“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” – Winston Churchill
In my observation of Andrew Breitbart, it seemed there was just one story that he could just not let go: Pigford. Years after he initially ran the investigations and interviews surrounding the Pigford scandal Andrew would still mention that it was unfinished, that the work was still not done. If Andrew and I ever crossed paths in our travels, I would always wait for Pigford to come up. He never forgot it.
It never seemed he was interested in a “scalp” or some type of victory when he talked about the Pigford case. Any time I ever heard Andrew talk about Pigford it was always in the context of the farmers who really were discriminated against, who had injustices against them as a result of the Pigford scam. To my recollection, it was those who were hurt by Pigford that Andrew talked about first. Government corruption, reform, and waste were always a distant second.
There were injustices against real black farmers as a result of Pigford and those injustices were never resolved. So Andrew never really let it rest. Maybe it wasn’t always his top story, but from what I could tell, it was always in his mind.
During his CPAC 2011 interview at the bloggers’ lounge, Andrew said he intended his keynote speech to be a “10 minute intro and then obsess on Pigford.” He then confessed that he got “diverted” with his “funny bone” and thought, “Oh, I’m amusing myself,” and so he kept the speech light.
Fast forward to the week Andrew died. It was February, a little over a year later from CPAC 2011, and a few of us went to dinner to unwind from a hard day’s work of preparing for the relaunch of the new site, including Andrew’s son. In one of the few moments where Andrew wasn’t in full command of the table, he mentioned that he was going to refocus on the Pigford case, citing the unfinished business with the black farmers.
“Dad, PLEEEEEASE don’t start on Pigford again,” his son begged. I don’t know if the whole table heard it, but several of us laughed. Just like his son, we knew that if Andrew pulled Pigford back into his obsessive gaze it would consume us all! He never forgot. The Pigford battle was never over.
The New York Times exposé on the Pigford case is a direct result of Andrew’s dedication to telling anyone who would listen to him for more than five minutes–and almost anyone would–about the plight of discriminated black farmers. On Pigford, just like on pretty much everything else Andrew did, he never, never, never gave in.
Churchill closed out his infamous speech (you can read the context of it here) with a charge that I find apt for the times:
Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days – the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.
Thanks for teaching us to never give in, Andrew.