Presidential candidate and GOP front-runner Ben Carson named a retired judge who has a history of racist ideologies and support for segregation as his Mississippi state chair.
Former federal judge Charles W. Pickering was known for his opposition for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and attacking of proponents to end Jim Crow during the 1960s. According to Salon, he also left the Democratic Party in 1964 to protest the party’s support for civil rights and rejection of segregation.
Salon also reported that in a 1967 statement, Pickering wrote that he “wanted to preserve our southern way of life,” and blamed civil rights workers for stirring up “turmoil and racial hatred” in the South.
The truth of Pickering’s shameful past was uncovered by Princeton University history professor Sean Wilentz when the former judge was nominated to the Fifth Circuit in 2004 by former President George W. Bush.
Gartin’s papers show conclusively that, contrary to [Sen. Mitch] McConnell’s description, Pickering himself was one of those “white citizens and politicians who resisted integration and civil rights,” not someone working to oppose such forces.
Instead of “trying to establish better race relations” in the 1960’s, Pickering worked to support segregation, attack civil rights advocates who sought to end Jim Crow, and back those who opposed national civil rights legislation, above all the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Or, in the words of a public statement he signed in 1967, Pickering wanted to preserve “our southern way of life,” and he bitterly blamed civil rights workers for stirring up “turmoil and racial hatred” in the South.
In 2002, Pickering disavowed his racist past when he attempted to secure the Senate’s nomination. He told Congress that he had established better race relations in his home state of Mississippi however, Democrats believed the move was purely political, and Wilentz soon discovered Pickering lied about his efforts to disavow white supremacy and improve race relations in Mississippi.
This is not the first time Carson enlisted the help of someone with a alarming history to his campaign. Carson announced the members to his “medical coalition” last month and as it turns out, most of them are vocal opponents to Obamacare and child vaccinations, according to ThinkProgress.org.
It seems obvious that Carson has no intention in fighting for the rights of African-Americans with his recent anti-civil rights appointments, nor does he seem to believe in institutionalized racism by calling the #BlackLivesMatter movement “silly” and “sickening.”