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Tate Reeves fraternity photograph.

Tate Reeves thrust into national controversy over racist frat photos.

The Clarion Ledger.From THE CLARION LEDGER
by Giacoma Bologna

As politicians across the country face increasing scrutiny over their high school and college yearbooks, photographs of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ college fraternity wearing Confederate Army clothing have resurfaced, as well as stories about a racist 1994 party.

Reeves was a member of Kappa Alpha at Millsaps College when the fraternity threw a party featuring Afro wigs and Confederate flags tied around pledges’ necks. Some attendees were allegedly in blackface and used racial slurs in a confrontation with two students.

Images from Reeves’ college yearbook were published Friday on the website of a Democratic super PAC American Bridge. The story was also reported by the Huffington Post.

After the Senate adjourned Friday morning, Reeves through a spokeswoman declined an interview.

His spokeswoman, Laura Hipp, provided this statement: “As a quick Google search will show, Lt. Gov. Reeves was a member of Kappa Alpha Order. Like every other college student, he did attend costume formals and other parties, and across America, Kappa Alpha’s costume formal is traditionally called Old South in honor of the Civil War veteran who founded the fraternity in the 1800s.”

After this story was published Friday morning, the Clarion Ledger received a photo related to Attorney General Jim Hood’s time at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity of Ole Miss.

Spokeswoman Margaret Ann Mor confirmed that Hood was member of Pi Kappa Alpha in the 1982-1983 school year when the photograph was published in the yearbook of Ole Miss.

Hood is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for governor. Reeves is the Republican front-runner.

According to a 1994 article by the Associated Press, “Millsaps faculty and staff committee concluded a number of fraternity members on Oct. 8 went on an all-night drinking spree, donned Afro wigs and tied large Confederate flags around their necks.”

One student accused fraternity members of shouting the N-word, according to The Purple & White, the student newspaper at Millsaps.

Photographs from yearbooks of Millsaps College show members of Kappa Alpha in Confederate Army garb while Reeves was a member. It’s unclear whether Reeves is in the photographs.

The Purple & White reported that Kappa Alpha faced several punishments as a result of the party. The president of Millsaps banned Kappa Alpha from using the Confederate flag as a symbol of their fraternity and banned the fraternity from having parties until the following year.

Fraternity members were also required to pay for and attend sensitivity training.

That same fall, the Millsaps College chapter of Kappa Alpha received the J. Edgar Hoover award, an award for excellence from the fraternity’s national organization.

The racist party and its aftermath apparently rocked the campus of the small liberal arts school in Jackson, according to coverage by The Purple & White.

The student who accused fraternity members of using the N-word worked as a columnist at The Purple & White, but the paper also featured voices in support of the fraternity.

“It is interesting that the black students are the most vocal about punishment,” one student wrote. “After years of being powerless, pushed around, stepped on, and stereotyped, you would figure they would most of all understand that the actions of a few do not signify the belief of the whole.”

Other candidates for governor were quiet about the story Friday.

Rep. Robert Foster, R-Hernando, said he had not yet had time to read the story. And Democrat Velesha Williams said she also had not yet read the article about Reeves’ time in the fraternity.

Luke Ramseth contributed to this report.

Contact Giacomo “Jack” Bologna at 601-961-7282 or Follow him on Twitter.

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