Mississippi Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith attended an segregated high school that was solely created so white people could avoid being educated with black people, then sent her daughter went to a majority white school.
After images of the 59-year-old – who is running for re-election this month – surfaced showing her sporting a Confederate Army hat and a video emerged revealing her support for voter suppression, more of her controversial background has come to light.
In a page from her 1975 yearbook from the Lawrence County Academy established in 1970, she appears with a group of cheerleaders and a mascot holding the Confederate flag.
Appointed Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith attended a segregated school in the 70s
Hyde-Smith’s daughter Anna-Michael graduated from a majority white school until 2017
Brookhaven Academy was set up after whites-only Lawrence County Academy was closed, under the guise of a Christian school
The black-and-white image shows her third from right with short hair, smiling at her institution that was formed in response the 1969’s call for desegregation, reports the Jacksonville Free Press.
A former student who wished to remain anonymous supplied the evidence.
With her graduation year being 1977, it means Hyde-Smith would have had to move from another school to join those aiming to bypass a new racially-integrated society.
While the senator regularly talks about attending Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi, it’s no wonder she failed to mention her choice of high school.
Mississippi is known for its strong opposition to integration despite the US Supreme Court demanding it in 1954 and 1955 as the state argued black people were genetically inferior to white people.
Governor John Bell Williams at the time shifted his priority to helping Caucasian families attend white-only private schools and even handed out vouchers to make them more affordable.
Hyde-Smith has come under fire for a 2014 Facebook post that shows her wearing a Confederate Army hat
‘So let us accept the inevitable that we are going to suffer one way or the other, both white and black, as a result of the court’s decree,’ he said in 1970.
Lawrence County NAACP President Wesley Bridges on Saturday called Hyde-Smith ‘a product of that school’.
‘Lawrence County Academy started because people didn’t want their kids going to school with minorities,’ he told the Jackson Free Press.
While it shut in the 80s due to a lack of attendees, the Brookhaven Academy her daughter Anna-Michael graduated from last year was set up afterwards under the guise of a Christian school.
Located in a majority African-American neighborhood and only accepting pupils of color later on, 386 students from the 2015-2016 academic year were white but only five were Asian and one black.
The news comes after Hyde-Smith apologized for her infamous ‘public hanging’ comment at a debate Tuesday night against Democrat Mike Espy – but then accused her African-American opponent of using the controversy as a ‘weapon.’
She apologized for wearing the Confederate Army hat at a debate Tuesday against Democrat Mike Espy (left) that was televised in the race for the Mississippi US Senate
Smith’s apology was a new tack since her videotaped remark blew up last week, drawing criticism from inside and outside the state. It followed the emergence of photos of Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to the seat of ailing former Sen. Thad Cochran, posing in confederate garb at a museum.
She apologized hours after President Trump, who heads to the state Monday to try to boost her campaign, said the comment was ‘just sort of said in jest,’ and that it was a ‘shame that she has to go through this.’
Hyde-Smith’s remark was caught on video that was released last week, and drew condemnation coming from Mississippi, a state with a dark history of lynchings and discrimination.
‘For anyone that was offended by my comments, I certainly apologize. There was no ill will, no intent whatsoever in my statement,’ Hyde-Smith said Tuesday during the televised debate.
The apology was a new tack for Hyde-Smith, who repeatedly refused to answer questions about the hanging comment at a news conference November 12, the day after the publisher of a liberal-leaning news site posted the video on Facebook and Twitter.
The clip shows Hyde-Smith praising a cattle rancher at a November 2 campaign event in Tupelo by saying: ‘If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.’
Shortly after the video’s release, she said in a statement that the expression was an ‘exaggerated expression of regard’ and said it is ‘ridiculous’ to read any negative connotation into it.
But the same day she also was captured on video saying she was for voter suppression.
‘And then they remind me, that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote,’ she was heard saying in a video. ‘Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.’
Espy is seeking to become the state’s first African-American senator since Reconstruction
‘There has never been anything, not one thing, in my background to ever indicate I had ill will toward anyone,’ Hyde-Smith, a former state agriculture commissioner, said Tuesday night. ‘I’ve never been hurtful to anyone. I’ve always tried to help everyone.’
Then she went after her opponent: ‘I also recognize that this comment was twisted and it was turned into a weapon to be used against me, a political weapon used for nothing but personal and political gain by my opponent. That’s the type of politics Mississippians are sick and tired of.’
Espy responded during the debate: ‘No one’s twisted your comments because your comments were live, you know, it came out of your mouth. I don’t know what’s in your heart but I know what came out of your mouth. It went viral in the first three minutes around the world. And so it’s caused our state harm. It’s given our state another black eye that we don’t need. It’s just rejuvenated those stereotypes that we don’t need anymore.’
Hyde-Smith is the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress. Espy is a former congressman and US agriculture secretary, is seeking to become the state’s first African-American senator since Reconstruction.
At other points in the debate, Hyde-Smith embraced Trump, calling for construction of a border wall and other elements of his agenda.
President Donald Trump defended Hyde-Smith as he prepares to campaign for her in her run off election
Trump, who will hold two rallies for Hyde-Smith on Monday, the day before voters go to the polls in the runoff election, defended her as a ‘spectacular senator’ Tuesday.
Walmart asked Hyde-Smith to return a $2,000 campaign contribution because of the hanging remark.
Trump is traveling to Mississippi for two Hyde-Smith rallies Monday on the eve of the election. Former Vice President Joe Biden has endorsed Espy.
Hyde-Smith was appointed to the Senate to temporarily succeed longtime Senator Thad Cochran, who retired in April amid health concerns.
Hyde-Smith and Espy each received about 41 percent of the vote when four candidates were on the ballot November 6.
If she wins the November 27 runoff, Hyde-Smith would give Republicans a 53-47 majority in the Senate.