Connect with us

Politics

Mississippi’s GOP Senate candidate accused of racial insensitivity

Published

on


Mississippi Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith
Mississippi Republican
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith

Rogelio V.
Solis/SP


  • Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, the Mississippi Republican up for
    reelection in a Tuesday runoff, is under renewed fire for
    race-related issues.
  • Hyde-Smith, who has been widely criticized for racially
    insensitive comments on the campaign trail, attended an all-white
    “segregation academy” for high school, sent her daughter to
    another such academy, and has repeatedly allied herself with
    Confederate causes.
  • If elected, Hyde-Smith’s opponent, Democrat Mike Espy, would
    become the state’s first black US senator since
    Reconstruction. 

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, the Mississippi Republican up for
reelection in a Tuesday runoff, is under renewed fire after a
news outlets reported that Hyde-Smith attended an all-white
“segregation academy” for high school, sent her daughter to
another such academy, and has repeatedly allied herself with
Confederate causes.

This comes amid a race that has for weeks
grown increasingly racially-charged
following remarks
Hyde-Smith made about attending a public hanging and making it
harder for liberal college students to vote, which many
interpreted as racially insensitive.

Mississippi’s segregationist governor John Bell Williams
reluctantly ordered his state’s schools to integrate in 1969, 14
years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of
Education, which made desegregation the law of the land. Lawrence
County Academy — which Hyde-Smith attended — opened in the
immediate aftermath of the Brown decision. It was one of many
“segration academies” that opened throughout the state to provide
white families with an alternative to sending their children to
school with black children,
the Jackson Free Press reported Friday

“Lawrence County Academy started because people didn’t want their
kids going to school with minorities,” Lawrence County NAACP
President Wesley Bridges told the Free Press. “Cindy
Hyde-Smith was a product of that school.”

A Lawrence Academy yearbook obtained by the Free Press includes a
photo of Hyde-Smith and her cheerleading squad posing with the
school’s mascot – a student dressed as a Confederate general
holding a Confederate battle flag. 

The academy shut down in the late 1980s due to low attendance,
but Hyde-Smith sent her her daughter, Anna-Michael — who
graduated from high school last year — to Brookhaven Academy, a
similarly established private school opened in 1970 as a
segregation academy. The Free Press
reported
that in the 2015-2016 year, the school enrolled 386
white students, five Asian students, and just one black student,
despite the fact that the city of Brookhaven is 55% black and 43%
white. 

A history of embracing the Confederacy

Hyde-Smith, who served as a state senator from 2000-2012,
also has a history of exhibiting pride in the Confederacy and an
apparent willingness to ignore her state’s history of slavery and
racial violence and oppression. 

In her second year as a state senator in 1999, Hyde-Smith
sponsored a bill to rename part of a highway after Confederate
President Jefferson Davis (the proposal ultimately failed). In
2007, Hyde-Smith authored a resolution praising a
Confederate soldier for fighting to “defend his
homeland,”
 CNN
reported Saturday
. She worked on the resolution with the
Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group that promotes the
revisionist historical position that “preservation of liberty and
freedom was the motivating factor” in the South’s fight in the
Civil War. 

In 2014, Hyde-Smith posed in a Confederate hat at the Jefferson
Davis Home and Presidential Library in a photo
she posted on Facebook
, commenting, “Mississippi history at
its best!”

President Donald Trump, whom Hyde-Smith has fully embraced, is
scheduled to hold two rallies for the senator on Monday, the eve
of the runoff.

After facing widespread condemnation for remarking that she would
attend a “public hanging” if a supporter asked her to (despite
the state’s dark history of lynching), and for suggesting that
making it harder for liberal college students to vote is “a great
idea,” Hyde-Smith has defended herself and attempted to stay away
from the media.

Hyde-Smith’s opponent, Democrat Mike Espy, condemned her comments
and called her “a walking stereotype who embarrasses our state,”
and during Tuesday’s debate added she had “given our state
another black eye.” If elected, Espy would become the state’s
first black US senator since Reconstruction — and the first
Democrat elected to the chamber from Mississippi since
1982. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement Find your dream job

Trending