Tennessee Cotton Gin Boss Threatens to Lynch Black Worker for Drinking From ‘Whites Only’ Fountain
A supervisor at a Tennessee cotton gin has been fired after he was secretly recorded making racist death threats and racially abusing black workers.
The unnamed manager, who worked at Atkinson Cotton Warehouse in Memphis, allegedly engaged in racist abuse of black workers for months.
“He would be like, ‘You need to think like a white man,'” employee Marrio Mangrum told WREG.
“He pulled his pants down in front of us and told us to kiss his white tail,” added worker Untonia Harris.
“Hey black boy! Go over there and get my cotton,” the supervisor once allegedly commanded.
“Every day we were hearing the same thing. Every day,” said Mangrum.
The workers also reported being called “monkeys” and other racial slurs. After enduring the abuse for months, Harris decided to use his cell phone camera to catch his racist boss in the act.
As Harris went to drink from the water fountain in the warehouse office, his supervisor is heard saying, “I need to put a sign here that says, ‘white people only.'”
“I am going to use the microwave,” replies Harris.
“Hell no,” his boss says.
“Why can’t I use the microwave, man?”
“Because you are not white.”
The supervisor is also caught lamenting the end of Jim Crow racial segregation.
“Back then, nobody thought anything about [segregation],” he says. “Now everybody is made… to think it’s bad.”
“Put your sign on the wall then, because I am feeling to drink it,” Harris says at the fountain. “What would they do when they catch me drinking your water?”
“That’s when we hang you,” the supervisor says matter-of-factly.
“I think about his every day… of my life,” Harris told WREG.
E.W. Atkinson, owner of the cotton gin, told WREG that management there is provided by another company and that the offending supervisor has been terminated. Atkinson said he knew nothing of the racist abuse occurring at his warehouse.
“I just wasn’t around. I’m sorry I didn’t know sooner,” he said.
Harris and Mangrum have filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), ABC News reports.
Federal Compress, the outside company that employed the racist manager, released a statement in which it claimed it has “zero tolerance” for racial discrimination and that the offending supervisor was “immediately removed” and fired by the company.
“Federal Compress remains committed to treating all employees, customers and members of the public with respect and dignity,” the statement said.