« Slow Burn

S4 Ep. 4: A Silent Army

2020-07-08

David Duke wasn’t content being a state representative. He wanted to go national, and in 1990 he expanded his base of white voters to try to attain that goal.

In Episode 4 of Slow Burn: How David Duke made himself a political sensation—and the message that his supporters sent when they cast their ballots.

Season 4 of Slow Burn is produced by Josh Levin and Christopher Johnson. Mixing by Paul Mounsey. Slow Burn’s production assistant is Madeline Ducharme and Sophie Summergrad is the podcast’s assistant producer.

Slate Plus members get bonus episodes of Slow Burn and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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just so that I can inform the listeners where we are. Would you tell us where exactly that's Plater Robinson? It was the summer of nineteen ninety and he was working on a public radio story about David Dukes campaign. For made it states Senate, were you know, you're the guy, God has hit, abound we're about, so we had an headed to place. You can't get do battle. And his girl. They plan bar the blind river bar was Livingston, perish Louisiana in swamp land about forty miles outside Ban Ridge. On this morning, three hundred people were heading there to eat and drink.
Ron David Duke played a Robinson caught a ride to the bar on a motorized houseboat full of Duke supporters, a different kind of rally in Livingston Parish in nineteen. Seventy five back then, Duke the clan leader had burned a forty foot cross, shouted the n word and threatened black Americans with violence, give us liberty he said and give them death by one thousand nine hundred and ninety. You could learn to use softer language but the politician and his followers were still focused on the same enemy. But what is it that brings you out here today in support of David Dick Orange Abortive David do without my business men, who want am I gonna, run out by minorities. The man Plater Robinson was speaking where they didn't find himself as an unemployed boiler. Repairman He said America was moving in the wrong direction and the Duke could steer a back on course.
I've been out of work for a year and a half an hour still sitting free contributions. They were small, but I sent him doing. Did it make you feel uncomfortable to see the photograph of him dressed in the round uniform of a nazi storm trooper? It would have if I haven't. I didn't hear his explanation in believing it fair to say that you want to believe in him. Oh, yes, spare the people gathered the Blind river bar. The same way the boiler repairman did they. To believe in David Duke, and they were tired of the media telling them that they should know better than to vote for a clansmen. Have you ever seen, article about David, Duke and then say, X2 X, running away from his association with the clan at another speech. A few hours later, he presented his clan days as an asset
those gaps and she said to me, she said, represent a beauty said Don't you think I heard your credibility? Did you are ones Macleod I answered, I said, look man. I said. I think it proves my credibility, a person that can stand up and pee really think lazy. Jonah was praising himself for his supposed commitment to authenticity. He said he was the only candidate who understood how white people in Louisiana really felt almost up and do my nose and the fight for you this big, for you say banks. While the job your heart, dear friends, neighbours. A charge of work I hope, speaking for you,
do that, I'm going to ask you when you do something for me and show where you stand to put a bumper sticker in the car. We didn't have time to arrange for her to do that. For me, I want to see it that thing about bumper stickers wasn't just a line in a speech for Duke it was an imperative. He said his fans needed to slap them on their cars and boats and trailers, no matter how much blowback they might get a lot of Duke backers thought it was too risky to make their allegiance known. Some who did support Duke publicly complain they been targeted for their political views. One of Duke Go coordinators, said, yard signs were getting torn down and pelted with bullet holes. A woman outside New Orleans reported there. One of her, Duke Science got stolen and set on fire and in Shreveport Dukes campaign headquarters got tagged with big blue
swastikas. I've got some guys and say I put a bumper sticker MA. Am I a weapon My group will not there. Lives neglect such abandoned, big old bumpersticker yard, Zeiner strapping young men who put a bumper sticker. When I was ten years old, in the summer of eighteen? Ninety and I dont really
by following all the ins and outs of that year, Senate campaign, but I'll never forget dukes campaign signs. They were always really simple: Blackie White taxed on a dark blue background in ninety ninety those sign said David, Duke, you asked Senate the letters. De. U K were way bigger than everything else, though, signs and bumper stickers weren't just simple expressions of political preference. They were away to mark territory to show who was welcome in certain parts of Louisiana and who wasn't Saint Bernard parishes of Working class, predominantly white community. Just outside Orleans, when schools in New Orleans is lower. Ninth word began to integrate a nineteen sixty white families swarm to the still segregated Saint Bernard. They did so at the urgent.
The parishes virulently racist, political boss, Leander Peres, who told white parents. Don't wait for your daughter to be raped by these Congolese in nineteen. Ninety Saint Bernard still had the feel of a white separatist, enclave and David Dukes name, we all did there as a threat when word got out that a black family was buying a home in a Saint Bernard Subdivision. Thirteen David Duke for Senate signs popped up around the house overnight. A black pastor also had breaks through and through his windows and David, Duke ridden across the wind. Out of his car. Tammy Barney wrote about that break incident for the New Orleans times. Pickin Barney was the newspapers- Saint Bernard Bureau, Chief, the first black journalists to have that role, I will comment on. The job was that I live in, shaping our perish, and so I started looking or a place to live. I found a two bedroom house. I moved
my things in and went to stay of my parents in the world. As for the weekend, I came back Sunday and when I got it the home my ear trickle wires had been caught, my cable wires had been cut and someone had spray painted on the back leave in word in big black letters. Barney says that when she called the sheriff's office they told her, it was just some kids nothing to worry about, Barney, didn't let the racists run her out. She stayed in Saint Bernard for three years and she later wrote a column asking why so many white people in the parish felt an attachment to David, Duke I actually received a letter from a gentleman who said that he lived in New Orleans and that there were things he thought and felt about the black indeed, that he couldn't say in New Orleans, because noise was run by
black mare, because his neighbour these were black, but that David Duke said those things for him do gave a lot of people a voice, but it wasn't clear how far that voice would carry in his first day wide election when Duke announced his run for the Senate, he'd been in the state legislature for less than a year, and he hadn't accomplished anything of note there, but he wasn't interested and biting his time on the lower wrongs of the political ladder Duke had national ambitions and a growing grass roots following what he lacked was institutional support. Dukes fellow Republicans in Louisiana hadn't taken a stand against him, as the activist bath Ricky had urged them to, but they were
eager to be seen, boosting Duke either in the party, was in backing him financially the official republican candidate with another stay legislator, Ben Baggert in Louisiana, open primary system. Both men were running against democratic incumbent J Bene: Johnston the clear favorite one August Paul show Johnston with fifty two percent of the vote, Duke with twenty four percent and Baggert in the single digits. But the pollsters had been wrong about Duke before, and it was possible. They were getting it wrong again, as he Barn stormed across the state. A sort of Duke mania began to take hold among white voters in Louisiana. When Duke dressed as clamouring fans. He made it clear that this wasn't just a campaign. It was a cause. I'm gonna go out is generating a lot Don't worry I'm busy.
Nobody wants to make this amazing, How did David Duke make himself the wide sensation was he driving for political power or just for personal gain in one message. Did his supporters to everyone else in Louisiana? This is slow burn. I'm Josh Levine episode for a silent me.
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dot, link, Slash Towpath, cancel anytime terms apply. I was in high school the first time a white friend asked me: why is everything about race with you and I said, because every thing is about race. It still true, especially in this election year, and for a lot of folks, that's just to uncomfortable to talk about, but I'm talking about it. I'm Rebecca Carol check out my new podcast come through from W and Y see studios and listen where ever you get your podcast. Thus Caracks bent ninety might be following David, Duke around Kara was making a documentary about Duke in his movement. After a while all the rally she went to started to blend together. They had this blind woman with them.
Lou dress, who is absolutely was like the picture perfect area in super woman, and she sang the national anthem. Every time I went to a Duke rally, perfect. Maun here looks diccon that blurred resonance saying in the national anthem and then he'd have you know some rabble rousing that would come on stage and swung fella. He would why The audience dukes warm up act was a former democratic congressmen named John Merrick rhetoric. It represented the ban Rouge area in the U S house, in the nineteen sixties and seventy one black legislator call them the leading racist and Congress, Plater Robinson courted rhetoric speech at the Blind river bar.
There's only one candidate, all right, the decaying did you say Is the law or an American discriminate against them where we get rhetoric, God. What a miserable son of a bitch that guy was an when that, when we were Rob and set up the camera a lot of the people in the audience would you get out of their seats? I really was very happy and there would jump in front of the camera way If we carry on and say you know, put me on tv put me on tv, then, once Eric dynamo wound up the man, in the room with just absolutely become palpably, tents and bitter and horrible David Duke didn't sound, is angry as his followers were. He presented himself as a sorrowful patriot, a man who wanted to restore the United States
to its former glories here. I know I'm here I know why you're here we know and be safe and sound, proud citizens and Sound hope royal of its citizens and offer hope for all of us people I tell. We have a system, rewards people work and produce the people that work and produce. That was not so coded reference to Dukes White Base, and then there were the people that allegedly didn't work and didn't produce Duke talked about them. Two. Why am I right? We ve got to find a way to reduce the massacre consumer welfare birthright, because I think people welfare having children fast, and they can raise our taxes to pay for them all. Before I started working on this season of slow burn, I wrote a book and made a podcast series about the origins of the welfare queen
YO type when Ronald Reagan ran for president in eighteen. Seventy six, he told an exaggerated store about a woman named Linda Taylor, an anecdote that depicted poor black women as a drain on society. Chicago. They found a woman who holds the record she whose eighty names thirty addresses fifty in telephone numbers, the collect food, damn social security veterans benefits for food non existent deceased reference. Husbands as well as wealthy or tax free, cashing gun alone. Has been running a hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year during his ninety ninety Senate campaign Duke put his own span on the welfare queen met the story, he told was cruder than Reagan's and even more ludicrous, but the crowd reacted. Just the way Duke wanted it to ask about. The doktor said is represented that I've got
A bit of information, or my point is that right now I have a lady in my office, Is our welfare generators, Three teenage daughter raw born a legitimate, and this mighty is pregnant with an and the child, at all three of her daughters and I'll also pregnant with no gentleman child said. You know what else, and I said I can imagine. What is it woman and her daughters are all pregnant bonds.
That guy is jealous over there. Telling stories was a new thing for Duke his one thousand. Nine hundred and eighty nine race for the state legislature had depended less on stagecraft, then I'm knocking on doors and shaking hands, but in nineteen. Ninety those priorities, flipped his Senate rallies, were big and loud and for his fan is extremely exhilarating, but even if the delivery was different, the underlying message was the same. Here's Mark Moriah in ninety ninety. He was a candidate for Congress. He later become the mayor of New Orleans in any debate in those days. If you asked to a question by anything, you asked him about hurry
U S: embassy utility bills, vs about higher education, bs about health care. Ultimately, he found a way to inject welfare. Recipients is being the problem that the state faced deed, Families with dependent children. The programme commonly known as welfare made up just two percent of we the Anna's annual budget, the states, monthly stipend for a family of three was one of the strangest in the country a hundred and ninety dollars. But for David did, the reality of welfare was an important. What matter was the message sent by demonizing it. The people had dukes rallies were primed to receive that message. At one campaign event, a woman screamed out we're tired of those lazy, bastards collecting checks. Here's the filmmaker Basque,
again, I've been around. You know racist and whack jobs, but the problem with David Dukes rallies was it he would create that virulent crowd mentality and he had a real call. Like the file, a wing and they were transfixed with what he had to say and they would do whatever he told them to do. One time at a veterans of foreign wars, outpost in New Orleans, Caracks cameramen started shooting B roll of the crowd. She followed him down the central and we see the faces of the Duke supporters, and I looked in there. Eyes. It felt like day has been broken a long time ago, and it here- me like a wave, and I felt
dreamily nauseous and sad at the same time that broken people do search for these leaders that in view them with a sense of rage and power? That's all! complete allusion like if we did not have our own barriers up in our own awareness, we can feel the fish hooks of his propaganda like looking and apart our brains and just reeling us off to the side. He is just very convincing. And everything he says. If you don't examine carefully, if you just aided, aided aided and swallow it
you're going to buy it. In March, one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven months before the Senate, primary David, Duke drew about two hundred and seventy five people to a holiday Inn in Alexandria. In the dead center of Louisiana people are coming out of the closet, Duke told a reporter. At the end of June, four hundred people showed up to see him at the Bm Gas station. Strong in the south, western part of the state ever see any one who could get as many people to a little dump like this one. Local man asked his cars lined up for a half mile in both directions: staffers for dukes, democratic opponent, Japan and Johnston didn't think they were at serious risk of losing. Given the twenty six
send a voters in the woozy Anna were black Duke, would have to get an enormous number of whitefoot to have any chance, but these do crowds were starting to look kind of enormous by man. Was the press secretary for Johnston's campaign. I don't recall, Duke at our Paul's ever getting above the low authorities- and it wasn't the polls that worried me so much they gave me heartburn. It was fact that, where we're Duke when was packing halls, he was filling auditoriums. He would go to the town and fires. Six hundred people would show up and we would have struggled to get two hundred people and that town to show up J been a Johnston was one of the most powerful people in Washington. He was
the chair of the Senate Energy Committee and a senior member on the appropriations committee. Johnston have been in the Senate for nearly twenty years and during that time he brought a huge amount of federal spending to his home state. He been reelected twice without any trouble, but one thousand nine hundred and ninety felt different Johnston drew six hundred people to his hometown of Shreveport for one hundred dollars a plate. Fundraiser a week later, a crowd of one thousand five hundred came out for Duke and neighboring the city, they weren't the kind of people who could pay a hundred dollars a plate, but Duke knew how to open their wallets. Tyler bridges covered Duke for the times begin it would be a really unusual thing at a Duke rally. Brad point he would literally pass the head or pass a bucket around and and people would throw in dollar five dollars ten dollars. Maybe twenty dollars Duke paid close attention to this bucket brigade
in a video taken during the ninety ninety campaign. You can hear. Micromanaging the operation the collective, Angelo we do not get down, rose rose. Why is unacceptable? We do take. One body can be just like her I bought one box and scattered go all the way and other personnel tasted and puts down the buckets that. Wasn't the only way the dew campaign made money. The typical politician that I've covered would be thrilled to give away tee shirts, but Duke had such firm and followers. He could sell em allergic David to distances sweatshirts. We have that fifteen dollars and we also have regular shirts.
Under ten dollars, Duke supporters also paid cash for hats, bumper stickers, buttons, beer, koozies and visors. Nobody had their allegiance at a big Duke rally. They were all on the same team in his stump speeches Duke explained that he needed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Arris SIRI infomercial stay wide. Those add started running in July. You read about it. You heard critic now here s your about ten thirty provocative living with the: U S, any candidate, The reality is talking about. The duke was using. These tv adds to win over the kinds of white voters who didn't go to his rallies, richer, better educated types who might support him if his candidacy became more socially acceptable on Tv Duke did his best to look
sound normal. He wore a dark suit, sat in a leather chair and talked about the America I grew up in. I remember when criminals, Knob homeowners live hi bars. I remember my name is like New York Miami New Orleans in Detroit about images of promises. Prosperity. I remember when kids play ball on, the streets fell, bedtime and our parents didn't worry at the end of one of these spots. He brought out his teenage daughters, Erika Kristen, holding the girls hands and calling them his two main sources of comfort and stuff, Have you enjoyed work, our campaign Bob? I am. I like travelling around the state and many other one for people who is in life ass, you vote for my dad. Can you make a great Europe That is something I appreciate both of you very much love you both and running away
those rights, dukes, informer those were themselves. A money making scheme in one add the urge to supporters to dial a one, nine hundred number, where they hear a message about his political philosophy, then get charged ten dollars on their phone bills at the end of that call, they do here is solicitation for a second one, nine hundred number, this one costing twenty five dollars
by the end of the campaign Duke had raised two point: four million dollars about as much as J been a Johnston. Most of that came from donors who gave less than a hundred dollars a good chunk of it went to Duke himself during the centre raise the Duke campaign paid Duke the individual thousands of dollars for access to dukes own fund raising lists. It wasn't the first time Duke had been accused of self dealing. The previous year, the Times Pickin had reported that a company owned by Duke got a hundred and forty thousand dollars from his political campaigns and the National Association for the advancement of white. Tyler bridges who wrote the article says it made Duke extremely agitated. I dont think do really minded went somewhere, column clansmen him talking about having been a clansmen spoke to how he was gonna, shake things up, but the store I wrote about his camp
pain, paying him money spoke to something different, Duke wasn't charged with any financial crimes and connection to a senator real campaign, but in the mid nineteen nineties, he'd collect more than two hundred and thirty thousand dollars under false pretences sending out fund raising letters the claimed he was facing economic ruin. He then blow a good portion of that money. Gambling and casinos Duke, would ultimately spend a year in prison after pleading guilty to male fraud and filing a false tax return. Journalist, Stephanie Regal, investigate Dukes finances during his run for the Senate Legal came away, believing the Duke was soaking his followers, but she doesn't think he was running for office solely as a graft. It was political, it was philosophical for him and it was also financial. He had a couple of things going on
Once I mean if you could have seen him in those years, there was so much ego. You know I mean he just loved being an icon to these people. Regal saw another side of Duke when she went to interview. I met his campaign office, which also served as this house and the headquarters of the End W W p. She says he came down the steps wearing a pink sure what the collar flipped up like an extra Miami vice, and he just walks over any puts his hand up again the wall and Cox's other hand on his hip and kind of leans over me like a cheesy guy would do in a bar and is hey. He was right up close in my face and in my personal spit and I guess that was his tactic- to trotted, disarm you or to try to charm. You may be an even as a twenty four year old. It was very, very obvious to me at the time.
Reader wasn't charmed, but other women were the reporter John begin as described. The Duke campaign is a rock n roll tour. The screaming fans, the nightly groupies dukes, attorney, told Mcguinness that the candidates obsession with female. Companionship got in the way of his other duties at one rally do blew his choreographed entrance because he went on stage to get a better look at a blonde and the third round, another time when it campaign worker told you can either to stay away from young women Duke reportedly answered. Look isn't enough that I'm trying to save the white race. Can I see who I wanna see? Let's take a quick break.
J been Johnston, wanted to run on his record and ignore the ex clansmen in his rearview mirror, but a month before the primary, it was clear, David, Duke wasn't going away It was the candidates. Thirty one year old son, also named Bennet, who convinced him to change his approach here again as Johnston's press secretary bomb, we were in farmer villain, Northwest Louisiana and right before he got out of the hour. Young Bennet Handed is or a piece of paper? And it said he just written this- that the simple words Nazi Racist Bigot get mad a couple of days later me, Recorded Johnston's new fiery stump speech: now I can't people wake up. And they wake up. Don't they understand? What's going on? I mean people have sort of learning.
Some of these ideas. I mean how many time have you heard people say? Well, I don't much like David, but I sure like what he saying he's standing up for standing up, bull standing up anybody, but himself, two weeks before election day, Johnston released the first attack had of the campaign The dupe led cups plan as an adult. There is now more representative said why raised his eyes and live in the commercial showed Duke presiding over across burning in the late nineteenth Seventys. When Duke said, white victory, he raised his left arm in a stiff salute. Bob man thought the cross burning
was a kill shot at first. It seem like he might be right. The Johnston campaigns internal polling showed the Duke dropped six points after the spot started airing, but a week later, dukes numbers had. Back up its always made me wonder if what we were doing in a way was telling dukes supporters that they may be working in all these code, words and and dog, whistles and really tone it down a lobby. No, no, no he's really the racist that you want him to be, and so on. Bizarre way. We might have actually helped him with some of his most races supporters, the states in Anti Duke activists Group, the Louisa, A coalition against racism and Nazi ISM thought it was still possible to scandalised some Duke voters. Lance Hill was the coalition's executive director as our
pulling showed the place for a really took a deep was on his nazi fascism, because the clan as I did a fine among why people as part of their political tradition, but the Nazis were dukes. Fascination with nazi ideology was public knowledge by night Two hundred and ninety the lot of people in Louisiana either hadn't absorbed it or didn't care to believe it. That's summer, the Times Picayune's Tyler Bridges published some new information. His source was a woman dukan dated in the MID TIM eighties. She told me how first for the time that she was with him You remember that he will celebrate.
There's Bert. Their rearing he'd have a cake, and it was. It was an important occasion for David: do do try to brush off that claim. Sang Hitler's never showed up in my house for any birthday parties. Johnston in his staffers couldn't be sure of that Hitler birthday story was in a stack. All they knew was the Duke was posing an ever larger threat. Louisiana Open primary. That means of one Canada gets more than half the votes he or she winced, but not, there's a run off between the two top boat getters and if there's a often the? U S and race is a good chance that one of the candidates will be David, Duke former Grand dragon of the coup Klux clan, if Johnston didn't get em Dorothy and the October primary tat. Would and there was a real chance to do. Could win that run off and become the next United States senator from
duke, would also get a month in the national spotlight before November run off, and there was a real chance to do. Could win that run off and become the next United States Senator from Louisiana. The truth was it was too late for Johnston to control his own fate heading into the home stretch of the campaign there two man taking votes from him, not one then Baggard had won the endorsement of the Louisiana Republican Party, but he hadn't found a constituency bagger who positioned himself is a pro life. Welfare, reforming environmentalist, wasn't left wing enough to win over liberals or right wing enough for conservatives. When divers candidacy failed to take off, he tried to elevate himself by tear down David, Duke here's how he remembers it actually. At one point, I declared We shouldn't make a magnet,
HU, a mortar boy really than like that which, on David Chechens, you choose for new plastic surgery, Denmark relegated you wanna, take an extra minute ago. Push back up things like that laggards insult comedy, routine. Didn't change the dynamics of the election, he was always the third wheel in it human race. In the closing days of the campaign, a republican senators announced there were endorsing Johnston, even though he was a democrat baggert. Totally alone he had no money, no staff and no hope. On the plus side. He was a pretty good guitar player, There is not much sunshine these days for Ben Baggert, the endorsed republican candidate, running a distant In most poles dogged by goop backers actually came
so today, Baggert withdrew from the racial said. He would vote for Democratic Bennett, jobs, I'm not a guy from any body, but you're not going to bed, but will his voters take his advice? Beggared pulled out just two days before the primary duke would cry conspiracy, alleging that someone had paid back to take a dive baggert whose now seventy six years old and practices law, New Orleans says: that's not true, as it got closer as I realize that I would never make it. I said: knock it off. I'll. Try to pull out the stay? I can't let my footnote and history Bay, that always the guy who wooden, pull out of the relation put the Duke and officials, ago. The Eu Us summit will be noted. Despite that, I did the right thing, and that was. Something not tar that ended.
Political career, then a Johnston's pollster thought the election was sewn up with Baggert. Out of the running he figured Johnston would get around sixty five percent of the vote. Then the pulse closed Bob man well actually night, we booked a big ball room at the Riverside Hilton in New Orleans and that night, as the as the results began, coming Anna was killed. We're pretty early on that. This was not going to be a sixty. Slash forty race, it wasn't sixty slash forty. It ended up fifty four two hundred and forty three and a half. Then a Johnston had avoided a run off, but David Duke outperformed, every Paul when all the ballots were counted six, rid seven thousand three hundred and ninety one people had voted for the NEO Nazi It was a most depressing when I think that I've ever been a part of because it just felt like. Even though
a majority. The state had voted for Bennet that you didn't that it should have been a lot more. Like you know. How could this many people vote for this guy Johnston gave a victory speech, night saying that Louisiana was united, but it was Duke who sounded triumphant. We are going to build a political movement in this country to bring back the rights of the american majority leader. Once again, the polls hadn't captured David Dukes, true level of support in Louisiana, Dukes Coup Klux Clan ally down Black, had provided under the radar support during his friends campaign using his computer skills to help with voter outreach, black had a name for dukes, hidden voters, the ones who didn't identify them
cells to pollsters a silent army of white believers in the days following Duke Second place finish, the make up of that army came into focus. Do could one sixty per cent of the white vote and the Vienna. It has just been poor and less educated, whites rally, Gowers and bumper sticker buyers who cast their lots with him. Dukes base was white people it just defied reason me that someone who is that open sky war hood these liberated Hitler's birthday, you know just to go down the list, there's just no way that people going to embrace that and I am now realize dukes Embrace of other persona was that was exactly the thing that drew people to him, including the man My father alarming, you know my Father in law, who is a wonderful lovely man was a Duke supporter, and I was I remember the first I wish my wife. Then
boyfriend brought me home. I was very suspect to these people I was oppressed secretary to the enemy. Did her father have economic anxiety, No, no, he did not. He was a very prosperous fellow. I don't think it was easy economic anxiety that was prompting in support of David Duke opposed election survey found the twenty five percent of dukes white voters were upscale white collar professionals, one of the most common reasons the Duke supporters gave for backing him was that he took a strong stand on cleaning up the welfare mass. The other most popular rationale. Did he had the guts to take pro white stands, while other politicians cater to minority groups. The rise of David Duke was a political story about a candidate learning. The harness white
rage, but it was also a personal one for the people, appalled by Duke his growing power, didn't feel like a distant force. One way that I described those last he weeks before election day so that it felt like a series of weights were being placed on me. That's Michel Bell was here. She identifies as black and Louisiana Creole. Her family has been in South EAST Asia Anna since the seventeen forties in nineteen. Ninety, she was a twenty five year old biology graduate student, a two lane university. It seem like those waits for getting heavier and heavier, and it was harder to function harder to make forward progress in my own life. Because of this idea that they are going to be thousands upon thousands of people who actually vote for this individual.
Was he who had never spoken out about politics, but after the Senate primary she sent a letter to the Times pickin. I asked her to read some of it. I had been haunted by the fact that sixty per cent of the conclusions in Louisiana supported David Duke I have spent the last few weeks a state of paranoia, unlike any I have ever experienced, was here the only black Phd student and her department, a two lane or in any other science department at the school, so I was very much alone all day and I, the wonder well of the fifty why people that I talk to tomorrow, which thirty of them voted for data, do Because they're not necessarily going to be bold in bragging about, in fact, they probably will not
lies the people you wanted to trust in thought. You should be able to trust. Perhaps you couldn't trust. Did you ever ask any of your weight? Acquaintances, our friends, our colleagues, explicitly if they had voted for? Do I never asked anyone if they get a few people made a point of telling me they didn't It is now a few people made a point of telling me they didn't in her letter was the road. I am a part of a generation of african Americans who are never forced to sit in them. Of a bus, never denied admittance to restaurants on the basis of color, a generation of blacks who have always had the right to vote and never participated in a freedom march. She said that all those votes for David Duke were the most blatant sign of racism she had ever witnessed, and the blue
inside of it made her feel blacker in some areas. It opened my eyes it made me realize that I had to be more expressed it and who I am as a black woman. Because I was now in a situation where that was warranted, it was really needed. Was here now our biology. Professor, a new Orleans is historically black, Xavier University. I wanted to talk to her now three decades after she wrote that letter to the editor, because I was hoping you could help me answer a question. It's something I've been asking myself for the last thirty years you continue to live in the state and move through the world. Then go about your business, knowing how people vote at and that election.
Oh boy, we have enough to do and keep me busy. That I dont have a terribly large amount of time to two points you're about all these things every day. And I also know that the work that I do and the way that I condemn myself is is a source of pain for people like David I know that in my career I help young people primarily people who are African American. I helped them
we career journeys that people like David, Duke think, they're not well suited for think they are not capable of doing So I know that I live my life, doing things and being a person that is disturbing to him and that's quite comforting next time on slobber, Duke for Governor
slow burn is a production of slave plus slates membership programme slave plus members get weekly bonus. Episodes of slow burn where will die of deeper into the history, were exploring the season This week's bonus episode, you'll, hear my interview with Toper Grace, who played David, do can spike least down black clansmen had over to slay dot com, slash, slow burn to sign up and listen now, We couldn't make slow burn without the support of slave plus soap He's consider signing up if you like the serious and are able to contribute its only thirty five dollars for the first year and you get a free, too weak trial, good, asleep, dot com. Slash slobber, to find out more slow burn is produced by me and Christopher Johnson. Without a tutorial d, and by low in lieu and Gabriel Raw Madeline do Sharm. Is our production system Sophie summer grow the slow burns assistant producer,
Ex engineer is Paul. Mamsie David Gross, composed our theme sign the our workforce. Burn is by LISA Larsson Walker, Isler bridges as the author of the biography, the rise and fall of David Dick Best Caracks documentary onto is called backlash raised, the american dream. Some of the audio you heard this episode is colonel if the Ronald Reagan, Presidential Foundation and Institute, and almost all research centre, New Orleans Louisiana special thanks to Jordan, Hirsch, Jessica aside, men and fleets chow to Katy Rayford, Laura Bennett, Alison Bennydeck and at hold thanks for listening
Lee.
Transcript generated on 2020-07-21.