Most folks familiar with the history of the last half century know the ‘White Citizen’s Council’ movement as the pro-segregationist para-government movement dedicated to preserving white supremacy as federal laws began forcing school integration and an end to racial discrimination in the South.
But in his new profile in the Weekly Standard Haley Barbour says they were just some good Americans organizing together to help preserve racial harmony.
Just by way of background, in the last decade or so there’s been controversy about a group called the Council of Conservative Citizens, a successor group to Citizen’s Councils. In other words, the CCC group was an organizational attempt to cleanse the reputation of the earlier group or rather shed some of its more explicit connection to white supremacy and legal racial discrimination. But even those folks were and are so retrograde that the mainstream right would have nothing to do with them. David Keene, head of the American Conservative Union — sponsor of the annual CPAC conference — said almost a decade ago: “We kicked [them] out of CPAC because they are racists.”
So folks like Keene won’t have anything to do with the cleaned up, scrubbed down version of the group. But Barbour thinks the genuine article operating as the rearguard during the Civil Rights Era was just great.