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Old 12-13-2002, 08:04 AM
moe.ron moe.ron is offline
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Question What do u guys think?

Published on Thursday, December 12, 2002 by Time Magazine
Trent Lott's Segregationist College Days
At Ole Miss, the Senator helped lead a fight to keep blacks out of his national fraternity

by Karen Tumulty

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott helped lead a successful battle to prevent his college fraternity from admitting blacks to any of its chapters, in a little-known incident now four decades old. At a time when racial issues were roiling campuses across the South, some chapters of Sigma Nu fraternity in the Northeast were considering admitting African-American members, a move that would have sent a powerful statement through the tradition-bound world of sororities and fraternities. At the time, Lott was president of the intra-fraternity council at the University of Mississippi. When the issue came to a head at Sigma Nu's national convention — known as a "Grand Chapter" — in the early 1960s, "Trent was one of the strongest leaders in resisting the integration of the national fraternity in any of the chapters," recalls former CNN President Tom Johnson, then a Sigma Nu member at the University of Georgia.

The bitter debate over the issue took place at the convention in a New Orleans hotel, as Johnson recalls. Sigma Nu's executive secretary Richard Fletcher, a legendary figure in the fraternity, pleaded with the Sigma Nus to find some common ground between those who wanted to integrate and those who didn't, Johnson says. But the southerners were unbending about permitting no exceptions to the all-white policy. With their chapters threatening a walkout, the fraternity voted overwhelmingly to remain all-white.

Johnson, who voted on Lott's side, now calls that vote "one of the biggest mistakes of my life." Over the years, as Johnson became a media executive, word would get back to him from time to time that Lott was repeating the tale to mutual acquaintances — to embarrass him, Johnson believes. (Lott did not make himself available for comment to TIME today for this story.)

It was Lott himself who first told me this story, back in the mid 1980s. He was a Republican Congressman and I was a reporter freshly assigned to cover Capitol Hill for the Los Angeles Times, where Johnson was then the publisher. "In later life, it seemed that Trent felt he 'had something on me,' when he would share the fact that he and I had been on the same side in the national fraternity debate," says Johnson, who later went to work as an aide in Lyndon Johnson's White House and more recently helped lead the battle to have the confederate battle flag removed in Georgia. Johnson recalls of Lott back then: "He was against integration. I was against splitting the fraternity. Yet my vote had the same impact and is subject to the same interpretation — that I also opposed integration. I am very disappointed in myself. I hope my record for the past 40 years speaks louder than that."

Lott has been under fire since last week, when he declared that his state was proud to have voted for Strom Thurmond's segregationist ticket in 1948. "And if the rest of the country had followed our lead," Lott added in remarks at Thurmond's 100th birthday party, "we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years either." Lott has since apologized, and on Thursday, President Bush said the apology was deserved. "Any suggestion that the segregated past was acceptable or positive is offensive and it is wrong," Bush declared.

Lott was a witness to one of the pivotal episodes in that past. During his senior year at Ole Miss, violence erupted there when U.S. marshals moved to install Air Force veteran James Meredith as its first African-American student. Lott was not among the students advocating integration, but did succeed in persuading his fraternity brothers not to join in the rioting. In 1997, Lott told TIME: "Yes, you could say I favored segregation then. I don't now. … The main thing was, I felt the federal government had no business sending in troops to tell the state what to do."
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Old 12-13-2002, 08:30 AM
ZTAMiami ZTAMiami is offline
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MY Opinion:

This man is a pig and a bigot and should resign NOW! Makes me wonder if he has had a hidden agenda all along and this slipped out by accident. I wonder how many other politicians follow his lead. I bet there are a lot. I also read that he supported the ban of interacial dating at Bob Jones University just over 20 years ago. If I find the article I will post it.
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Old 12-13-2002, 08:55 AM
Optimist Prime Optimist Prime is offline
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Lott is a Nazi.
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Old 12-13-2002, 09:03 AM
Sistermadly Sistermadly is offline
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Lott's not a Nazi, and Lott's not the problem. The problem is Lott is honest and is showing that every politician is capable of spouting pretty platitudes at the right time, but it doesn't mean that what they feel in their heart has changed. What he did was stupid, and he should have known better, but I'm not really surprised.

I applaud Tom Johnson for being honest. More people should be as honest as he is -- even when it has the potential of bringing him down as well.
I chose the ivy leaf, 'cause nothing else would do...
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Old 12-13-2002, 09:07 AM
Kevin Kevin is offline
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The convention was in I think '67. We integrated at the next convention in '69. It passed by one vote. I've spoken with a brother that was present at that one (has gone to every Grand Chapter for like 50-60 years).

Other than the record I was not there in '69 or '67 to hear what happened so I can really say no more except that it was generally all of our Southern chapters that were for segregation. We're a Southern fraternity in origin so I suppose that would explain (not excuse) what happened.

As for Lott's comments at Mr. Thurmond's birthday party.. Well I'm a realist. I didn't hear anything about segregation... I didn't hear any pro-segregationist speal. What I did hear was Mr. Lott being very complimentary of his friend and colleague. Perhaps he did not take the time to think how his words might be (badly) taken out of context.

On a side note I heard Maxine Waters last night on CNN saying something to the effect that Lott was saying the same racist stuff that he had in 1948. Ms. Waters he was around 9 years old at the time

Tom Johnson (former President of CNN who was mentioned in the article) has gone on the record saying that he regretted his vote in '67. I'm certain Lott has as well.

This reeks of the media making an event out of a non-event. See Gary Condit.
SN -SINCE 1869-
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Old 12-13-2002, 09:08 AM
justamom justamom is offline
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I honestly don't know what to think. I too feel his statement was hideous, but as someone who OFTEN puts my foot in my mouth, I wonder if it all came out wrong. I really don't think Lott was saying-"Damn, if only Strom had been president..." It was his way of making, to a very old man, an exaggerated compliment.

I also think the media-being very liberal-smelled blood and jumped all over this statement. It's about the BEST piece of fodder they've had on a Republican for a while. Now they are digging up a story over 30 years old! How many of us haven't said or done things we regret within the past couple of years? I understand his leadership position, but once again, another story told that's older than most of the people on GC!?! Are ANY of us the same person we were 5 years ago?

People can and do change. Those changes are reflected in our actions and THAT is how we should judge. There are many politicians who hold one belief, but follow the voice of their constituents or party. If his policies reflect a new thinking, then maybe we should consider the possibility that he just made one tremendous faux pas.

It's just a different perspective...

edited for BAD MATH!

Last edited by justamom; 12-13-2002 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 12-13-2002, 09:21 AM
Sistermadly Sistermadly is offline
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Actually, the media sat on this for days after the event, and it wasn't the "liberal media" or the "liberals" who went after Lott first -- it was members of his own party, who are trying to make great strides in bringing more African Americans to the Republican party who brought this to light.

From an article in The Nation, posted yesterday:

Where is the outrage? The general silence is more alarming than Lott himself. The New York Times initially found his remarks un-newsworthy and acknowledged them only after Lott issued, first, a slippery denial, then a grudging apology. The Washington Post published a crisp, comprehensive account by Thomas Edsall, but it ran on page six, not on the front page where it belonged.

And for those doubting what Thurmond's campaign was about all those years ago, here's a quote from one of his stump speeches given back in 1948:

I want to tell you, ladies and gentleman, that there's not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the n****r race into our theatres, into our swimming pools, into our homes and into our churches.

It was the "liberal media" who tried to spin Thurmond's original comments by saying that he used the word "Negro" in the original speech. Thank the Associated Press for that little bit of media distortion.

You can listen to the audio file here (requires RealAudio).

It's not a non-issue. It's important to know that the person who is the leader of the party in power harbors racist sentiments so apparently. It's important to show that the head of the Republican party -- the party that is doing its level best to bring more minorities in the party -- has gone on record in support of a known segregationist not once, but twice. It's important to know that such a powerful man is a known supporter of the Council of Conservative Citizens -- formerly known as the White Citizens Council, one of the most virulently, violently racist organizations in American history (Lott said about the CCC: "The people in this room stand for the right principles and the right philosophy. Let’s take it in the right direction, and our children will be the beneficiaries.") It's important to know that one of the most powerful politicians on the hilll isn't interested in representing all of the people, just some of the people.

Yes, people can change, and it's truly wonderful when it happens. George Wallace changed -- I really believe that. Fraternities and sororities have changed -- look at how many have very clear statements against discrimination. Lott hasn't changed a bit. He just had the misfortune of being "caught out there."
I chose the ivy leaf, 'cause nothing else would do...

Last edited by Sistermadly; 12-13-2002 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 12-13-2002, 10:40 PM
DeltAlum DeltAlum is offline
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I have no idea whether Mr. Lott has changed or not.

I believe his effectiveness as Majority Leader will certainly be compromised by this situation. I think he should resign.

If he still harbors racist thoughts, he shouldn't be sitting in Congress.

The real problem is that there is no way to know the truth.
The above is the opinion of the poster which may or may not be based in known facts and does not necessarily reflect the views of Delta Tau Delta or Greek Chat -- but it might.
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Old 12-13-2002, 11:04 PM
Tom Earp Tom Earp is offline
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Red face

I am sure Trent Lott was saying things that his OLD mentor Strom would like to hear at his old mans celebration!

Well Strom like many of the Good Ole Boys should have been long gone many years ago!

I have seen damn stupid things said by our duly elected moronic asswholes but he did him self proud for STUPIDITY!

I bet his weenie is flat from stepping all over it!

What a sad state of affairs, and they call us wrong as Greeks?

We as Greeks do more on GC site to promote understanding than any other group that I have ever seen!

I finally got on GC pix site and what a great buch of people that I now have seen in real life! It makes it more real for me and I hope for each of you!

God Bless to each of you, I for one love all of you!

LX Z # 1
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Old 12-13-2002, 11:14 PM
KillarneyRose KillarneyRose is offline
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Originally posted by Tom Earp
I bet his weenie is flat from stepping all over it!
LMAO!!!! ROFL!!!!

God Bless to each of you, I for one love all of you!
Hugs-n-Kisses right back at ya, Mr. President
I ♥ Delta Zeta ~ Proud Mom of an Omega Phi Alpha and a Phi Mu
"I just don't want people to go around thinking I'm the kind of person who doesn't believe in God or voted for Kerry." - Honeychile
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Old 12-13-2002, 11:57 PM
MSKKG MSKKG is offline
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Points of interest:

1. Dixiecrats came from the Democratic Party.
2. Without the votes of Republican senators, the Civil Rights Act would not have passed.
3. Al Gore's father voted against the CRA.

A friend of mine was at Ole Miss when Trent Lott was there and knows him personally. She said he is a fine man. He came from a blue-collar family, so whatever he accomplished, he accomplished without financial aid from his family.

I don't think he was wishing for slavery to return. I think he was just complimenting Strom Thurmond on Strom's accomplishments. He may have misspoken, but I don't think he is a racist. What politician with any political hopes for advancement would have said something so inflammatory in such a public forum and meant it?!? Mr. Lott has apologized, which is more than a lot of politicians do.

I've seen accounts in the media of things I know about that totally misrepresent the facts. Taking things out of context puts a bad light or good light on those situations, depending on the slant the reporter wants.

I'm not politically savvy, but this "jumping on [people] like a duck on a June bug" mentality is tiresome, especially when it only goes one way.
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Old 12-14-2002, 01:26 AM
Sistermadly Sistermadly is offline
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Originally posted by DeltAlum
I believe his effectiveness as Majority Leader will certainly be compromised by this situation. I think he should resign.
Well said, DeltAlum. He's going to have a hard row to hoe if he continues, and he's going to be a serious liability for a party that's trying to rid itself of the stigma of exclusionary policies and politics.
I chose the ivy leaf, 'cause nothing else would do...
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Old 12-14-2002, 01:49 AM
ADPiViolets ADPiViolets is offline
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Trent Lott should NOT resign. As was mentioned earlier, I believe he sorta got his words confused, and was speaking more-so in a way to commemorate Senator Thurmond at his 100th Birthday.

And quite frankly---

I am absolutely sick of this.
Jesse Jackson says all Jews live in Heine-Town, and no one blinks an eye. Trent Lott makes a stumble over his words, and suddenly everyone's demanding his resignation. Sorta the old, "you can dish it out, but you can't take it" routine.

And don't you remember?
Former President Clinton didn't resign when he lied UNDER OATH, folks.
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Old 12-14-2002, 01:51 AM
KSig RC KSig RC is offline
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OK - here's the problem:

Lott's statement wasn't "We're glad we voted for Strom Thurmond, because he was Segregationalist" - it also wasn't "We wouldn't be in all this mess we have with the Negros" . . .

These are all added by the reader - now, from his past record, it is very easy to see how these assumptions could be added, and they may actually be valid. But realistically, they're still assumptions - it seems well within the realm of possibility that Lott was simply making empty statements to build up his associate, without thinking of how they'd apply to a certain segment of his past.

Lott's recent commentary has stated as such, saying he was "winging it" and that "no venal thoughts entered [his] mind" - now, whether that's covering his ass is up for debate, but again it's just that - UP FOR DEBATE.

While certainly less than intelligent, it seems like something where we can't assign value statements without making a leap to judge meaning behind somewhat vague statements. Should that lead to his resignation? He's the one that has to live in his own skin . . .
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Old 12-14-2002, 03:14 AM
crystalline crystalline is offline
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Originally posted by ADPiViolets

And don't you remember?
Former President Clinton didn't resign when he lied UNDER OATH, folks.
I don't care what anyone says. I still think Clinton kick a$$! And really, what he does with his interns really isn't anyones business (and I am speaking strictly about Monica). Countries in Europe were making total fun of our country for the big deal people made about it. The only person who should have been all over him about it was Hillary.
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