Joseph Lowery in radio ads: ‘Don’t let them resegregate our schools’

Opponents of Tuesday’s charter school ballot question this afternoon unveiled a series of four racially provocative, 60-second radio spots aimed at African-American audiences across the state.

Three of the radio ads include this plea from the 91-year-old Rev. Joseph Lowery, the legendary civil rights figure: “Don’t let them resegregate our schools.”

In case that message didn’t penetrate, the opposition group — Vote Smart! No to State-Controlled Schools — labeled one of the spots “Plessy” and another “Ferguson.” Plessy v. Ferguson was the 1896 U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized segregated public facilities in the South and ushered in the Jim Crow era.

It’s important to note that the charter school measure, which would reaffirm state authority to create charter schools over the objections of local systems, has significant support among African-Americans, according to polls – who figure heavily in pro-Amendment One advertising.

Listen to “Plessy” here:

The script:

Female narrator: “Nothing is more important than our schools. The power to control our local schools is one of our most precious rights. The courts have protected that right. But now, politicians and out-of-state money are trying to resegregate our schools. Amendment One would change the constitution.

“Unless we vote no, politicians in Atlanta will create a dual school system and take away our community’s right to control our local schools. Don’t let a small group of politicians in Atlanta resegregate our schools. Vote no on Amendment One. And keep control of our schools in our hands.”

Lowery: ”My beloved, I am the Rev. Joseph Lowery. Don’t let them resegregate our schools. I’m voting no on Amendment One. Thank you for listening.”

Former state labor commissioner and U.S. Senate candidate Michael Thurmond is featured in one of the four spots. He avoids the word “resegregate” but urges voters not to “let a small group of politicians turn back the clock.”

Families for Better Public Schools, the lead organization in support of the proposed constitutional amendment, already had a 10 a.m. Thursday press conference scheduled at the state Capitol, featuring African-American pastors in support of the measure.

Look for the radio ads to be a major topic.

Updated at 8:03 a.m. Thursday: State Rep. Rahn Mayo, D-Decatur, an Amendment One supporter who will be at the above event, sent this reaction last night:

“The time has come for us to move beyond the comparisons of education reform efforts to brutally painful and overtly inhumane periods in our nation’s history. Unfortunately, we are faced with the difficult task of addressing a crisis in our public school system, and it is understandable that this necessary change is met with great resistance. However, countless African-American children have been denied access to quality education over the past four decades, and this issue must be addressed in a variety of ways.

“Injecting harsh racial associations into the debate about the Charter Schools Amendment is counterproductive to a meaningful dialogue about how we evolve and provide our children with better access to quality educational options in Georgia.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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184 comments Add your comment

Mark Elliott

October 31st, 2012
6:15 pm

Race bait much? Wow.

Free Mind

October 31st, 2012
6:37 pm

I mean no harm and I respect Mr. Lowery for what he did during the Civil Rights Struggle for Black people but as a Black person I am sick and tired of these Black leaders using fear as the only reason why Blacks should support any given politician.

TB222

October 31st, 2012
6:44 pm

Based on this information I will be voting “yes” to amendment 1.

Choose My School

October 31st, 2012
6:47 pm

I respect Rev. Lowery but I would like to know how having charter schools would segregate children. As an African-American high school student currently in a charter school, there is no way that allowing charter schools would re-segregate our schools. African-Americans have the same options for applying to charter schools as White children, and are chosen based on a random draw lottery system that in no way shape or form could be considered racist. If anything public schools are MORE segregated because politicians draw the school district lines and put lower class predominantly African-American children together in on zone and upper class predominantly White children in another. I love my school and I only wish there were more charter schools in the metro area so that more kids could do as well as I have in a charter school and get out of the failing Atlanta schools.

PMK

October 31st, 2012
6:52 pm

First and foremost, in a lot of the charter schools I’ve seen – the student body is very diverse. Let’s not misinform voters. Let’s please start getting the facts out (pros and cons) about this amendment!

tdog

October 31st, 2012
6:57 pm

Mr. Lowrey is a great American, but I think it is time for him to ride off into the sunset and leave the race card for a younger crowd.

Jose

October 31st, 2012
6:58 pm

Afircan-American is a nationality (of convenience), not a race.

Test scores in the government schools have been quite flat in the last few decades compared to the nearly exponential upward curve of money spent on teacher unions from government schools.

The main reason folks are against charter schools is because they KNOW it will expose the government schools for what they are – miserable failures in spite of the money that keeps pouring in.

If the word got out, the government teachers would actually have to perform (or be terminated fir sub standard results) instead of getting tenure, promotions and raises… and the unions can’t have that.

Kris

October 31st, 2012
7:00 pm

Do you want the crooks and thieves in the gold dome to have control over your schools? They will farm out your schools to the company offering the highest kickback to the corrupt unethical “Georgia government (term used very loosely”.

Dirty deals, default motel loans and fish farms to name a few.

FACT: Amendment 1 CHANGES the CONSTITUTION and permanently alters the governing powers over schools in Georgia.

“We already have a mechanism in place (to approve charter schools). I really have a concern about putting in place another physical agency when we already have two in place to do the same thing.” -state school Superintendent John Barge

http://files.www.votesmartgeorgia.com/facts/Vote_Smart_Sign-1.pdf
http://www.votesmartgeorgia.com/

Vote NO to Amendment 1

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

October 31st, 2012
7:02 pm

The schools have already re-segregated and I don’t care. I do care about them amending the constitution to make it happen.

Truth

October 31st, 2012
7:07 pm

The out of state companies paying for the vote yes campaign will come to GA, make a ton of money, and by permanently changing our constitution, decide where to put these new schools and who goes to them. The elephant in the roon is segregation. Good for someone for finally saying it and getting the truth out there.

Carl

October 31st, 2012
7:08 pm

Parents should never have a choice. We should just simply send our children to the local schools and trust the school board.

Grob Hahn

October 31st, 2012
7:10 pm

Since we have been fed every kind of excuse for the “Achievement Gap” all these years, most centering on cultural differences, perhaps segregating the schools is exactly what we need to explore. Particularly in districts where schools have become an extension of the criminal justice system. Maybe it’s time to admit that intentional cultural mixing was a failed government experiment that was perpetrated on our children with basically no choice. Having two sets of standards within the same school walls is moronic.
Grobbbbbbbbbbb

devildog0300

October 31st, 2012
7:11 pm

Don’t know if anyone else has thought of charter schools as a revolution. As it stands, that’s the only way I can see to get public education out of the hands of the local idiot schoolboards (check DeKalb and Clayton). Someone said they should elect other board members but guess what, the boards are reflections of their electorate. Idiots beget idiots. Only way to change it is to rip it out of their hands.

Astropig

October 31st, 2012
7:13 pm

Schools are already re-segregated. The wealthy have long ago abandoned public schools. The upper middle class have mostly abandoned the public schools. Those two groups are overwhelmingly white.

I guess white supremacists are not the only people that would stand in the schoolhouse door and bar black children.

Jose

October 31st, 2012
7:20 pm

Event the President of the United States won’t send his own kids to a government school, but I guess it is okay for everybody else. Why send your kids to a school where the culture is violence, drugs and thuggery?

The government needs more servants and that is the majority what comes out of government run schools.

As little as 50 years ago nobody would have dreamed that the bureaucrats in Washington would come to your local school and tell the cooks what they can and can’t cook, and how they can cook it, for your child’s school lunch. If that isn’t bad enough, would you have ever dreamed that your local schools would act on federal instructions to examine the lunch your child brings from home to see if it meets some federal nutritional standards?

Your wonderful government school system was designed to educate you, but only to the point that you don’t become a threat to your political rulers. The American people are a product of those schools, and the American people are, by and large, acting in the manner proscribed by those who “educated” them.

Teachers unions are a greater long-term threat to freedom and prosperity than Is-lamic ter ro rists.

The government schools have eliminated Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and now Halloween because they might “hurt somebody’s feeeeeelings”.

That’s not how I grew up and that is not how I raised my kids to grow up.

AimHigh

October 31st, 2012
7:20 pm

@Bill Quantrill, I’ve got one word for you. COLUMBINE.

Tom

October 31st, 2012
7:25 pm

Remember, charter schools are already permissible by state law. Local districts have the authority to create and fund charter schools.

Amendment 1 is about allowing the state to divert monies from local school districts and re-directing it with less public oversight and accountability.

The problem with this amendment has nothing to do with race and shame on Joseph Lowery for endorsing these ads.

Dee

October 31st, 2012
7:28 pm

Has anyone thought about where the teachers for the charter schools will be coming from to teach? From the public schools due to layoffs because of money. How will the charter schools be better with the same teachers the students already have in the public school system? Charter schools will cause the students who are unable to go to get shafted because of the lost money from the state funding, will have larger classes because of layoffs, and a limited amount of materials such as books, paper, etc.

I can’t tell you how to vote, but look at what is best for the students overall. I’ve voted no on allowing the state to create charter schools, how will you vote?

cc

October 31st, 2012
7:30 pm

Lowery is not “a great American”, and I do not respect him. He is a tired, worn-out, old race-baiter. The opposition forces to Amendment 1 have found a way to get free publicity by playing the race card, nothing more and nothing less. Instead of appealing to reason, they choose to appeal to emotion. The move will probably lock up the black vote in metro Atlanta since blacks tend to vote the way “the reverends” tell them to vote.

Problem is - Lowery is supporting the Racist Side !!!

October 31st, 2012
7:32 pm

Interesting how the Georgia Supreme Court was able to cite a 134 year old amendment which was aimed at protecting Georgia’s racist past where only local school boards were given permission to approve special schools. This was done so that Georgia locales had the authority to have white schools and black schools. If Rev. Lowery actually understood what he was supporting, he would be ashamed. Douglas Blackmon wrote an Op Ed on this when it was first announced a few years ago. Unfortunately, the only “Slavery” that is going on here is the slavery that the traditional public school bureaucrats are trying to enforce and protect which is to handcuff children and parents to failing schools without any immediate option for success. This is sickening. Read Blackmon’s article below.

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/opinion/charter-ruling-flunks-history-ignores-roots-of-seg/nQtnm/

RCB

October 31st, 2012
7:35 pm

I don’t admire Joseph Lowery as much as you, I guess. To me, he refuses to be held accountable for all the “good” he’s done for his community. I mean, really. 50 years of the same old, same old. He reminds me of Al Sharpton.

Shar

October 31st, 2012
7:35 pm

There are lots of very good reasons to vote against Amendment 1. This isn’t one of them.

Woodward

October 31st, 2012
7:37 pm

For those that would think that segration is a Whitey/wealthy thing. Let me tell you about the application from one Cee Lo Green for his kid(s) to Woodward Academy this week.

Ronald Reagan

October 31st, 2012
7:52 pm

If Reverend Lowery were to lay down & cross his arms……….dirt would be thrown on him.

Rick Moore

October 31st, 2012
7:52 pm

@Jose…..Charter schools ARE government schools. YOU, sir, are ignorant.(that simply means un-informed,l lacking in knowledge)

rdh

October 31st, 2012
7:52 pm

Yep, Lowery-the-race-baiter wants to force you to keep YOUR black child in failing/cheating APS schools.

Yes, we want to segregate… the children who WANT to learn from the children that don’t .

Rick James

October 31st, 2012
7:55 pm

Just plain sad..

AD

October 31st, 2012
7:56 pm

Jose, you are very misinformed. There are no unions in Georgia, and my kids celebrate every one of those holidays, and have excellent teachers. For those of you in the dysfunctional school systems, get the Governor to help you bring in private charters and replace the school board and leave the rest of the state alone!
Jose, 94% of Georgia’s children go to “government” schools. Think about that.

Hanson PK

October 31st, 2012
7:57 pm

Rev Joe Lowery, old fool, tired ol scare tactics, needs to sit down and shut up. When God told Moses he would never see the promise land, this was for a reason. Lowery will never see racial harmony because he is the problem like many old civil rights bigots and will have to deal with GOD and Jesus’s Church. The church is not Joe Lowery’s Church and black people or people in general don’t belong to Lowery or some bigot like Jessie Jackson or Al (blood on his shoulder at freddies fashion mart) Sharpton. They belong to God along with White, Asians, Hispanics, and other cultural identifiable groups. I am a black man and sick and tired of this crap from these bigots racist. They are in the class of the KKK.

Rick

October 31st, 2012
8:00 pm

This old clown has made a good living riding this racial crap. The racial divide will never be bridged until Lowery, Jackson, and the like have passed from this world to meet their maker.

N-GA

October 31st, 2012
8:02 pm

The ignorance of some of the bloggers here is astounding. Many of them think this amendment allows the creation of charter schools! Amazing how some people let others do their thinking for them!

For those of you who care: Charter schools are ALREADY legal! This amendment allows state officials to overrule county and municipal schools boards and approve a charter school in their area and makes them pay for it using local funds. Then they can authorize a local charter and award the administration of that school to a for-profit company (that’s why all the out-of-state political donations supporting this stupid amendment.

WillinRoswell

October 31st, 2012
8:04 pm

Carl
October 31st, 2012
7:08 pm
“Parents should never have a choice. We should just simply send our children to the local schools and trust the school board.”

I agree totally. School boards in Georgia are repositories of wisdom and common sense. That’s why our schools are always at the top of every academic and achievement report in the whole country. Totally non-political and fair and square are other attributes of our beloved local boards of education. Parents are idiots and must be guided by the hand to educational heaven.

Woofy One

October 31st, 2012
8:06 pm

I will now be voting YES. Thank you LOW Rey

Diehard

October 31st, 2012
8:06 pm

Someone needs to give old Joe a test to make sure he can still say his ABC’s. He’s either senile or racist himself – or both.

Vashtai

October 31st, 2012
8:12 pm

I will vote “no” on both amendments.

Rafe Hollister

October 31st, 2012
8:13 pm

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. FDR

Well, Franklin, your party seems to think they need to preach fear in order to win elections. Soc Sec going to be privatized, medicare voucherized, black churches set aflame, “going to put y’all back in chains”, rich going to get richer, poor get poorer, gorebal warming, air and water going to get dirty, and NOW, the Republicans are going to resegregate the schools. Dems are just a bunch of Chicken Little’s, shouting the sky if falling.

Producer

October 31st, 2012
8:20 pm

What a racist, incendiary pig!!!!!!!!!!!! Way to bring people together Rev.
Martin would be soooo proud.

Weetamoe

October 31st, 2012
8:20 pm

Joe Lowery — the guy who insulted both President GW Bush and his father GHW Bush in church at Coretta Scott King’s funeral under the guise of *speaking truth to power * something that is sort of not cool nowadays even though the suit in the White House has no emperor. Jpe Lowery- because his drivel rhymes he thinks it is profound.

tim

October 31st, 2012
8:22 pm

Whatever Lowery says……do the opposite.

Weetamoe

October 31st, 2012
8:28 pm

Our kids attended IHM, Paideia, and Friends’ School of Atlanta. Lots of minority kids in all including kids of Atlanta elected officials and grandkids of democrat officials and *fixers* in DC. It is not a white thing.

George

October 31st, 2012
8:36 pm

Dee you are a dam fool it is not the teachers jackass it is the parents .we have great teachers.i hope the hell they do pass charcter schools and by the way I am black and a teacher.education has to be important to the family the dam teacher do not live with the child fool please stop being stupid but this is Georgia.Education starts at home and it also ends there.

cc

October 31st, 2012
8:37 pm

“I have a suggestion, you tell your politicians to stop and then maybe ours won’t receive such warm reception when they do it”

I have a suggestion, too. Someone oughtto tell Obama to stop it.

Tom

October 31st, 2012
8:38 pm

For those who respect Joseph Lowery, look up the Monroe County Reporter today to find the following quotes from him speaking at a church in Forsyth:

“I don’t know what kind of a n—– wouldn’t vote with a black man running,” said Lowery.

Later on the article notes the following about Lowery:

Lowery said that when he was a young militant, he used to say all white folks were going to hell. Then he mellowed and just said most of them were. Now, he said, he is back to where he was.

The mayor of Forsyth and the pastor the church were so shocked by the comments, they decided not to post the video on local cable TV.

This is Joseph Lowery.

Now with that said, I still think Amendment 1 is a bad idea, but it has nothing to do with race and everything to do with financial accountability.

Tom

October 31st, 2012
8:40 pm

cc

October 31st, 2012
8:41 pm

Georgia:

Was it you or someone else who posted the very funny comments re the weather in the supermarket two or three days ago? If it was you, can you remind me when and to which blog you posted it? I want to read it again!

cc

October 31st, 2012
8:56 pm

Bernie Matt:

Didn’t intend to offend you, but my statement stand. I understand you’re not an Obama fan, but someone STILL needs to tell him to stop it.

creaative

October 31st, 2012
8:58 pm

I live in east lake and our charter school is outstanding. i am white and as opposed to sending my kid (when we have one) to a private school, he/she will go to the charter school right around the corner. While prominently black, there are some white kids from the area who are starting to go there. This is TRUE diversity. We have come a long way in East Lake and our school scores in the 90th percentile in the state in testing. APS is awful and Drew Charter has proven that no matter what a child’s skin color that they can be successful. I will vote pro Charter schools as a vote against is a vote for the same broken system. How can people be against it?? All the benefits of a private school with the same public funding of a busted a$$ public school.

At Least be Honest

October 31st, 2012
9:18 pm

This is true here in Cheokee county. The majority of the students that attend the charter school here came from or are zoned for two Title One elementary schools that have large Hispanic and African American populations. A large number of the white middle class students have left those schools and now attend the state-approved charter school.

jaggar

October 31st, 2012
9:18 pm

TO DEE: That is the whole point. The state has continued cutting the education budget and breaking their own law of the QBE formula. They wanted the schools to cut salaries, create overcrowded classrooms, and cut supplies. In addition, the politicians have trash talked teachers and blamed them for all the low test scores. This is the perfect storm to get people to buy in that everything is the public schools fault. Yes, people have bought their plan. Georgia is a right to work state and we do not have a teachers union. Itis a principals fault if there are unqualified teachers in classrooms. The principals job is to evaluate the teacher and rid of the people whom are not effective. People will be sorry if the chartere school amendment is passed.

John

October 31st, 2012
9:25 pm