LOUISVILLE, GEORGIA — The mayor of a Georgia town in the same county where administrators blocked Black Voters Matter from bringing elderly black voters to the polls said on Facebook Wednesday that the group’s work is “utterly reprehensible.”
Barstow, Georgia Mayor Robert Morris, whose Facebook includes a number of racist posts, shared a status on Facebook two days after the county decided to prevent Black Voters Matter from bringing seniors to the polls.
“It is utterly reprehensible that your group maintains that all black voters should vote for a black candidate just because they are the same color as you,” he wrote.
“A man named Jim Jones once ran an organization like that. Better check that Koolaid you are serving up.”
Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown responded to the comment on the group’s Facebook page without knowing Morris’ role in Jefferson County.
“[I]f you knew our work you would know we have supported and continue to support both white and Black candidates,” she wrote. “We support the best candidate for us. Your message makes an assumption based on your own racial bias.”
Morris is the mayor of Bartow, a small town of just 286 people located 10 miles south of Louisville, where Black Voters Matter organized an event at a county-run senior center. Jefferson County is roughly 53 percent black, according to Census data. A historical plaque marking where a slave market once operated stands just down the street from the senior center.
Cliff Albright, Black Voters Matter’s other co-founder, told ThinkProgress that Morris’ views are shared by an alarming number of people.
“It is really a reflection of how as soon as we say ‘Black voters matter,’ all people like that hear is we only want to vote for black people because they’re black versus because of what the issues are,” Albright said.
“It’s a reflection of their own biases because they know it’s how they operate, and they assume that the way we see power is the same as the way they see power. In reality, right now we’re supporting several white candidates.”
Albright noted that most people first learned about their organization last year, when they helped Doug Jones, a white candidate, win his seat in the Senate in Alabama.
On his Facebook page, Morris also shared racist and Islamophobic memes, including one on Wednesday asking: “If a fox came to your home, would you put him in your chicken coop hoping he would integrate? Didn’t think so. Stop the invasion of Islam into the free world.”
He also shared on Wednesday Jefferson County’s official statement about Black Voters Matter’s activity at the senior center.
Morris did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Morris isn’t the only Jefferson County official to express his political beliefs on Facebook. Adam Brett, the county administrator who made the decision to have the seniors removed from the bus, wrote on Facebook in 2016 asking his Democratic friends to name one thing the government does well. “I don’t think my belief in limited government will change any time soon.”
On Wednesday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams rallied in Louisville at an event attended by Black Voters Matter and the seniors who were removed from their bus.
“Even if there are obstacles, we have to recognize that those obstacles are only permanent if we don’t fight them,” Abrams said about the voter intimidation. “We want to make certain that the folks of Louisville in Jefferson County understand that we are standing with them as they cast their votes.”