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January 10, 2003

Pickering and Anti-Klan Testimony

It's become a mantra of the defenders of Charles Pickering that he "courageously" testified against a Klan leader back in the 1960s.

But this involved a town where WHITES were being attacked by the Klan as a series of bombings threatened the white establishment. And it was interlaced with violent labor struggle in the primary employer. See this article:

The Klan had been implicated in a series of bombings, including the destruction of “Lauren Leader-Call” newspapers in May 1964, even though the paper supported racial segregation...

The violence had reached the proportion of a regular civil war, with the Masonite plant in a state of siege, because of the violence involved in striking and the Klanish activities.”

It was Henry Bucklew, the mayor of Laurel and a top official in segregationist Alabama Gov. George Wallace’s presidential campaign, who had rallied the White establishment to take on the Klan, mostly for safety and economic reasons.

So any testimony by Pickering as a County Attorney would be doing the bidding of the local white establishment, not some great individual act of courage.

And what was Charles Pickering's "courageous" testimony against a prime Klan leader after this wave of violence?

Defense Counsel: Do you know of Sam Bowers’ reputation in the community?
Pickering: Yes.

Defense Counsel: Is it good or bad?
Pickering: It’s bad.

Defense Counsel: Do you know that Sam Bowers teaches Sunday School?
Pickering: Yes.

Defense Counsel: Thank you. That will be all.

For this he's supposed to get a pass on protesting desegregation in 1964 by leaving the Democratic Party?

Posted by Nathan at January 10, 2003 06:07 PM

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