Category Archives: Civil Rights History

Standing With Robert E. Lee in the Defense of White Supremacy in 1987

One of the books that I am currently reading is Patrick Phillips’s Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America. The book tells the story of the 1912 unsolved murder of a young white woman, followed by the lynching, the execution of two innocent teenage black teenagers, and the forcible removal of Forsyth County, Georgia’s entire black population. Continue reading

“I Could Not Stand the Sight of Something That Would Remind Me of What the White Man Did To My Ancestors”

In October 1973 EBONY magazine published a piece about Tuskegee, Alabama’s black mayor, Johnny Ford. The article highlighted the split among the community’s black citizens over Ford’s leadership and policy agenda as well as his support of  Governor George Wallace and Richard Nixon. Included in the article was an interview with Florida B. Segrist, who served as chairman of the Macon County Commission. Continue reading

“And That Confederate Statue is Going to Stay and It Will Look Down Upon a New Day”

In 1969 the Boston Globe [October 26, 1969] featured a story about Charles Evers – the brother of the slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers – who had recently been elected mayor of Fayette, Mississippi. The story focused on the many challenges faced by the city’s first black elected leader since Reconstruction within a broader county still dominated by white elected officials. Continue reading

Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Future of Confederate Monuments

The recent removal of two Confederate monuments in Memphis, Tennessee suggests that this recent wave has yet to crest. We will likely see additional removals in 2018. As for specifics, it is difficult to say. I suspect that we have not heard the last from Charlottesville. Maintaining the Lee and Jackson monuments underneath a black tarp indefinitely is not a long-term solution. Richmond is a complete mystery to me. Continue reading

“Keep the Skeer on ‘Em”

This past week in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” and a visit by the president of the United States, a group calling itself “Friends of Forrest” placed a billboard of the famous slave trader, Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan member within sight of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Member, Pat Godwin, is on record as describing the 1965 Voting Rights march as “the mother of all orgies.”

264A708B00000578-2984137-_Despicable_-m-43_1425746973989 I think it is safe to assume who is feeling “skeered” these days.

Selma March“The single-most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘we.’ We the People. We shall overcome. Yes we can. That word is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone. Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.”

President Barack Obama speaking in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 2015

Why Changing the Name of the Edmund Pettus Bridge is a Mistake

Today marks the 50th anniversary of what came to be known as “Bloody Sunday.”  Civil Rights marchers were brutally beaten back by state police while trying to cross Selma, Alabama’s Edmund Pettus bridge on their way to the state capital to demand voting rights. The bridge that the marchers crossed in March 1965 (as well as tens of thousands of visitors, who have since crossed in honor and in memory of the events of that year) is named after a Confederate officer and Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama.

A student petition to change the name of the bridge has been organized by area students and has garnered over 150,000 signatures. Though the petition does not offer any specific suggestions, there has been a call in recent years to change the name to honor Georgia Representative John Lewis. Given Lewis’s role in the Civil Rights Movement and his involvement in the Selma marches this would certainly be a well-deserved honor. Few will deny that Lewis is an American hero. Continue reading