Barbour Childhood Friend: Yes, Yazoo City Citizens Councils Were ‘That Bad’
Salon’s Justin Elliot reports on Steve Mangold, a childhood friend of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who recalled the harsh reality of Yazoo City during segregation:
In the Weekly Standard profile, Barbour marveled at the fact that Yazoo City’s schools were desegregated without violence, unlike in many other towns in Mississippi. But for Mangold, whose parents were both physicians in Yazoo City, another local institution is in the forefront of his memory of that era: the hospital.
Built in the mid-1950s with federal assistance, the Yazoo City hospital was, at the insistence of the local White Citizens Council, a whites-only facility, Mangold says. As a child, he had the nighttime assignment of answering the back door at his parents’ home, where they had their medical practice (whites came to the front door, blacks to the back). He would often see black residents with grievous injuries requiring emergency care — but they had nowhere to go.
“There was no hospital in town where blacks could go. They would have to go to Jackson 40 or 50 miles away, and many died on the way,” he says, adding that this state of affairs lasted for years.
Further, his parents became pariahs in town and their business was damaged because they had resisted the White Citizens Council petition that the hospital be whites-only.
“Threatening phone calls, dead cats on the lawn and other acts of intimidation combined to run my father out of town for two years,” Mangold wrote in his letter to the Clarion-Ledger.
The average LGF reader doesn’t need much convincing that Yazoo City, Mississippi was really “that bad” or that Barbour, as Charles Johnson put it, got caught blowing the dog whistle too loud. Nevertheless, the Salon article shows just how bad it really was.
Here’s a video sent by a reader, marjoriemoon, which I think can help make this all seem more real: