"The Floodgates of Hate and Hell"
As the FBI began to concentrate its investigation on several likely suspects, it appeared to local white citizens that Sebe Dale's fears about the "floodgates of hate and hell" had indeed come to pass. To their dismay, residents learned firsthand about the tremendous power of the federal government and the freedom with which its agents often operated. Ironically, those who acted extralegally against Parker and others who supported those actions began to complain about the FBI doing the same thing to them. Many began to feel that events had conspired to subject Poplarville, Pearl River County, the state of Mississippi, and the South to unwarranted and harsh scrutiny.
No one was exempt from the criticism. Mayor Hyde and Sheriff Moody received about forty letters, most of them condemning the abduction and slaying of Parker, only two praising it. Writers labeled them cowards. One lady told them, "You are a disgrace to walk the earth with decent people." From Palo Alto, California, came the message, "Get out of the union, we don't want you." Sebe Dale also received hate mail, and although the letters aroused his curiosity, he quickly wearied of subjecting himself to such easily avoidable calumny. Like the mayor and the sheriff, he stuffed the letters in a drawer and forgot about them. "I don't want them," he said. "When I see what they're like, I quit read-