FROM: SLEEPY LAGOON DEFENSE COMMITTEE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HOLLYWOOD — "We are here to help you boys, victims of fascist racial incitement, win justice through an appeal and to register our opposition to all forms of racial prejudice, discrimination and bigotry."
So delcared nearly 200 stage, screen and radio stars, writers, directors and actors in a communication to the 12 Sleepy Lagoon boys now serving penitentiary sentences up to life. The signatures were affixed to the letter at a benefit buffet staged (Sunday, December 12,) at the Mocambo in Hollywood.
Preliminary figures released by the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee showed the party had raised $1793.44 toward the defense fund of $25,000.00 being sought. The buffet was the opening gun in the campaign to finance an appeal.
Some 300 celebrities attended the event buying tickets at $5.00 each. Many however, had left before signatures were sought for the communication. Among those signing the letter were: Anthony Quinn, who made the keynote address showing the connection between the Sleepy Lagoon case and the Bill of Rights week; Katherine DeMille, John Garfield, Gene Kelly, Hattie McDaniel, Dooley Wilson, Morris Carnovsky, Lena Horne, Gale Sondergaard, Gloria Stuart, Mary McCall Jr., Harold Nichols and Roman Bohnan.
The idea of sending a letter to the boys came spontaneously when Miss Lupe Levas, sister of one of the boys, mentioned that she would write about the party in a talk she made to the Hollywood throng.
Guests were presented with a booklet describing how race prejudice had resulted in the boys' conviction despite a lack of evidence showing that they had any connection with the death of another boy and with copies of an article from the San Quentin prison newspaper telling of the boys' exemplary behavior at the penitentiary.
Copies of both booklet and article may be obtained from the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee, 1006 Broadway Arcade Building, Los Angeles, 13, California which is directing the appeal. Carey McWilliams, liberal attorney and author, heads the committee.