Haley Barbour: Civil Rights Era Wasn’t That Bad

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who has been mentioned as a potential candidate for President in 2012, has some rather selective memories of the Civil Rights Era:

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says he doesn’t remember the Civil Rights Era being “that bad” despite attending a Martin Luther King, Jr. rally nearly 50 years ago.

“I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” Barbour (R), 63, told the conservative Weekly Standard, which did a lengthy profile on the governor. “I remember Martin Luther King came to town, in ’62. He spoke out at the old fairground and it was full of people, black and white.


“It was quite apparent that Yazoo City had indeed integrated its schools calmly and deliberately,” reads a passage cited from a book about the city.

Barbour told the Weekly Standard that he attended a Yazoo City rally headlined by King in 1962 with some of his friends, when he was high-school aged.

Barbour said they wanted to hear King speak, but he could not recall what the reverend said.

“I don’t really remember. The truth is, we couldn’t hear very well. We were sort of out there on the periphery,” he said. “We just sat on our cars, watching the girls, talking, doing what boys do.

“We paid more attention to the girls than to King,” he added.

Apparently, Barbour also didn’t pay much attention to what was going on around him at the time either.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. An Interested Party says:

    This country will never elect Boss Hogg as president…

  2. john says:

    It’s a shame Barbour can’t sit down with Robert Byrd anymore and discuss that era.

  3. An Interested Party says:

    “It’s a shame Barbour can’t sit down with Robert Byrd anymore and discuss that era.”

    Or Strom Thurmond or Jesse Helms or Trent Lott…

  4. michael reynolds says:

    This isn’t a misstep, this is Barbour attracting Republican votes. Bet his poll numbers tick up a couple of points.

  5. TG Chicago says:

    On one hand, you can imagine a young kid being more interested in looking at girls than listening to a speech. But what I can’t imagine is a guy who made that choice as a kid who, as an adult, doesn’t kick himself for missing the opportunity to hear a historic figure speak.

    Then again, if the guy considers that figure’s contributions to history to be unimportant or negative, then I guess one wouldn’t kick himself.

    Barbour didn’t seem to be kicking himself.