Remembering Wirt Yerger: Change Agent With A Drawl

“I really got Jack Kennedy’s attention – you shoulda been there!” Wirt Yerger, the pivotal figure in Mississippi turning from Deep South Democrat to rock-solid Republican, drawled to Newsmax in June 2003.

The occasion was a luncheon of the conservative Mississippi Leadership Forum in the capital city of Jackson. Yerger (who died May 2 at age 92) was inevitably sought out for his stories as a living figure of his state’s modern history and rarely did he disappoint. 

It was 1958 and Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, even then a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960, accepted an invitation to address the Mississippi Young Democrats. 

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