Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy
Advertisement
Share
News

Exactly what does Rogers see in Lott?

I find Will Rogers’ passionate defense of Trent Lott to be

appalling.

The senator didn’t just make an accidental, off-the-cuff remark at

Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party. Lott said almost the exact

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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

segregated.

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,

Advertisement

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

Advertisement

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

100th anniversary.

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

schools.

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?

DOUG WHALEY

Burbank


Advertisement