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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Monday, November 04, 2002
11:04 PM

This Washington Times story by Barker Davis describes Augusta National Chairman Hootie Johnson as a longtime progressive in racial integration and suggests he may have been quietly toiling for the club to admit a woman member before the National Council of Women's Organization's Martha Burk stormed in there to ruin it for everybody. The latter may be wishful thinking after the fact. But it's hard to dispute the guy's history, which shows he was in favor of racial progress at a time and place when it wasn't easy:

He was a Democratic member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1957 to 1958. He spent the politically turbulent 1960s and 1970s as an ardent supporter of the civil rights movement in South Carolina. Before desegregation, he convinced the state to finance an undergraduate business program at South Carolina State, then an all-black institution. After three protesting students at South Carolina State were killed by state troopers in 1968, he headed a committee that oversaw the desegregation of the state's public schools....

In 1970, he headed a committee that helped crumple the color barrier in the state's General Assembly, pushing for the election of candidates who became the first blacks in South Carolina's legislature since the turn of the century. In 1971, his bank became the first in the state to appoint a black to its board of directors. He co-founded the Columbia, S.C., chapter of the Urban League with local activist Elliott Franks and later served on the board of the national Urban League under Vernon Jordan....

Mr. Johnson appointed women to management positions at Bankers Trust before the "glass ceiling" became a hot-button issue. Four years ago, he persuaded New York investment banker and South Carolina native Darla Moore to contribute $25 million to the University of South Carolina business school. He then persuaded the administration to honor Mrs. Moore by making it the first business school in the nation named after a woman.

And just about the time Ms. Burk was firing her opening salvo at Augusta National, sending a mid-June letter demanding a change in the club's membership policies, Mr. Johnson was hosting the South Carolina women's golf team at Augusta National as a reward for their title-winning season....

Certainly casts a different light on the guy. But not for Burk:

"I keep seeing these press releases about what a great advocate he is for racial equality, as if that buys him a pass on sexual discrimination," Ms. Burk said. "I don't think it does, and I don't think the majority of Americans thinks it does. I don't really know what to think about Hootie, and it's really not my business to analyze him. My business is to get the club integrated."...

Besides being impervious to new information, I think this shows how desperate feminists are to convince people that gender is exactly the same thing as race.

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