The American Federation of Government Employees is officially demanding an apology from U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, a Republican from Georgia, after an AFGE representative discovered that the congressman’s office showcased an extremely racist book while visiting Ferguson there this week.
“I was at a loss for words when I saw General Robert E. Lee’s medals and the book ‘Gen. Robert Edward Lee: Soldier, Citizen, and Christian Patriot’ in the lobby next to where I was told to sit by his staff,” AFGE Local 554 Legislative Political Coordinator and Steward James Miller, who is black, said in a statement released by the Union.
According to Miller, the book was encased behind a glass shelf, and was open to the a page featuring the following, particularly vile, passages:
The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, societally, and physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their instruction as a race.
…if he means well to the slave he must not create angry feelings in the master.
AFGE also claims that when Miller asked one of the congressman’s staffers about the offensive passage, his question was essentially ignored, and the staffer “instead pointed Miller and his fellow union members present to look at General George Washington’s hair that was also on display.”
I have reached out to Ferguson’s office for comment, and will update this story if they respond.
Miller told CNN that after sharing his experience in Ferguson’s office publicly, he received a call from the congressman’s chief of staff, who “said he wasn’t aware the book was there. He apologized maybe 15 times on the phone.”
“It seemed as if they just said what was necessary to try to mitigate the situation,” Miller added.
“I am mortified for Mr. Miller and any other constituent who have had the misfortune of seeing this racist book while just trying to visit their member of Congress here in the nation’s capital,” AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. said in the group’s press release.
Ferguson, a conservative Republican who represents Georgia’s Third Congressional District, has served since 2017.
Update, 9:25 a.m. ET: In a statement to Splinter, Rep. Ferguson said:
The office was decorated by staff and the book in question was underneath a box of military challenge coins. I did not even know it was there. When my staff learned about it, they removed it and apologized to the individual who was upset by it.