WashPost Hit Piece: Nikki Haley's High School In the '80s Was a 'Segregation Academy'?

February 21st, 2024 4:26 PM

Over the years, we’ve witnessed many Washington Post hit pieces against Republican presidential candidates, and the most shameless ones are about what happened in their youth. One of the first ones to come to mind is Mitt Romney being attacked in May of 2012 for apparently being a vicious prankster who gave some other kid an involuntary haircut on the quad.

On Tuesday afternoon, Post reporter Michael Kranish – a man who used to buff the image of the lanky windsurfer John Kerry when he worked at The Boston Globe – put out a 3,000-word article trying to make Nikki Haley look bad. This was the headline:

Haley’s nearly all-White high school lacked lessons of racism, some say

Haley left her hometown’s integrated public school system and attended a high school newly created from the merger of two “segregation academies.”

An entire hit piece based on what “some say.” They mean what “liberals say.” This didn't appear in the Wednesday paper. At its robust length, it's probably meant to appear on Sunday. The thesis came in the second paragraph:

But as Haley began her sophomore year of high school in the fall of 1986, she left Bamberg, S.C., commuting 20 miles north to a radically different environment: Orangeburg Preparatory, a newly created private school formed from the merger of two institutions known locally as “segregation academies” because of their nearly universal White enrollment in a majority-Black city.

Are they serious? Was South Carolina “segregationist” in 1986? If so, why was Nikki the Indian-American allowed?  Kranish hammered on the alleged lack of “lessons in racism,” especially about the “Orangeburg Massacre” in 1968, when three young black men were shot and killed by cops at a civil rights protest.

To be educated at Orangeburg Prep was to “swim in the current” of the way Whites thought and were taught, said Katrice Shuler, the valedictorian of Orangeburg’s 1989 class, who recalls sitting through classes with Haley. “It could be very easy for someone to go through the school system, the private school system, and feel that, oh, racism isn’t a problem because they haven’t been negatively affected by it,” said Shuler, who is White.

No one at the Post could confirm what Haley was actually taught about race and history in high school the 1980s. One classmate says they learned all about race and the local shooting in Advanced-Placement History, but he doesn't know if she took that class. But wild conjectures are allowed! 

Haley’s school was somehow quietly….Jim Crow! So said Jack Shuler [no relation to Katrice, they say], who went to Haley’s school and clearly hates it, and wrote a whole book about it:

Some students say that the legacy of Orangeburg Prep as a nearly all-White school born from segregation academies was clear in the curriculum and the composition of the student body....

“In the 1980s and 1990s Orangeburg Prep was a quiet manifestation of Jim Crow,” Shuler, who is White, wrote in the book, published during Haley’s governorship.

The story also featured Cleveland Sellers, a black student protester who was shot by the police in 1968, and his son Bakari Sellers, who gets a chance to rip Haley: 

“Nikki Haley is the most shrewd, talented politician in the country. She is not racist by any stretch,” said former state Rep. Bakari Sellers, a Democrat who is Black and grew up in Bamberg County and whose father was among those wounded in the Orangeburg Massacre. “But she knows better. … Either you are wholly ignorant, which she’s not, or you’re intellectually dishonest for the purpose of political gain.

"Intellectually dishonest for political gain" could be the slogan on the masthead of The Washington Post.