I was disturbed when I heard in the Democratic debates that Joe Biden was accused of being a segregationist because he worked with Southern Senators. One was Jim Eastland of Mississippi and the other was Herman Talmadge of Georgia. As I remember Senator Biden tried hard to get along with everyone to get things done.

Eastland was a congenial old guy who liked to invite other Senators to have a drink of scotch with him in the evening. Among those was Senator Ted Kennedy, who also had a taste for scotch.

Senator Talmadge was the guy who made it possible for me to work my way through law school by giving me my patronage job on the Capitol Police force. When I graduated, I was given a job in his office.

If he was a segregationist it was because he grew up in the South. In the 1954 Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court struck down the doctrine of separate but equal. My graduation from Dixie High School in 1958 was the last class that was not integrated.

Soon after I began working in Talmadge’s office he hired Curtis Atkinson as his first black professional staff person. His main job was to build bridges to the black community around Atlanta. I was his best friend on the Talmadge staff. He and his wife Melvis even attended a wedding celebration for my first wife (now deceased).
When he and his wife came to Washington, they would stay in one of my townhouses in Alexandria, VA.

The fact that Joe Biden served for eight years as the Vice President with Barack Obama, our only black President, should insulate him such attacks

Michael R. McLeod