Thursday, June 10, 2004

Ronald Reagan in Philadelphia, Mississippi

From the transcript of the 6/7 edition of NewsHour on PBS. The quote is from Roger Wilkins:

Well, Reagan was an incredible combination of a person who was very optimistic, upbeat, but underneath there were some really ugly parts of his politics.

He was, I said once before on this program, he capitalized on anti-black populism by going to Philadelphia and Mississippi , for example, in the beginning of his campaign in 1980.

Nobody had ever heard of Philadelphia and Mississippi outside of Mississippi , except as the place where three civil rights workers had been lynched – in 1964 – he said I believe in states rights.

Everybody knew what that meant. He went to Stone Mountain , Georgia , where the Ku Klux Klan used to burn its crosses, and he said Jefferson Davis is a hero of mine.

The event Wilkins speaks of is Reagan's first major campaign stop after declaring his candidacy for President in 1979. And who urged him to go to this former bastion of racism? Trent Lott.

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