I find Will Rogers’ passionate defense of Trent Lott to be
The senator didn’t just make an accidental, off-the-cuff remark at
Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party. Lott said almost the exact
same thing at a 1980 rally for Ronald Reagan in Jackson, Miss.
But forget for a moment the two almost identical remarks made on
those two separate occasions. Lott’s actions over the past 45 years
speak louder than words.
The senator has a long history of support for white supremacist
causes going back as far as when he was a student at the University
of Mississippi, where he worked hard to keep his fraternity
Lott has had a long association with the well-known white
supremacist group, the Council of Conservative Citizens, also known
as the CCC. This is an organization that demands whites uphold “the
traditions of the White South,” champions the Confederate flag,
promotes neo-KKKer David Duke and hails former segregationist Georgia
Gov. Lester Maddox as a hero.
Lott recently claimed to not have any firsthand knowledge of the
group’s views, which is ironic since he is an honorary member who is
on record as praising the group, its members and their mission.
The CCC views the senator as a hero. They claim that Lott is one
of the leading political figures promoting the Neo-Confederate cause.
One of the council’s major events is the Black Hawk rally. This
special gathering is held to raise money for the all-white Carroll
Academy, which was set up to avoid desegregation. Lott has made
appearances at the past two rallies.
The CCC is an outgrowth of the notorious White Citizens’ Council
-- referred to during the civil rights era as the “uptown” or
“white-collar” Klan. This former organization was made up of
respected local business and civic leaders and government officials
who sometimes backed violence, including murder, against blacks
seeking civil rights.
Lott has had a regular column for several years in the “Citizens
Informer,” a publication of the CCC. Nearly every column or article
in its pro-white quarterly newspaper is concerned with race.
Literature distributed by the council cites endorsements by a
number of other conservative politicians including Maddox, who was
noted for distributing souvenir ax handles as symbol of his method of
dealing with people trying to integrate his Atlanta-area restaurant
in the 1960s.
But Lott’s ties to bigotry, segregation and the neo-confederate
movement don’t end there. He is the spokesman for the Sons of
Confederate Veterans recruiting video.
In the latest issue of the Confederate Veteran, he has a full-page
letter of congratulation to the Sons of Confederate Veterans on its
He fought to reinstate the citizenship of Confederate President
Jefferson Davis, an enemy of this country who was indicted for
treason in 1866.
Through the years, Lott has repeatedly lauded the former
Confederate president, a man who endorsed not just segregation, but
slavery. Lott said in 1998: “Sometimes I feel closer to Jefferson
Davis than any other man in America.”
Lott, a one-time congressional aide to staunch segregationist
Congressman William Colmer, has been instrumental in leading the
fight for tax breaks for Bob Jones University and other segregated
He declined to co-sponsor the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1997,
and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 1998.
I could go on and on about the senator from the great state of
Mississippi, but I think by now we all have a clear idea of what sort
of person he really is.
What I wonder is: why would Will Rogers, a self-proclaimed ace
investigative reporter, praise and defend such an obviously hateful
man? Or do I really want to know?