James Jackson Kilpatrick (November 1, 1920 – August 15, 2010) was an American newspaper columnist and grammarian.
Kilpatrick was born and reared in Oklahoma City and earned a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 1941. He spent many years as an editor of The Richmond News Leader in Richmond, Virginia.
During the Civil Rights era, Kilpatrick supported racial segregation and opposed federal enforcement of civil rights legislation. Kilpatrick also advocated the states' rights doctrine of interposition, arguing that the states had the right to oppose and even nullify federal court rulings.
Nevertheless, Kilpatrick's arguments for segregation were not entirely based on federalism. In 1963, he submitted an article to the The Saturday Evening Post, "The Hell He Is Equal" in which he wrote that the "Negro race, as a race, is in fact an inferior race." (The article was rejected by the magazine's editors after four black girls were killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.) Kilpatrick eventually changed his position on segregation, though he remained a staunch opponent of federal encroachments on the states. Earlier in November 1960, he publicly debated segregation with Martin Luther King Jr. in New York.
Kilpatrick told a Roanoke newspaper in 1993 that he had intended merely to delay court-mandated integration because "violence was right under the city waiting to break loose. Probably, looking back, I should have had better consciousness of the immorality, the absolute evil of segregation."
As editor of The Richmond News Leader, Kilpatrick started the Beadle Bumble fund to pay fines for victims of what he termed "despots on the bench." He built the fund with contributions from readers and later used the Beadle Bumble Fund to defend books as well as people. After a school board in suburban Richmond ordered school libraries to dispose of all copies of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, because the board found the book immoral, Kilpatrick wrote, "A more moral novel scarcely could be imagined." With money from the fund, he offered free copies to children who wrote him; by the end of the first week, he had given away 81 copies...
Quotes by James J Kilpatrick
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