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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.

Confirmed Cases: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds269748
DeSoto181818
Madison138236
Jones117349
Harrison104014
Rankin103515
Neshoba102274
Lauderdale94281
Forrest93943
Scott79215
Jackson72717
Washington64310
Copiah63115
Leake61320
Lee58621
Holmes57341
Oktibbeha56828
Wayne55416
Warren55320
Yazoo5436
Grenada5357
Lowndes52613
Leflore52256
Lincoln50935
Lamar5027
Pike47020
Sunflower4528
Lafayette4374
Monroe43635
Covington4195
Panola3996
Bolivar38018
Attala37524
Simpson3733
Newton35710
Adams34019
Pontotoc3266
Tate32313
Marion31312
Claiborne29310
Chickasaw29219
Winston28711
Pearl River27632
Noxubee2758
Marshall2693
Jasper2676
Clay25511
Union23811
Smith23412
Walthall2267
Coahoma2156
Clarke21425
Lawrence1992
Yalobusha1938
Kemper18014
Carroll17311
Tallahatchie1664
Humphreys15910
Montgomery1493
Calhoun1475
Tippah14411
Itawamba1418
Hancock13813
Webster12811
Tunica1193
Jefferson1173
Jefferson Davis1164
Prentiss1123
Greene10810
Amite1063
George1023
Wilkinson959
Tishomingo921
Quitman891
Alcorn852
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin492
Benton420
Sharkey420
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
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