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franklin county times

Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002

By Staff
Clarification
A letter to the editor published Sunday, Dec. 15, ("Time for Lott to go") was not written by the Fred Gray who works for Dement Printing Co. and attends State Boulevard Baptist Church.
Lott never felt our pain
To the editor:
When I heard those remarks while listening to the celebration over C-Span radio, I almost drove off the road. No, you didn't, I said to myself. No, you didn't really say that. But he did. Within a couple of days he was taking it back. But the damage was done and probably will keep on being done.
One can easily imagine Lott's sound bite in Democratic ads in 2004. Right next to it, they can run some choice 1948 Thurmond quote, like "the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches."
Right into the 1960s, Thurmond fiercely opposed legislation to fight lynching, poll taxes and racial segregation. As an African-American who remembers "white" and "colored" signs and being sent back to the colored people's end of the bus, I do not think of the Old Strom's America as the good old days.
But once he saw the tide of history had changed despite his best efforts, Old Strom turned on a dime to become New Strom. Like Alabama Gov. George Wallace, Thurmond became a role model for segregationist pols who no longer could afford to ignore black votes. He hired black staffers. He supported black judicial nominees. He passed the pork from Washington around to black South Carolinians, for a change, not just the white ones.
South Carolina's black voters rewarded him with 22 percent of their vote in 2000, twice what they gave George W. Bush. We're a patient people. We even respond to outreach from Thurmond  in his new, improved version.
Which leads us to a very uncomfortable question about Lott: How could the man have been so brain-fried that he endorsed the old Strom who is denounced even by the new Strom? From what I know of Lott, it is easy for me to imagine how a white Mississippian of his generation could have been led astray. We Americans of African descent, among others, know very well how much damage white supremacy can cause even to those who have been its beneficiaries.
Lott probably has heard so many glowing tributes to Thurmond that the charming old skirt-chaser no longer struck the younger senator as terribly controversial anymore, even in Thurmond's earlier unreconstructed version.
Lott already has shown remarkable talents for selective memory. He was a cheerleader at the University of Mississippi when hundreds were injured and two people died in student riots against the admission of its first black student, James Meredith.
Yet Lott was conspicuously absent at such events as last fall's reunion of Meredith, university officials and some of the troops President Kennedy had sent in. He apparently doesn't like to dwell on such historical matters, at least not in public.
History caught up with Lott at the Thurmond party. He forgot how much pain remains from those historical wounds. Or maybe he hasn't spent enough time among those of us who have felt it.
Barney Hudson
Meridian
A special anniversary
To the editor:
This is a special note to Mr. and Mrs. Roy Jacobs on their 50th wedding anniversary:
The both of you have been married 50 years today. Boy, that is a long time to live with one another. I am extremely proud of both of you.
As your oldest child, I remember many things that you have done for my brothers, my sister and myself. I remember when we first moved into the house you live in now. It was so cold that Mama had to take her coat off and put over me so I could remain warm.
I remember Daddy laying bricks in the cold sleet so he could finally close up the room where I would sleep. I remember the hard times and the good times, but most of all I remember that I was always with the both of you. You have never been apart for more than 24 hours. You sacrificed for your children and each other and made it somehow. That somehow was through love, devotion and trust in God.
There are few people who stay married for 50 years in this day and age, but you have proved that it can be done. You are an inspiration to me. I intend to stay married to Deborah for 50 years and I hope that I will have the opportunity to break your record.
I will turn 47 on Dec. 31, 2002. You have been looking after me all of that time. Well, guess what? I've been looking back and I really love what I see. You're my parents  the best that I could have asked for  and I hope that I can turn out to be just a little bit like you.
Happy anniversary! I love you,
Walter Jacobs
Chatom, Ala.

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