Monday, September 21, 2009

Beth Rickey (1953-2009)

The Washington Times has this wonderful obituary, which chronicles the little-known Beth Rickey's efforts to expose the full extent of David Duke's racism. (Via.)

A sample:

Beth Rickey, perhaps more than any single person, helped stop the meteoric political rise of neo-Nazi David Duke. People today may forget what a political force Duke had become in Louisiana back then. With three weeks remaining in the 1991 race for governor, Duke had been in a statistical dead heat in the polls against ethically challenged former three-term governor Edwin Edwards. And Duke had the momentum.

What Duke could never escape, though, was all the evidence that he truly was a neo-Nazi, rather than what he claimed to be: a next-generation Reaganite conservative with a long-ago tawdry Ku Klux Klan past that he had thoroughly put behind him. Much of that evidence was unearthed by Beth Rickey.
The whole article is worth reading for its dramatic details about how she accomplished this.

Notably, the Washington Times -- considered a staunchly conservative newspaper -- reports that Rickey died earlier this month of a mysterious illness because she had run out of money for health care. A social worker had actually found a philanthropist who was willing to help her, but he couldn't reach her in time to save her life.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. Very sad fate for a hero.

Anonymous said...

One has to wonder if she really had to die this way. The Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration funds 15 health centers in the Sante Fe area for those without health insurance:

http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/Search_HCC_ByAddr.aspx

President Obama's FY 2010 Budget request for HRSA is $7,126,700,000, a decrease of $107,736,000 below the FY 2009 Omnibus level. (http://www.hrsa.gov/about/budgetjustification/ )

Jason (the commenter) said...

Too bad we can't remember people like this while they are still alive.

Beth said...

The New Orleans obit:
http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2009/09/elizabeth_rickey_gop_activist.html

Duke's making money lecturing in Russia, but his career still resonates:
http://righthandthief.blogspot.com/search/label/Flaming%20Liberal

Just couple of years ago I was at Oktoberfest at Deutsche Haus, the German cultural center in New Orleans, along with several hundred others enjoying brats and beer and Alpine horns. In the middle of the evening David Duke came in with his entourage, was greeted enthusiastically by some of the hosts and ushered upstairs to a private room. It was very creepy. I still don't know how to react. I have returned to the Haus, and reading about Rickey, I feel vaguely ashamed.

Beth said...

Sorry for not bothering with the html - grading papers, lots to do.

Diamondhead said...

Sounds like a story that should be filmed.