WASHINGTON – A group of African-American religious leaders endorsed Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as the next U.S. attorney general and pushed back against Rev. Al Sharpton’s criticism of Sessions’ nomination.
“Now allegations have been made that Senator Sessions is a racist; however, an examination of his record proves otherwise. As a U.S. attorney for the state of Alabama, he prosecuted Klansman Henry Francis Hays, as has been mentioned earlier. Henry Francis Hays was the son of Bennie Hays, who was one of the leading members of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan,” Rev. Ralph Chittams of the Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church in Maryland said at a Monday press conference on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Frederick Douglass Foundation and the Family Research Council's Watchmen on the Wall.
“He [Sessions] insisted that trial be a capital murder trial and Hays was convicted of capital murder and was sentenced to be executed. A little while later, then-state attorney general Jeff Sessions oversaw a process where Hays received the punishment as decided by the court of law and was executed. As a direct result of those actions, a civil judgment in the amount of $7 million was entered against the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, which effectively bankrupted them,” he added.
Chittams, senior vice chairman of the Washington, D.C., Republican Party and a member of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Washington, said Sessions “spearheaded” the effort to honor Rosa Parks with the congressional gold medal in 1999 and gave a speech on the Senate floor in support of Parks.