When Coretta Scott King attended the 2000 opening of the Rosa Parks Library and Museum in Montgomery, Ala., she singled out the dignitaries who had gathered for the ceremony and who had helped in some way to create a living memorial to Parks, who ignited the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott — the first major battle in the American civil rights movement.
Among those on hand whom King — the widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. — recognized was then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who for the past few weeks has been denounced as a racist by Democrats seeking to prevent him from assuming the post he now holds, U.S. attorney general.
The King family became front and center in the debate over Sessions when Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., read from a letter by Coretta Scott King that dated from 1986, when controversy arose over Sessions’ nomination to a federal judgeship and he was not confirmed.
However, the C-SPAN 2 video that just surfaced shows King acknowledging Sessions 14 years later.
“To [Troy State] President [Cameron] Martindale, to Senator Sessions, [Montgomery] Mayor [Bobby] Bright, Troy State Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr., Dr. Dorothy Height, Ms. Johnnie Carr, Juanita Abernathy, Mammie Till-Mobley, to all of the distinguished program participants and guests in this audience today, it’s a great honor and privilege for me to join you in celebrating the grand opening of the Rosa Parks Library and Museum,” Coretta Scott King said.
Alveda King, Martin Luther King’s niece, said Wednesday she was irked at Warren’s tactic of “using the name of Martin Luther King Jr. and now Mrs. Coretta Scott King to get people’s emotions stirred so they cannot clearly get the message” of peacemaking.
She called it “the old bait and switch, with the race card being played. … People will never look at the issues. People will never see the solutions. They’ll be angry and then we can slip our agenda in.”
Alveda King added: “But our family — we are peacemakers, we bring people together. … We do not divide people.”
Although the Democrats hung their opposition to Sessions on comments he made 31 years ago, others noted that time had moved on.
Jeff Sessions went after KKK & Desegregated schools in AL & Dems honored his civil rights work but now they smear him as a racist. SNAKES! pic.twitter.com/CmIFJ4Eg7Z
— Deplorable Melissa (@sweetatertot2) February 9, 2017
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 9, 2017
Well Elisabeth Warren, Jeff Sessions had the head of the KKK in Alabama convicted and executed. Your turn Madam?
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) February 9, 2017
“Sessions helped desegregate schools in Alabama — a huge issue,” said Bishop Harry Jackson in January as a group of black pastors defended Sessions. “Also he got the death penalty for a KKK murderer. I think that would qualify you as someone who is eliminating racism, not one who is perpetrating racism.”
“Americans are living in a toxic climate where the serious charge of racism is carelessly leveled against anyone with whom the left disagrees. We are here today to make it perfectly clear that these accusations against Senator Jeff Sessions are baseless,” echoed the Rev. Dean Nelson, the director of African-American Outreach at the Family Research Council’s Watchmen at the Wall.
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