Do You Believe Coretta Scott-King or Jeff Sessions?

-A +A
0

Coretta Scott-King shown with another tireless fighter for justice Desmond Tutu.

Last Wednesday, in basically a party line vote—with West-Virginia Senator Joe Manchin being the lone Democrat to vote with Republicans—Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions was confirmed to be the next Attorney General of the United States at a time when the arbitrary police killings and murders of innocent Black people have been shown to be a serious problem.

Ever since the police killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, the continual killings and murders of Black people have been exposed because of modern day video technology. On numerous videos, we’ve witnessed cold-blooded murder by police officers—the murders of Walter Scott, Laquan McDonald and Alton Sterling come immediately to mind. Throughout these last several years of blatant brutality and murder by police officers, Congress by its silence, has made it clear they don’t care about crimes perpetrated by police against Black people.

Those who voted for Sessions have again made that obvious.

For weeks now, it was apparent that Sessions would be confirmed, since all he needed was a mere majority in the Senate to vote for him. Republicans, with their base of bigots, care very little about the concerns of Black, or, other non-White people. Sessions was rejected for a federal judgeship, in 1986, by a Republican controlled Congress, because of his history of racism—yet, this current cabal of Republicans engaged in nothing more than mendacious character rehabilitation to confirm Sessions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and others, silenced Senator Elizabeth Warren because she was reading a letter from Coretta Scott-King—who spoke out against Sessions during the 1986 Congressional hearing.

Mrs. King’s Alabama background, and knowledge of Sessions, makes her voice and thoughts of Sessions problematic for those who want to whitewash Sessions’ history of bigotry.
Much has been opined of the chill Sessions would have on the issue of voting rights against African-Americans—with good reason.

Indeed, Sessions recently reiterated his opinion that the Voting Rights Act was “intrusive” and when the Supreme Court, in 2013, gutted sections of the Voting Rights Act, Sessions reportedly rejoiced saying it was “good news…for the South.”

In his mind he's still waging the war lost in 1865.

Mrs. King’s letter, dated March 13, 1986, articulated her fears about Sessions’ bias in regard to voting rights. “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 U.S. Attorney, from his politically-motivated voting fraud prosecutions to his indifference toward criminal violations of Civil Rights laws, indicates that he lacks the temperament, fairness and judgement to be a federal judge.”

The letter also referenced the prosecution of the Marion Three—who many say were prosecuted because they dared to try to register African-Americans in Alabama to vote.
Mrs. King noted that “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 investigation into the absentee voting process were conducted only in the Black Belt counties where Blacks had finally achieved power in local government.”

That last insight by Mrs. King is disturbing given the phony voter fraud rhetoric we hear from Republicans who undoubtedly are using this canard to justify their voter suppression agenda to dilute the Black vote.

Mrs. King’s points out that “Mr. Sessions ignored allegations of similar allegations by Whites, choosing instead to chill the exercise of the franchise by Blacks by his misguided investigations. In fact, Mr. Sessions sought to punish older Black Civil Rights activists, advisors and colleagues of my husband, who had been key figures in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.”

It’s hard to read the words of Mrs. King and stomach the nauseating, feel-good comments of Republicans who tell us about how decent and congenial Sessions supposedly is. Somehow, because Sessions gets along fine with Republicans, we’re supposed to forget his racist record against African-Americans. The great legendary journalist Earl Caldwell is known for repeatedly using the saying: “you are what your record says you are.”

Sessions says he was only joking when he said he thought the Klan was "OK until I found out they smoked pot," those pushing for decriminalization and legalization of Marijuana should remember this comment as well. Sessions has allegedly characterized the NAACP and the ACLU as “un-American” and “communist-inspired” organizations. He, apparently, also had a penchant for calling Black men “boy.”

Given all the other allegations of his prejudicial proclivities towards Black people, Mr. Sessions “joke” about the Klan seriously undermines the argument that he has no racist inclinations—especially, since he is seen as a champion by White nationalists and other assorted hate groups. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in 2014, Sessions received the “Daring the Odds: The Annie Taylor Award,” operated by anti-Muslim extremist David Horowitz and, in 2015, he was given the “Keeper of the Flame” award by the Center for Security Policy, another anti-Muslim hate group.

In Mrs. Scott-King’s letter she talked about Sessions’ “indifference toward criminal violations of Civil Rights laws.” This leads me to consider an even more worrisome problem Black America must think long and hard about now that Sessions is the attorney general: what does his confirmation mean for the issue of police brutality?

In the last few years, the Justice Department has, at least, been able to secure “consent decrees” from police departments who have engaged in widespread racial profiling against Black people—although police who murder Blacks continue to escape any judicial punishment. The institutional racism that lies at the heart of these regular murders of Black people by police cannot continue. Will leaders in government act before a tit-for-tat situation between racist police and Black America becomes the norm—especially, since the prelude of this may have started with the killings of police officers in Texas and Louisiana by two former African-American soldiers who “served their country?”

During the grandstanding circus that was Sessions’ confirmation hearings, not one of these upstanding Republican senators said anything about any of the police outrages or unjustified killings of Black people that we’ve seen over the last few years. Several talked about the “disrespect” and “dangers” that police face—as if this circumstance just materialized out of thin air.

Why should Black America respect those who don’t respect us to the point of brutalizing and killing us?

We know the FBI has reported that there has been infiltration of police departments by hate groups like the Klan. Congress, both Republican and Democrats, don’t seem to want to address this situation. How can any Black person trust any White police officer given this reality—especially, when these murderers wearing badges are always acquitted due to the courtroom chicanery of corrupt prosecutors and judges?

Sessions’ confirmation means more will be done to cover-up the crimes of those police who brutalize, maim and murder Black Americans.

We must all become involved in “cop watch” activities, since we cannot depend on the integrity of politicians. Every Black person should always have their cellphones handy when dealing with police.

Every Black motorist should equip their vehicles with video technology so they can tape every interaction with police officers.

This we must do in Donald Trump’s America.

Also Check Out...

PHARAOH SANDERS: 50 YEARS OF KARMA
THE MECCA OF PIZZA: LOMBARDI'
THE HU: BAND OF THE DECADE
The United Nations Prioritizes
People Of Color Rocked Tanglewood
ISHMAEL REED’S PLAY “THE HAUNTING