Speed Reads

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Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor called desegregation an 'unwilling invasion'

The Washington Free Beacon's Alana Goodman got a hold of Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor's 1985 college thesis. It's a doozy.

From the report:

"Arkansas has been invaded unwillingly twice. Once in reality and once figuratively," wrote Pryor.

"The Civil War provided the real invasion. The figurative invasion took place in 1957 at Little Rock Central High School. That event took a local problem out of the local authorities' hands. The federal government had again forced its will on the people of Arkansas." [Washington Free Beacon]

Yeesh.

Pryor, who is up for re-election in November, and Democratic groups have attacked Republican opponent Tom Cotton's college editorials, making this bit of history look more like fair game, but it's important to note that Pyror's thesis is not an anti-desegregation manifesto. It contains harsh criticism of Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, who deployed the National Guard against desegregation efforts, calling the episode an "embarrassing escapade."

Still, Pryor's thesis is sloppy and impolitic. It talks about the Arkansas Democratic Party rejecting "wild-eyed liberals" and contains plenty of neutral to praising language for the "uncanny ability" of Democrats to be in touch with the state by downplaying the national party's social programs and "work[ing] the black community quietly." It even suggests that Democrats in the state may fear progress altogether. The Free Beacon has posted the whole thesis online.