For Love of God and Country
Why have African-Americans abandoned the Republican Party when it never abandoned them? Part II
October 31, 2012This 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.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)
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."
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: http://www.davidbarton.biz/page/2/
David Barton, "Civil Rights Acts" and "Civil Rights Amendments to the Constitution. Referenced at: http://davidbartonushistory.weebly.com/
The Dred Scott decision (1857) - http://americancivilwar.com/colored/dred_scott.html and http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2933t.html
The 13th Amendment: Ratification and Results, Harp Week. Referenced at: http://13thamendment.harpweek.com/HubPages/CommentaryPage.asp?Commentary=05Results
The 14th Amendment: Congressional Passage, Harp Week. Referenced at: http://14thamendment.harpweek.com/HubPages/CommentaryPage.asp?Commentary=03Passage
Gene Healy, "The Squalid 14th Amendment," Lew Rockwell, August 1999. Referenced at: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/healy1.html [Originally posted in Liberty Magazine]
The Lies and Racism of Woodrow Wilson. http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/war.crimes/US/Wilson.htm
Bishop Absalom Jones, "A Thanksgiving Sermon," Anglican History. Referenced at: http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/ajones/thanksgiving1808.html [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: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ma01/grand-jean/hurston/chapters/how.html
Joseph E. Fallon, "Power, Legitimacy, and the 14th Amendment." Referenced at: http://southernloyalists.tripod.com/id18.html
"George Mason's Views on Slavery," Gunston Hall. Referenced at: http://gunstonhall.org/georgemason/slavery/views_on_slavery.html
The Original Intent of the 14th Amendment. http://www.14thamendment.us/index.html
Alex Knepper, "Remembering Byrd's Racism," Frum Forum, June 29, 2010. Referenced at: http://www.frumforum.com/remembering-robert-byrds-racism/
Frances Rice, "KKK Terrorist Arm of the Democratic Party," National Black Republican Association. Referenced at: http://www.nationalblackrepublicans.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=pages.DYKKKKTerroristArmoftheDemocratParty&page_id=93
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 - http://www.civilwarhome.com/prelimcommissionreport.htm
Inquiry Commission Report (for Freedman's Bureau) - On the Topic of Slavery - http://www.civilwarhome.com/commisionreportchapt1.htm
Inquiry Commission Report (for Freedman's Bureau) - On the Topic of Emancipation - http://www.civilwarhome.com/commissionreportchapt2.htm
Inquiry Commission Report (for Freedman's Bureau) - Conclusion: "The Future in the US of the African Race" http://www.civilwarhome.com/commissionreportchapt3.htm
Nathan Bedford Forrest - http://www.freeinfosociety.com/article.php?id=184 ["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."]
 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: http://www.constitution.org/dfc/dfc_0525.htm or http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_514525.asp (the Avalon Project)
Specifically, the Slavery debate: http://www.academicamerican.com/revolution/documents/ConstDebate.html
 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.
 The Republican Platform was announced in Philadelphia in 1856 - http://www.ushistory.org/gop/convention_1856republicanplatform.htm
 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.