By G. Wayne Dowdy
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Additional info for Mayor Crump Don’t Like It: Machine Politics in Memphis
67 It is not known what happened, but this ended Crump’s hopes of affecting the mayoral race, at least publicly. The aborted Crump slate included city judge Lewis Fitzhugh, who was not seeking another term. When the ticket collapsed, Fitzhugh announced he was running for mayor, which suggests the possibility that Crump had a hand in the decision. The overriding issue of the 1923 city election, however, was not Crump’s machinations or the accomplishments of Mayor Paine. Rather it was the growing influence of the Ku Klux Klan.
In a letter to an old friend, Crump wrote: “We are all most ‘hap-ee’ over the election, in which we defeated the Ku Klux over two to one. I almost lose my equilibrium when the Ku Klux are being discussed. Were I . . ”20 The rapprochement between Crump and Peay satisfied both factions in the short term, but neither was totally comfortable with the 44 “The People Have Made Their Statement” situation. 21 Traditionally Tennessee governors stepped down after serving two consecutive terms, and Crump hoped to influence who the 1926 gubernatorial nominee would be.
69 As Memphians debated the possible relationship between city hall and the secret empire, a feud erupted between Paine and his secretary, Clifford Davis, over the latter’s candidacy for city judge. 70 Faced with the loss of Paine’s political support, Davis turned to the Klan. 71 Davis’s relationship with the Klan put Paine in an awkward position, and he moved quickly to extricate himself from the charge that he was pro-Klan. 73 Not surprisingly, African Americans comprised an important “The Black Flag of Machine Politics” 39 part of this coalition.