White Voters Civil Rights Violated By Black Dems
The times are changing. It seems the undercurrent of racisim is colorblind. Can you imagine if this was the other way around? I guess we would be subjected to the usual lynching photos?
MACON - With the Noxubee County elections runoffs only a day away, it seems very few people involved are willing to say much about it. The volatile nature of this year's runoff has been a source of controversy in the area for months since U.S. District Judge Tom Lee ruled white voters' civil rights were violated by Democratic Chairman Ike Brown and the county party during previous elections.
The ruling was the first time that the 1964 Voting Rights Act was used to defend the rights of whites.
Lee postponed the county's runoff election, originally set for Aug. 28, until Tuesday, Sept. 18 and appointed former state Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson to oversee the polls until 2011.
Lee also banned Brown from participating in the elections other than to vote unless asked to assist by Anderson.
Noxubee has a 69 percent black majority, and the fact that each of the upcoming races pits a black candidate against a white one hasn't gone unnoticed.
The situation became even stickier last week when Anderson refused to talk to the press on direct orders from Lee until after the elections.
Now, in direct opposition to the nature of most any campaigning politicians, only one of the six candidates up for election would agree to an interview as well.
Incumbent Albert Walker has served as Noxubee County sheriff since 1988. Walker, a Macon native, said he does not give interviews.
He led the race 2,023 to 1,561 against opponent Sam R. “Tiny” Heard of Brooksville in the Aug. 7 Democratic Primary.
Heard said that he would not give interviews until after this race is behind him.
Current Clerk Mary Shelton, who's served three terms in the office, changed her mind about speaking to the press at the last minute. “I really don't want to do it,” she said after averting three calls for her set interview this morning.
“Well, I'm just really too busy setting poll workers for tomorrow.”
Opponent Pam Norris could not be reached for comment by press time today.
Both candidates hail from Macon. Shelton led Norris 2,142 votes to 1,816 in the primary.
District 5 supervisor
Bruce Brooks of Brooksville led the polls 509 to 315 against challenger John Heard in the Aug. 7 election, and the pair will face off in Tuesday's runoff.
Brooks, in his first term as District 5 supervisor, had faced controversy earlier this year after the Board of Supervisors refused to pay for repairs on the county-issued truck Brooks crashed. The supervisors went on to request a state auditor's ruling on the matter; however, the state auditor closed the case due to lack of evidence.
Brooks was also found not guilty by the Noxubee County Justice Court of the DUI he was charged with.
Brooks said he plans to continue to support the economy of his district through his four businesses and continue involvement as a volunteer at Wilson Elementary to stay involved in the community should he lose.
“He was in this position for 20 years and didn't even manage to get any roads paved for us,” Brooks said of his opponent, who is also from Brooksville.
Heard, who served as District 5 supervisor for five terms, is coming out of retirement to run again. Heard could not be reached for comment.
“I think all the controversy around this election will actually bring out more voters this time because I think a lot of them are mad the Heard family has put this kind of a strain on the county,” Brooks said. “We're going to be out over $50,000 in legal fees plus two to $5,000 extra for the runoff because of the added referee's fees,” he said. “They're going to come out and make themselves heard.
Sheriff candidate “Tiny” Heard spearheaded the group that brought the voting rights case to court. Brooks' opponent is a also a member of that family.
“I just hope when all this is over we can all come together and unify both sides to desegregate this community and help us all,” Brooks said.
Absentee voting began last week and ended Saturday; mailed in absentee ballots were due at the courthouse by today.
Noxubee's 10 polling stations open Tuesday at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
Anderson will be on hand to supervise the election.
Miss. — A federal judge has ruled that a majority black county in
eastern Mississippi violated whites' voting rights in what prosecutors
said was the first lawsuit to use the Voting Rights Act on behalf of
U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee ruled late Friday that Noxubee County
Democratic Party leader Ike Brown and the county Democratic Executive
Committee "manipulated the political process in ways specifically
intended and designed to impair and impede participation of white
voters and to dilute their votes."
The Justice Department accused Brown of trying to limit whites'
participation in local elections in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights
Act, written to protect racial minorities when Southern states strictly
"Every American has the right to vote free from racial
discrimination," said Wan J. Kim, assistant attorney general for the
Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.
"The court's ruling is another victory in the department's vigorous
efforts to protect the voting rights of all Americans," Kim said.
Noxubee County is a rural area along the Alabama line with a population of about 12,500, of whom 70 percent are black.
Brown did not immediately return calls Saturday from The Associated Press seeking comment.
The Justice Department alleged in the 2006 lawsuit that Noxubee County blacks tried to shut whites out of the voting process.
Brown had claimed the Justice Department was misconstruing as racial
intimidation his attempts to keep Republicans from voting in Democratic
Lee, who presided over the case without a jury, gave attorneys on
both sides until July 29 to file briefs suggesting how to end the
discrimination. The case was a civil matter carrying no criminal
penalties, but defendants who violate Lee's final order could face
contempt of court charges and fines, prosecutors said.
Ricky Walker, who is white and the county's prosecuting attorney,
believes Brown recruited an opponent to run against Walker in 2003
simply because of Walker's race.
"We're glad to be getting it over with so we move on and get to the
point where maybe we can just have fair, honest, impartial elections
here and just go about our business and not have to go through all this
circus to get an election done," said Walker, who was a Justice
Department witness during the trial in January.
Walker, who is unopposed this year, said the lawsuit created some
unrest in the county "that we were getting past ... blacks and whites
starting to support people on their ability to fulfill the job rather
than just strictly a political or racial basis."
The judge said there was a pattern to Brown's efforts to keep all
whites out of the county's Democratic Party, including holding party
caucuses in private homes rather than public voting precincts and
inviting only blacks to the meetings.
Lee said he could not find that the defendants had a specific animosity against white people.
"Brown, in fact, claims a number of whites as friends," Lee wrote.
"However, there is no doubt from the evidence presented at trial that
Brown, in particular, is firmly of the view that blacks, being the
majority race in Noxubee County, should hold all elected offices, to
the exclusion of whites; and this view is apparently shared by his
allies and associates on the NDEC, who, along with Brown, effectively
control the election process in Noxubee County."[/q]