Charles Capps, Jr.
This reported December 27, 2009 by The Clarion Ledger:
Former Rep. Charles Wilson Capps Jr. of Cleveland, once one of the most powerful
members of the Mississippi Legislature, has died at the age of 84.
Known across the state simply as "Charlie," the cigar- chomping Democrat from the Delta was renowned for his leadership and charisma.
Capps, the longest-serving member in the Mississippi House, died Friday at Bolivar Medical Center after years of deteriorating health. He served in the House from 1972 until he retired in 2005.
"Charlie was one of the most engaged-in-life human beings I have ever known. He had a big heart and kept a positive outlook," said Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville. "He cut a wide path for a long, long time, and his legacy is one for the ages."
Capps was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and Constitution Committee, and also served on the Military Affairs, Ethics, and Insurance committees.
During his years over the Appropriations Committee, Capps was regarded as one of the most powerful people in the Legislature.
"He had control over the money, but never tried to throw his power around," said political columnist and veteran journalist Bill Minor.
Minor recalls Capps as being a person with a "wide capacity to get along with everyone," and a person who loved to trade stories over a glass of whiskey.
"It was his likability which made him able to survive the sharp break in the Legislature (between Democrats and Republicans). Capps' personality was such, he was able to mend the two sides together," Minor said.
Holland, who served with Capps for 24 years, beginning when Holland was 26 years old, said Capps was like a father to him. Capps' two biggest loves were higher education and the Delta, he said.
Contact Nicklaus Lovelady for more Capps PR at (601) 961-7239.
So where's the beef??
Charlie Capps served as the president of the segregationist Central Bolivar (White) Citizens Council in the early 1960s.
In December 1964, Capps called for support of Neshoba County Sheriff Lawrence Rainey who had recently been arrested in connection with the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.
Capps was sheriff of Bolivar County, Mississippi from 1964-68 and president of the Mississippi Sheriff Association in 1964-1965.
Capps opposed the 1994 prosecution of Byron De La Beckwith, the murderer of Medgar Evers. (In 1994) Rep. Charlie Capps Jr., a longtime member of the Mississippi legislature and chairman of its powerful House Appropriations Committee, wrote in his individual capacity to Ed Peters (then Hinds Co. District Attorney):
I cannot imagine your purpose, but for whatever reason, your indictment and proposed trial of Mr. Beckwith has done great and irreparable harm to our state. The State of Mississippi and thousands of private citizens have worked for several decades in an effort to change our image nationally, and I believe that this trial will destroy 30 years of work overnight. (DeLaughter, Bobby. Never Too Late. p.232)
Charles Capps, RIP.
Might be fun to dig through some more of Capps Sovereignty Commission files...
But like Eastland and others, the good stuff is in someone's basement...