Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 13 September 2017

Judyth & Lee


 

I was recently very pleased and honored to be invited to speak at the national JFK Assassination Conference, to be held in Dallas, November 17-19.

 
JFK Assassination Conference logo
It was particularly meaningful for me that the invitation came personally from Judyth Vary Baker, who became a good friend and research-colleague of mine a couple of decades ago. Unlike people like me (who have been drawn into the mystery of the JFK assassination through our own curiosity and sense of “an unsolved mystery” and “justice denied”), Judyth has a far more personal and intimate set of reasons for her involvement — as told in her book Me & Lee. In the book, she relates how she and Lee Oswald met by accident, discovered many mutual interests, were thrown together into a world of shadowy figures, and (as their time together in New Orleans progressed) found that they were being drawn closer and closer to each other.

Hers is a fascinating and detailed narrative, covered in 600 pages of reminiscence and historical markers, and supported by an enormous amount of documents, press clippings, photos, maps, and independent corroboration. The time covered in Me & Lee is, of course, vital to anyone hoping to gain deeper insight into the man Lee Oswald — it was the summer of 1963, when Oswald was living in New Orleans, just weeks prior to the assassination of President Kennedy. Growing out of their unique relationship has come Judyth’s equally unique perspective on Lee Oswald’s life and his place in history.

Lee and Judyth

Lee & Judyth

As might be imagined, such a story has become a lightning rod for deep, sometimes hateful and threatening, controversy. People whom I respect have widely divergent opinions about the book’s veracity, but there is one thing I have found almost universally true: Those who have taken the time to get to know Judyth, talk with her, hear her out with an intellectual dispassion, test her story with even-handed questions, and are willing to hear and consider her answers — these are the ones who have, by and large, come to believe Me & Lee to be a true accounting of her experiences. The book is a highly important addition to the overall study of Lee Oswald in particular and the assassination in general.

Someone who did take the time to delve deeply into Judyth’s story was journalist, researcher, and author Jim Marrs, who unfortunately passed away very recently. Jim was one of those who at first viewed Judyth’s claims with great skepticism. But he made a point to search her out, get to know her, and interview her over time; and that experience turned his thinking around 180 degrees.

Calling Judyth’s story a “well-supported account,” he commended it as “a vibrant and emotional personal narrative from the standpoint of one who obviously cares greatly for the story she is telling.” But wait — can’t one be emotional about and care deeply for a purposeful fabrication, as some think Judyth’s story is? Of course, but Jim was far from alone in his trust of Judyth’s story. In addition to his research findings, he wrote of his own personal knowledge that Mary Ferrell, “that Grande Dame of assassination researchers,” maintained until her death “a continuing confidence in the basic truth of Judyth’s story.” As part of a 6-page analysis of Judyth and her book, he went on to say the following:

        “In 2001, when I heard that a woman had emerged from the shadows, 38 years after the assassination, claiming to have been in close personal contact with Lee Harvey Oswald on a day-to-day basis during the summer of 1963 and that her name had never once appeared in any document or any report, I was skeptical, to say the least. My first question was: If what she says is true, how is she still alive? . . .
        “Could it be true? I pondered. . . . As I considered her story, I knew that either this woman was telling the truth or she needed to be in Hollywood writing screenplays, because her ability to concoct an absorbing story out of thin air was truly amazing. . . .
        “Having interviewed Judyth on several occasions and carefully studied her documentation and other materials, I can say that I have found her to be both internally consistent and forthright in her statements regarding her knowledge of events in New Orleans. Furthermore, her account has been largely confirmed from several separate sources. . . .
        “For once, I agree with one of [Judyth’s] constant critics, who wrote, ‘If Judyth Vary Baker is telling the truth, it will change the way we think about the Kennedy assassination.’ For those who know the facts behind her story, I think it already has.”

 
If, after reading all the way to this point in the article, you are no doubt beginning to suspect that I am urging you to read Me & Lee . . . well, congratulate yourself on how perceptive you are! (You can click on the book cover image above to get more information.) I’ll be very interested to hear your reactions to Judyth’s story.




Here is the announcement Judyth sent out after I replied in the affirmative to speak at the Conference:

Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr.        We are pleased to announce that GROVER PROCTOR, who discovered “The Raleigh Call: Lee Oswald’s Emergency Call to the CIA” will be speaking at the 5th Annual JFK Assassination Conference to be held Nov. 17-18-19 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dallas. Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. is a historian and former university Dean who is widely acknowledged as an expert on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He has published numerous articles, lectured extensively, and has frequently been consulted by print and broadcast media.
        While most of his work comprises analysis and interpretation of the assassination research phenomenon, he broke new ground in the investigation in the early 1980’s with his work on Lee Harvey Oswald’s [cut-off] telephone call from the Dallas jail to a former military counterintelligence agent in Raleigh, N.C.
        In November 2011, Dr. Proctor donated his entire JFK Assassination library to Baylor University’s Poage Library, as part of its JFK Assassination research center and archives. Later, in April 2014, he completed his gift to Baylor by donating all of his documents, papers, and files. His library and materials join collections of books, papers, and reference materials from Penn Jones Jr., Marguerite Oswald, Gary Shaw, Paul Hoch, Jack White, Ed Haslam, and many others.
        “Dr. Proctor has never swerved from honest research. He was one of the earliest respected researchers to treat me decently, to hear me out. His research standards are impeccable. You will learn much more than just about Lee’s phone call — made while under arrest only hours before he was shot dead — an attempt to reach his CIA case officer which was stymied when Lee’s call was deliberately yanked offline — and Lee was told the call ‘did not go through.'” -Judyth Vary Baker

Editorial Note from me: One correction of a factual nature in the above. While it often feels to me that I’ve been working on The Raleigh Call all my life, I did not in fact “discover” it. To the best of my knowledge, the call was first introduced in Canfield and Weberman’s book Coup d’Etat in America and shortly thereafter in Tony Summers’ Conspiracy.
        It was in reading an advance copy of Tony’s book that I “discovered” the call for myself, whereupon I immediately called Bernie Reeves, my publisher at Spectator Magazine in Raleigh, and we agreed that I would pursue researching the story as far as it would go.
        After Spectator published my first two articles about the call in 1980, I have continued over the intervening 37 years to pull as many new threads into the story as I can find, to try to gain a full understanding of what happened. I look forward to sharing the latest “bits and pieces” with the Conference attendees in Dallas!

 
Some of the other researchers and authors who will be speaking at the Dallas Conference this year include Judyth Vary Baker herself, my friend Randolph Benson (who will be screening his highly engaging documentary film The Searchers), Dr. Jim Fetzer, Robert Groden, St.John Hunt (son of the late E. Howard Hunt), Beverly Oliver (the “Babushka lady”), and Dr. Cyril Wecht. And this is only a small sample.

My sincere thanks again to Judyth for the invitation to speak. I am very much looking forward to joining the information-sharing at this great event in Dallas.

The Raleigh Call LD phone slipc

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