SHREVEPORT, LA., OCT. 14 -- The first black candidate to make a runoff for mayor in Shreveport says he thinks racial hatred may have been the motive of whoever festooned his yard with toilet paper.
"This makes me more determined to be mayor of this town," said C.O. Simpkins, looking at the yards of toilet paper draped through trees and bushes Saturday.
"I think that this speaks for just a small number of people in Shreveport," said Simpkins, a Democrat. "In my talking to people, especially white people, I feel that they would be appalled by this."
Simpkins said anonymous callers have threatened to kill him or his wife, Elaine, unless he dropped out of the race for mayor. Some have identified themselves as Ku Klux Klan members, he said.
An anonymous female caller woke the couple Saturday, telling them to look at their yard, then called again a few moments later spewing obscenities, said Elaine Simpkins.
Simpkins, a dentist, led the civil rights movement in Shreveport in the 1950s and early 1960s. He led the Oct. 6 primary, in which all candidates competed regardless of party, with 32 percent of the vote, and faces Republican City Council member Hazel Beard in the Nov. 6 runoff.
Beard said she also has received threatening phone calls and letters, adding, "It's no secret that I've long ago disavowed hatred in any form."