Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
The last lynching in the United States began when Michael Donald, a 19-year-old African-American man, was kidnapped by two Klansmen. They forced him into the car at gunpoint, beat him, tied a rope around his neck, cut his throat three times and left him hanging from a tree on Herndon Street in Mobile, Alabama.
The search for justice ended two years later when U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions announced that the killers had been arrested. Local authorities had botched the case badly. But Sessions was determined to see that justice would be done. Federal and State resources were combined for a successful outcome.
The case brought an end to lynching culture and broke the KKK. But the man whose office investigated the case, who helped send one of the killers to the electric chair, would be smeared as a racist despite his history of fighting for civil rights and against racist abuses in dozens of court cases.
And it was those radical activists smearing him as a racist who had been exploiting black people.
The man named by President-elect Trump as his nominee for Attorney General of the United States had always played fair. Unlike so many on the left, he didn’t come wielding a racial double standard.
And that made him enemies.
When black voters complained about voter fraud being perpetrated, Sessions stepped in. The voter fraud was being committed by black activists. Among them was an influential figure whose past made him a hero to some. Ballots had been altered after voting. The defendants were caught mailing hundreds of absentee ballots by FBI agents. Others had been searching hospitals and nursing homes for the names of patients whose names could be forged on absentee ballots.
The abuses were truly despicable. In one case an African-American resident complained that her blind husband’s ballot had been altered and when she complained, she was warned to change her testimony.
The last best defense for voter fraud by the exploiters and abusers of black people was to cry racism.
The White House was racist. The FBI was racist. Sessions was racist. But the despicable lie was quickly shot down by the African-American public officials who had fallen victim to the fraud.
African-American Perry County Commissioner Reese Billingslea said, “It’s not a black-white issue – race has nothing to do with it.”
John Kennard, Alabama’s first black tax assessor, was one of those complaining about the absentee ballot fraud. He laughed off the racism defense. “The only reason these people are hollering racism now is because they are in trouble for breaking the law.”
But the African-American accusers were dismissed as confused elderly folks who had been browbeaten by the FBI and the African-American officials as race traitors who were conspiring with whites.
And once they were dismissed, it was easy to smear Jeff Sessions as a racist.
But those radical activists smearing Sessions as a racist had been the ones abusing and exploiting black people. As were the Senate Democrats who had revived and exploited the same shameful lies.
And as are the media outlets who are trying to smear Sessions all over again.
Sessions had vowed to respond to “any substantiated charge of vote fraud against whites or blacks.” He was doing his job by fighting for the civil rights and voting rights of all people regardless of race. But despite helping bring the murderers of Michael Donald to justice and his work on desegregating Alabama schools, when Sessions was nominated for a judgeship, the racism accusations returned.
The biggest source of the racism accusations against Sessions was Thomas Figures, a former assistant U.S. Attorney who would later be indicted on bribery charges for allegedly trying to bribe a drug dealer. One of Figures’ witnesses said that she had never heard Sessions make any racist remarks about him.
Sessions’ other accuser, J. Gerald Hebert, who is white, has said that he doesn’t believe Sessions is a racist. This is how weak and worthless the accusations of racism being circulated by the media are.
But the media harassed Sessions’ elderly parents and panned for character witnesses everywhere. An African-American mechanic who knew Sessions “since he was a baby” assured reporters that he wasn’t racist. Still the lie lived on and Ted Kennedy, Leahy and Biden got their way and blocked Sessions.
Then he became one of the U.S. Attorneys fired by Bill Clinton. Instead of becoming Judge Sessions, he ran for office and eventually became Senator Sessions. Despite the racism accusations, he sponsored legislation to give Rosa Parks a Congressional Gold Medal and obtained funds for the Rosa Parks Library.
In paying tribute to her, the man being denounced as a racist, stated firmly that, “Although the mantra was `separate but equal,” the reality was separate and unequal.”
The shameful attacks on this civil rights hero have resurfaced every time he advanced forward. The left blocked Sessions from his judgeship using the racism smear. But they couldn’t stop him from becoming Senator Sessions. When he became the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the same old lies were dragged out.
And now it’s happening all over again.
There has never been any shortage of African-American colleagues and friends to step up and shoot down the lies. Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson called Sessions “a good and honest man untainted by any form of prejudice.”
The latest is civil rights attorney Donald V. Watkins who desegregated public schools, universities and housing in Alabama and represented the last known surviving “Scottsboro Boy”. Watkins speaks of a 46-year relationship with Sessions from the time when he became the first white student to invite him to join a campus organization, the Young Republicans, to the present when he expresses his regrets for not having come forward as a character witness during the old judgeship hearings.
Watkins writes, “My personal connection with Jeff was genuine, deep and born out of ordinary acts of kindness.”
“If we truly believe in the promise of America, we must stand up for its ideals and principles when they matter the most. Integrity, accountability, transparency, decency and fairness are the hallmarks of good government, not race, gender, party affiliation, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or one’s socio-economic status in life. If and when we stand up for America’s core principles, we are truly serving our nation.”
That is what civil rights truly mean. These are the principles that Jeff Sessions has fought for both in the court system and in the legislature. They are the principles that make him a civil rights hero.
As U.S. Attorney and in the United States Senate, Sessions refused to pander to racists or to maintain racial double standards. Instead he firmly believed that everyone must enjoy the same rights and responsibilities. But when he enforced the law against white defendants, he was praised as a hero and when the defendants were black, then he was suddenly being denounced as a racist.
That is the perverse way that the left has warped civil rights to suit its own political ends. And restoring equal justice to the Department of Justice will be Attorney General Sessions’ biggest challenge. It is a challenge that his career of principled stands has amply qualified him to meet. Sessions is a public servant who has paid the price for doing the right thing over and over again.
Now he will have the opportunity to do the right thing for America.