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Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo says he believes Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan spoke the truth when the racially divisive figure spoke in Monroe last December of evil “white folk” trying to undermine blacks and black public officials.

Mayo was referring to his visit with Farrakhan on Dec. 15, 2017 at the Monroe Regional Airport after the hate group leader had attended his granddaughter’s graduation at Grambling State University. At that time, Monroe police provided Farrakhan with a police escort, and Mayo presented him with a key to the city — the second time Mayo bestowed that honor on Farrakhan.

Expressing surprise that his exchange with Farrakhan upset many citizens, Mayo defended the hate group leader’s remarks during his State of the City address last week at the Monroe Civic Center.

Referring to the controversy stirred by his gift to Farrakhan, Mayo said, “I was flabbergasted that it lasted a whole month.”

“And we’re still talking about it,” he said. “All this over a $6 key that won’t even open a bathroom.”

Last week marked the first time Mayo stated his personal opinion on Farrakhan’s remarks, after spending more than a month dodging questions from local reporters about the subject.

Last month, Mayo expressed frustration that citizens were “appalled” at his gift to Farrakhan. He also criticized local media outlets for asking him to state his opinion on Farrakhan but fled the Monroe City Council meeting before reporters could ask him any follow-up questions.

Mayo also revealed last week that he had previously given a key to the city to Nuri Muhammad, who is the Nation of Islam’s student minister. Mayo referred to Muhammad as Farrakhan’s “No. 2 guy.”

Farrakhan has led the Nation of Islam since the late 1970s. The Nation of Islam is a black nationalist group, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a “hate group” for its racist and anti-Semite rhetoric. When he met with Mayo last December, Farrakhan made several remarks consistent with his record of accusing whites and Jews of being wicked and violent people who were devoted to oppressing blacks. According to Farrakhan, blacks are inherently superior to whites and Jews.

“The enemy is so clever,” Farrakhan told Mayo. “He finds ways to kill that does not attract attention. The old way of white folk was just to shoot you down, you know. Today, they’re a different kind. He has to be more clever to do the things that he does. So be careful. Be careful of who feeds you, because death is coming at us through the water.”

Speaking to Mayo, who is the third black mayor in the city’s history, Farrakhan warned that prominent white individuals or former white elected officials would seek opportunities to remove Mayo from office.

“They may be out of office, but they’re watching to see if you make a misstep so they can put good out and put evil back,” Farrakhan said.

When Mayo broached the subject last week, he referred to Farrakhan’s remarks as a “pep talk.”

“While we were there, I gave him a key to the city, and he was just flabbergasted,” Mayo said. “And he said some positive things to me and the group there about how there was for me, as a mayor who represents not just black folks but everybody, (people) who would watch for missteps and, I think he used the word ‘evil,’ which would be there to take my place.”

“I didn’t notice anything that he said that was not true,” Mayo added.

Mayo knocked public responses to Farrakhan that compared him to other hate group figures such as David Duke, who is a white nationalist and a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Mayo also claimed he did not know what the “Southern (Poverty) Law Center” was.

In the wake of the Farrakhan controversy, other Monroe officials said they believed Mayo’s gift to such a racially divisive figure as Farrakhan reflected poorly on the city.

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