In a piece called “Washington Post unwittingly destroys the ‘Sessions is a racist’ slander,” I reviewed the evidence set forth in an article that supports the slander and the evidence that undercuts it. The undercutting evidence is overwhelming. It includes, but is hardly limited to, the testimony of African-Americans, including several from Alabama, who have known and/or worked with Sessions over the years.
Evidence on the other side of the ledger consisted primarily of the opinion of the widow of a civil rights leader Sessions once prosecuted for voter fraud. Evelyn Turner, 80 years-old and a stroke survivor, insists that “Jeff Sessions is racist to the core.”
Her bitterness is understandable given Sessions’ prosecution of her late husband. But now Turner’s son has weighed in. He disagrees with his mother. According to Albert Turner, Jr., who succeeded his father on the Perry County Commission in Alabama, Sessions “is not a racist.”
Here is Mr. Turner’s full statement:
A lot has been said about Senator Jeff Sessions and his record on issues related to race – some of it distorted and unfair. Some of these statements have included references to matters with which I have a very personal connection. My family and I have literally been on the front line of the fight for civil rights my whole life. And while I respect the deeply held positions of other civil rights advocates who oppose Senator Sessions, I believe it is important for me to speak out with regard to Senator Sessions personally.
First, let me be clear: Senator Sessions and I respectfully disagree on some issues. That won’t change when he is the Attorney General of the United States. And I expect that there will be times as it is with all politicians when we will legitimately disagree and I will be required by my conscience to speak out. I look forward to those constructive debates if necessary. However, despite our political differences, the Senator and I share certain Alabama and American values, including a love for our State, its people and our Country.
I have known Senator Sessions for many years, beginning with the voter fraud case in Perry County in which my parents were defendants. My differences in policy and ideology with him do not translate to personal malice. He is not a racist. As I have said before, at no time then or now has Jeff Sessions said anything derogatory about my family. He was a prosecutor at the Federal level with a job to do. He was presented with evidence by a local District Attorney that he relied on, and his office presented the case. That’s what a prosecutor does. I believe him when he says that he was simply doing his job.
I believe that he is someone with whom I, and others in the civil rights community can work if given the opportunity. I believe that he will listen, as he has in the past, to the concerns of my community. More than most I am very familiar with him. I believe he will be fair in his application of the law and the Constitution; as such I support his nomination to be the next Attorney General of the United States.
I encourage the civil rights community to engage in constructive dialogue with Senator Sessions concerning the protection of voting rights for African Americans and other minorities, gun control, senseless killings and strengthening Constitutional protections for all Americans. I stand ready to work with Senator Sessions as he becomes our Country’s Attorney General, and offer to him my willingness to help him in any way I might be of service.
When the African-American son of a man Jeff Sessions prosecuted for voter fraud, a son who still idolizes his father, not only refutes the racism slander but endorses Sessions for Attorney General, you can be sure that those still pushing the slander don’t have a leg to stand on and are operating in bad faith.