By the summer of 1942, Governor Eugene Talmadge was in the most heated political race of his life. He was desperately seeking reelection because the term for governor had been extended to four years, which would secure his position as governor until 1946. Meanwhile, White Georgia had not been under attack like this since the hanging of child predator (((Leo Frank))) in 1915. The hostile controlled press had locked its sights on Georgia once again after Talmadge exposed a cultural Marxist infiltration of the Georgia universities.
Cocking Affair Backlash:
After Talmadge had successfully rid the University of Georgia of the Yankee Walter D. Cocking, he had offended many people but still maintained a strong backing from his “Wool Hat Boys,” who made up his strong base. Many people urged Talmadge to reinstate Cocking to which he wrote, “Dr. Cocking favored the teaching of white and negro children in the same classrooms. I am opposed to social equality and so long as I am governor of Georgia, no such teaching will be permitted in our school system. Dr. Cocking, as you know, was reared in Iowa where white and colored are taught in the same classrooms. His conduct since being in Georgia is proof of the fact he retains the views and ideas gained by him in the State of Iowa. I am not in favor of such forging ideas…being taught in our university system.”
Up to this point, the Northern press had mostly stayed out of this fight but that would change when The Southern Accrediting Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (I’ll refer to them as SAC) decided to publicly investigate Talmadge’s role on education. This sent the parents of Georgia students into hysteria, worried the colleges would lose accreditation, sending in letters and making calls to the capitol. Talmadge was struck with rage from the outside interference and responded, “We credit our own schools down here.” He took to the radio to defend Georgia sovereignty and would be quoted as saying “The good negroes…don’t want any co mixing of the races.”
This would lead to a feud between Talmadge and Attorney General Ellis Arnall, who believed Gene’s actions in the Cocking Affair were unlawful. Arnall, an ambitious man, set out to be Governor, stating: “I always wanted to be governor, but to do this, I had to have an issue and seize it. The Talmadge dynasty had been built on segregation and he was trying to make that the issue in 1941 when academic freedom was the real issue.”
On December 6th, 1941, Arnall announced that he would be running against Talmadge in 1942. He would be the leader of a fraction of short-sighted native Georgians who believed the issue to be academic freedom over segregation. Many of these Arnallites would in modern times be considered “racists,” for even they didn’t want mixing of the races.
By September, the SAC suspended 10 Georgia schools for “political interference.” When the Board of Regents met after this, Talmadge portrayed a sorrowful image, only using this tactic to get the Board’s guard, while he thought of ways to stop any actual capitulation. Talmadge wasn’t giving in to any outside pressure and many of his closest friends and family warned him that this would hurt his chances of re-election, yet Talmadge was ready to fight it out. As the summer of 1942 approached, he became more and more determined to stand his ground, win or lose.
“Gene refused to budge…. The issue was whether Georgians wanted their whole society altered by social acceptance of the negro. Gene felt the implications and the threat were of far greater magnitude than even the New Deal had been, though he [rightfully] saw them both as a common conspiracy by “outsiders” to take over the lives of Georgians.” (Anderson 201)
1942 Race for Governor: Gene vs Yankees, Jews, and Education Zealots
In the 1942 primary election for governor, for the average Georgian it was over either academic freedom or segregation. Gene was the old fashion ruralite candidate, while Ellis Arnall was the “progressive” and “academic freedom” candidate. The education zealots value education above all else. These pompous people will sacrifice anything for “little Johnny” to go to some big university to get a big fancy diploma. Now, it’s these milquetoast parents that send their kids to college, only for them to come back home with a useless degree and turned into a radical self-hating leftist. They are the same group of imbeciles that think throwing more money at public education is going to fix the decline in performance of students. Back then, this mindset had only started to take hold in the South and would be tested in this race.
The 1942 race would also mark the first time in Georgia history that students would get heavily involved in modern politics. Just like now, they fell hook, line and sinker for the press narrative and would harass Talmadge throughout the campaign. The University of Georgia students would repeatedly mock him as an old fool. Most of these students were the lowest of the low, as far as moral character and fortitude go at the time. All the poor farm boys were out fighting in the war while these urbanite punks were at home whining about how “mean” Gene Talmadge was. To make it worse, you had the newspapers attacking him on a regular basis. Hollywood and the elite of the time would take shots at Talmadge in the North in their extravagant theaters. The Jews had a special hatred for Georgia and Talmadge, because he had caught them with their deviant hands in the cookie jar. Gene had pulled the curtain down right when they were running up their press machines against Hitler in Germany. The Jews also have had beef with the Empire State since the Georgia people had brought justice to their beloved and lecherous (((Leo Frank))) almost three decades earlier. The North also loved to bash Georgia and gleefully bragged about how they burned Atlanta. An insidious coalition was brought together in 1942 to bring down the “Sage of Sugar Creek.”
Birth of the “Southern” Scalawag Urbanite Liberal
Something worth noting:
“The election would introduce into the vernacular the phrase, ‘’the better element‘’ – meaning those voting for the progressive candidates and legislation, generally people with higher incomes, better education. The term’s usage substantiates an emerging conscience, an acquiesce to the compromising demands of urbanization, and the growing intelligence of the Georgia body politic. It provides evidence that 1940 was miles ahead of 1930, that without the encumbrances of cotton culture, the Southern mind was susceptible to change. Not a lot of change, but change. Gene would not be known as “the better element’s” man.” (Anderson 206)
This was the birth of the small urbanite block in the South. The political forefathers of the sort of people who didn’t vote for Roy Moore last year because “muh conscience” and thinking he was too folksy. These are your selfish, well-to-do snobs who are usually ashamed of their Southern roots and like to think of themselves as the elite. Now, they’ve been melded with Yankee transplants and continue to throw a monkey wrench into the nationalist agenda nationwide; just like they did in the 1960’s when they broke ranks with their fellow Southerners on segregation.
The 1942 election foreshadowed the scalawags that refused to stand on segregation because Little Johnny might miss school for a couple weeks. I wonder if it was worth it to those people now that those schools are ghettoized slums full of race mixing and moral debauchery, but hey, at least you get some education (about how your ancestors are evil racists).
Talmadge vs Arnall
While Ellis Arnall traveled Georgia, he would give your classical liberal arguments like saying Talmadge was Georgia’s Hitler and was causing disunity. He would cry that Gene was corrupt and that the office of governorship should be unable to intervene with the schools. Cuck language by and large.
Talmadge opened his campaign in Moultrie, Georgia on the 4th of July, 1942. Talmadge and his driver had headed down to Moultrie earlier to prepare, but Talmadge needed to use the restroom on the way. He insisted on using local outhouses to appeal to local ruralites, Talmadge then returned to the car rubbing the seat of his pants with a painful look on his face to which the driver asked what was wrong; Gene replied, “A Goddamn Black Widow spider bit me on the ass!” Gene wasn’t joking and soon needed medical attention from a doctor, who advised that he call off the speech. Talmadge refused and, what is perhaps one of his greatest show of personal stamina and determination, would start his speech.
“His opening speech was to last an hour. Gene began in great pain but was hardly into his talk when heavy clouds exploded in drenching rain that sent the large crowd scattering off in all directions. Gene wouldn’t quit, though only a hand full now stood before him; the rest of those who stayed in their cars, fogging up their windows. The rain pelted Gene’s lonely figure, slightly bent with pain, but he kept talking hard and loud so those in their cars could hear. The water pounded the paper bunting, washing its fragile red, white, and blues over the pine planking in the gashes of colors. It drenched Gene’s suit and plastered his hair against his head, but still he went on – wet to the bone, alone and hurting badly from the bite. After twenty-five minutes, he could give no more; he hobbled dejectedly from the platform to the applause of honking car horns. Only one prompter remained with him, and when he asked, “what about the negroes going to our schools, Gene?” Talmadge responded, “Before god, friend, the niggers will never go to a school which is white while I am governor.’ He blamed the whole mess on carpetbaggers, communists, and the newspapers.” (Anderson 207)
This show of determination shouldn’t be taken as trivial. Talmadge was 58 years old, well past his prime at the time, wet and suffering from a bite from a poisonous spider. One also must remember this was the time when speakers were supposed to be energized and make powerful and fast hand motions; Talmadge was no exception to this rule. Yet, he kept on for over an hour, to defend Georgia’s people and society. Gene was undeniably the guardian of Southern traditions and honor. He was now in a battle with the enemies of the White South.
Talmadge was under constant attack by the Establishment and national press in 1942, facing a barrage of venomous attacks from the hostile press owners. When Talmadge entered Statesboro, a college where one of the fired educators was in charge of, on July 29th, he was greeted by hostile students screaming “To Hell with Talmadge,” to which Talmadge’s driver launched a tear gas can at the irritating young punks. This allowed Arnall the chance to accuse Talmadge of being a “bully” and spreading the false narrative that Gene was going around the state with a “bunch of strong armed rats” and beating up school kids. The narrative was further pushed by the Atlanta Journal, which described the incident in Statesboro as, “Talmadgism by its very nature seems to produce this sort of thing” and “bullying, brown beating, dictatorship…its appropriate emblems are a gas bomb and a black jack.” (Anderson 208). The press was up to the same tricks they use today and, of course, always with the snobbish overtones.
Talmadge’s real weakness was that the media had painted him as an anti-education man. Many Georgians mistook this as a battle over whether politicians could interfere with education, not realizing it was one to stop the underhanded attempts by leftists to take over education. Arnall and most of his supporters were not by any means cultural Marxists. Arnall himself was quoted as saying “why if a negro ever tried to get in a white school in the section where I live, the sun would never set on his head,” (Anderson 209). I actually feel some sympathy for Arnall and his supporters, they were short sighted pawns in a bigger plot to bring down Georgia. We should take note that these men lacked the resources, like the internet, that might have awakened their minds to the insidious plot that Gene saw through.
Nonetheless, the stack was set against ol’ Gene. On election night of the primary, the results of the election had come in and Talmadge had been beaten. In the morning after the primary election, Talmadge was found solemn and concerned for the fate of Georgia’s future. His worries of the previous decades had come true. In 1942 Georgia, we would see perhaps the first ripple in the color line in the South. While most Georgians hadn’t change their mind on the negro question, it has been shown that the public mind could be manipulated by the press.
Most people think our future as a people went downhill in the 1960’s, while this is true, the movement to undermine and destroy the South and the color line went way back and was a slow and gradual process. Talmadge knew it, he foresaw the dangers of the New Deals policy, which laid the foundations for the destruction of states’ rights by growing the federal government in the 30’s and the population shift to urban areas, which displaced people from their native soil. I believe Gene was one of the few men to comprehend what menaces were on the horizon if the South and Georgia did not listen to his warnings. Talmadge would go on to say of his loss in 1942 that, “the tide was against us and it seems we were unable to overcome it’.”