Before Jeff Sessions became a Trump supporter, he did not wield a lot of power in the Senate due to his ultra conservative views. However, he struck gold when he became the first Senator to support the Trump election campaign. For that he was well rewarded with the post of Attorney General even though his nomination was fought vigorously by the Democrats.

During the senator's confirmation hearing, his history with race relations and civil rights was brought to the fore front. Statements made and actions taken by the senator highlighted his tenuous relationship to civil rights and the african american community.

Words that say it all

The words allegedly spoken by Jeff Sessions are recorded for posterity. When he was nominated in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, to become a US District Court judge, lawyers who worked with him revealed some of the statements he made. It must be noted that he has denied making these statements. Here are a few of the words attributed to him that are considered racist.

  • He referred to the Klu Klux Klan as "OK" until he found out that they smoked pot
  • Described white lawyers with black clients as a disgrace to their race.
  • Accused the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of forcing civil rights down people’s throats
  • According to a black prosecutor, he was called “boy” and told to watch what he said to white people.

Actions speak louder

Words may not be as important as actions since that can be so easily denied and misinterpreted so it is important to look at what Jeff Sessions did that may have hurt his reputation in race relations.

  • The prosecution of black civil rights activists Albert Turner, Evelyn Turner and Spencer Houge who assisted African Americans in dealing with the Voting Rights Act. He claimed they were involved in voter fraud and they were facing up to 100 years in jail. They were found not guilty .
  • He was accused by the NAACP of not upholding civil rights laws
  • As the current Attorney General, Jeff Sessions is reversing the Justice department's practice of suing police departments for misconduct.

At his confirmation hearing for Attorney General under the Trump Administration and his prior hearing for the post of District Court Judge in the Reagan administration, his record on civil rights and attitudes to members of the African community were vigorously scrutinized. We can of course give Jeff Sessions the benefit of the doubt but his actions to date do make this difficult.