Former Rep. Charlie Capps. (Barbara Gauntt/The Clarion-Ledger)
The conservative white power structure of Mississippi and its tools spin half-truths once again in the obituary below.
No mention is made of:
* Charlie Capps being the president of the segregationist Central Bolivar (White) Citizens Council in the early 1960s.
* Of his calling in December 1964 for support of Neshoba County Sheriff Lawrence Rainey who had recently been arrested in connection with the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. Capps was sheriff of Bolivar County, Mississippi from 1964-68 and president of the Mississippi Sheriff Association in 1964-1965.
Jackson Daily News article 12/9/1964
* Of his requesting a paid informant from the Sovereignty Commission in June 1965
* Of his opposing the 1994 prosecution of Byron De La Beckwith, the murderer of Medgar Evers. (In 1994) Rep. Charlie Capps Jr., a longtime member of the Mississippi legislature and chairman of its powerful House Appropriations Committee, wrote in his individual capacity to Ed Peters (then Hinds Co. District Attorney):
I cannot imagine your purpose, but for whatever reason,
your indictment and proposed trial of Mr. Beckwith has
done great and irreparable harm to our state. The State
of Mississippi and thousands of private citizens have
worked for several decades in an effort to change our
image nationally, and I believe that this trial will destroy
30 years of work overnight.
~DeLaughter, Bobby. Never Too Late. p.232
Visit The Mississippi Sovereignty Commission Online Archives For More Information:
Former Legislative Giant Capps Dies At 84
Nicklaus Lovelady • firstname.lastname@example.org • December 27, 2009
Former Rep. Charles Wilson Capps Jr. of Cleveland, once one of the most powerful members of the Mississippi Legislature, has died at the age of 84.
Known across the state simply as "Charlie," the cigar- chomping Democrat from the Delta was renowned for his leadership and charisma.
Capps, the longest-serving member in the Mississippi House, died Friday at Bolivar Medical Center after years of deteriorating health. He served in the House from 1972 until he retired in 2005.
"Charlie was one of the most engaged-in-life human beings I have ever known. He had a big heart and kept a positive outlook," said Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville. "He cut a wide path for a long, long time, and his legacy is one for the ages."
Capps was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and Constitution Committee, and also served on the Military Affairs, Ethics, and Insurance committees.
During his years over the Appropriations Committee, Capps was regarded as one of the most powerful people in the Legislature.
"He had control over the money, but never tried to throw his power around," said political columnist and veteran journalist Bill Minor.
Minor recalls Capps as being a person with a "wide capacity to get along with everyone," and a person who loved to trade stories over a glass of whiskey.
"It was his likability which made him able to survive the sharp break in the Legislature (between Democrats and Republicans). Capps' personality was such, he was able to mend the two sides together," Minor said.
Holland, who served with Capps for 24 years, beginning when Holland was 26 years old, said Capps was like a father to him. Capps' two biggest loves were higher education and the Delta, he said.
"I remember him saying, 'Mr. Chairman, our office is going to help the Delta,'" said Holland using his best Capps impersonation. "It was always his home and the Delta at the end of the day."
His decision to retire in 2005 came after suffering a bout of pneumonia, a hospitalization and losing his wife, Allen Hobbs Capps, the previous year. He told The Associated Press at the time that "losing Mrs. Capps was just a major blow, still is."
Rep. Percy Watson, D-Hattiesburg, who served on the Appropriations Committee with Capps, said he was a strong leader and a committed team member.
"Chairman Capps was a master of the appropriation process, and his contributions to the state will be greatly missed," Watson said.
Capps is survived by two daughters, a son, and their children. He and his son operated an insurance and real estate business in Cleveland.
To comment on this story, call Nicklaus Lovelady at (601) 961-7239.
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