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Coretta Scott King's Letter to Strom Thurmond

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posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 07:22 AM
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"Mr Chairman and Members of the Committee:
Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to express my strong opposition to the nomination of Jefferson Sessions for a federal district judgeship for the Southern District of Alabama. My longstanding commitment which I shared with my husband, Martin, to protect and enhance the rights of black Americans, rights which include equal access to the democratic process, compels me to testify today.
Civil rights leaders, including my husband and Albert Turner, have fought long and hard to achieve free and unfettered access to the ballot box. Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge. This simply cannot be allowed to happen. Mr. Sessions' conduct as a US Attorney, from his politically-motivated voting fraud prosecutions to his indifference toward criminal violations of civil rights laws, indicated that he lacks the temperament, fairness and judgment to be a federal judge

The Voting Rights Act was, and still is, vitally important to the future of democracy in the United States. I was privileged to join Martin and many others during the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights in 1965. Martin was particularly impressed by the determination to get the franchise of blacks in Selma and neighboring Perry County. As he wrote, "Certainly no community in the history of the Negro struggle has responded with the enthusiasm of Selma and her neighboring town of Marion. Where Birmingham depended largely upon students and unemployed adults to participate in non-violent protest of the denial of the franchise, Selma has involved fully 10 per cent of the Negro population in active demonstrations, and at least half of the Negro population of Marion was arrested on one day." Martin was referring of course to a group that included the defendants recently prosecuted for assisting elderly and illiterate blacks to exercise that franchise. In fact, Martin anticipated from the depth of their commitment twenty years ago, that a united political organization would remain in Perry County long after the other marchers had left. This organization, the Perry County Civic League, started my Mr. Turner, Mr. Hogue, and others, as Martin predicted, continued "to direct the drive for votes and other rights." In the years since the Voting Rights Act was passed, black Americans in Marion, Selma and elsewhere have made important strides in their struggle to participate actively in the electoral process. The number of blacks registered to vote in key Southern states has doubled since 1965. This would not have been possible without the Voting Rights Act.
However, blacks still fall far short of having equal participation in the electoral process. Particularly in the South, efforts continue to be made to deny blacks access to the polls, even where blacks constitute the majority of the voters. It has been a long, up-hill struggle to keep alive the vital legislation that protects the most fundamental right to vote. A person who has exhibited so much hostility to the enforcement of those laws, and thus, to the exercise of those rights by black people should not be elevated to the federal bench.
The irony of Mr. Sessions' nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods. Twenty years ago, when we marched from Selma to Montgomery, the fear of voting was real, as the broken bones and bloody .s in Selma and Marion bore witness. As my husband wrote at the them, "it was not just a sick imagination that conjured up the vision of a public official, sworn to uphold the law, who forced an inhuman march upon hundreds of Negro children. Who ordered the Rev. James Bevel to be chained to his sickbed, who clubbed a Negro woman registrant, and who callously inflicted repeated brutalities and indignities upon nonviolent Negroes peacefully petitioning for their constitutional right to vote."
Free exercise of voting rights is so fundamental to American democracy that we cannot tolerate any form of infringement of those rights. Of all the groups who have been disenfranchised in our nation's history, none has struggled longer or suffered more in the attempt to win the vote than black citizens. No group has had access to the ballot box denied so persistently and intently. Over the past century, a broad array of schemes have been used in attempts to bloc the black vote. The range of techniques developed with the purpose of repressing black voting rights run the gamut from the straightforward application of brutality against black citizens who tried to vote, to such legalized frauds as grandfather clause exclusions and rigged literacy tests.
The actions taken by Mr. Sessions in regard to the 1984 voting fraud prosecutions represent just one more technique used to intimidate black voters and thus deny them this most precious franchise. The investigations into the absentee voting process were conducted only in the black belt counties where blacks had finally achieved political power in local government. Whites had been using the absentee process to their advantage for years, without incident. Then, when blacks, realizing its strength, began to use it with success, criminal investigations were begun.
In these investigations, Mr. Sessions, a US Attorney, exhibited an eagerness to bring to trial and convict three leaders of the Perry County Civic League including Albert Turner, despite evidence clearly demonstrating their innocence of any wrongdoing.

time.com...
edit on 8-2-2017 by reldra because: (no reason given)


IMPORTANT: New (old) Standards Are Being Enforced (again) For New Threads
edit on Wed Feb 8 2017 by DontTreadOnMe because: trimmed overly long quote & added EX TAGS and SOURCE IMPORTANT: Using Content From Other Websites on ATS




posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 07:23 AM
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edit on 8-2-2017 by reldra because: (no reason given)

time.com...
edit on Wed Feb 8 2017 by DontTreadOnMe because: IMPORTANT: Using Content From Other Websites on ATS



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 07:24 AM
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The letter is a matter of public record. WHY, any person such as Jeff Sessions could be appointed to such a lofty position within our government and why any person would support him is lunacy. I understand the letter is long, but I encourage people to take the time to read it before replying. This kind of person is bred this way. They will not change at such a late time in their life. Sessions does not espouse American or even human values.

Since a sitting senator was unable to finish the reading of this historical letter, I thought I should provide it for easy reference.
edit on 8-2-2017 by reldra because: (no reason given)

edit on 8-2-2017 by reldra because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 07:27 AM
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Opinions very.
a reply to: reldra



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 07:29 AM
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a reply to: whywhynot

Yes, verily, this is a good opinion.



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 07:32 AM
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Then, in 1984, black officeholders complained of voter fraud and filed an election contest, Sessions said. Perry County, one of the smallest Alabama counties with a population of 15,000, had more absentee ballots filed than Jefferson County, population 700,000, according to a local news article.

Investigators interviewed witnesses who said their ballots were changed and observed a post office where Turner and other activists dropped off ballots. They tracked the ballots and found about 75 out of 700 had been changed, Sessions said — a larger scale than was alleged in 1982.

Sen. Strom Thurmond, who was the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman at the time, asked Sessions: “As district attorney, was it your obligation then, when the FBI found this fraud, to go forward and prosecute?” Sessions answered: “It certainly was. It was something we had been requested to do by an official grand jury in that county, too, two years before.”

The Washington Post

The case was brought on the complaints of black officeholders.
If Sessions had refused to press the case, he would have been accused of being racist. Seems like he was damned either way.



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 07:39 AM
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It is simply your opinion or view of a matter. Opinions are not good or bad my nature. They are a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

a reply to: reldra



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 07:45 AM
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a reply to: butcherguy

I am looking at the same article. It still questions Sessions' motives in the end and tactics on how witnesses were interviewed. Shock! It changes nothing about things he has said in the past. In fact, the still unanswered uestions about the investigation and his own words only serve to show he is not appropriate for this job.



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 07:46 AM
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originally posted by: whywhynot
It is simply your opinion or view of a matter. Opinions are not good or bad my nature. They are a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

a reply to: reldra


You answered too quickly to have read the letter to begin with. The post is mainly about the letter, not my opinion of it. I wanted to post the letter.



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 07:57 AM
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originally posted by: reldra
a reply to: butcherguy

I am looking at the same article. It still questions Sessions' motives in the end and tactics on how witnesses were interviewed. Shock! It changes nothing about things he has said in the past. In fact, the still unanswered uestions about the investigation and his own words only serve to show he is not appropriate for this job.


From the WaPost article:

Some black voters testified that they didn’t authorize any changes to their ballots. But others, who had told the FBI that their ballots were changed without approval, changed their testimony during the trial. Some could not identify ballots as their own because they couldn’t read or write. Other government witnesses spoke positively about Turner and the other defendants before the jury.

What do you suggest a prosecutor do about something like this?


This is a complicated case with a lot of history. We explored it in depth here, but there are many theories and analyses of this case that we have not covered. For example, some have theorized that Johnson wrote to Sessions after the 1982 case only to lay the ground for an extensive, federally backed investigation in 1984. Questions have been raised about the treatment of witnesses by both the FBI and the defendants — and how the treatment may have affected the outcome of the case.

It would seem that there were questions about what was going on with both sides.
In the end... it is about voter fraud.
Something that we keep hearing doesn't exist, yet a group of black people complained to begin with... about voter fraud.... and over 30 years later, the man that took their complaints seriously.... is a racist.
Whatever.



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 07:59 AM
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originally posted by: reldra

originally posted by: whywhynot
It is simply your opinion or view of a matter. Opinions are not good or bad my nature. They are a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

a reply to: reldra


You answered too quickly to have read the letter to begin with. The post is mainly about the letter, not my opinion of it. I wanted to post the letter.

Are you saying that previous to your OP, it was not possible to find and read the letter?



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 08:06 AM
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a reply to: butcherguy

No.

But to handle 2 things in 1 post, it was requested of me that I provide a source for a historical document.

Time



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 08:07 AM
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originally posted by: butcherguy

originally posted by: reldra
a reply to: butcherguy

I am looking at the same article. It still questions Sessions' motives in the end and tactics on how witnesses were interviewed. Shock! It changes nothing about things he has said in the past. In fact, the still unanswered uestions about the investigation and his own words only serve to show he is not appropriate for this job.


From the WaPost article:

Some black voters testified that they didn’t authorize any changes to their ballots. But others, who had told the FBI that their ballots were changed without approval, changed their testimony during the trial. Some could not identify ballots as their own because they couldn’t read or write. Other government witnesses spoke positively about Turner and the other defendants before the jury.

What do you suggest a prosecutor do about something like this?


This is a complicated case with a lot of history. We explored it in depth here, but there are many theories and analyses of this case that we have not covered. For example, some have theorized that Johnson wrote to Sessions after the 1982 case only to lay the ground for an extensive, federally backed investigation in 1984. Questions have been raised about the treatment of witnesses by both the FBI and the defendants — and how the treatment may have affected the outcome of the case.

It would seem that there were questions about what was going on with both sides.
In the end... it is about voter fraud.
Something that we keep hearing doesn't exist, yet a group of black people complained to begin with... about voter fraud.... and over 30 years later, the man that took their complaints seriously.... is a racist.
Whatever.


Obviously, that is not the whole story. But I expected someone to come along and use minutae to argue the OP.



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 08:09 AM
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a reply to: reldra

I find it ironic that Mrs. King wrote the letter to Strom Thurmond. He was a known racist, who at one time wanted separation of the races. I don't see why she thought he would help.
edit on 8-2-2017 by EchoesInTime because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 08:11 AM
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a reply to: reldra

You show a letter in the OP where Coretta Scott King pointed at Sessions and said.... "He is a racist".

Do you have anything from the case that shows this is true?



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 08:15 AM
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a reply to: loam

Sen. Udall is reading Mrs. King's letter right now on the Senate floor.



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 08:22 AM
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a reply to: EchoesInTime

My first thought last night was that that would happen. The DEMs have the upper hand on that one. The optics look terrible for the GOP.

I wish we could fire them all and hold new elections for Congress.



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 08:25 AM
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originally posted by: reldra

originally posted by: whywhynot
It is simply your opinion or view of a matter. Opinions are not good or bad my nature. They are a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

a reply to: reldra


You answered too quickly to have read the letter to begin with. The post is mainly about the letter, not my opinion of it. I wanted to post the letter.


You made it about your opinion of the content of the letter when you said "The letter is a matter of public record. WHY, any person such as Jeff Sessions could be appointed to such a lofty position within our government and why any person would support him is lunacy. I understand the letter is long, but I encourage people to take the time to read it before replying. This kind of person is bred this way. They will not change at such a late time in their life. Sessions does not espouse American or even human values. "

You thereby issued your opinion, my reply was simply to point out that opinions very. Too hard to grasp?



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 08:38 AM
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originally posted by: EchoesInTime
a reply to: reldra

I find it ironic that Mrs. King wrote the letter to Strom Thurmond. He was a known racist, who at one time wanted separation of the races. I don't see why she thought he would help.


Because he was the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

You could have looked up why.
edit on 8-2-2017 by reldra because: (no reason given)




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