In case you missed it, an old speech depicting presidential hopeful Joe Biden giving a crazy speech went viral over the weekend. The speech took place at a public pool in Delaware where Joe spoke about "Cornpop" a hoodlum street tough who threatened to fight Shotgun Joe for enforcing a "no pomade in the public pool" rule.
Yes, this is real.
The Internet went into full swing - memes, jokes, and thousands of confused Tweets surfaced online after people couldn't believe the crazy rant babbled by Joe.
But was Cornpop a real guy? Apparently, yes!
Biden was a lifeguard at an integrated pool in 1962. In the video, which you can watch later in this article, Biden says, “This was the diving board area, and I was one of the guards. Corn Pop was a bad dude, and he ran a bunch of bad boys. Back in those days, you see how things have changed, if you used pomade in your hair you had to wear a bathing cap.”
Biden said Corn Pop was up on the board and wouldn’t listen to him. He told him to get off the board or he would have to “drag him off.” He also called him “Esther,” a reference to Esther Williams.
By Biden’s recollection, Corn Pop said, “I’ll meet you outside.” Biden said he parked his car outside the gate, and Corn Pop said, “I’ll be waiting for you.” He was waiting with three guys with straight razors, said the former vice president, who was in college at the time. “Not a joke,” said Biden, who made the comments two years ago when the Brown-Burton-Winchester Park in Wilmington, Delaware was renamed the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Aquatic Center.
Although some are ridiculing Biden for this story on social media, there’s a lot of evidence that the substance of it is true.
Daniel Dale, a CNN reporter who fact checks politicians, reported that he discovered an obituary for William “CornPop” Morris. “Biden is facing skepticism for a story he has told about a 1960s confrontation at a Wilmington, Delaware pool with a guy named Corn Pop — partly because of the name Corn Pop,” he wrote. “Here’s an obituary for Wilmington’s William L. ‘CornPop’ Morris, who died at 73 in 2016.”
According to an obituary posted on Legacy.com via Delaware Online, William L. Morris “passed away with family by his side on Dec. 2, 2016. Home going services will be held at Mother UAME Church 701 E 5th street on Saturday Dec. 10th. Viewing will be from 10-12pm and services following. Arrangements provided by Bell Funeral Home.” The obit says he was known as “CornPop.”
Dale added: “Former Wilmington mayor Dennis Williams tells me this is the CornPop of the Biden incident. He says he grew up across the courtyard from CornPop in a housing project. He says CornPop, ‘real as the moon in the sky,’ was confrontational as a young man…Williams says he heard about Biden’s confrontation with CornPop the day after it occurred.”
Dale also found evidence that there was a gang called the Romans, just as Biden said. “Some of the skepticism has been about the name of the gang or crew Biden said CornPop ran with, the Romans. Here’s an article from Delaware’s News Journal in which a local historian says there was a Wilmington gang called the Romans in the 1960,” he wrote. “In conclusion: I can’t yet confirm the details of an alleged incident at a Delaware pool in the 1960s, but if you’re skeptical because of the ‘CornPop’ the ‘Romans,’ that’s a real guy and a real group, and Biden isn’t the only one who recalls a Biden-CornPop confrontation.”
In 2010,The Root ran a story about Joe Biden and the Corn Pop Tale. “Shortly after he ousted a guy named Corn Pop for breaking the rules at the all-black pool, Joe Biden considered calling the police to escort him to his car once his shift ended,” the story reported.
It says that Corn Pop’s gang was called the Romans and described Biden as the “lone white lifeguard at Prices Run—one of the few public pools in Wilmington, Del., open to non-whites during the 1960s.” Biden made fun of Corn Pop’s hair and kicked him out. The Root reported that Corn Pop was upset, but Biden, a college student at the time, got him to back down by grabbing a chain.