1/11/2003 11:28:00 AM
by The MinuteMan
Ready For Primetime?
I mentioned it in an update below, but this story may be headed for the mainstream. Nathan Newman
found it, Atrios
is flogging it:
It's become a mantra of the defenders of Charles Pickering that he "courageously" testified against a Klan leader back in the 1960s.
But this involved a town where WHITES were being attacked by the Klan as a series of bombings threatened the white establishment. And it was interlaced with violent labor struggle in the primary employer. See this article:...
OK, the article is from Feb 27, 2002, the last go-round with the Pickering brawl. If it was ignored then, there may be a reason. The final Senate commite vote was not until March 15
, so timing was not the issue.
So, here we are. I don't have the impression that the source is totally objective, but it is a great starting point.
UPDATE: Here is the totally non-partisan Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the same issue
. Well, it seems that Republicans are making hay of this.
UPDATE 2: When in doubt, check Byron York
According to a letter written on Pickering's behalf by Charles Evers, brother of murdered civil-rights activist Medgar Evers, "In 1967, many locally elected prosecutors in Mississippi looked the other way when faced with allegations of violence against African-Americans and those who supported our struggle for equal treatment under the law. Judge Pickering was a locally elected prosecutor who took the stand that year and testified in the criminal trial against the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who was accused of firebombing a civil rights activist. Judge Pickering later lost his bid for reelection because he dared to defy the Klan, but he gained my respect and the respect of many others as a man who stands up for what is right."
The Klan case, although 35 years ago, stands out in many memories. "Pickering is not perfect — no one is — but he has courage," Johnny Magee, a black city councilman in Laurel, Mississippi, recently told Legal Times. "He was involved as a county prosecutor in fighting against the Ku Klux Klan and helped put Klansmen behind bars. That was something you just didn't do in Jones County in the 1960s."
UPDATE 3: OK, now I am stuck. How many trials was Bowers of the Klan in back in 1967? From this bio
, he was tried in 1967 in the "Mississippi Burning
" trial for the murder of three civil rights workers, and surely you remember Gene Hackman
. Testifying in that trial would have been a big deal. But York, above, mentions "the criminal trial against the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who was accused of firebombing a civil rights activist"
Hmm. If I were boosting Pickering, I would surely have made a point of the "Mississippi Burning" trial. OTOH, how could one trial be dangerous and polarizing, and the other not? Presumably we should be checking the Dahmer trial
, a firebombing-turned-murder which led to four trials in the 60's. Dates don't seem to match, though. Now I need help.
Regardless, the central theme of this criticism of Pickering seems to be "attacking the Klan took no guts". I am unconvinced.
MORE: How do you like this "stream of consciousness" blogging? If we can believe the socialists
, Pickering testified in the Dahmer trial.
CHARLES EVERS: OK, I am saving a Charles Evers chat room transcript
here. Evers switched to the Republican party in 1989. Interesting. Here, CLARENCE PAGE
comments on Pickering.