Clyburn Wants Conservative Citizens Spurned
Charleston Post and Courier, Wednesday, February 3, 1999, page
© Copyright 1999 Charleston.Net
- U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn on Tuesday urged the House to condemn
"the racism and bigotry espoused" by the Council of
Conservative Citizens, a controversial group based in St. Louis
that has apparent ties to key Republican congressional leaders.
Democrat Clyburn, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and
South Carolina's first African-American congressman since Reconstruction,
said his larger target is GOP leaders who have fostered an atmosphere
that has allowed the re-emergence of white supremacist groups.
think these people have raised their ugly heads because of the
climate that was created in the House and is now being perpetuated
in the Senate," Clyburn said. "It's much bigger than
these little guys floating around out there.
Klan never could have flourished without the tacit support of
the powers that be," Clyburn said. "What we're saying
is we're not going to allow the leadership of the House and the
Senate to turn its back and let this climate exist."
uncertain when Clyburn's resolution, introduced with Rep. Robert
Wexler, D-Fla., will be debated in the House, but it drew quick
criticism from Gordon Lee Baum, chief executive officer of the
council, and Frances Bell, chair of its S.C. chapter.
have no connection with the Ku Klux Klan," Baum said in a
telephone interview from St. Louis. "We're not white supremacists.
We're getting a little tired of this ridiculous stuff."
said the group serves as "an advocate for the no longer silent
conservative majority," and opposes "reverse discrimination
and racial quotas," "forced busing," and efforts
such as "tearing down the Confederate flag and monuments
in the South, removal of Christmas displays, and rewriting of
application says the group also favors stricter immigration controls,
tax cuts and "combating crime with swift punishment, limited
appeals, stiffer sentences (and) capital punishment when appropriate."
council's Web site (http://www.cofcc.org)
says recent publicity spurred by news accounts about speeches
made before the group by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss.,
and Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., one of the House impeachment trial managers,
"has been fantastic."
are going to a great deal of trouble to find us," Baum added.
Web site also mentions two instances, last year and in 1994, when
council members "successfully countered" demonstrators
in South Carolina who favored removing the Confederate flag from
flag means a lot to me personally," said state chairman Bell
of Windsor, S.C., who recently retired after a 25-year career
in the composing, production and advertising departments of The
had a great-grandfather (Charles Bell) who was killed in that
war," she said. "That great-grandfather didn't own land,
didn't own slaves. He was fighting for his country. He fought
under that flag and died at Gettysburg."
said Clyburn "doesn't know what he's talking about."
are opposed to affirmative action," she said. "We are
opposed to forced busing. We are opposed to racial quotas. We
are for Southern heritage."
national committeeman Buddy Witherspoon also belongs to the group,
and has said the council's main interest is historic preservation.
Clyburn, noting the council has been condemned by top officials
of both the national Democratic and Republican parties, said it
promotes "a racist ideology" and is an outgrowth of
the White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and 1960s that promoted
and enforced segregation.
said his legislation is modeled after a 1994 resolution by House
Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill., that condemned
as "racist, anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic" a speech
at Kean College by Khalid Abdul Muhammed of the Nation of Islam.
resolution passed the House with all but 34 members voting in
want to see the leadership of the House take the same kind of
position in this matter that they took with that one," Clyburn
said. "I want to see Mr. Hyde and Mr. Barr be consistent."