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.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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