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For Love of God and Country

Why have African-Americans abandoned the Republican Party when it never abandoned them? Part II

October 31, 2012
This is a continuation of Part I of this series:

Fast-forward to 1963.

On August 23, 1963, civil rights organizers held a massive march on Washington DC, calling for legislative action to end discrimination. Set on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and broadcast to a television audience, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would deliver a stunningly eloquent speech that helped advance the cause of civil rights and define a standard of civility. He spoke the timeless words "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." This was the Dream.

He invoked powerful imagery:
"We have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.....

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
Dr. King was a Republican. He believed in the "opportunity" afforded Americans under the Declaration of Independence - the "equal" opportunity. He talked about Natural Rights... Inalienable Rights. He didn't preach about equal outcomes or equal things. He didn't preach about dependency on government or a political party. He preached about accomplishment... the intangible qualities of character and dignity and the tangible ones of education and success. He preached about a colorless society; one that is based on the dignity of every human being and the notion of common brotherhood. "I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood."Author Zora Neale Hurston once wrote: "I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes.... Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more or less. No, I do not weep at the world - I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife." (1928)

The 1960's was the era of the great Civil Rights movement. It was John F. Kennedy who originally pushed for Civil Rights legislation, after the 1963 summer of racial violence. But he knew he didn't have the support he needed in the House. The House was controlled by Democrats. As was the Senate. He was hopeful, however, when meetings with Senate Republicans showed that he had firm support among them. But just two days after the House announced the bill would be heard, Kennedy was assassination. LBJ asserted he would continue the support for Civil Rights legislation.

But in 1964, the legislation would never have passed without Republican support. In the US House, 78% of Republicans supported while only 58% of Democrats did. In the Senate, Democrats showed even less support. In fact, the 'Southern-bloc' of the Senate Democrats - 18 of them - launched a 57-day filibuster which they intended would prevent the Senate from passing the bill. They boldly declared: "We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states." Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond (of South Carolina) said: "These Civil Rights Proposals, which the President has sent to Capitol Hill for enactment into law, are unconstitutional, unnecessary, unwise and extend beyond the realm of reason. This is the worst civil-rights package ever presented to the Congress and is reminiscent of the Reconstruction proposals and actions of the radical Republican Congress."

On the morning of June 10, 1964, Democratic Senator Robert Byrd (of West Virginia), who entered politics as the "Exalted Cyclops" and recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan, filibustered the Senate for over 14 hours - the second longest filibuster ever in our nation's history. As part of this filibuster, he cited a racist study that claimed black people's brains are statistically smaller than white people's brains. Only 17 years earlier, he urged the re-birth of the Klan, claiming that "It is needed like never before." [And just before that, in 1945, he wrote: "Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."]

When he died at age 92, Democrats still referred to him as the "Conscience of the Senate."

You can't make this stuff up.

Republican Senate Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen (Illinois) condemned the filibuster and offered the final remarks in support of the legislation: "Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come. The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing in government, in education, and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here!" Republicans then rallied to support a cloture vote - which means a vote to end a filibuster. Never in history had the Senate been able to muster enough votes to cut off a filibuster on a civil rights bill.

The clerk then proceeded to call the roll. When the decisive 67th vote was reached, Senate Republicans cheered and many Democrats slumped over in disgust. In the end, 80% of Senate Democrats voted 'nay' on the legislation and only 20% voted to support it. Because of his strong support of the bill and his efforts to hold Republicans together and build support for the cloture vote, Senator Dirksen - again, a Republican - is generally seen as the hero of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The following year, Senator Dirksen, together with Senate Majority leader Mike Mansfield, introduced the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

How is it possible that we have forgotten so much of our nation's history? In an era where so much attention is given to the accomplishments of each political party, how is it that the Republican party continues to get short-changed?

How is it that our nation's leaders, our media, and especially our school system are not reminding the American people of the proud achievements of Republican leaders and the Republican Party with respect to Human Dignity and Equal Rights? At what point did these achievements magically impute to the Democrats? Are African-Americans suffering some sort of selective amnesia regarding their history? Africanesia? How is the Democratic Party - the party of slavery, secession, segregation, and now socialism - all of a sudden the party of fairness and equal rights?

Why have African-Americans aligned themselves so tightly and blindly to the Democratic Party - the party which historically has stood for the racist policies of the antebellum South and the vindictive policies of Redemption and Jim Crow? In promising African-Americans a new American Dream - one of greater government rights and benefits - rather than the American Dream enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often spoke about, is the Democratic Party fulfilling the warning that the Freeman Bureau addressed in its Inquiry Commission of 1865 - that with respect to the amount of government aid to provide, "there is as much danger in doing too much as in doing too little. The risk is serious that, under the guise of guardianship, slavery, in a modified form, may be practically restored. Those who have ceased, only perforce, to be slave-holders, will be sure to unite their efforts to effect just such a purpose." Too much aid is the enemy of a free man. It will only "contribute to his virtual re-enslavement."

And so I ask this question: Why have African-Americans abandoned the Republican Party when the Republican Party has never abandoned them?

The Republican Party has never thought them worthy of enslavement, either physically or virtually.


David Barton, "What is Slavery?" and "The Fugitive Slave Law." Referenced at:

David Barton, "Civil Rights Acts" and "Civil Rights Amendments to the Constitution. Referenced at:

The Dred Scott decision (1857) - and

The 13th Amendment: Ratification and Results, Harp Week. Referenced at:

The 14th Amendment: Congressional Passage, Harp Week. Referenced at:

Gene Healy, "The Squalid 14th Amendment," Lew Rockwell, August 1999. Referenced at: [Originally posted in Liberty Magazine]

The Lies and Racism of Woodrow Wilson.

Bishop Absalom Jones, "A Thanksgiving Sermon," Anglican History. Referenced at: [The "Thanksgiving Sermon" was preached January 1, 1808, in St. Thomas's, or the African Episcopal, Church, Philadelphia, in recognition of the abolition of the African slave trade, on that day, by the Congress of the United States].

Zora Neale Hurston, "How It Feels to Be Colored Me," The World Tomorrow, May 1928. Referenced at:

Joseph E. Fallon, "Power, Legitimacy, and the 14th Amendment." Referenced at:

"George Mason's Views on Slavery," Gunston Hall. Referenced at:

The Original Intent of the 14th Amendment.

Alex Knepper, "Remembering Byrd's Racism," Frum Forum, June 29, 2010. Referenced at:

Frances Rice, "KKK Terrorist Arm of the Democratic Party," National Black Republican Association. Referenced at:

Dr. Eric Foner, A Short History of Reconstruction; Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., 1990. [Dr. Foner is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University].

Our Nation's Archives: A History of the United States in Documents (ed. Erik Bruun and Jay Crosby); Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 1999. [pg. 417 and pp. 731-34]

Inquiry Commission Report (for Freedman's Bureau) - Preliminary Report -

Inquiry Commission Report (for Freedman's Bureau) - On the Topic of Slavery -

Inquiry Commission Report (for Freedman's Bureau) - On the Topic of Emancipation -

Inquiry Commission Report (for Freedman's Bureau) - Conclusion: "The Future in the US of the African Race"

Nathan Bedford Forrest - ["The Cause for which you have so long and so manfully struggled, and for which you have braved dangers, endured privations, and sufferings, and made so many sacrifices, is today hopeless. The government which we sought to establish and perpetuate, is at an end. Reason dictates and humanity demands that no more blood be shed. Fully realizing and feeling that such is the case, it is your duty and mine to lay down our arms -- submit to the "powers that be" -- and to aid in restoring peace and establishing law and order throughout the land."]


[1] North Carolina's ban on the slave trade at the time of the Philadelphia Convention was not an express ban. "Maryland and Virginia he said had already prohibited the importation of slaves expressly. North Carolina had done the same in substance."

See James Madison's Notes on the Constitutional Convention: or (the Avalon Project)

Specifically, the Slavery debate:

[2] The Federalist Party was the party of most of our Founding Fathers and Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party would go on to give birth to the Democratic Party, although elements of the platform ultimately made it into the Republican Party as well, such as the requirement for strict interpretation of the Constitution and limited government.

[3] The Republican Platform was announced in Philadelphia in 1856 -

[4] It is argued that the 14th Amendment was never properly ratified.

Before an amendment can be ratified, it must first be proposed. The Constitution provides two methods of proposing an amendment: (i) An amendment can be proposed by 2/3 of the states; or (ii) It can be proposed by 2/3 of both houses of Congress. The method was used in the case of the 14th Amendment was the latter - the congressional method. Section V of the Constitution addresses the amendment process and explains that "no state without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate." When Congress proposed the amendment in 1866, twenty-three Senators were unlawfully excluded from the U. S. Senate in order for the republicans to secure a 2/3 vote for the adoption of proposed amendment. Those excluded included both senators from each of the eleven southern states and one Senator from New Jersey. This alone is sufficient to invalidate the so-called fourteenth because it was never properly proposed.).

Furthermore, history records that Tennessee was the first state to ratify the 14th Amendment - on July 24, 1866. But did Tennessee improperly ratify it? The Tennessee legislature was not in session when the proposed amendment was sent, so a special session of the legislature had to be called. The Tennessee Senate ratified the proposed amendment. However, the Tennessee House could not assemble a quorum as required in order to legally act. Finally, after several days and "considerable effort, two of the recalcitrant members were arrested and brought into a committee room opening into the Chamber of the House. They refused to vote when their names were called, whereupon the Speaker ruled that there was no quorum. His decision, however, was overruled, and the amendment was declared ratified on July 19, 1866, by a vote of 43 to 11, the two members under arrest in the adjoining committee room not voting."

Diane Rufino lives in Greenville, NC. She is a wife, mother and current student. She has a law degree as well as a degree in science. She is now working on her teaching credential and expects to do her student teaching in the fall. She is active in both the Eastern NC Tea Party and the Beaufort Patriot Tea Party and is a true Patriot.
  1. reply print email
    Why Blacks Abandoned the Republican Party
    October 28, 2012 | 12:48 PM

    According to August Meier and Elliott Rudwick in their book "From Plantation to Ghetto" (1976), the Republican Party refused to concern itself with the plight of American Blacks by the late 1870s.

    Curiously, the Republican-dominated United States Supreme Court in 1896 favored Southern segregation and discrimination against Blacks (Meier and Rudwick 1976, pp. 209-210).

    It certain seems that the Republican Party found it easier to ignore the plight of Blacks in the era of segregation than to risk a national divide over race.

    Besides, segregation all but eliminated the Black vote in the American South during that long period. Having said that, how could the Republican Party appeal to an ethnic group in the South that would have been lynched out of existence had it tried to exercise its right to vote in the South?

    By the 1930s, when Blacks could freely exercise the right to vote in the North, the appeals of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt slowly convinced more Blacks to support Northern Democrats.

    At the same time, Republicans who could rely on the historical ties between Blacks and the Republican Party failed to appeal to Northern Blacks to vote for Republicans.

    Perhaps an observer can blame FDR (as well as Republican negligence) for the ongoing Black support for the Democrat Party.

    Also, Republican opposition to affirmative action (without offering a decent alternative, whatsoever) and school busing (without supporting school integration at all) in the 1970s also contributed to the Republican loss of the Black vote.

    While a higher percentage of Republican representives and senators (as opposed to Democrats) voted for the Civil Rights Act in 1964, a much higher percentage of Democrats in Congress voted for the Martin Luther King Holiday in 1983 than Republicans.

    Two of those Republicans, Congressman (at the time) John McCain and Senator Jesse Helms, voted against the Martin Luther King Holiday.

    In other words, the Republican Party abandoned American Blacks for too long!

    And the Republican Party had better go back to the ideals and values of Charles Sumner, Thaddeus Stevens, William Seward, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Robert Smalls, P.B.S. Pinchback, Robert Brown Elliott, Mary Church Terrell, Henry McNeal Turner, and many others who helped to make the Republican Party a great political force that it used to be.

    Now the party supports a liberal Massachusetts flip-flop who will say anything to get elected. And the Tea Party is conspicuous by its absence in the presidential race.

    On another note, John Adams (no middle name) was one of the Founding Fathers of the USA, but his son John Quincy Adams became the sixth President of the United States and later became a Congressman from Massachusetts.

    Bennie Visher III
  2. reply print email
    this article was amusing in its blatant agendas
    October 31, 2012 | 05:24 AM

    its telling that this onesided tellng of republican race relations stops with the civilrights act of 1865

    and has nothing to say about the nixon southern strategy of turning the south against the democrats using overtly racist appeals

    and that the same diehard southerners who were once dixiecrats are now teaparty republicans who continue to use dogwhistle appeals to racism

    any portrayal of the 'great general forrest' that doesnt bring into account the massacre of black soldiers at fort pillow is clearly a selective historical reading

    and his speeches, so representative of speeches delivered by southern elites trying to regain political power thru black votes, are not put in legitimate context either

    this was a teaparty screed with obvious agendas that decided not to cover the modern period when the republican party actually did abandon blacks

    nor does it engage the severely reactionary role the repub party plays in contemporary american politics

    an obvious attempt to trick blackvoters into supporting repub policies inimical to them, and to all americans

    it is amusingly ironic in its continuation of the same southern rejectionism that it appears to decry historically, but as evidenced by its lauding forrest, is actually told thru a tea party lens

    blacks vote their interests, and the contemporary republican party has made its animosity to blacks very clear

    it has in fact made its animosity to the true vision of america clear, an america bound to its social contract of looking out for each other, to building a civil society - its become radically regressive, a political farce

    black oklahoma repub jc watts father once said something along the lines of 'a blackman voting for a republican is like a chicken voting for colonel saunders'

    that could have been said of all americans

    arthur flowers
  3. reply print email
    The GOP of 2012 is a very different GOP from 1865 or 1965
    October 31, 2012 | 10:50 AM

    In 1954 the Supreme Court ruled that discrimination be ended "will all deliberate speed." A Republican was in the White House but Ike did little to enforce the mandate of Brown v. Board of Ed, which was decided by a Supreme Court dominated by justices nominated by Democrats. It was a Democratic president who sent troops to force intergration at Southern universities, and a Southern US president who signed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act.

    True most Blacks WERE Republicans, but most left by 1965 because efforts to advance Civil Rights, as mentioned above, were made by Democrats.

    The Republican Party of the 1960s was very different than the GOP of today. Republicans of the 1960s were social liberals who would be persona non grata in today's GOP; folks like Charles Percy , Mark Hatfield,Lowell Weicker, Jacob Javits, Clifford Case, and Edward Brooke were denounced by Southern Democrats who would soon be Repubicans for their support for medicar, civil rights, campaign reforms and other reforms hated by today's GOP.

    There's no documentation of Dr. King's political affiliation and he kept his political alliances close to the vest. King may have been like many Blacks who were Republicans before the 1960, but judging by to topics of Dr, King's later sermons, it would be clear that Dr. King did not support the views of the GOP of Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater.

    Many people have falsely believe the "I Have a Dream Speech" was an affirmation of a "color blind" pull yourself up from your bootstraps society. Not true. Dr. King was a proud graduate of an all Black male college and was a member of an all Black soriety and often talked about the fellowship of attending an all Black college and being in an all Black fraternity, and he would oppose efforts to to shut down or consolidate HIstorically Black Colleges with mostly White universities.

    Dr. King often talked about the Christian responsibilty of those in government and those of reasonable means to take care of the less fortunate in whoat you describe as "handouts."

    Many folks don't look at Dr. King's life after the "I Have a Dream" speech but like Malcolm X, whose worldview, and opinion of White people changed drastically after his trip to Mecca, Dr. King's views changed significantly after JFK's assissantion. The Dr. King of the "I Have A Dream" speech was very different of the Dr. King of the 1967 "Why we need to end the Vietnam War."

    robert jackson
  4. reply print email
    The Republican Party
    October 31, 2012 | 03:08 PM

    Why don't more Black people identify with the Republican party?

    â€" Strom Thurman
    â€" Jesse Helms
    â€" David Duke
    â€" Trent Lott
    â€" Lee Attwater
    â€" The Southern Stategy

    The real question to ask is why doesn't the Republican party welcome people who aren't white?

  5. reply print email
    Why have African-Americans abandoned the Republican Party when i
    October 31, 2012 | 04:38 PM

    Black people are not fixated on the past, but are living in the present. That's why they are able to vote Democrat and are not interested in voting Republican. It's intersting, the article does't mention any of the present day reasons Black people do not feel a part of the Republican agenda. Using code words to denigrate a race of people is the present agenda of that party. Hinting that millions of Black people only vote Democrat because they want a "hand-out" from the government is a slap in the face to the many millions of hardworking Black Democrats who labor everyday. Listening to innuendos, and blatantly bigoted comments from the "cream" of the Republican party is why Black people have "abandoned" the Republican Party!

  6. reply print email
    Black & White Republicrat
    October 31, 2012 | 08:49 PM

    The Republican Party is more than weak on racial justice.  For 100 years, from 1865 to 1965, the Republicans allowed the Democratic Pary in the South to enforce Jim Crow, antivoting and segregation laws.  They could not have cared less.

    By the 1960's as the loyalty of the European ethnic blocks in the North began turn from Democrat to Republican, the Democratic Party reached out to black voters who had previously been denied the vote by these same Democrats.  The Democratic machines of the northern cities needed to increase the body count at the polls and coincidentally black voting was a cherished right for the first time since 1789. To Democrats blacks had become more useful as citizens than they were as subjects in medical trials.

    Neither party found it worth their while to stop J. Edgar Hoover from spying on civil rights leaders.

    Black Americans have the universal political experience all Americans share.  We have one and all been poorly served by a hypocritical, selfserving political class.  American politicians are from top to bottom the single worst burden this nation has had to bear.  There are no heros in American politics.  We elect the same vacuous trash who screwed up the senior prom and wonder why the county, state and nation are broke.

    The only wonder left is that any segment of Americans, the young, the old, the poor, the  wealthy, the black or white or red would ever place their faith in the promises of a politician.

    How lame is that?

    Warren Smith
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