Document 61: Bill Spring to Elayne DeLott, 6 November 1964, Elaine DeLott Baker Papers, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.

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   On my way back to Mississippi on October, after a stint back home to recover from an asthma attack, I stopped at the D.C. SNCC office to ask for help in identifying possible openings for farm co-ops. In a follow-up to the visit, Bill Spring sent me the names of federal contacts likely to support Black farmers in their efforts to organize co-ops. While local federal employees openly opposed these efforts, official policy at the federal level was changing, creating new lines of communication between movement activists and federal agencies. My subsequent visit in January with two Department of Agriculture employees in the co-op division paved the way for a $170,000 FHA loan to the Panola County co-op for equipment and seed. (See Document 76 below.)

Nov 6


the feds are moving in the area of Rural Co-ops.

John Baker

assistant sec. of Agriculture (gov't code 111 ex 2796) named the following as people to contact:

Job Savage (yes, thats his real name)


Farmer Co-operative Service
provides education and technical assistance

Mr. Collins


Office of Rural Area Development
just set up co-op in rural Louisiana

Howard Bertsch
Farmers Home Adminsitration
heading Title III Poverty Program section money for co-ops.

Baker said the Ag. dept/ can give Poverty money direct to Co-ops without consulting state or local authorities. Baker is eager to work with COFO or anyone else.

All above gentlemen work in the South building of the Ag. Dept, 14th st. at Independence Ave.

As you found out the p.m., admin regulations for Fed. Programs section of the Civil Rights bill of L964 have not as yet been drawn up.

bill spring

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