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Atrios pointed this out.
Conservative group to meet with state lawmakers
By Emily Wagster Pettus
The Associated Press
Some Mississippi lawmakers are scheduled to speak Thursday to the Council of Conservative Citizens, an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center calls "a patently white supremacist group."
Bill Hinson of Pearl, president of the Great Southern chapter of CCC, announced on the group's Web site that "several House and Senate members" are to speak.
He wouldn't tell The Associated Press the names of lawmakers or where the event is taking place, although AP learned it will be at a south Jackson fish house.
Hinson said he wouldn't release details of the meeting because, "we've had so much negative publicity."
He said the CCC does not make an issue of race.
"Our chapter is more focused on taxation, Southern heritage," Hinson said. "I guess you could call us the Christian right, something like that."
Now, let's see how the Southern Poverty Law Center describes the group.
The 'Uptown Klan' Reborn
Political influence has always been a point of pride for the Council of Conservative Citizens. Founded in 1985 by Gordon Baum, a worker's compensation attorney and longtime white-power activist, the CCC rose from the ashes of the Citizens Councils of America (CCA), a coalition of white-supremacist groups formed throughout the South to defend school segregation after the Supreme Court outlawed it in Brown vs. Board of Education.
Unlike the "white trash" KKK, the CCA groups — commonly called "White Citizens Councils" — had a veneer of civic respectability, inspiring the nickname "Uptown Klan." While there were plenty of bare-knuckles racists attracted to the Councils' anti-integration slogan, "Never!" the members also included bankers, merchants, judges, newspaper editors and politicians — folks more given to wearing suits and ties than hoods and robes.
Many of them, including Trent Lott's uncle, were elected to state and local offices. Some were even more powerful: governors, congressmen, U.S. senators.
During the White Citizens Councils' heyday, the groups claimed more than 1 million members. Though they weren't immune to violence — Byron De La Beckwith, who murdered civil-rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963, was a member — the Councils generally used their political and financial pull to offset the effects of "forced integration."
One tactic was particularly effective: The Councils raised millions of dollars to fund "white academies," private schools throughout the South that gave parents the option of keeping their children segregated.
Though the CCA groups presented themselves as civic organizations akin to the Kiwanis and Civitan clubs, they left no doubt where they stood on race. "Integration represents darkness, regimentation, totalitarianism, communism and destruction," wrote Robert "Tut" Patterson, the legendary white supremacist who founded the CCA and still writes columns for the Citizens Informer.
"Segregation represents the freedom to choose one's associates."
Once the segregation battle was lost, the air went out of the White Citizens Councils. The councils steadily lost members throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Sensing the need for a new direction, Baum, formerly the CCA's Midwest field director, called together a group of 30 white men, including former Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox and future Louisiana Congressman John Rarick, for a meeting in Atlanta in 1985.
They cooked up a successor organization: the Council of Conservative Citizens.
Like the White Citizens Councils, the CCC is made up of local chapters — some of them active in civic affairs that have little to do with the national group's racist agenda. But the group's "uptown" days are largely gone; by 1985, there was precious little "respectability" left in joining an unabashedly white-supremacist organization.
And with the CCC, as with the White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and '60s, rabid extremism is never far from the surface.
I have no doubt that Black Republicans will denounce this meeting. I also believe Santa really ate the cookies my niece left for him and his reindeer ate the oatmeal.
posted by Steve @ 12:24:00 AM