After an investigation headed by Commonwealth's Attorney A. Scott Hamilton, Carl and Anne Braden and five other white allies of the Wades in their quest for a home were charged with sedition in the fall of 1954.  Despite Andrew Wade's testimony to the contrary, Hamilton's theory was that the entire purchase had been staged as a communist conspiracy.  Only Carl Braden, perceived ringleader, was ever tried.  A major piece of the prosecution's evidence was the Bradens' associations with known members of the Communist Party and their collection of more than 800 books, some of which bear a stamp from the trial and are included in this exhibit.  Even racist hate mail the Bradens received was used as evidence against them in the highly fearful anticommunist climate of the time.   Carl was convicted of sedition and sentenced to 15 years in prison--a conviction that was later overturned after he had served eight months and was out on the highest bail ever set in Kentucky at that time.
Defense Exhibit books – The Bradens’ defense team responded by citing other books in the collection that reflected their diverse taste in reading matter. This section of the collection includes books by Einstein and Plato.

It’s You They’re After and Stop SA Crimes – These books became the basis of the Bradens’ being charged with sedition, a never-before-used law that had been passed during an earlier red scare after WWI. Reporters covering the case had to turn to the dictionary to understand “sedition” because so few knew what it was.

Case -  Labor's Stake

Case -  Louisville Travesty

Racial epithet letter – The Bradens received this racially derogatory letter in response to the purchase. As the label suggests, it was entered as evidence for the prosecution in Carl’s trial in late 1954. The letter comes from the Carl and Anne Braden Papers at Wisconsin Historical Society in a folder labeled “Hate and Nut Mail.”

Case - L to R Rev. C. Ewbank  Tucker, Carl Braden, Bob Zollinger

Case - Carl and Anne courtroom

Andrew Wade testimony – This excerpt from Carl Braden’s 1955 appeal brief recounts Andrew Wade’s testimony from the 1954 grand jury investigation explaining his search for a house to buy.

Case - Andrew Wade testimony-1

Case - Andrew Wade testimony-2

Case - Andrew Wade testimony-3

Wall Between – In 1958, Anne Braden wrote a memoir of the events surrounding the Wade purchase and the events it triggered. One of the few books of its time to unpack the psychology of white southern racism, the book was praised by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as “one of the most moving documents that I have ever read.”

Appeal – This is the appeals brief from Carl Braden’s sedition case. It was reprinted and circulated widely in the months between his conviction and the 1956 Nelson ruling by the US Supreme Court invalidating the use of state sedition laws and nullifying his 1954 conviction.