want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president,
we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country
had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over
all these years, either."
- Sen. Trent Lott, 2002
have done more for black people than any other person in the nation,
North or South." - Sen. Strom Thurmond, 1988
Thurmond has already done all the evil he can do. But he has not
yet done any good, because he still breaths.
Lott hopes that the furor will soon pass away as usual, forgotten
like yesterday's racist outrage, and the one the day before that,
and so on, the past and future stretching to an infinity of forgetfulness.
strange and utterly illogical are the thought processes of white
American racists. They are insane. The oppressed and dispossessed
are urged to put the past behind them, when the present holds no
promise but a return to past injustice. The Trent Lotts remind us
so, daily, in ways big and small. Three times in 20 years he has
shouted without fear of reproach that he desires a return to Mississippi
lynch law, rule by terror. If that is not what he meant, then it
must be assumed that Trent Lott has forgotten what every Black person
from Mississippi remembers and every American who can read has learned.
memories are our best defense against men like him. Of no use whatsoever
are the likes of J.C. Watts, the retiring Black Republican Congressman
from a white district in Oklahoma. He, too, is insane, an undiluted,
reflexive Uncle Tom who cannot even begin to speak without projecting
himself into the thought patterns of... insane white racists! (And
we do not use the term Uncle Tom lightly in these pages.)
should not trivialize the issue of race for political gain,"
said the fool, who was right without a clue as to why. Watt meant
that Blacks and opponents of racism should not take any action or
draw any conclusions from Trent Lott's plainspoken words. If anyone
wondered how this particular Black man became a leader in the Republican
Party, they should now understand.
without intending to, Watt spoke the truth. We should not trivialize
race, not for a second while Trent Lott lives and Strom Thurmond
refuses to die. Lott and Thurmond never trivialized race.
In Mississippi and South Carolina, race is all that there is, especially
for politicians of the White Man's Party.
will now remind the reader of something you have either been urged
to forget, or were never allowed to learn. When Trent Lott was born
in Grenada County, Mississippi, in 1941, and when Strom Thurmond
polluted the air with his first breath, on a sorry day in 1902,
both babies emerged as members of a white minority in their
home states and counties. They entered a world in which terror alone
preserved white privilege and power. Democracy meant Black rule.
Rule of law encouraged democracy. Lynch law meant white Power. White
people never forgot that fire and rope were the underpinnings of
their "way of life" - certainly not in Edgefield, South
1900 census revealed that Black South Carolinians outnumbered whites
by almost three to two, 58.4% to 41.1%. Twenty years earlier, in
1880, African Americans comprised 60.7% of the population - the
highest proportion in the state's history. There would be no white
majority census until 1930.
the lowland plantation counties of South Carolina, whites were often
downright scarce. Yet even among the gently rolling hills of Edgefield
County Blacks made up 71% of the local population when heads were
counted two years before James Strom Thurmond's birth.
father was a violent politician-lawyer who shot a white man dead
in 1897 for calling him a "low, dirty, scoundrel." As
a post-Reconstruction Democratic politician in Black majority South
Carolina, Will Thurmond would have been expected to lead
the mobs that kept African Americans in their place. The "low,
dirty, scoundrel" may have killed any number of today's Black
citizens' great grandfathers and mothers. Hell, that was good politics.
Will Thurmond even got away with killing his white man, and in 1915
was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Western District of South Carolina
by President Woodrow Wilson (who was busily segregating the federal
civil service in Washington.)
1920 census showed Blacks still in the majority statewide, at 51.4%,
and in the high 60s among Edgefield County residents. If politicians
like the Thurmonds, elder and younger, had had to compete with their
African American neighbors for offices and patronage - puff! - way
of life, gone. Yet we are asked to concede that young Strom must
have been blessed with a brilliant political mind to gain election
to the Edgefield County school board in 1924 at the age of 22 -
the youngest local office holder ever. What nonsense! He was the
son of the U.S. Attorney who shot opponents and got away with it.
More importantly, he was a white man who did not have to compete
with the two of every three Edgefield citizens who were Black.
white minorities rule under - for whites - democratic conditions,
whether in South Africa or South Carolina, the election issue is
always white power: keeping it, and making sure that the
powerless Blacks pay for white privileges, literally. When white
people, or idiots like J.C. Watts, praise successful white politicians
for winning the support of white voters under a regime of racial
rule, they are complimenting the system as much as the man.
Persons not drunk who fail to understand this logic are, by definition,
insane racists (or related to J.C. Watts.)
1929, at the age of 27, Thurmond is elected superintendent of schools.
It was his privilege to impose segregation and servility upon Black
children, and to do so as cheaply as possible. According to the
1930 census, Black still made up 63.5% of Edgefield County but,
for the first time since the early 1800s, whites were a majority
statewide, at 54.3%. The 1920s had been the worst decade ever for
Black South Carolinians; more than one out of ten left the state,
mostly for the North.
models do not begin to tell the tale of exodus. In times of distress,
such as the agricultural depression that swept the South years before
the 1929 stock market crash, it is the job of the white politician
to ensure that whites do not suffer excessively. The burden of deprivation
is borne by Blacks, in every aspect of daily life. Those who complain
are jailed, shot, burned or, mercifully, run out of town.
superintendent Thurmond would have had to take care of a growing
proportion of white
students claiming a higher percentage of the budget for their premium,
white minority educations. He must have done a good job of squeezing
the last drop from the Black schools budget, because Thurmond was
elected to the state Senate in 1933, became a circuit court judge
in '38 and governor in 1946.
hate Strom Thurmond and every Dixiecrat, past and present.
The fantastic excuse that is offered to paper over every racist
crime, that the offenders were simply "men of their times,"
can only make sense to minds crippled by the American Mental Disease.
Politicians are the people who shape the times! They lead
the mobs, or assure the rabble that the police will do the job quicker.
One could as easily say that Hitler was a man of his times.
murderous way of life
Mississippi is 58% Black in 1941, according to the previous year's
census. Trent Lott is born into a white minority county in a white
minority state - although the statewide margin is thin and African
Americans are leaving in droves, pulled west and north by defense
industry jobs and pushed out by the mechanization of farming.
claims that his father had been a sharecropper, but nothing said
by that degenerate can be taken at face value. If true, the overwhelming
likelihood is that Lott Sr. would have clung even more tightly to
his white political status in the minority-ruled state. White rule
spawns violent rednecks, not the other way around - another simple
truth that is evident on its face, but beyond the grasp of the white
racist American mind.
Lott is seven years old when the signs go up, signaling the Strom
Thurmond Dixiecrat rebellion. Thanks to his white education, the
future Senator knows how to read, and his father can explain the
vote for the Truman electors is a direct order to our Congressmen
and Senators from Mississippi to vote for passage of Truman's
so-called civil rights program in the next Congress. This means
the vicious FEPC - anti-poll tax - anti-lynching and anti-segregation
proposals will become the law of the land and our way of life
will be gone forever.
for by the Mississippi State Democratic Party
could be plainer. Strom Thurmond was running to preserve the poll
tax, segregation and the right to lynch Black people at will. There
were no subtexts, no hidden meanings. Everybody knew the deal.
21 year-old budding politician Trent Lott knew what his fellow students
were rioting about at the University of Mississippi, in 1962, when
a lone Black man threatened to despoil white privilege. Lott now
claims he worked to calm passions as the National Guard protected
James Meredith from lynching. Yet, thirty years later, in 1992,
Lott is enflaming the renamed White Citizens Council in Greenwood,
Mississippi, spouting the same words of incitement that he would
repeat at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party, last week.
rule is Trent Lott's alpha and omega, his only message, the
same banner held high by Strom Thurmond and for which he is "beloved."
It is the subtext of every speech made by Republicans in the South
- language that is plain enough to keep the GOP in power in most
of the region as the White Man's Party.
South Carolina is only 41% Black, now, and the statewide total is
barely 30% - half the proportion that existed when Thurmond was
born. Having relentlessly starved and cheated and beaten and terrorized
and displaced African Americans, generation after generation, Thurmond
can retire safe in the knowledge that white power is intact in his
state and county. The descendants of the Black majority of his youth
and middle age are scattered to the winds, a Diaspora within
Lott will not give up a damned thing. The Black majority in the
Mississippi county of his birth, Grenada, has shrunken to 41%. Statewide,
Blacks make up 36% of the population, a great demographic slide
from their 1940 majority. The Trent Lotts and Strom Thurmonds of
Dixie accomplished their ethnic cleansing and emerged as 21st century
national leaders and, in Thurmond's case, near-saints.
terror of white rule in the South - reaching unspeakable levels
of savagery in those regions in which whites were the minority -
had nothing to do with petty prejudices, archaic traditions, or
failures of communication. Nobody white or Black thought so at the
time. Yet Lott's threats against Black people in the present - and
his statements are threats - are treated as gaffs, disturbing
because they might prompt people to remember inconvenient facts.
whites of Mississippi who rallied to Thurmond's cause in 1948 need
not have worried that their way of life might "be gone forever."
is not gone. Trent Lott exists.
whites want us to forget the past, they should shoot Trent Lott.
That would be a start.
Statement calling for Lott's resignation
to Thurmond's 1948 campaign speech
the Mississippi 1948 campaign literature.
(Read near the bottom left)
courtesy of the NAACP