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RESPONSE: Secretary Merrill Responds to Racist Editorial in the Democrat-Reporter


Tuesday, February 19, 2019 – MONTGOMERY – The following is a statement from Secretary of State John H. Merrill and is in direct response to the recent editorial written by Goodloe Sutton, Editor of the Democrat-Reporter a West-Alabama Community Newspaper.

Secretary Merrill's Response:

Like everyone I know in Alabama, I was shocked and disappointed by the naked racism of the editorial lauding the Ku Klux Klan that appeared in Linden’s Democrat-Reporter. Some people, I suppose, will never learn the lessons of history.

Any student of Alabama history  knows that there was a time when members of the Ku Klux Klan were active and effective political advocates who were fully engaged in all aspects of Alabama life. 

That day has long since passed and is not looked at favorably by any well-meaning citizen of our state.

The stigma associated with that history is difficult for well-intentioned members of our society to overcome whenever negative statements are made by well respected individuals that give credibility to hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

One thing that is certain is that the people of Alabama have been at their best when they have taken stands against groups whose only message is to promote fear and continued racial segregation of our society.

Further, the editorial recently published in the Democrat-Reporter exemplifies some of the many negative issues created by this organization throughout our state’s history. 

In fact, our state is still rebuilding relationships with those members of our community that were harmed physically, mentally and emotionally during the time that this hate mongering organization was at its peak in our state.

It is very disappointing that people will take advantage of  their platforms to initiate or engage in conversations that are obviously designed to disrupt the normal activities of the people of Alabama with disconcerting and inflammatory language that is regressive and unproductive to our people and our state.

Alabamians and Americans know that the most effective method of political activism is to participate in the electoral process to ensure that our elected representatives hold the same values that are held by the electors that put them into office.

This type behavior is not acceptable and whenever it is introduced, it should be identified and rejected.


John H. Merrill
Alabama Secretary of State