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Robert Byrd’s Redemption

Truthdig - “End of an era” is an overused trope, but in this case it’s appropriate: The last of the old Southern Democrats is gone.

Sen. Robert Byrd had long since repented, of course. The West Virginian, who died Monday at 92, deeply regretted his segregationist past, which included a year as a member of the Ku Klux Klan and at least several more years as a Klan sympathizer. He eventually became a passionate advocate for civil rights, and he was one of the most vocal supporters of legislation making the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. a national holiday.

But that was after Byrd’s personal enlightenment. Amid what is sure to be a flood of heartfelt encomiums to his lifetime of public service, it is important to note that his is a story of change and redemption—and that Byrd and his party had a shameful past to overcome. Read more.


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