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Carnahan Apologizes for his Role in Racist Show

October 25, 1999
By: Chris Pelikan
State Capital Bureau

Governor Mel Carnahan responds to the release of a photograph from 1960 depicting the governor in blackface at a minstrel show. Chris Pelikan has the story from Jefferson City.

Governor Carnahan was apologetic as he met with members of the press for the first time since a photo showing his participation in a racist minstrel show was made public. The photo which is nearly 40 years old, showed Carnahan and three other men performing with their faces painted black.

The governor was forthright in accusing Sen. John Ashcroft and the republican party of releasing the picture and said Ashcroft is the last person to be calling Carnahan a racist.

Actuality:Carn
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Contents: [189K WAV file - Carnahan attacks Republicans for opposing civil rights legislation.]

Ashcroft spearheaded the effort to defeat the appointment of Justice Ronnie White to a federal judgeship. Ashcroft claimed White, who is black, was too soft on crime. From the state capitol, Chris Pelikan KMOX news.


Governor Mel Carnahan met with the press for the first time since a photograph from 1960 was released showing the governor's participation in a racially insensitive variety show. Chris Pelikan has the story from Jefferson City.

Weeks after allegations of racism were leveled at Missouri Senator John Ashcroft for his active role in the defeat of federal judicial nominee Ronnie White, race is once again an issue, only this time it involves Ashcroft's likely opponent in the 2000 Missouri senate race, Governor Mel Carnahan.

Carnahan was apologetic for his role in a racist minstrel show in 1960 and was also asked if he believed Ashcroft was racist.

Actuality:Gov5
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Contents: [216K WAV file - Gov. Mel Carnahan charges Sen. John Aschroft has been insensitive to race issues.]

Ashcroft's office refused to comment on today's events, however Missouri Republicans claim that they had nothing to do with the photograph's release. From the state capitol, Chris Pelikan KMOX news.


Mel Carnahan addresses his appearance in a racist "minstrel show" in 1960. Chris Pelikan has the story from Jefferson City

The 2000 Missouri Senatorial race has already become nasty. Allegations of race were hurled at Senator John Ashcroft after leading the charge to defeat the nomination of black federal judicial nominee Ronnie White earlier this month.

Today, the issue of racism was thrown back at Ashcroft's likely opponent, Governor Mel Carnahan. A picture from 1960 showing a blackfaced Carnahan participating in a variety show was brought to light.

Carnahan believes that Ashcroft and his fellow Republicans are behind the release, however Darrel Dewey of the Missouri Republican Party says otherwise.

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Ashcroft's office declined to comment on the allegations. From the state capitol, Chris Pelikan KMOX news.


Governor Mel Carnahan defended himself from allegations of racism today in the wake of the release of a picture showing a blackfaced Carnahan singing in 1960. Chris Pelikan has the story from Jefferson City

Mel Carnahan says he's not racist. That despite the release of a nearly 40 year old photograph showing the governor participating in a racist minstrel show.

On top of being apologetic, the governor said that his record on fighting racism has been strong. Darrel Dewey of the Missouri Repulbican party says that's not the case.

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Carnahan said he hopes this issue won't overshadow his other achievements as the 2000 senate race nears. From the state capitol, Chris Pelikan KMOX news.