During the Jim Crow days there was across the South, and even beyond the South, often in any southern town with a post office and a few stores, a “Citizens Council.” Members were usually the “better heeled” local citizens, and in larger towns and cities might be bankers, large business owners, large land owners, and so on. Their main and only reason for being was to maintain their dominance over the black population. Every tactic was used, and was readily at their disposal. During the day they were “respectable” church-going citizens, and by night or off in the woods, many donned the white hoods and “became” the KKK. Often they would enlist poor white men…..men who might be “managers” of plantations or overlords of field hands picking cotton….to do the “dirty work,” meaning beating, torturing, murdering and burning to the ground the homes of black men and their families, perhaps for having been “uppity.” The Councils also could inflict financial and economic pain on Blacks who got crosswise with them. The tactic of cutting off credit, refusing to sell goods to the Black store owner, calling in loans, and so forth, were used often against Black men and families who were fighting the Jim Crow system.
Now fast-forward some 50-60 years, to August, 2019. The Citizens Council has time travelled to the United States Senate, in the form of the white Republican conference. These “great citizens,” representing mostly older white people across the country, are doing everything they can short of calling in loans or dragging opponents off into the woods, to remain in control. Blocking all forms of gun control, white domestic terrorism prevention bills, and generally playing havoc with any movement that might be humanistic.
But like the Councils of old, these old white guys, so fearful of losing control of society, will too slowly fade away. Can’t wait.