Online Collection

Letter to Reverend William A. Holmes from Jean Hinson

Object Number: 2007.016.0143
Category: Documents
Type of Object: Letter
Dimensions: 8 3/4 x 7 in. (22.2 x 17.8 cm)
Medium: Paper
Description
Two-page letter sent to Reverend William A. Holmes of Northaven Methodist Church from Jean Hinson in Bichpuri, India.

Letter is handwritten on white stationary and reads as follows:

"Staff Quarters No. 3
Bichpuri (Agra), U.P.
India
November 29, 1963

William A. Holmes, Pastor
Northaven Methodist Church
Dallas, Texas

Dear Mr. Holmes,
I have just read in the Times of India that you are under fire for preaching the good news (or maybe for talking back to those who are preaching the bad news). I am halfway around the world from Dallas and surrounded by people who are grieving for John Kennedy as though they had lost a member of the family. As well as I remember the fear and hate and sickness I saw in Dallas during my four years at S.M.U., it is still hard to believe things can be so bad in that damnfool state.
I am teaching English at a rural institute in a village near Agra. I am living in the heart of an exciting young nation which is trying to live 200 years' worth in two generations. More than ever before I see the absolute urgency and necessity of education, and the absolute indispensability of love as the guiding principle in human society. The fight against prejudice and superstition in India is going to be a massive struggle, but I think the fight in America is just as large and just as perilous. It is just that the forces of darkness in our country are more sophisticated and more respectable.
It strengthens me to know that you are there, and others like you, waging the holy war with only love and reason as weapons. I need not ask you never to give up no matter how bad it gets; I know you will not. This letter is only my way of saying thank you to God, who in his grace endowed you with the voice of a prophet and one hell of a bellyful of guts; and of promising you and God and whoever else is listening that I ain't laying down my cross any time soon either.
God bless you.
Jean Hinson"

Air-mail envelope is hand-addressed to:
"Rev. Wm. A. Holmes
Northaven Methodist Church
11211 Preston Road
Dallas 30, Texas
U.S.A."

From:
"Jean Hinson
Staff Quarters N. 3
Bichpuri, Agra, U.P.
India"

Envelope has been postmarked (illegible) and stamped with five different Indian postage stamps.
Curator's Notes

When I first interviewed Rev. Holmes in March 2007, he was surprised to hear that there was still historical interest in his controversial sermon from the weekend of the Kennedy assassination. He and his wife soon decided to donate to the Museum the collection of more than 450 letters and cards that they received from around the world after excerpts of the sermon were broadcast on CBS.

Although several letters were critical of Holmes, the vast majority supported his beliefs as expressed in the sermon. Holmes was most proud of the letter he received from Christian philosopher Paul Tillich (1886-1965), while his children were thrilled with the letter from actor Hugh Brannum (1910-87), who played "Mr. Green Jeans" on the children's program "Captain Kangaroo." - Stephen Fagin, Associate Curator

All requests for permission to reproduce, publish or broadcast materials in this collection must be submitted to the Museum's registrar, using the Rights & Reproductions Request Form. Inquiries may be sent to registrar@jfk.org.