Black Georgia councilman told he should be working in a cotton field

The exchange happened during a motion by Daron Lee. He wanted to clarify a contract for an investigation by former city clerk Stan Martin into city business.

Lee and three other council members voted for Martin to continue the inquiry, but John Williams opposes his hiring.

The disagreement prompted Williams to interrupt Lee.

Lee stopped Williams, saying, “I was disrespected last Monday. I’m getting about tired of you all, talking to me any kind of way. I’m not working in a cotton field.”

Williams replied, “You should be.”

Lee said, “Oh, I should be? OK.”

Mayor Chuck Shaheen banged his gavel to end the disagreement. Then, Lee walked out. He returned a few minutes later.

Williams later said his remark was not racial:

He said, “Absolutely not, I worked in a cotton field. I drug a basket many a mile. It’s not a racial remark at all.”

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sent a letter to the City Council stating that Williams should resign, Holmes said.

“We’re just saying if they can’t work together that maybe someone needs to resign,” he said.

Williams said he has no plans to do so.

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