My letter to Douglas Mayor Tony Paulk and the Douglas Enterprise newspaper

From: _VictrolaMn@aol.com_ (

An Open Letter to Mayor Tony Paulk

Dear Mayor Paulk,

I am writing to you regarding your less than civil treatment of me at the April 11 City Commissioners meeting after you had publicly (March 28) invited me to that meeting and promised to sign a Confederate History Month proclamation that I had legally presented to the commissioners. On April 10, you telephoned me, reneged on your promise to sign the proclamation, and told me that you had deleted me from the commissioners meeting agenda. Other commissioners told me that the NAACP had instigated your decision. I rose at the "other business" portion of the April 11 meeting and politely asked you for at least the dignity of a proper vote on the proclamation that you had publicly promised to sign.

Each commissioner had their say regarding the issue. It was obvious that some came prepared to make this a "black and white" issue. We heard the words "Divisive", "Love", "Tolerance", and "Healing" during the commissioners’ statements. Then in your very best pious and holier-than-thou face, you began a dissertation as if intended to scold me like a seven-year-old schoolboy for daring to bring such an issue before you. As you waxed poetic concerning your view that the Southern cause was all about slavery and oppression – you yourself provided perhaps the most concrete evidence I have ever heard that the war was not about slavery. Glaring at me you stated "I was born in 1963; the civil rights act was not passed until 1964. I was born with no rights!" If the war indeed was all about slavery, the yankees that fought to "free the slaves" had a funny way of showing that freedom – because according to your own statement you were "born with no rights" – 100 years after the ‘glorious north’ had supposedly eradicated the oppression of blacks by defeating the ‘evil South’. (A good study of history might just have helped you here.)

Finally, following the vote – wherein your theatrics were at their best as you slammed your gavel down and declared "…your proclamation will NOT be signed!" – You allowed, unchallenged, a race-baiting hatemonger from the NAACP to compare we who love and cherish our Confederate ancestors and heritage to "piss stink". Would that not fall under "Divisive", Mr. Mayor? Or is "Divisive" only a one way street? If calling or allowing the calling of others "piss stink" is your and/or the NAACP’s example of "Love", "Diversity", "Tolerance" and "Healing" you can serve my portion of their bigot pie to somebody else – I’ll have none of it.

"There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose their grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs." – Booker T. Washington (1)

I for one will stand up for my beliefs and forever refuse to allow the besmirching of my ancestors and my heritage – by you or anyone else – to go unchallenged. Allegedly Mr. Mayor – you represent the interests and ideals of ALL the people of Douglas – but your actions speak volumes as to how untrue that allegation really is.

M. Reed

1. Booker T. Washington, The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 1, ed. Louis
R. Harlan (Chicago: University of Illinois Press: 1972), p. 430.