[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]esterday, at his family home, Steven Jackson, an African-American and Caddo Parish Commissioner currently campaigning to become the next mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, received an anonymous death threat suggesting that unless he drops his bid for mayor, he would be lynched.
A flyer was left in an envelope outside of his family home in Allendale Lakeside, a centrally-located neighborhood of approximately 7,000 residents, 92% of whom are African-American. Jackson no longer lives at the family home.
[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Those are the meanest, most vicious people in the United States. Let’s don’t reward Shreveport.” – LBJ[/perfectpullquote]
“The flyer represents one of the most menacing and most direct threats of violence against a sitting elected official in Caddo Parish in recent memory, though Jackson also claims to have received a series of racist phone calls during the past few weeks,”
According to The Shreveport Times, “Jackson said he also received a threatening call earlier this week. The call was from an unknown number, he said.”
“I’ve also received harassing calls saying ‘Get out of the race, N word, or we will release these reports on you,” he told the paper.
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[dropcap]J[/dropcap]ackson’s advocacy and his relentless work in removing a Confederate statue from the grounds of the parish-owned courthouse has earned him national attention and praise, but locally, the effort, which was approved 7 to 5 by the Commission, has been met with enormous backlash by a small but vocal group of white conservatives and the organization the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Their arguments are typical of those who still believe in championing the Lost Cause. Shreveport, after all, was the last city in the country to lower the Confederate flag after the Civil War.
In the decade following the Civil War, white men in Caddo Parish were killing and terrorizing African-Americans in such high numbers that the parish earned the name, “Bloody Caddo.”
In 1896, the same year the UDC Shreveport chapter formed and began raising funds to have the Caddo Confederate monument constructed, violence surged again across Caddo and the state of Louisiana to stop African-Americans from voting for the Republican-Populist candidate for governor. In 1903, when the UDC Shreveport chapter was lobbying the police jury for financial and political support for the monument’s construction, African-Americans had been almost completely disenfranchised, and whites were institutionalizing a system of white supremacy that would leave African-Americans with very few freedoms.
Yet the history of what was happening to blacks in Caddo Parish at that time was all but silenced until the late 1960s, and even after that was subsumed to the Lost Cause narrative, which metaphorically and literally whitewashed the history surrounding Caddo’s Confederate monument.
The monument, in its current place outside the courthouse, stands for a false and romanticized myth that dominated the historical narrative for far too long. If this monument and monuments like it are finally removed, the Lost Cause narrative will no longer have a hold on Southern culture. Instead of honoring history, Caddo’s monument distorts, perverts, and glorifies the most hateful, bloodiest, and ugliest 212 of the 12,598 weeks that have passed since America declared its independence on July 4th, 1776.
The vestiges of slavery are still impossible to ignore in this city of nearly 200,000 people, 57% of whom are African-Americans, and among many in the white establishment class, there continues to be a thinly-veiled racist attack machine against African-American leaders.
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[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ast month, Elliott Stonecipher, a right-wing blogger with a track record of publishing dubious conspiracy theories about local public officials and an ardent critic of both the Caddo Parish Commission and the Shreveport mayor’s office, published an article focused, in part, on Jackson’s residency, falsely asserting, without any evidence, that Jackson lived outside of the district and therefore was not qualified to hold his seat on the commission.
Jackson currently lives in a nearby apartment complex but remains registered to vote at his fourth-generation family home on Ashton Street, which is perfectly legal considering he does not claim a homestead exemption and both residences are within his current district.
“Anything said to the contrary is intentionally misleading,” he told The Shreveport Times. “My voting address at Ashton is a family home that represents four generations of family history. Whatever mistake (was) made at the state level is beyond my control.”
The Louisiana Secretary of State had, in fact, mistakenly changed Jackson’s address due to confusion in the aftermath of his mother’s death; the discrepancy was quickly resolved.
Stonecipher has yet to apologize for or correct his erroneous reporting.
A month before the 2016 Presidential election, I reported on this mailer being distributed in nearby DeSoto Parish. MSNC’s Rachel Maddow picked it up.
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At 10:40AM EST on January 10, 1965, U.S. Sen, Russell Long called President Lyndon Johnson to convince him to allocate funding for a new post office in Shreveport.
You can listen here.
Steven Jackson held a press conference last afternoon, Here is what he said:
“To the persons who place these racist messages at our doorstep, we love you,” he said. “We want to let you know we love you.”
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