Insensitive racial comments puts spotlight on county board president

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- Outraged, disappointed, and saddened. These are just a few of the words from some of the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors in light of recent comments that board president Harry Sanders made to the Commercial Dispatch.

“In my opinion, they were slaves. And because of that, they didn’t have to go out and earn any money, they didn’t have to do anything,” he added. “Whoever owned them took care of them, fed them, clothed them, worked them. They became dependent, and that dependency is still there. The Democrats right here who depend on the black vote to get elected, they make them dependent on them.” Quote: from Commercial Dispatch 06,16,2020.

Supervisors Leroy Brooks and Jeff Smith are hurt by the comments in Tuesday’s paper.

“It’s simple and I’ll say it. Harry, it’s time for you to go home. If you feel that strong about black people. You’re sitting at the head of the table, you represent the county and economic development. What if as he would say, a liberal entrepreneur read that? They’d say what kind of board president you got that’s leading the charge,” said District 5 Supervisor, Leroy Brooks.

Supervisor Leroy Brooks calls for the resignation of President Harry Sanders. The comments in the Commercial Dispatch come just one day after Brooks made a motion to move the confederate statue from the courthouse to Friendship Cemetery.

“He has said things for so long that people have normalized it as Harry Sanders. I’ve always said Harry’s been a good businessman, but he shows no empathy and compassion for people,” said Brooks.

The comments, in a nutshell, Brooks says paints a picture black people mean nothing.

“I’m going to have a hard time walking into that board room and wanting to interact with Harry Sanders when he’s diminished black people to a state of nothingness,” said Brooks.

Brooks says no one’s going to be talking about the monument on the courthouse lawn, or the state flag. Talks will now turn into handling the division that is apparent in our county he says. Supervisor Jeff Smith says during this time in our nation, this now sets not only the county but our state back.

“To have one of our five-county officials publicly state his opinion about black people, in a negative way, puts us behind the eight ball. First of all, appear to others we’re moving forward, but more importantly to be moving forward. It sets us back quite a bit,” said District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith.

Harry Sanders told WCBI’s Scott Martin by phone he has no comments on the comments he made to the Commercial Dispatch. In another piece, the Commercial Dispatch called for Sanders’ resignation to which he replied, they needed to shut down.

Supervisor Trip Hariston also spoke with WCBI and said he doesn’t agree with the comments Sanders made. He added he doesn’t feel it reflects the entire Lowndes County Board of Supervisors.

WCBI reached out to Supervisor John Holliman who hasn’t returned our call for comment.

Hariston, Holliman, and Sanders voted against the removal of the confederate monument at the Lowndes County Courthouse.

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