Mississippi Resolution Dies Over Link to Racist Leader

In what amounted to a reversal, the Mississippi House has killed a resolution commemorating an occasion hosted by a white supremacist.

The move came one month after House lawmakers adopted the resolution designating March 2, 2009, “The Spirit of America Day” in recognition of exceptional male student athletes in Mississippi. The resolution was held for reconsideration after some House lawmakers argued that it was unacceptable to promote “The Spirit of America Day” events because they’re organized by Richard Barrett, an attorney in Learned, Miss., who heads a white supremacist hate group called the Nationalist Movement. Representatives ultimately let the resolution die when they recessed this week.

Among those advocating the resolution’s demise was Rep. Robert Johnson (D-Natchez). “When we give validation to something, we need to be careful about who we give it to,” he said, according to The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss. (However, a similar resolution commemorating “The Spirit of America Day” successfully passed the Senate in late February.)

In another defeat for Barrett, an appeals court upheld a judge’s decision related to his group’s protest against six black teenagers in Jena, La., who were subjected to unusually harsh prosecutions. The Nationalist Movement wanted the judge to rule on the case of two protesters who weren’t allowed to carry firearms during the protest, but the judge refused to do so because they didn’t belong to Barrett’s organization, according to The Associated Press. For years, Barrett has organized white power marches throughout the United States.