by Sam Levin
The St. Louis mayor's race is over -- but controversial commentary on the battle between Francis Slay and Lewis Reed apparently is not.
Activist Percy Green sent around an op-ed he wrote to his e-mail list this week with his analysis of the primary race between the long-time incumbent and challenger Reed, president of the Board of Aldermen. His commentary included a look at how turnout of black voters impacted the final outcome. And also this statement about Congressman Lacy Clay: "Now Clay is forced into a position to have to do a 'Stepin Fetchit' or 'Cooning,' via Samuel L. Jackson in Django Unchained as payback to Slay." He titled his piece "Slavery By Lack of Voting."
Green tells Daily RFT in an interview, "We need to be mindful of black politicians...who are not operating in our best interest."
See also: - Lewis Reed V. Francis Slay: 10 Craziest Campaign Fights in Race (PHOTOS) - Mayor's Race: Slavery Image on "Bootlicker" Film Flyer Sparks Controversy - Jamilah Nasheed for Slay: Vote Jimmie Matthews if You Don't Like the White Mayor
Representatives for Reed, Slay and Clay declined to comment on Green's piece (on full view below).
The message from Percy Green, who we wrote about in-depth in a 2001 feature, was reminiscent of some of the most contentious disputes of the mayor's race -- when supporters and opponents of the two candidates bickered about racial politics in the city.
High-profile black supporters of Slay, who is now officially the city's longest serving mayor, at times faced intense and bizarre criticisms from St. Louis activists determined to see a new mayor running the city.
Notably, one activist promoted a film called Bootlicker with a flyer that depicted Slay as a slaveowner and his black supporters as his slaves. The Reed camp was at times frustrated by efforts from opponents to associate the campaign with this kind of outside commentary from Slay critics.
Green's message this week echoes some of the controversial commentary. He writes:
St. Louisans would be fooling themselves if they think race doesn't matter. Slay and his Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford have always played the race card because racism has been very profitable for them. They have managed to stay in office for 12 years by intimidating fairminded white politicians from supporting black candidates. With a sizeable campaign chest and Rex Sinquefield and Paul McKee, two available wealthy republican supporters, Slay is in a position to buy personal favors from unscrupulous black political and religious leaders. Slay only supported Lacy Clay against Russ Carnahan during the last congressional primary as a way to put him in a racist political trick bag. Now Clay is forced into a position to have to do a "Stepin Fetchit" or "Cooning," via Samuel L. Jackson in Django Unchained as payback to Slay.
Slay had endorsed Clay in the race against Russ Carnahan, and Green and other opponents of the mayor argued that this forced Clay to support Slay over Reed.
Green tells us of the Django Unchained comment, "I think everyone understands the reference. They may not particularly like it. The point was that...[Clay] had to pay Slay back for his endorsement. Many of us don't think that was appropriate.... It seemed like the congressman felt...that he had to honor this endorsement.... His obligations should be with the desires of the people rather than this one person's endorsement."
Continue for more of our interview with Percy Green and for the full commentary.
Green's commentary also says:
After 12 years of documented sins that Slay has committed against the black community how could Congressman Lacy Clay, a black man, be justified in saying "Slay is a good man." This is sinful and requires serious attention!
The other main argument of Green's piece was about turnout and the importance of black voters in the city going to the polls.
A voter turn-out of at least 50% of the African-Americans registered voters along with our white progressive ssive voters in St. Louis would go a long way in solving most of the problems in St. Louis. Had this mandate been in place prior to March 5th, Reed would be mayor today. He would be about the business of developing all 27 wards as he had done for his 6th Ward, as an alderman.
He adds, "Voter turnout among blacks is so low. I just think that something needs to be done."
Here's the full op-ed he e-mailed around this week.