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Haley Barbour is No Martin Luther King or Even Jimmy Carter | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Well-chosen words on music, movies and politics, with the occasional special guest.

Haley Barbour is No Martin Luther King or Even Jimmy Carter

My Daily Beast column this weekend dealt with all of these “victories” of Barack Obama and it’s here.

But the reason I’m posting today is because I thought I’d mention a couple of things about White Citizens Councils:

Thing One, Citizens Councils and the Montgomery Bus Boycott: As Taylor Branch notes, one of King’s aims was to “to answer one peevish charge that” had been printed in early stories about the Bus Boycott, namely “that the Negroes had borrowed the boycott tactic from the White Citizens Councils, which had openly adopted a policy of harsh economic reprisal against Negroes who fought segregation.“ As blacks organized to boycott the bus lines, White Citizens Council organized boycotts of those blacks working for desegregation.

Thing Two, Citizens Councils and Jimmy Carter: The Plains area witnessed the formation in 1958 of the violently segregationist “Citizens Council.” The leaders sought Carter out. “They pointed out that it would damage my reputation and my success as a businessman in the community if I proved to be the only hold-out,” Carter recalled to James Wooten. “And because of their genuine concern about my welfare, they were willing to pay the dues for me.” Carter refused.

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