost. A nativernof Henry County, Kentucky, he returnedrnthere in 1964 to farm and to write.rn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn