Three stories caught my attention today, and they’re all about racial politics in the South.

First up, white Republicans in Atlanta are still bitter about what they call a race-baiting ad (NY Times) from the recent mid-term elections.

In the advertisement, Atlanta’s three most prominent black leaders, Mayor Shirley Franklin, Representative John Lewis and Andrew Young, the politician and civil rights leader, evoked the police dogs and water hoses of the civil rights movement to urge voters not to support a Republican candidate for the Fulton County Commission. Though the candidate was not named in the advertisement, the three leaders, who are all Democrats, warned that right-wing Republicans would “turn back the clock” on equality and undo the efforts of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others.

“Your very life,” Mr. Lewis said in the advertisement’s conclusion, “may depend on it.”

“Outrage” over this ad has spilled into the second story that caught mine eye: an effort by the upper third of Fulton County to separate from its lower two-thirds (AP). The upper part is mostly white and affluent. The other part is black and a whole lot poorer. The issue over the advertisement has fueled the move by many whites to separate.

It’s more than ironic that Republicans are complaining that a campaign ad “crosses the line.” This is the party of Willie Horton we’re talking about. The party of Condi “those who don’t support the war in Iraq would have supported slavery (WaPo)” Rice. The party of fear.

All of this brings me to story number three. Someone fired two shots (NY Times Select) into the home of Greenwood, Louisiana’s black mayor, Ernest Lampkins. In this case, his very life actually was at risk.

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