Pictures published by the Jackson Free Press show that Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, graduated from a a segregated high school in the late 70s, casting an even darker shadow on the Republican hopeful’s already troubled campaign.

The photograph, taken from Lawrence County Academy’s 1975 yearbook, shows Hyde-Smith posing with a group of cheerleaders and the school’s mascot, a Confederate flag toting Southern general. Hyde-Smith, then a high school sophomore, is identified in the caption beneath the photo.

“The gotcha liberal media has taken leave of their senses,” Melissa Scallan, a spokesperson for Hyde-Smith’s campaign, said in a statement Saturday. “They have stooped to a new low, attacking her entire family and trying to destroy her personally instead of focusing on the clear differences on the issues between Cindy Hyde-Smith and her far-left opponent.”

Lawrence County Academy was among the many schools established in the South following the Supreme Court’s 1969 Brown v. Board of Education decision that forced states to desegregate public schools.

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The Academy, located a little over an hour south of Jackson, Mississippi, in the small town of Monticello, reportedly opened its whites-only classrooms in 1970.

Hyde-Smith graduated from the school in 1977, and went on to enroll her own daughter in another segregation school, Brookhaven Academy, according to the Free Press.

This is not the first time Hyde-Smith has faced public backlash for photos from her past. A 2014 picture of the candidate dressed as a Confederate soldier holding a rifle with the caption “Mississippi history at its best” surfaced hours before her debate with Democratic Candidate Mike Espy.

Hyde-Smith has also received significant criticism for videos of her joking about public hangings and seemingly endorsing voter suppression.

Days before the November 6 election, while speaking about a man in the crowd during a rally, Hyde-Smith said, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

The other video that was circulated just two weeks later, she told a group of her supporters that “there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.”


Espy responded to the Republican candidate’s comments by saying that they have “given our state another black eye that we don’t need. It’s just rejuvenating those stereotypes that we don’t need anymore.”

The state’s run-off elections are set to take place on Tuesday, December 4. If elected, not only will Espy help balance out the Republican majority in the Senate, but he will also go down as the first African-American Senator for Mississippi since the Reconstruction era.

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