Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Percy's Speech

Itawamba County News
June 20, 1911

Senator Leroy Percy addressed about as large crowd of people Tuesday as we ever saw assembled here to hear a public speaker.

He was introduced by Hon. W. M. Cox of Baldwyn in eloquent terms, in which were related interesting statistics about the U. S. Senate before and since the war, naming several Senators we have had to represent us, and then said that in his opinion we were never more worthily represented in that body than we are today.

Mr. Percy gave a general account of his work in the Senate, his position on many important questions, and said it took work and not oratory to be an effective member. He gave his views on the race question, and took the position that we will gain nothing agitating this question. He read from Vardaman's paper where he proposed to debate the race question in hand with anybody. Percy said he was willing for his friend Alexander to have that job but that he was anxious to meet him at any place in Mississippi.

He said that Mr. Vardaman or friends boasted that Mr. Vardaman was making a campaign free from personalities, but that in his paper and other papers that are supporting him, Vardaman is waging one of the bitterest campaigns ever known in Mississippi.

His speech was well received by a majority of the crowd and he added to his strength by coming here.

The Dorsey Brass Band rendered several good selections for the occasion.

There were several other candidates here who made their announcements.

* * * * *

Leroy Percy was the last U.S. Senator appointed by the Mississippi legislature. He was selected in 1910 to fill a vacancy and served until his defeat by populist James K. Vardaman in 1912 who used race as a divisive issue in the campaign. Vardaman attacked Percy as an aristocratic planter who advocated progressive race relations and education for blacks. Following his defeat, Percy returned to his law practice and Delta plantation. Vardaman served only one term and was defeated in the next senatorial election.

William M. Cox, who introduced Senator Percy to the Itawamba crowd, was a Ripley native who practiced law in Baldwyn and served in the Mississippi legislature and later on the Mississippi Supreme Court. His son, Allen Cox, was the first U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of Mississippi, appointed by Calvin Coolidge to that position in 1929. Judge Cox took senior status in 1957 and served in that capacity until his death in 1974.

1 comment:

Don Dulaney said...

Mona, I will comment on the last two post here. I had heard of parrots or parakeets being native to this part of the world. It was a treat to hear the facts. I also enjoyed the Percy Post. The timing of it was great. I really really enjoyed it!