A former Louisville newspaperman convicted of violating a Kentucky sedition law defended his actions before a sparse New Lecture Hall audience last night, claiming that the charges against him were subterfuge to punish him for selling a house in a white district to a Negro.
Released under $40,000 bail pending appeal on his December 13, 1954 conviction, Carl Braden asserted that the sedition charges against him was a "cover-up" for the dynamiting by white neighbors of the house he bought for a Negro friend.
In a hostile question period, Braden denied that he had ever been a member of the Communist party, and rejected the implication that the bombing had been part of a "Communist plot" to exploit the segregation issue. Law enforcement agencies in Louisville, he said, attempted to "cover up the bombing by instituting a witch-hunt."
Series of Threats
Braden, a copy editor on the Louisville Courier-Journal from 1950 until five minutes after his conviction, brought the house for Andrew Wade IV, a Negro. He then transferred title to Wade, and a series of threats and cross-burnings ensued. Two months after Wade and his family moved into the home, it was dynamited. An indictment was obtained against a friend of Wade's charging that he blew the house up. This indictment has not been tried, but Braden was tried and convicted of sedition, on charges asserting that he brought the situation about to exploit the segregation issue.
Braden, now on a speaking tour with Wade, was optimistic about the future of the South. "I think we're going to end segregation there," he said. "We're going to change the political situation, too," he continued. "We're going to throw out all those stumblebums like Eastland." But he emphasized that the end of segregation in housing was a necessary prerequisite to solution of the South's other problems.