Addison Roswell Thompson
Addison Roswell Thompson
|Born||November 14, 1911|
|Died||February 15, 1976 (aged 64)|
|Occupation||Taxicab stand owner|
Perennial candidate for governor of Louisiana and mayor of New Orleans
Addison Roswell Thompson, known as A. Roswell Thompson or as Rozzy Thompson (November 14, 1911 – February 15, 1976), was a segregationist and white supremacist who ran as a perennial fringe candidate for governor of the U.S. state of Louisiana, mayor of New Orleans, and other offices as well on fourteen occasions between 1954 and 1975.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune obituary describes Thompson as "a self-proclaimed racist and wizard of the Ku Klux Klan." Until he retired in 1972 at the age of sixty-one, Thompson operated a small taxicab company. He became known for using his political campaigns to promote segregation. Thompson opposed civil rights legislation and declared himself the Imperial Wizard of his individual one-man KKK, which he dubbed at times as the "Fraternal Order of the Klan" or the "Universal Klan".
In the Democratic gubernatorial primary elections held on December 5, 1959, and December 7, 1963, Thompson polled 4,000 and 3,343 votes, respectively, and finished each time with less than 1 percent of the vote. Nominated and elected were Jimmie Davis and John McKeithen, respectively. Thompson filed in the Democratic mayoral primaries of 1965 and 1969, having received just 2,121 votes (1.3 percent) and 1,248 ballots (0.73 percent), respectively. Nominated and elected were Victor H. Schiro and Moon Landrieu, respectively.
In 1967, Thompson again opposed McKeithen, who sought reelection as governor under an amendment to the Louisiana Constitution approved by voters the previous year. On November 1, 1975, he challenged the reelection of his fellow Democrat, Governor Edwin Edwards, winner of the state's first ever nonpartisan blanket primary. Meanwhile, in 1973, Thompson challenged the reelection of Mayor Landrieu. Thompson normally spent virtually no money in his political campaigns other than his filing fee and limited transportation expense incurred to meet with voters. In his campaigns, Thompson frequently used the slogan, "Put the Axes to the Taxes".
In February 1967, Thompson served as master of ceremonies for a meeting of the Crescent City chapter of the National States' Rights Party, a different group from the Louisiana State's Rights Party which in 1960 had opposed the election of both John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon for U.S. President, though the Kennedy-Johnson ticket carried the state by plurality. The main speaker at the meeting was J. B. Stoner of Georgia, a staunch critic of both national parties regarding desegregation in the United States. In 1980, Stoner was convicted of the 1958 bombing of the African-American Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He eventually served three-and-a-half years of a ten-year prison sentence.
On January 19, 1972, on the birthday of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Thompson and a fellow segregationist, his long-term friend and mentor Rene LaCoste (not to be confused with the French tennis player René Lacoste), clashed with a group of Black Panthers at the Lee Monument in New Orleans. With a baritone voice, LaCoste had years earlier performed in an opera company in New York City. Then eighty-nine years of age, he was described as "dapper in seersucker slacks and navy sports jacket" and with a "white mustache and goatee" resembling Colonel Harland Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken. LaCoste and Thompson dressed in Klan robes for the occasion and placed a Confederate battle flag at the monument. The Black Panthers began throwing bricks at the pair, but the police arrived in time to prevent serious injury. At the time of the Thompson/LaCoste confrontation with the Black Panthers, David Duke, then a Klansman who served from 1989 to 1992 in the Louisiana House of Representatives, had been jailed in New Orleans for "inciting to riot".
Thompson died in New Orleans early in 1976 at the age of sixty-four.
- Patsy Sims (1996). The Klan (2nd ed.). Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. pp. 152–153. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
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- Thompson obituary, New Orleans Times-Picayune, February 16, 1976; pp. 1, 12
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election returns, December 5, 1959, December 7, 1963, November 6, 1965, and November 8, 1969
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election returns, November 4, 1967, October 1, 1973, and November 1, 1975
- Thad Beyle and Jennifer M. Jensen. "The Gubernatorial Campaign Finance Database". unc.edu. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- Ned Hémard. "New Orleans Nostalgia: You Had to Ax" (PDF). neworleansbar.org. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- New Orleans Times-Picayune, February 20, 1967, section 3, p. 16
- Joe Holley (April 28, 2005). "Virulent Segregationist J. B. Stonier Dies". The Washington Post. pp. B6. Retrieved August 1, 2014.