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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: 263023

Reported Deaths: 5752
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17675191
Hinds16813331
Harrison14224204
Rankin11167219
Jackson10839190
Lee9050144
Madison8568168
Jones6668114
Forrest6177124
Lauderdale6097192
Lowndes5518120
Lafayette516298
Lamar503965
Washington4923125
Bolivar4104109
Oktibbeha405982
Panola384881
Pontotoc376258
Warren3674103
Monroe3671108
Union355663
Marshall355270
Neshoba3485154
Pearl River3468105
Leflore3111109
Lincoln305688
Hancock291862
Sunflower291475
Tate279662
Alcorn272354
Pike268981
Itawamba268063
Scott259648
Yazoo255256
Prentiss252553
Tippah249250
Copiah249049
Coahoma248054
Simpson242171
Leake237367
Grenada223272
Marion222073
Covington219973
Adams213671
Wayne212634
Winston207371
George204339
Newton199046
Attala196963
Tishomingo194161
Chickasaw189044
Jasper179538
Holmes171768
Clay165837
Tallahatchie156235
Stone151425
Clarke147262
Calhoun140822
Smith129226
Yalobusha122034
Walthall114337
Greene113529
Noxubee112926
Montgomery111636
Carroll106622
Lawrence106517
Perry104531
Amite101426
Webster96124
Tunica88821
Claiborne88325
Jefferson Davis88329
Benton85623
Humphreys84624
Kemper80520
Quitman7089
Franklin69917
Choctaw63213
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45117
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 439442

Reported Deaths: 6657
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson644371007
Mobile31435569
Madison28158217
Tuscaloosa21492275
Montgomery19873332
Shelby19248132
Baldwin17128189
Lee13137107
Morgan12594142
Etowah12070181
Calhoun11496206
Marshall10420123
Houston8988164
Limestone832081
Cullman8257124
Elmore8183110
DeKalb7871107
Lauderdale7847107
St. Clair7808130
Talladega6445112
Walker6028183
Jackson599145
Colbert548694
Blount546286
Autauga535862
Coffee460764
Dale409685
Franklin374150
Russell354215
Chilton344373
Covington338580
Escambia334544
Tallapoosa3143109
Dallas312996
Chambers303470
Clarke298036
Pike262431
Lawrence253355
Marion253161
Winston233342
Bibb222348
Geneva210247
Marengo208231
Pickens199531
Hale184944
Barbour180538
Fayette177829
Butler173160
Cherokee165131
Henry159525
Monroe152021
Randolph145536
Washington141727
Clay129746
Crenshaw123745
Macon121937
Cleburne121525
Lamar119922
Lowndes114836
Wilcox107922
Bullock103328
Perry99918
Conecuh97822
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63418
Choctaw51924
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