John Bell's Daughter Responds To My Post
The daughter of John Bell Williams, Mississippi's governor, 1968-1972, made the comment below on my recent piece, which was responding to a column by Bill Minor. She's certainly correct that the big majority of Mississippi whites-- at least through the 1960s-- favored racial segregation.
The integration of the Magnolia State's public schools was mandated by the federal courts and implemented by President Richard Nixon's justice department. This included the very unpopular practice of forced busing of children to schools that were not the nearest to their homes.
It was also Nixon who initiated federal revenue sharing, through which no-strings-attached money was given to state and local governments. I considered it a dangerous precedent for governments to receive funds which their own taxes had not produced. Besides, the federal government was already operating at a deficit (the liberals should have loved Nixon for his domestic policies, which were very left-wing).
Certain Mississippi governors had to walk on egg shells. Paul Johnson Jr. ran a very pro-segregation campaign in 1963, but he angered many of his supporters with his moderate inaugural address in January, 1964. Johnson's defeat in the 1967 race for lieutenant governor ended his political career.
John Bell Williams Jr., the governor's son, once had a show on WSLI-930AM in Jackson, on which he called himself simply "John Bell." Last I heard, he had a radio talk show in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1992, Rush Limbaugh acknowledged the junior Williams in the foreword of Rush's first book.
"Thank you for publishing this answer to Bill Minor's column pretending to talk about [Connecticut Sen.] Joe Lieberman. In reality he was once again maligning my Dad, John Bell Williams. I am happy you rebutted much of what he said and showed my Dad to be right about things. While he was a segregationist (very few whites in Mississippi were not), he did his best to support his constituency and serve his state and country. And Bill Minor refuses to acknowledge that during his tenure as Governor, public schools in Mississippi officially, and very quietly, integrated. In addition, Mississippi started receiving Federal money for programs, which had not been done before because of the politicians' fear that we'd be forced to do what the Feds wanted. A third thing that people may not realize is that Daddy was the first governor to include the black colleges in the inaugural festivities. The black college presidents sat with the white presidents at the swearing in.
"I did not always agree with Dad, but he was an honest and sincere public servant, doing what he felt was right.
"And none of his kids was ever convicted of bribing anybody."