GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) graduated from an all-white segregation academy in Mississippi featuring a mascot dressed as a Confederate general that was founded to bypass desegregation of schools in the 1970s, reported The Jackson Free Press on Friday.
The report shows a yearbook picture in which Hyde-Smith poses with other girls and a mascot that appears to be dressed as a Confederate general and holding a Confederate flag.
The school was one of several private institutions set up to bypass integration after Mississippi Gov. John Bell Williams ordered that public schools integrate in 1969.
We‘ve obtained photos from Cindy Hyde-Smith’s high school yearbook, revealing she attended a segregation academy set up so that white parents wouldn’t have to send their kids to school with black kids. The mascot even carried a Confederate flag. #MSSenhttps://t.co/tFspo5w1Mc
— Ashton Pittman (@ashtonpittman) November 24, 2018
There’s “no doubt that’s why those schools were set up,” former Democratic Rep. Ronnie Shows (Miss.), who taught at the school and was Hyde-Smith’s basketball coach, told the newspaper.
“When the public schools in Mississippi were ordered desegregated, many thousands of white families cobbled together what they could laughingly call a school to send their children to for no other reason except they didn’t want them to be around n-words or to be treated or behave as equal to black people,” former Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Rickey Cole said.
The Jackson Free Press reported that Hyde-Smith also sent her daughter to a segregated school.
Rep. Shows said he would not support her reelection bid on Tuesday after video surfaced earlier this month showing the GOP senator saying that she’d be “on the front row” should a supporter she was campaigning with invite her to a “public hanging.” Mississippi had the highest number of lynchings from 1882-1968, according to the NAACP.
Hyde-Smith’s Democratic opponent Mike Espy, who is running to be Mississippi’s first black senator since Reconstruction in Tuesday’s runoff election, ripped the comment as “reprehensible” and “hurtful.”
Hyde-Smith spokeswoman Melissa Scallan called Friday’s report by the Jackson Free Press “a new low” in a statement to The Hill while claiming the report was intended to help Espy.
“In their latest attempt to help Mike Espy, the gotcha liberal media has taken leave of their senses. They have stooped to a new low, attacking her entire family and trying to destroy her personally instead of focusing on the clear differences on the issues between Cindy Hyde-Smith and her far-left opponent,” Scallan said in the statement.