Katon Dawson got involved in politics because of…desegregation?

Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

It’s weird some of the things you run across every once in a while. Needless to say, state GOP chairman Katon Dawson‘s address to Carolina’s West Forum in 2003 is one of them. He and USC professor Blease Graham talked to the students assembled, and Dawson gave a talk about his experience and took questions from the audience.

The strangest part is when he described why he got involved in politics. Apparently, it was when the iron fist of the mighty government came in and desegregated A.C. Flora High School.

I, in the 1960s was a product of school segregation, where we took our schools and completely disbanded them, and made racial equality. Fifty-Fifty. And the kids had no choices. They closed Booker T. Washington, Blease, down here. A pretty good school. Closed it and sent the students to A. C. Flora, across town. And they did it over the summer because the laws had been changed by the politicians. And, the day that school opened, we were on CBS news with the busses turned upside down, and one of them lit on fire. By folks who didn’t want to go to school there. Not folks who did.

The end of that story was, I was standing in a bathroom in public school… This scar over here [pointing to his forehead] was from a baseball bat. I will tell you it was a pretty harsh environment. Government reached into my life and grabbed me and shook me at the age of fifteen. I remember how blatant it was that government just thought that they knew better, that government just thought they knew better what to do in my school. And I can’t say it was so much racial. I can say that people had a lot of stuff thrust on them because politicians thought they knew better. Whether they did or didn’t, I don’t know. But from that day on I’ve always been politically active, and wanted my voice heard. Not always right. And my opinion is not always consistent with everyone else’s. but I care greatly about the State we live in, and greatly about the idea of freedom.

Oh, ho. Wow. After all, there was nothing wrong with “separate but equal.” What were those Supreme Court justices thinking in Brown v. Board, anyway? And then there’s the allegations of black students rioting and beating his white ass.

That’s…that’s just fucking bizarre.

Preston College Seminar with Mr. Katon Dawson, Chairman Republican Party of South Carolina [USC]


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