‘Ragtail’ bedfellows gave Kilpatrick pause

Death noted: Before James J. Kilpatrick reconstructed himself as the Avuncular Grammarian, he functioned as segregation’s most emphatic theoretician, one day touting the legal stratagem of interposition, the next accusing the New York Times of “Negrophilia… a pattern we are getting pretty God-damned sick of.”

Only rarely in those days was Kilpatrick’s racial bias mitigated — by his class bias. In response to the Greensboro sit-in he wrote:

“Here were the colored students, in coats, white shirts, ties, and one of them was reading Goethe and one was taking notes from a biology text.  And here, on the sidewalk outside was a gang of white boys come to heckle, a ragtail rabble, slack-jawed, black-jacketed, grinning fit to kill, and some of them, God save the mark, were waving the proud and honored flag of the Southern States in the last war fought by gentlemen. Eheu! It gives one pause.”

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