It hit me today that there are probably millions of Millennials and Zoomers who don’t know (or care) anything about who former Georgia governor Lester Maddox was or the origin of Randy Newman‘s “Rednecks.” Well, here’s a primer.
N.Y. Times, 12.19.70: “In a huff, Gov. Lester Maddox of Georgia walked out of a taping of the Dick Cavett Show last night after demanding that [Cavett] apologize for a remark about Maddox’s white supporters.
“Cavett was paraphrasing a question asked during a break in the show by Jim Brown, the black actor, who wanted to know if Governor Maddox had ‘any trouble with the white bigots because of all the things you did for blacks.’ On the air, Mr. Cavett substituted ‘admirers’ for ‘bigots.’
[HE interjection: Maddox’s rep was that of a staunch segregationist — there was absolutely no ambiguity about this.]
The Governor, saying the implication was that his supporters were bigots, demanded an apology.
“’If I called any of your admirers bigots who are not bigots, I apologize,’ Cavett said.
“Maddox rose and, after another exchange, left the stage with 10 minutes of the program remaining.”