Noah S. “Soggy” Sweat, Jr., of Corinth, was a former judge and lawyer whose 1952 “Whiskey Speech” became a monument to political doubletalk. His professional and political career included stints as a legislator, district attorney, circuit court judge and Ole Miss professor. But Sweat will be remembered most for his “Whiskey Speech” delivered in the Mississippi House in 1952 when lawmakers were debating legalizing liquor. Liquor was illegal in Mississippi. But the state collected what was called a “black market” tax on it totaling millions of dollars. Sweat, who was elected to the House in 1947 at the age of 24, served one term and delivered the speech during his last year in office.
Judge Sweat’s speech has had a lasting impact on Mississippi citizens, and it is still being widely read and recited today, more than a decade after Sweat’s passing. Commenting in The Daily Corinthian newspaper in a 1989 newspaper interview, Judge Sweat said, “It was a tour de force.”
And other comments make note of it as well. David Rae Morris, sone of beloved Mississippi writer Willie Morris said “Ed Perry used to stand on a table and give a great rendition of this speech. A classic.”
Drew Mason, a close friend of Judge Sweat, remembers,”Soggy and my dad were great friends. He looked more like Colonel Rebel than any other person I ever met! He gave this autographed ‘original’ to dad, and it his hung in his UM law school office for about 30 years.”
Editor’s Note: To read the famous “Whiskey Speech,” click here.
JOHN COFIELD'S 'OXFORD & OLE MISS' –– JUDGE NOAH SWEAT, JR.
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