Lt. Gov. Reeves took part in Confederate frat parties

PAC website with pictures from Tate Reeves' college yearbook

While in college in the 1990s, Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves took part in his fraternity's Old South parties. And at such Kappa Alpha parties, members often wore Confederate costumes, a common practice among chapters in the South at the time.

Posted: Feb 8, 2019 6:57 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — While in college in the 1990s, Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves took part in his fraternity's Old South parties. And at such Kappa Alpha parties, members often wore Confederate costumes, a common practice among chapters in the South at the time.

A yearbook photo from Reeves' time in the fraternity shows members dressed in Confederate outfits.

Republican Reeves, 44, is running for governor this year and has raised more money than any candidate in the race. He has been elected four times to statewide office — two terms as state treasurer and two as lieutenant governor.

While he was in Kappa Alpha at the private Millsaps College in Jackson, some in the fraternity were disciplined for wearing afro wigs and Confederate battle flags and shouting racial slurs at black students in October 1994.

Reeves presided over the state Senate on Friday in Jackson but did not stop afterward to speak to reporters who tried to ask him questions.

His spokeswoman, Laura Hipp, did not answer questions about whether Reeves had any connection to the 1994 events. As for whether Reeves wore Confederate costumes to Old South parties, Hipp said in a statement: "Like every other college student, he did attend costume formals and other parties, and across America, Kappa Alpha's costume formal is traditionally called Old South in honor of the civil war veteran who founded the fraternity in the 1800s."

The website for Kappa Alpha Order shows the fraternity was not founded by Confederate veterans. But, the group honors Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee , who was president of Washington College in Virginia when the fraternity was founded on that campus in December 1865.

Kiese Laymon, an author who was recently awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, wrote opinion pieces for the Millsaps College student newspaper in the 1990s, including some that said the Confederate flag is racist. Laymon was among the African-American students who said they saw white pledges for Kappa Alpha and another fraternity, Kappa Sigma, wearing afro wigs and rebel flags. In "Heavy," his memoir published in 2018, Laymon wrote that some of the fraternity members used racial epithets against him and one of his friends.

Millsaps put Kappa Alpha and Kappa Sigma on social probation from November 1994 to March 1995 and ordered members to take sensitivity classes because of the behavior.

Old South symbols and images are prevalent in Mississippi, with statues of Confederates soldiers standing outside many county courthouses.

Mississippi is the last state that still features the Confederate battle emblem on its flag, but all eight of the state's public universities and several cities and counties have stopped flying the flag amid criticism that the battle emblem is a racist reminder of slavery and segregation. Supporters of the flag say it represents history.

Mississippi has used the same flag since 1894 and people who voted in a 2001 statewide election chose to keep the rebel emblem on it. The Republican speaker of the state House, Philip Gunn, said the emblem is "a point of offense that needs to be removed." Reeves has not advocated change, saying voters chose to keep the flag.

Reeves spoke in 2013 at a Sons of Confederate Veterans meeting in Mississippi, and his Facebook account posted a photo of him behind a row of different designs of Confederate flags. A caption on the photo read: "Remembering our history and the lessons learned should be passed to future generations."

During a special U.S. Senate race in 2018, photos surfaced of Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith holding a rifle and wearing a Confederate-style military hat. The photos were taken in 2014 when she was state agriculture commissioner and was on the Mississippi Gulf Coast visiting Beauvoir, the last home of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. In her Facebook post of the photos, Hyde-Smith remarked: "Mississippi history at its best." Hyde-Smith defeated Democratic challenger Mike Espy in the November election.

In this year's race for governor, Reeves will face at least one challenger in the Republican primary, and fourth-term Attorney General Jim Hood will face at least one challenger in the Democratic primary. Candidates have a March 1 qualifying deadline. Primaries are in August, and the general election is in November.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 97049

Reported Deaths: 2919
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7148160
DeSoto562361
Harrison388374
Jackson352170
Madison331289
Rankin330879
Lee274870
Forrest250075
Jones249879
Washington225977
Lafayette219340
Lauderdale2064125
Bolivar184766
Oktibbeha180152
Lamar172435
Neshoba1580104
Lowndes157958
Panola150731
Sunflower147346
Leflore141381
Warren140950
Pontotoc127916
Pike124051
Monroe123669
Copiah119233
Scott117627
Coahoma116229
Marshall111117
Lincoln110453
Holmes109859
Grenada109536
Yazoo106230
Simpson104746
Tate100638
Union99824
Leake96138
Adams94237
Wayne90521
Pearl River89453
Marion86835
Prentiss86317
Itawamba83121
Covington82723
Alcorn82311
George78213
Tallahatchie77421
Newton77324
Winston74219
Tishomingo69138
Chickasaw68524
Tippah67217
Attala67025
Clarke60346
Walthall60226
Clay59618
Hancock58822
Jasper57715
Noxubee55116
Smith53615
Calhoun52212
Tunica49715
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46520
Yalobusha43614
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38717
Humphreys37815
Quitman3775
Stone37512
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33210
Carroll32012
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2283
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136055

Reported Deaths: 2364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19752350
Mobile13449292
Montgomery8852184
Tuscaloosa8654118
Madison792778
Shelby601349
Lee592760
Baldwin552650
Marshall396143
Calhoun353444
Etowah352145
Morgan331428
Houston292021
Elmore267348
DeKalb243221
St. Clair233036
Walker231984
Talladega217129
Limestone211920
Cullman190720
Dallas179126
Franklin178129
Autauga177325
Russell17633
Lauderdale172333
Colbert166626
Blount161715
Escambia161124
Chilton158830
Jackson158111
Covington140327
Dale139244
Coffee13596
Pike120510
Chambers116842
Tallapoosa116485
Clarke110016
Marion96829
Butler91339
Barbour8857
Winston74512
Marengo72420
Pickens66614
Bibb65610
Lowndes65427
Randolph65413
Hale64428
Geneva6344
Lawrence62123
Cherokee61213
Bullock60614
Monroe5908
Clay5878
Washington55913
Perry5416
Crenshaw54032
Conecuh53611
Wilcox53211
Henry5075
Macon48318
Fayette4628
Sumter43819
Cleburne3825
Lamar3702
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
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