In 2017 Anne and I took a road trip to Memphis.
It was the start of a year of events marking the 50th anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King who was in Memphis in 1968 supporting the striking Black sanitation workers.
Driving through Illinois’ Effingham County just south of Springfield I Googled to find out some history of the place.
You could call it doing my own Critical Race Theorizing. Translated, that means learning history.
It turns out that Effingham and nearby Sangamon County – home of our state capital in Springfield – once held giant Ku Klux Klan rallies, including at Illinois’ state fair grounds.
It was common for Klan rallies in the area to draw tens of thousands of locals.
I’m not picking on downstate Illinois. In the 1920s Chicago had the largest KKK membership of any metropolitan region in the United States.
Yesterday Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene came to Effingham County to stump for local insurrectionist Congresswoman Mary Miller.
WBEZ reporter Dan Mihalopoulos reported on the Greene/Miller event in Effingham:
Here in Effingham, about 200 miles south of Chicago, Greene received a warm welcome from about 400 people as she made her first visit to Illinois – as the keynote speaker at a reelection fundraiser for Mary Miller.
“Donate directly to the people who are doing the job that you’re proud of, like your great congresswoman, Mary Miller,” Greene said. “I have not gone to anyone’s district and supported anybody yet, but I went to your congresswoman’s district first and supported your congresswoman because I’m thankful for her.”
Miller clearly calculated that Greene’s appearance here would aid her in what’s arguably the most conservative congressional district in a largely blue state. The two women embraced at the beginning and end of Greene’s remarks, and Miller stood silently behind her colleague from the South throughout her 50-minute speech.
About a half-dozen protesters stood on the sidewalk outside the convention center in Effingham before Greene’s appearance, with signs that read, “No M&Ms for me” and another that described Greene and Miller as “twisted sisters.”
Greene sought to rekindle her now-infamous feud with Democratic Congresswoman Marie Newman of Illinois, again attacking Newman’s transgender daughter in her remarks in Effingham.
“Her so-called daughter is a trans, biological adult son, approximately close to the same age as my two, very much biological real girls – daughters,” Greene said of Newman, drawing laughter from many in the crowd. “I call her Marie Newperson. ‘Cause she doesn’t believe in gender! I don’t want to offend her, so I changed her name from Newman to Newperson…She is very confused. As a matter of fact, so is her son.”
Greene peppered her speech with other bigoted comments about “the great Chinese pandemic” and Muslim members of Congress and their allies, who she called “the jihad squad.”
“I’m so thankful for her, and I love having Mary Miller as a friend,” Greene said.
Asked about the joint appearance Thursday of Greene and Miller, the Anti-Defamation League’s Midwest regional director, David Goldenberg, said, “We’re at a point right now where it’s critical that we reject the politics of hate. And politicians and elected officials who continue to tout conspiracy theories and bigotry and racism need to be rejected loudly, clearly, universally … It’s nuts.”
Before Greene’s speech, the crowd was treated to a video in which Miller said more about Chicago than about her own district in downstate Illinois. In the video, Miller said the state’s largest city is a “war zone” and that her largely rural part of Illinois is not “rundown” and “gang-infested,” unlike Chicago.
She said people in her district do not stand by when their businesses are attacked by rioters: “We shoot back.”