Bilbo Has Got to Go: 1945-46
Mississippi Senator Theodore G. Bilbo had been a virulent racist throughout his career, but in the immediate post-WWII era, his attacks on African Americans, people of the Jewish faith and Italians were at odds with most Americans understanding of the fight against fascism.

A broad campaign included Republicans, Democrats, Communists and others who demanded his expulsion from the Senate.

The movement picked up steam when Bilbo made outrageous statements during his 1946 election campaign while in the national spotlight.

“I call on every red-blooded American white man to use any mean to keep the [derogatory term for African Americans] away from the polls. If you don’t understand what that means, you are just plain dumb.,” he said during the campaign.

Bilbo was a long-time racist who appealed to poor white sharecroppers while railing against African Americans and the wealthy. He was an open member of the Ku Klux Klan declaring on the radio program Meet the Press, “No man can leave the Klan. He takes an oath not to do that. Once a Ku Klux, always a Ku Klux.”

Bilbo was a particular thorn for Washington, D.C. residents because the Democrats assigned him the Senate District of Columbia committee with oversight over the city where he worked to bar African American voting.

The Senate refused to seat him in 1946 citing his appeals to use violence to keep African Americans from voting and allegations of bribery. While Bilbo intended to continue fighting the charges, his health failed him and he died in August 21, 1947.
6 photos · 102 views