The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi issued a statement Tuesday denouncing the Citizens Council after facing a barrage of criticism for his description of the whites-only group as "town leaders" who kept the KKK at bay in civil rights-era Yazoo City. Barbour said:
"When asked why my hometown in Mississippi did not suffer the same racial violence when I was a young man that accompanied other towns' integration efforts, I accurately said the community leadership wouldn't tolerate it and helped prevent violence there," Barbour said. "My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either." He added, "Their vehicle, called the 'Citizens Council,' is totally indefensible, as is segregation. It was a difficult and painful era for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time."
The governor is backpedaling after countless blogs took him to task for his insensitive comments about the civil rights era. He was called on the carpet for saying that he didn't remember the civil rights era being "that bad." The controversy must have gotten to the tough-talking governor, because he issued a statement clarifying his comments. He's not only good at revising history; he's also good at revising his controversial remarks. If this is his version of an apology, we had better take it, since this is as probably as good as it gets.
Read more at the Clarion-Ledger.