Things are getting hot in Georgia’s upcoming November midterm gubernatorial race. A new ad is slicing and dicing Gov. Brian Kemp, claiming the Republican incumbent received almost $1 million in campaign contributions from folks who support “segregationist academies,” The Root reports.
Titled “Brian Kemp: Right for Segregationists. Wrong for Georgia,” the 30-second ad also alleges that, if elected, Kemp would cut public school funding and give tax credits to donors with children in Southern private schools, many of which have a long history of keeping Black and brown students out.
The ad comes via the Progress Action Fund, a progressive Democratic political action committee devoted to defeating Republicans in swing states “by running hard-hitting accountability ads,” the website reads.
The uncompromising ad is chock-full of indicting images of Georgia’s segregated school history.
According to The Root, Progress Action Fund claims the Kemp campaign accepted $930,000 in donations from private school leaders—which aligns perfectly with the direction of most prominent GOP-ers, such as former Education Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who is devoted to defunding public schools in favor of vouchers for private and religious schools.
Segregation academies were all-white private schools that opened in the 1960s and ‘70s around the South to save white kids from the horrors of having to intermingle with Black students following the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that made racial segregation illegal.
Kemp, 58, himself attended one of the private “segregationist” schools until the 9th grade, called Athens Academy or Athens Christian Academy, as it was listed in a 1970 report from the Southern Regional Commission, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The head of Athens Academy denies that it was ever a segregationist school.
“Athens Academy was not founded as a segregationist school and has always welcomed all to join our community, as stated in our founding charter. We pride ourselves on being a diverse school of educators and students,” John C. Thorson told The Root via email.
According to Janus, the undergraduate journal for history and the humanities at the University of Maryland, Athens Academy was founded in 1967 as a “white flight school.” And let’s not forget that Kemp has called critical race theory an “anti-American agenda.” Sounds like someone doesn’t want to talk about the real history of the nation—particularly the part about schools that hoped to keep Black and white kids apart.