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Mississippians React to Controversy Over Governor Barbour’s statements on Civil Rights Era in Yazoo

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 21 Dec 2010 03:33pm | comments
MIssissippi Governor Haley Barbour

Over the past few decades Mississippi has worked to move past its violent, racially segregated past. But as MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports many citizens believe recent comments by governor Barbour, are a poor reflection on the State.

At issue are comments Governor Barbour made in a profile in the Weekly Standard magazine, related to the non-violent integration of public schools in Yazoo City , and the role played by the so-called Citizens Council in town. In a written press statement yesterday Barbour said:

"My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints either. Their vehicle, called the Citizens Council, is totally indefensible, as is segregation."

But State NAACP President Derrick Johnson says Barbour's comments skimmed over the segregationist role played by Citizens Councils in the state. And THAT he says, reflects poorly on Mississippi today.

"For a public figure such as Governor Barbour still not to fully acknowledge what happened in the past is an insult on the state of Mississippi. It's a negative reflection on the state of Mississippi and it shows a blatant disregard to the history of this state."

Barbour is quoted as saying it was a difficult and painful ere for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time. MPB conducted a non scientific survey of black and white Jackson area residents. Most had a similar reaction to the Weekly Standard interview with Gov. Barbour.

"He shouldn't have said that. it's something they've been working on for years and years trying to do away with."

"We have to be sensitive to all the citizens."

"I just don't see how it wasn't when he was coming up "cause that's pretty much when they started way back when,"

Barbour spokesman Dan Turner says the governor is not racist. He says Barbour was commenting on the specific events in Yazoo, not the broader Citizens Councils movement. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.

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MIssissippi Governor Haley Barbour


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