The White Tea Citizen’s Council Bag Party

Everything that’s racist is new again – because it really never got old, just perpetually repackaged to the point that it no longer matters who is who and what is what and who is Dixiecrat and what is Teabag Republican.

In march of this year Congressman John Bell William told a Greenville, Mississippi, White Citizens Council, “I’d gladly trade all the Negroes in the country for my few good nigger friends.” Williams is no political scientist—he flunked out of the University of Mississippi law school in near record time—but on this occasion he did, if inadvertently, define the nature of the Citizens Council movement. Pull aside the curtain of States’ Rights and you find, more prominent than anything else, this desire to trade coat-and-tie Negroes for barefoot ones.

The White Citizens Councils, a loosely connected series of local groups which have arisen throughout the South in protest against the Supreme Court’s May 17, 1954 desegregation decision, undoubtedly constitute a very significant political phenomenon. Individually, the Councils can be either powerful or frail, at times the sincere expression of confusion and desperation, at other times the vehicle for personal frustration. But the single thread connecting all the Councils, strong and weak, is the determination not just to oppose integration in the public schools but to stop or at least postpone it. In most of the Deep South, where hostility to integration is nearly universal, it is this militancy and dedication that make the Council member stand out.

Despite occasional efforts by supporters to build the Councils up into a movement of broad conservatism, their only serious purpose is to fight the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Not only do they contest the NAACP’s desegregation suits, but they seek to cancel much else that the Negro has gained over the last half-century by keeping him out of the polling booth. The exact strength of the Councils is difficult to determine: in Mississippi, their cradle, 100,000 members are claimed, but sober estimates would run closer to 55,000. Yet nowhere in the Deep South is their strength to be scoffed at—it is a product of crisis and as more law suits are filed it will mount.

That’s David Halberstam, writing in the October 1956 edition of Commentary.

There’s more of course – some that he wrote then, and some that we are living now.

2 Responses to The White Tea Citizen’s Council Bag Party

  1. Kathy says:

    I’m sure things really were better back then in Yahoo City than “ousiders” say……if you were a white guy who’s a descendant of a Governor & Senator, who got to run the statewide census at 22 without a Bachelors Degree – and who got into Law School without completing his Bachelor’s. Good Times for the Haley’s of the world.

    This will haunt him in his Presidential aspirations.

    “Barbour was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, where he was raised, the youngest of three sons of Grace LeFlore (née Johnson) and Jeptha Fowlkes Barbour, Jr.[2] Barbour is a descendent of Walter Leake, who was Mississippi’ s third Governor as well as a US Senator. His father, a lawyer, died when Barbour was two years old. He attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, but skipped the first semester of his senior year to work on Richard Nixon’s 1968 election campaign. He never earned a bachelor’s degree. Also, his nickname was Whaley. At the age of twenty-two, he ran the 1970 census for the state of Mississippi. He enrolled at the University of Mississippi School of Law, receiving a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 1972. Subsequently he joined his father’s law firm in Yazoo City.[3”]

  2. My house was haunted. What I am about to tell
    you are done. Members of Thai tattoos is fading.

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