* Re "Marshall Was Neither Agent nor Informer," by Jesse Jackson, Column Left, Dec. 8: What does it matter to Thurgood Marshall's long record of accomplishments that he may have worked with J. Edgar Hoover in some way? Only people with the touchiest of backlash agendas would tumble for that one. Rev. Jackson, please hear my prayer: "Lord, save us from folks who think one's reputation is stained by having cooperated with the FBI."
* Jackson has succumbed to the hypocritical American passion for "leaders" that are pure.
The communist scare of the post-World War II years led to the exclusion of "communist" elements from unions, Hollywood and the NAACP. I recall a convention in Boston ('49 or '50) where the youth division was coerced by the NAACP leadership to decertify several college chapters (CCNY, NYU) because of alleged communist influence. That contradiction with the fight for justice precluded my further membership.
Marshall, as well as Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, A. Philip Randolph, et al., needn't have been an informer, since the result was the same. And the residue of that poisoning remains, for some blacks still regard leaders such as W.E.B. Dubois, Paul Robeson and former Harlem city councilman Benjamin Davis Jr. with ambivalence.
It is unfortunate that Jackson does not point this out, rather than try to whitewash or inoculate us against the "agent" charge. After all, no one is without fault. However, faults seldom distract or detract from the truly outstanding.