Chatty Cathy

By Christopher Zoukis

Delay, along  with his Klansmen, agitated against the Jews and lobbied to have flouride removed from drinking water.  Delay believed flouridated water was a Jewish plot to weaken the white race.  He also held that The Holocaust was a giant hoax and urged carpet-bombing Israel.  Image courtesy irrationalgames.com

He began bragging at KKK rallies about how he had killed Medgar Evers.  A fellow Klansman, whose name was Delmar Dennis, was one of those who overheard Delay crowing over the deed.  Delay exhorted his fellow Klansmen to kill anyone “from the President on down.”  Then Delay bragged about “killing that n*****,” an act he compared to childbirth.   

Thirty years later, Delmar Dennis would remember Delay’s gloating words.  And when he did, the jury would not be all male and all white.  There would be no sympathetic judge sitting on the bench. 

Delay was now famous in Mississippi.  His fame went to his head and in 1967 Delay sought to capitalize on his notoriety.  He believed his celebrity would translate into votes for a white candidate.  So he sought the Democratic Party’s nomination for lieutenant governor.  A month before the primaries Delay agreed to an interview with the Review.  Among his “chief qualifications” Delay said was that he “was conscious of a diabolical international conspiracy against states’ rights and racial integrity.”

He didn’t get the nomination.  According to the New York Times, Delay “got more than 34,000 votes, finishing fifth in a field of six.”

By 1970, it became apparent that the murder of Medgar Evers had not hindered the struggle for civil rights in Mississippi.  In fact, Evers’ death probably accelerated integration.  According to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, 26.4 percent of black students in Mississippi public schools attended integrated schools.  When Evers died in 1963, there were only 28,000 African Americans registered to vote in Mississippi.  By 1971, there were 250,000 and by 1982 over 500,000.

African Americans were being elected to public office in Mississippi.  In 1973, the state had 145 black elected officials.  And black applicants were accepted as students in the state’s public and private institutions of higher learning. 

Delay had not stopped integration.  And based on what he did next, it was fairly certain Delay did not understand what was going on, that the world was changing. 

In 1973, believing he was untouchable, Delay plotted to murder the New Orleans director of the Anti-Defamation League, A. I. Botnick, who had – according to Delay’s tangled way of thinking – made contemptuous remarks about Southerners and their attitude toward non-whites.  

Delay couldn’t keep his big mouth shut about what he was planning to do.  Delay had always had loose lips.  He had boasted about killing Medgar Evers at KKK rallies.  And way back in 1956, when making application to the pro-segregation Sovereignty Commission for a job as an operative, Delay had listed his qualifications:  “Expert with a pistol, good with a rifle and fair with a shotgun – RABID ON THE SUBJECT OF SEGREGATION!” 

So just like Chatty Cathy, he said too much at the wrong time to the wrong people about his plot to murder A. I. Botnick.  When they heard what Delay was up to they couldn’t wait to do their own imitation of Chatty Cathy, rapping with the FBI about what they knew.  Which was exactly what they did.

The FBI believed the informants and moved quickly.  They immediately put Delay under surveillance.  And after watching him for a few days, they decided it was time to shut him down.  And they did.