A former elected official in Griffin, Georgia, used Racial Slurs several times during a public meeting. On March 27, Larry Johnson, a former city commissioner, spoke with elected city officials, proclaiming April as Confederate History Month. Larry Johnson addressed his proclamation to current city commissioner Rodney McCord, who is African-American. Johnson began talking about Griffin’s history of Confederacy and how the city is proud of its Southern heritage. In his speech, Johnson began saying the n-word several times, catching McCord completely off guard.

Some of what Larry Johnson said

There was an exchange of words between the two men, while the rest of the members of the council sat quietly.

“There were white folks.” Johnson began. “There were black folks when I was growing up. There was white trash - my family. There was n-----town. I lived next to n-----town.” (Independent). Johnson’s speech was followed with more racial slurs directed toward McCord.

McCord, who was visibly baffled and upset, asked Johnson to repeat himself.

Johnson defended his original statement while also adding how he is no longer white trash and McCord is no longer being called that anymore. McCord, shaken by what he just witnessed, told the rest of the members of the council who remained silent, that he was not going to allow Johnson to use that type of derogatory language.

McCord furthered his statement, saying he was offended by Johnson’s words.

The spark that ignited the debate

Since 2010, the city declared April as Confederate History Month, which is not unusual in southern states. Every year, the city of Griffin has officially and unofficially celebrated Confederate Memorial Day. With a population of 23,000 equally divided between whites and African-Americans, some feel this day should not be celebrated.

McCord has voted repeatedly against Confederate History Month in his 24 years of being city commissioner. McCord was taken aback by the outrage Johnson displayed during the meeting, stating how he is troubled that it’s 2018 and we are still talking about Confederates. That we as a nation and people should be past this. Johnson said that he feels remorseful over his actions and the comments that offended McCord.

Earlier this week, the board declared April as Confederate History Month and April 26 as Confederate Memorial Day. McCord is troubled over the declaration of those who supported the proclamation, saying how this is teaching the wrong lesson.

Those who were in full support of the proclamation said that objections were based on misinformation, and they also argued that the Confederacy was not about slavery or racism, but about Southern heritage and pride.