Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bosley Criticizes Racial Comments `This Election Is Not about Who Is Blacker'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bosley Criticizes Racial Comments `This Election Is Not about Who Is Blacker'

Article excerpt

Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. said Thursday that he doesn't condone statements by two close supporters who used race to attack challenger Clarence Harmon, a fellow black who was the city's police chief.

"This election is not about who is blacker, but who is better," Bosley said. "Those comments don't help the city or the region."

The comments were by Charles Mischeaux, who is president of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP, and by Alderman Freeman Bosley Sr., D-3rd Ward. Mischeaux supports Bosley's bid for re-election next spring, and Bosley Sr. is the mayor's father. On Thursday, Mischeaux said this about Harmon's decision to announce his candidacy last Sunday from the steps of the Old Courthouse: "It's a fact that black slaves were sold on the steps of that courthouse. Now we're seeing a black man sell himself on those steps." In the years of the 19th Century when slavery was legal in Missouri, black slaves were sold by auction outside the Old Courthouse. And last month, the mayor's father called Harmon a "rented Negro" for planning to challenge the mayor. Harmon said he was disappointed by the comments of Mischeaux and Bosley Sr. "People who have little else to say tend to say things like that," Harmon said. "St. Louis has to grow up to where African-Americans who differ politically are able to engage in a campaign without name-calling. I believe that people are ready to listen to my vision for the city, not racial invective." Mayor Bosley also said he would stick to issues and his own record, "and I hope everyone else does, too." He said he has told his father that he didn't like the "rented Negro" comment. Mischeaux defended his comments, which were first made to The Riverfront Times, by saying, "If someone thinks it's racist, that's in their mind. Take it any way you want to." Switching subjects, Mischeaux called Harmon a "liar" for saying earlier this year he didn't want to run for mayor, then changing his mind. …

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