Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I Met JB Stoner

My last post touching on Georgia politics reminded me of the time in 1972 when I met JB Stoner, white supremacist candidate for the Democratic nomination for US Senate from Georgia. He had run for Governor two years earlier and had garnered a disturbingly high number of votes from the district in which I lived. The guy was a racist nutjob and had bombed a black church back in the 50s. I was walking down Walnut Avenue in Dalton when a black limousine with Confederate Battle Flags on the fenders pulled up to the curb alongside the sidewalk. It was JB Stoner! He said, “Young man, I love the white race.” He handed me a stack of flyers and asked me to distribute them to like minded white people. He thanked me and rode off in his limo. I just stood there and gawked like an idiot. I was only 14 years old, after all, and an idiot to boot.

The flyers were about what you’d expect from somebody who was a professional bigot and who ran solely on white supremacy. I am proud to say that I disposed of them in the trash can in front of the Post Office and did not hand any of them out. I had not said that I would after all, and I didn’t agree with JB Stoner’s views at all.

He didn’t get the nomination. Jimmy Carter did, if I remember rightly. I like to think that my failure to hand out those flyers made the difference. (I like to think it, but I know it ain’t so.)

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