Human Events Questions for Sen. Byrd

The following questions were submitted to the office of Sen. Robert Byrd regarding the Human Event series, "Hoodwinked: Race and Robert Byrd." Byrd’s response is available here.

1. Senator Byrd told audiences during his first run for Congress in 1952 that he had quit the Klan and all it stood for back in 1943.  Please explain the letters that have been discovered and never refuted by Byrd that he wrote to U.S. Senator Theodore Bilbo in 1945 and KKK Grand Dragon Dr. Samuel Green in 1946.  In the latter letter, he actually told Green that he looked forward to the Klan returning to West Virginia.  How does this square with him telling West Virginia voters in 1952 that he was through with the Klan and all it believed in by 1943?

2. Senator Byrd has been asked on more than one occasion to meet with African-American veterans who wanted to talk with him and have him apologize for his racist references in the letter to Senator Bilbo in 1945, in which he decried desegregation of the troops and called African-American vets “mud people,” “race mongrels,” and “a throwback to the blackest specimen of the wilds.”  Why won’t Senator Byrd apologize for these remarks after all this time?  Since some of these African-American vets are his own constituents, don’t they deserve an apology from their U.S. Senator?

3. Please explain Senator Byrd’s decision to include dozens of examples of African-American male on white female crime in his speeches during the 1964 Civil Rights Bill.  Only a few others were white on black crime.  Was he trying to employ a scare tactic by stereotyping African-American men as criminals to defeat this landmark legislation?

4. What was the possible purpose of including into the record the study by Frank Boaz on the ludicrous “black brain/white brain” weight study, which concluded (again, in the Senate record) that because the white brains in the study were a few grams heavier that necessarily white people were more intelligent than African-American people.  Does Senator Byrd believe this kind of study?

5. Will Senator Byrd acknowledge that his opposition to the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 was, at the age of 46, a continuation of his racist issues with African-American citizens throughout his life?  Why didn’t he take the opportunity in his recent autobiography to discuss the racial arguments he developed so painstakingly throughout his speeches during that historic civil rights legislation?  Why does he fail to mention so much of the content of his filibuster?


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