Sunday, June 23, 2019

the last book I ever read (Casey Cep's Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, excerpt eight)

from Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep:

If it was tough to run as a liberal in Alabama, it was almost impossible to govern as one. Tom Radney’s colleagues in the legislature had no choice but to let him in the chamber, but they had no intention of letting any of his bills out of it. One year into his term, Tom confessed to a church group in Auburn that he felt as if he “had to spend more time fighting bad legislation than passing good legislation.”

That bad legislation included a serious, if inexplicable, effort to remove Alabama from the United Nations, which made it through the house but not the senate; a bill that would have allowed the legislature to approve or reject speakers at state schools, which Tom managed to quash, partly through a public debate at Auburn University, where he mounted a passionate defense of academic freedom; and a Wallace-backed effort to defund the Tuskegee Institute, a recipient of state funding since 1881, which Tom derailed by threatening a one-man filibuster. The good legislation, proposed by Radney and resoundingly voted down, or denied a vote, including lowering the voting age in Alabama to eighteen (on the grounds that anyone old enough to die for their country in Vietnam was old enough to vote for its leadership), revising election laws around absentee voting, and removing a line item in the University of Alabama budget for the purchase of Confederate flags.

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