Pickrick Chronicles

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With all the famous people who've died recently, Lester Maddox seems to have been lost in the shuffle. That's a shame, as he was without question one of the most peculiar figures in recent American politics. No one should miss a chance to read about him.

For a quick but solid overview of his career, examine this obit by Reason's Charles Oliver. For a longer discussion, go to this fascinating 1999 profile in Creative Loafing—surely the only essay to compare Maddox to the folk artist Howard Finster. That article, in turn, provoked this angry response from Maddox himself.

Neither piece, alas, includes any information about Maddox's presidential campaign in 1976, on the American Independent Party ticket. You might have to take a trip to Louisville for that.

(Thanks to Todd Morman for the Creative Loafing link.)

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  1. I really only scratched the surface in that piece. One part of Maddox’s career that really gets overlooked is his war against speed traps.

    A lot of rural counties in Georgia made quite a living off of Florida-bound tourists. Maddox-backed legislation helped take that funding away from those counties.

    Maddox also had the state Department of Transportation erect signs outside one notorious speed trap warning motorists of what was ahead. He then posted state troopers to keep anyone from tearing it down.

  2. “Erwin Mitchell, head of the Georgia Project, which works to educate Hispanic students in area schools….noted that Maddox’s death came just a day after that of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, the first black man elected mayor of a major Southern city.
    “That’s ironic, given that they were on the opposite sides of so many issues,” Mitchell said.”

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