Sep 24, 2020 - Sale 2546

Sale 2546 - Lot 41

Price Realized: $ 1,875
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 400 - $ 600
(CIVIL RIGHTS.) Arthur H. Snyder. Diary of a prison educator during the rioting which followed the King assassination. [271] manuscript diary pages. 8vo, needs binding; minimal wear to contents. Vp, December 1967 to November 1972

Additional Details

Arthur Henry Snyder (1910-2002) of Danville, PA taught at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill, PA, a facility for juvenile offenders just south of Harrisburg, for more than 20 years. The diary is filled with disturbing details of his work, but none more dramatic than on 8 April 1968 when he wrote: "No school today. The teachers were compelled to go to the chapel for memorial services honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. A good number of the inmates attended, but the Black Muslims sat through the singing. One song was America the Beautiful. They hate America and stayed seated to show their contempt." Two days later, "the boys tried to burn the furniture factory today. The fire was started in the packing room. . . . I wonder what Prasse thinks of his good boys. John F. thinks I should carry a gun for protection when I cross the Market St. Bridge. I try not to be panicky, but sometimes the negroes and crime increase bothers me." In the days which followed, he described a riot between the Muslim and white students, students crafting small inciediary devices from ping-pong balls and paint thinner, and a Muslim student who when accosted "made the secret distress signal and ten boys lined up and said that they had to be sent to court also if their black brother went." This section closed with Snyder's 24 April 1968 report: "Talk of riot today. Last night the colored boys were throwing crackers on the whites. If it wasn't for someone getting hurt, a good riot might shake this place up." This diary is not a pleasant read, but the issue of mass incarceration remains timely, and this is an unusually frank and personal first-hand account. With--6 photographs of Snyder as a boy and young man 2 letters from Snyder to his wife, 1950 and undated 6 educational certificates issued to Snyder and his wife, 1925-55.