Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

'Public Hanging'Remark Provokes Outrage, Draws New Attention to Mississippi Senate Runoff

Mike Espy who is seeking to unseat appointed Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith R-Miss. and serve the last two years of the six-year term vacated when Republican Thad Cochran retired for health reasons speaks to a crowded ballroom of supporters following his speech Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith R-Miss. campaigns Tuesday Nov. 6 2018 at Mama Hamil's Restaurant in Madison Miss
Ellis Copeland | 13 November, 2018, 08:45

Hyde-Smith is in a runoff on Nov 27th against Mike Espy.

"I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement", Hyde-Smith said in a statement, obtained by The Associated Press. In the video, GOP incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith is seen campaigning with a supporter in Tupelo, and she says, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row", reports Mississippi Today.

Hyde-Smith has agreed to participate in the November 20 debate after an invitation was extended to her from Mississippi Farm Bureau, who will sponsor the event. Lee county, where Hyde-Smith spoke at the county seat, Tupelo, was the location of two lynchings according to EJI.

If Espy wins the runoff election, he will become Mississippi's first Black senator since Reconstruction. "We need leaders, not dividers, and her words show that she lacks the understanding and judgement to represent the people of our state".

Hyde-Smith became the first woman to represent MS in Congress after being appointed in April to replace Thad Cochran, who had to step down because of health problems.

Hyde-Smith sought to clarify her remarks in a statement issued Sunday. She is under sharp criticism for her comments about a "public hanging" in a state with a dark history of lynchings.

"Hyde-Smith's decision to joke about 'hanging, ' in a state known for its violent and terroristic history toward African-Americans is sick", said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson in a statement to NPR.

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Representative Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississipi, released a statement Monday calling the senator's comments on public hanging "beyond disrespectful and offensive", adding that Mississippi's history includes "one of the highest numbers of public lynching, that we know of, than any other state in this country".

In a statement Sunday, Espy called Hyde-Smith's comments "reprehensible".

"They are hurtful to millions of Mississippians who are people of goodwill", he said.

Hyde-Smith and Espy each received about 41 percent of the vote in a four-person race Tuesday to advance to the runoff.

"I can't reach into her heart and determine why that came out of her mouth", Espy said.

Lamar White Jr., publisher of The Bayou Brief, posted the 10-second clip to his Twitter account Sunday morning just before 10 a.m. I knew it when I appointed her, and I know it now. Statistics from the NAACP show that almost one-eighth of the nation's 4743 lynchings between 1882 and 1968 took place in Mississippi. I know it now.

The Magnolia state is also now home to one of the largest African-American populations in the U.S., which stands at 38 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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