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Civil rights worker Alan McSurely, 1967

Posted on September 23, 2015 | in Uncategorized | by
Alan McSurely, a Pike County Civil Rights worker who was arrested on charges of sedition discussed his position before students at University of Kentucky, outside the Student Center in September 1967. Published in the Lexington Herald September 13, 1967. Herald-Leader Archive Photo

Alan McSurely, a Pike County civil rights worker who was arrested on charges of sedition, discussed his position before students in September 1967 at the University of Kentucky, outside the Student Center. Alan and Margaret McSurely were field organizers in Pike County for a civil rights organization known as the Southern Conference Educational Fund. On Aug. 11 of that year, county officials obtained an arrest warrant charging Alan McSurely with sedition against the state. They also obtained a warrant to search the McSurelys’ home for “seditious matter.” More than a dozen men, many of them armed, came to the McSurelys’ home and seized all of their papers, several hundred books, and some of their clothing. Both Alan and Margaret McSurely were arrested and charged with sedition. That case led to a federal investigation and 17 years of lawsuits and countersuits. Kentucky’s sedition law was found to be unconstitutional, and McSurely won most of his appeals, including the final one, in January 1985. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals, in affirming awards to McSurely and his wife, called the case “a sorry chapter in investigative overreach.” Photo published in the Lexington Herald on Sept. 13, 1967. Herald-Leader Archive Photo

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