Jerry P. Shinley Archive:
NODA Investigates Junior High Subversion



NODA Investigates Junior High Subversion
Author: jpshinley
Date: 1998/07/31

       In the fall of 1962, two GNOCC-backed school board candidates, Rayon A. Stevens and James L. Earhart, made an issue out of an allegation that Clifford Huete, a junior high school teacher, had required his students to purchase a history text written by Max Lerner, who had been "cited several times before [HUAC]." Stevens called for an investigation by the N. O. DA's office, under authority of state anti-subversion laws. First assistant DA Frank Klein said that he had been visited by George Singelmann, who informed him of Stevens' request. A hearing was held the day before the school board election. After a closed, two hour sesssion, Klein announced that the DA's office had no jurisdiction in the case because of Federal primacy in the area of subversion. Klein made the following statement:

Since this matter has been made a political issue, I feel that I must state that the facts indicate no knowledge by the Orleans parish school board of this situation.

Klein indicated that he was providing the hearing information to the State Attorney General for possible action. Klein found Lerner's book to be of a "questionable nature." One witness summoned to the hearing was Mary H. Brengel, a mother of a former student at the school where Huete taught. (NOTP; November 6, 1962; s1, p2)

       A Mary Helen Brengel worked as a secretary for Guy Banister from October 15 to December 10, 1963. (Navarre and Simms Memorandum of June 1, 1967) There is nothing in the cited memo to indicate that Garrison's investigators asked Brengel how and why she came to work for Banister. Her involvement in the Huete hearing suggests that she may have been in sympathy with GNOCC. Brengel said she thought Regis Kennedy was one of a group of "ex-FBI men" involved in a bid for the job of guarding the Mississipi Test Site, a NASA facility. However, Kennedy was still working for the FBI in 1963. Another interesting point is her account of the day of the assassination:

... [Brengel] and DELPHINE ROBERTS were in MR. BANNISTER's office. Mr. BANNISTER did not come in at all that day. DELPHINE received a call to inform her that the President was assassinated and to turn on the T. V. When DELPHINE ROBERTS turned on the T. V., she jumped with joy and said "I am glad."

Brengel said that Kent Courtney had purchased "most" of Banister's files.

       Out of fairness to Garrison, here's an account of criticism of Garrison by the South Louisiana Citizens' Council, a group which had splintered off from GNOCC earlier. This involves James Baldwin's book and obscentity charges refused by Garrison (NOTP; June 20, 1963; s1, p30)


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