The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, February 25, 2005

Richard Russell - the Walton County lynching connection

Possibly the last mass lynching in the South (January 2 2004), the killings at Moore's Ford Bridge in Walton County, GA on July 25 1946 has a connection I hadn't realised at the time I wrote about it:

According to Robert Caro's Master of the Senate (which I am re-reading - re-skimming might be more accurate), it engaged the public attention of the leader of the Southern Caucus' rearguard action against desegregation, Sen Richard Russell of Georgia when (p195)
California senator William Knowland inserted an article describing the lynching in the Congressional Record

Knowland a Republican, of course (January 24).

Whereupon (ellipses Caro's)
Russell rose in indignation. "Mr President," he said, standing at his desk, as reasonable, sincere and dignified as ever, "no member of the Senate for a moment deplores more than I do the murders which are said to have been committed in my state...I know the people of Walton County...The people of the county are law-abiding and upright, and would be as much opposed to any murder as the people of any other county in this country. There are no better people than the people of Walton County. I have no doubt that the State authorities of Georgia will prosecute to the full extent of their powers any person who may be charged with the commission of that crime."

There were limits to the moderation of even the most house-trained Southern senator!

(A good many earlier pieces on lynching.)

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