On Apr. 14, the South Carolina Legislature Re-elected Leah Moody, an African American Attorney to the University of South Carolina's Board of Trustees. She had served a term as the Governor's appointee and there had been a close, tough, and highly publicized campaign with racial overtones for the highly coveted position. It was a good thing since she was the only black on the governing body of the University.
But the bad thing was that the Republican controlled General Assembly, which I served in as a Senator a few years ago achieved a racial balance by booting Lonnie Randolph, the outspoken President of the SC NAACP, off the SC Consumer Affairs Commission's Board where he had served for 33 years and was Chair.
Posted in The State on Thu, Apr. 15, 2010
NAACP's Randolph loses consumer seat
State NAACP president Lonnie Randolph was removed from the state Consumer Affairs Commission Wednesday, and some think it had nothing to do with his effectiveness as a consumer advocate.
Randolph, the commission chairman, had served on the commission since 1979, but could not muster enough votes in the General Assembly to retain the seat.
"It's a tragedy," declared Sen. John Courson, R-Richland, who had supported Randolph.
While some celebrated a narrow victory that kept an African-American on USC's board of trustees, the state's long-running battle over the Confederate flag claimed another victim.
"The boycott led to his removal, there's no question about that," Courson said, "And I don't support the boycott. But I do support Lonnie Randolph - he's my friend."
The NAACP declared an economic boycott against South Carolina in 2000, after lawmakers lowered the Confederate flag from atop the State House dome in 1999,
The banners also were removed from the House and Senate chambers.
As part of that agreement, the Confederate flag was raised at the Confederate Soldier's Monument on the State House grounds.
Both the legislative compromise that brought about those changes and the declaration of a boycott against the state by a civil rights organization have been the source of controversy and discontent ever since.
"We have had our disagreements over Southern heritage history," Courson acknowledged, but he and others said Randolph had never missed a commission meeting in his 31 years until recently, when Randolph suffered an illness after a car accident.
"I was devastated when I heard this," said Barbara League, the commission vice chairman, who has served on the commission for 19 years, but did not seek re-election this year.
- Roddie Burris
Legislature wrong to oust Randolph
Shame on the Legislature for removing Lonnie Randolph from the Consumer Affairs Commission because of his activism as president of the S.C. NAACP and his leadership of the NAACP's economic boycott to remove the Confederate flag from in front of our State House. I know several members who served with Randolph during his 31 years on the commission who say he was an excellent member and chairperson.
I was a racist in denial who followed my family heritage as a young man and worshipped the Confederacy, named my only son Jefferson Davis Turnipseed and was the executive director of George Wallace's presidential campaign. Almost 40 years ago, I
finally realized what a racist I had been and that apologies were not enough, so I became an advocate for racial justice and a life
member of the NAACP, was co-counsel in the successful suit against the Klan for burning a black church in Clarendon County
and have participated in every protest against the rebel flag at the State House since the mid-'90s.
I am glad Leah Moody was re-elected to the USC Board of Trustees, but shame on legislators for what they did to my good friend Lonnie Randolph.