I really have not kept up on what CORE does these days, but now I am utterly disinclined to try. For Martin Luther King Day 2006, CORE is honoring Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour panderer to white supremacists who wears the confederate flag on his lapel with pride.
"We have invited Gov. Barbour as a representative of all of the great people of Mississippi in recognition of the state's progress in race relations after the successful prosecution of the 1964 murders of CORE volunteers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner," said CORE national spokesman Niger Innis [as quoted by a December 14, 2005 article in the Neshoba Democrat].
In observance of the King federal holiday, CORE hosts an annual Ambassadorial Reception and Awards Dinner in New York City. This event has grown to become one of the largest events in the country honoring Dr. King with more than 2,000 people from all walks of life attending each year.
This year's 21st annual black tie event will be held at the New York Sheraton Hotel and Towers at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2006.
If you're relatively new to HungryBlues, you may not know that I have a somewhat different view of the significance of the Edgar Ray Killen trial.
The article is from the Jim Prince edited Neshoba Democrat, so not only do we get the drivel, above, we get a whole lot more about Barbour's "historic" role in supporting the "call to justice" of the Philadelphia Coalition, which Prince co-chairs.
At the commemoration the governor said it was a complicit sin to ignore evil....
Gov. Barbour was in Philadelphia and joined in the call for justice at the event which drew about 1,800.
"We know that when evil is done it is a complicit sin to ignore it, to pretend it didn't happen even if it happened 40 years ago. You have to face up to your problems before you can solve them," Barbour said at the time.
One year later, on June 21, 2005, a Neshoba County jury found Edgar Ray Killen guilty of three counts of manslaughter in connection with the murders.
Let's just say that neither Barbour's appearance at nor the Philadelphia Coalition's role in the memorial were universally appreciated .
Past honorees have included Laura Bush and Rudolph Giuliani. How many people remember that Giuliani's 1993 mayoral campaign ran a full-blown, racist voter suppression operation to get him elected? I guess Barbour will be in good company.
I'll be even a little more blunt. Haley Barbour refuses to disavow his affiliations with the neo-confederate movement and it's powerful Mississippi mouthpiece, the Council of Conservative Citizens the same organization that under a different name (White Citizens Council) fostered the environment in which a gang of Klansmen, including law enforcement, could beat and shoot to death James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman and so many others with total impunity. A few nice sounding words on the podium of a farcical memorial don't change anything. As Katrina Survivor Leah Hodges said before the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, "If I put a dress on a pig, a pig is still a pig."
Benjamin Greenberg is the son of CORE and SCLC veteran Paul
Copyright © 2005, Benjamin Greenberg