Number 20 - December 12, 2002
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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
"I have done
more for black people than any other person in the nation, North or
Sen. Strom Thurmond, 1988
Strom Thurmond has
already done all the evil he can do. But he has not yet done any good,
because he still breaths.
Trent 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.
How 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.
Good 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.)
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.
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.
We 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
The 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.
In 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.
Strom's 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.)
The 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.
Where 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.)
In 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.
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.
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.
The publishers of
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.
A murderous way
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.
Lott 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.
Trent 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 message:
A 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.
Paid for by the
Mississippi State Democratic Party
Nothing 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.
Certainly, 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.
White 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.
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 the Diaspora.
Trent 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
The 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
The whites of Mississippi
who rallied to Thurmond's cause in 1948 need not have worried that their
way of life might "be gone forever."
It is not gone.
Trent Lott exists.
If whites want us
to forget the past, they should shoot Trent Lott. That would be a start.
calling for Lott's resignation
Listen to Thurmond's
1948 campaign speech
See the Mississippi
1948 campaign literature.
(Read near the bottom left)
Links courtesy of