The politics of race: It’s not black and white

By Bill Federer

U.S. National Guard troops block off Beale Street as civil rights marchers wearing placards reading, 'I AM A MAN' pass by on March 29, 1968
U.S. National Guard troops block off Beale Street as civil rights marchers wearing placards reading, ‘I AM A MAN’ pass by on March 29, 1968

In 1857, the Supreme Court, with 7 of the 9 Justices being Democrat, decided that Dred Scott was not a citizen, but property.

Chief Justice Roger Taney was appointed by the first Democrat President, Andrew Jackson. Taney wrote in his Dred Scott decision that slaves were: “so far inferior … that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for their own benefit.”

Abraham Lincoln did not believe in “stare decisis” – that he had to honor the precedent of the Dred Scott decision, stating June 28, 1857: “We think the Dred Scott decision is erroneous. We know the court that made it, has often over-ruled its own decisions, and we shall do what we can to have it to over-rule this. …”

Lincoln added: “Why this same Supreme Court once decided a national bank to be constitutional; but Gen. Jackson, as President of the United States, disregarded the decision … (stating in) his veto message: ‘It is maintained by the advocates of the bank, that its constitutionality … ought to be considered as settled by precedent, and by the decision of the Supreme Court. To this conclusion I cannot assent. Mere precedent is a dangerous source of authority, and should not be regarded as deciding questions of constitutional power.”

Lincoln, the first Republican president, referenced the Dred Scott decision in his inaugural address, March 4, 1861: “If the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made … the people will have ceased to be their own rulers.”

Though Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Jan. 1, 1863, it was considered an overreach of presidential power. He then resorted to supporting the Republican Congress in their passage of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery throughout America effective Dec. 6, 1865.

Once Southern Democrats were forced to free their slaves, they attempted to effectively re-enslave them by passing Black Codes which required former slaves to be “apprenticed” to “employers” and punished those who left. In many cases, the fate of sharecroppers was little better than slavery.

Black Codes were also called “Jim Crow Laws,” referring to an 1828 New Orleans riverboat song called “Jump Jim Crow,” in which a blackfaced performer appeared in a mocking caricature and danced:

Weel about and turn about and do jis so,
Eb’ry time I weel about I jump Jim Crow.

Many Black Codes prohibited blacks from owning guns, such as in Mississippi, 1865: “No freedman, Negro, or mulatto shall carry or keep firearms or ammunition.”

On Nov. 22, 1865, Republicans denounced Mississippi’s Democrat legislature for enacting Black Codes as they institutionalized discrimination.

On Feb. 5, 1866, Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens introduced legislation to give former slaves “40 acres and a mule,” but Democrats opposed it, led by President Andrew Johnson.

On April 9, 1866, Republicans in Congress overrode President Johnson’s veto and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, conferring rights of citizenship on freed slaves.

To force Southern States to extend State citizenship rights to former slaves, Republicans in the U.S. House passed the 14th Amendment, May 10, 1866, as did the Senate, June 8, 1866. One hundred percent of Democrats voted against it. The 14th Amendment was adopted by the states on July 28, 1868.

Republican Congressman John Farnsworth of Illinois stated, March 31, 1871: “The reason for the adoption (of the 14th Amendment) … was because of … discriminating … legislation of those states … by which they were punishing one class of men under different laws from another class.”

Along with Jim Crow laws, Southern Democrats attempted to keep former slaves from voting. On Jan. 8, 1867, Republicans granted voting rights to former slaves in the District of Columbia by overriding President Andrew Johnson’s veto. On July 19, 1867, Republicans passed more legislation protecting voting rights of all freed slaves after overriding again President Andrew Johnson’s veto. On March 30, 1868, Republicans began impeachment proceedings against President Andrew Johnson.

On Sept. 12, 1868, Democrats in Georgia’s Senate expelled civil rights activist Tunis Campbell and 24 other Republican African-Americans, who would later be reinstated by a Republican Congress. On Oct. 22, 1868, while campaigning for re-election, Republican Congressman James Hinds was assassinated by Democrats who had organized vigilante groups.

The 15th Amendment, granting the right to vote to all men regardless of race, was passed Feb. 3, 1870, overcoming 97 percent Democrat opposition. Once Southern Democrats could no longer keep former slaves from voting, they attempted to intimidate them through KKK-type vigilante mobs and lynchings.

Republican President U.S. Grant signed the Enforcement Act, May 31, 1870, which imposed stiff penalties for depriving any American of their civil rights. The Republican Congress, June 22, 1870, created the U.S. Department of Justice to safeguard civil rights against Democrats in the South.

The Republican Congress passed another Enforcement Act, Feb. 28, 1871, which provided federal protection for black voters. The Republican Congress enacted the Ku Klux Klan Act, April 20, 1871, outlawing the Democrat-affiliated intimidation group which oppressed and terrorized black neighborhoods. The secretive group took its name from “kuklos,” the Greek word for “circle.”

A Black Republican civil rights leader in Philadelphia was Octavius V. Catto, an eloquent intellectual, trained in classical languages. He was repeatedly threaten for advocating for equality. Catto was murdered by a Democratic Party operative on Oct. 10, 1871.

Republican President Ulysses S. Grant deployed U.S. troops on Oct. 18, 1871, to combat violence against African-Americans. Democrats called white Republicans “radicals,” and lynched them along with blacks.

The Tuskegee Institute recorded that from 1882-1968, 3,446 blacks and 1,297 whites were lynched – the whites being “radical” Republicans who were caught registering freed blacks to vote.

Republican President Theodore Roosevelt stated Dec. 3, 1906: “White men are lynched, but the crime is peculiarly frequent in respect to black men. … Governor Candler, of Georgia, stated … ‘I can say of a verity that I have, within the last month, saved the lives of half a dozen innocent Negroes who were pursued by the mob, and brought them to trial in a court of law in which they were acquitted.’ As Bishop Galloway, of Mississippi, has finely said: ‘The mob lynches a Negro charged with rape will in a little while lynch a white man suspected of crime. Every Christian patriot in America needs to lift up his voice in loud and eternal protest against the mob spirit that is threatening the integrity of this Republic.'”

Roosevelt continued: “There is but one safe rule … that is, to treat each man, whatever his color, his creed, or his social position, with even-handed justice. … Reward or punish the individual on his merits as an individual. Evil will surely come in the end to both races if we substitute for this. … Every lynching represents … a loosening of the bands of civilization. … No man can take part in the torture of a human being without having his own moral nature permanently lowered. Every lynching means just so much moral deterioration in all the children who have any knowledge of it, and therefore just so much additional trouble for the next generation of Americans.”

One of the Black Codes was that blacks had to ride separate, and often inferior, railroad cars. In 1892, a black man, Homer Plessy, was arrested for violating the Louisiana Separate Car Act. The Supreme Court upheld the racial discrimination in Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896, calling it “separate but equal.”

During the Spanish-American War, black and white soldiers and sailors were integrated. Democrat President Woodrow Wilson considered the Plessy v. Ferguson decision as “stare decisis” – settled law, and proceeded to segregate the U.S. Navy and other federal offices.

Wilson told a protest delegation in 1914, led by their black representative Monroe Trotter: “Segregation is not humiliating, but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen. If your organization goes out and tells the colored people of the country that it is … a benefit, they will regard it the same. The only harm that will come will be if you cause them to think it is a humiliation. …”

Monroe Trotter replied: “Soon after your inauguration began, segregation was drastically introduced in the Treasury and Postal departments by your appointees. …”

President Wilson replied to Monroe Trotter: “If this organization is ever to have another hearing before me it must have another spokesman. Your manner offends me. … Your tone, with its background of passion.”

Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed former KKK member, Senator Hugo Black of Alabama, to be a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Regarding proposed civil rights program, Democrat Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson from Texas stated: “(This civil rights bill) is a farce and a sham … in the guise of liberty. I am opposed to that program. I have voted against the so-called poll tax repeal bill. … I have voted against the so-called anti-lynching bill.”

During World War II, General Dwight Eisenhower forbade racism and made the decision to arm black American soldiers with weapons. In 1952 and 1956, a majority of black Americans voted for Republican President Eisenhower.

In 1954, Supreme Court Justices rejected the “stare decisis” of Plessy v. Ferguson’s “separate but equal” and gave its Brown v. Board of Education decision, prohibiting racial discrimination. Eisenhower immediately ordered the desegregation of Washington, D.C. public schools.

Southern Democrat governors resisted desegregation. Alabama’s Democrat Governor George Wallace, in 1963, blocked the entrance to the University of Alabama, stating: “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

Republican Eisenhower sent federal troops to force racial integration of southern public schools. Federal troops escorted black students to class.

In 1953, Eisenhower’s vice president, Republican Richard Nixon, chaired a committee which sought to eliminate discrimination on the basis of race or color in the employment practices of government contractors. In 1957, Eisenhower proposed a civil rights bill to enforce the 15th Amendment, strengthening the rights of blacks to vote.

Instead of voting for it, Democrat Senator John F. Kennedy delayed it by voting to have it sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, in “Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream: The Most Revealing Portrait of a President and Presidential Power Ever Written” (NY: New American Library, 1977, p. 155), quoted Democrat Senator Lyndon Johnson telling Democrat Senator Richard Russell regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1957: “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don’t move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there’ll be no way of stopping them, we’ll lose the filibuster and there’ll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It’ll be Reconstruction all over again.”

In 1958, Republican President Eisenhower met with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in the White house. Eisenhower proposed a Civil Rights bill in 1959, but Senate Democrats filibustered it and watered it down.

In 1959, when Southern Democrats demanded the proposed civil rights bill include a provision that if anyone violate the law, they should be tried before an all-white jury, Republican Vice President Nixon gave the deciding vote in the Senate to kill the Southern amendment.

Southern Democrats who opposed desegregation included former KKK klansman Senator Robert Byrd and Birmingham Commissioner Bull Connor, who stated in 1957: “(Segregation) laws are still constitutional and I promise you that until they are removed from the ordinance books of Birmingham and the statute books of Alabama, they will be enforced in Birmingham to the utmost of my ability and by all lawful means.”

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated on “The View,” March 1, 2018: “Let me tell you why I’m a defender of the Second Amendment. I was a little girl growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, in the late fifties, early sixties. There was no way that Bull Connor and the Birmingham Police were going to protect you. And so when White Knight Riders would come through our neighborhood, my father and his friends would take their guns and they’d go to the head of the neighborhood, it’s a little cul-de-sac and they would fire in the air, if anybody came through. I don’t think they actually ever hit anybody. But they protected the neighborhood. And I’m sure if Bull Connor had known where those guns were he would have rounded them up. And so, I don’t favor some things like gun registration.”

In the Democrat south, after the Birmingham Children’s Crusade Protest where police dogs and fire hoses were used against blacks, President Kennedy called for a bill emulating the Republican Civil Rights Act of 1875. Southern Democrats fervently opposed it, as Democrat Senator Richard Russell in 1964: “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.”

Democrat Senator Robert Byrd filibustered the Civil Rights Bill for 14 hours and 13 minutes on June 10, 1964.

Democrat Senator Strom Thurmond stated in 1964: “This so-called 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.”

The phrase “the bribe or the bullet” refers to positive or negative human motivations, as generations of parents motivated children with a piece candy for obedience or discipline for disobedience.

From the Civil War to Lyndon Johnson, Southern Democrats were accused of utilizing negative motivation intimidation tactics to keep African-Americas from voting. As television and media coverage of these tactics grew, it resulted in bad press for the Democrat Party.

Political strategists proposed a switch from “the bullet” to “the bribe”; from “intimidation” to “entitlement.” In other words, if the African-American vote could no longer be suppressed, then maybe it could be manipulated and controlled through dependency on entitlement programs.

Even though Democrat Senators filibustered the Civil Rights legislation nonstop for 71 days, from March 30 to June 10, President Lyndon Johnson persuaded the leaders of his party to support of watered-down compromise bill, which he signed July 2, 1964.

According to Ronald Kessler’s book, “Inside The White House” (1996), Lyndon Johnson, who had a reputation for vulgarity in private conversations, explained his abrupt change in strategy to two Democrat governors aboard Air Force One, saying: “I’ll have those n*****s voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”

Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Welfare State proceeded to enroll large numbers of minorities into entitlement programs, leading to a dependency and a strong inclination to vote for the party promising a continuance of those entitlements: more dependents, more votes.

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: “The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.”

This method of building a voter base was predicted back in 1857, in a letter Britain’s Lord Thomas MacCauley wrote to New York’s Democrat Secretary of State, Henry S. Randall: “Distress … makes the laborer … discontented, and inclines him to listen with eagerness to agitators who tell him that it is a monstrous iniquity that one man should have a million while another cannot get a full meal. … The day will come when, in the State of New York, a multitude of people, none of whom has had more than half a breakfast … will choose a Legislature. … On one side is a statesman preaching patience, respect for vested rights, strict observance of public faith. On the other is a demagogue ranting about the tyranny of capitalists … and asking why anybody should be permitted to drink champagne and to ride in a carriage while thousands of honest folks are in want of necessaries. Which of the two candidates is likely to be preferred by a working man who hears his children cry for more bread?”

Lyndon Johnson, with the help of Democrat Senator Edward Kennedy, also changed immigration quotas to bring in large numbers of immigrants from poorer countries who would enroll in entitlement programs and thus be more likely to vote for Democrat candidates who promised to continue entitlements.

This initiated a demographic transformation reminiscent of the fall of Rome, as Will and Ariel Durant wrote in “The Story of Civilization” (Vol. 3-Caesar and Christ, Simon & Schuster, 1944, p. 366): “If Rome had not engulfed so many men of alien blood in so brief a time … if she had occasionally closed her gates to let assimilation catch up with infiltration, she might have gained new racial and literary vitality from the infusion, and might have remained a Roman Rome, the voice and citadel of the West.”

This was later seen in California, which was reliably Republican until the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Welfare State provided more money to a household if a father was not present in the home. This adversely affected the strong church-centered black families and neighborhoods. As lower income voters grew in their dependency on government programs it proportionally increased the Democrat Party’s voting constituency.

What has been the impact of the welfare state?

Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, writing for the Heritage Foundation, stated in “Backgrounder #2955 on Poverty and Inequality” that prior to LBJ’s “War on Poverty,” less than 2 percent of the federal budget was on welfare spending.

Fifty years later, spending on anti-poverty programs mushroomed to 27 percent of the federal budget, costing $22 trillion (adjusted for inflation), three times the cost of all U.S. military wars since the Revolution, yet the percentage of people in poverty has not improved.

Before LBJ’s “War on Poverty,” less than 5 percent of children were born to unmarried parents. Fifty years later it has skyrocketed to 40 percent.

Before LBJ’s “War on Poverty,” less than 10 percent of U.S. children lived in single parent households. Fifty years later that number has exploded to 33 percent, with the poverty rate of single female parent households growing to 37.1 percent.

In 1965, Labor Department sociologist Daniel Patrick Moynihan reported that 25 percent of all black children were born illegitimately. In 2015, that number had grown to 72 percent.

Tim Goeglein, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison 2001-2008, writing for “Focus on the Family Citizen Magazine” (2016), stated: “This is perhaps the most dismal legacy of the Johnson years, and a sad testament to the vision of social planners who believed more government would mean stronger families and marriages.”

African-American Republican Rep. J.C. Watts, Jr., stated Feb. 5, 1997: “For the past 30 years our nation’s spent $5 trillion trying to erase poverty, and the result, as you know, is that we didn’t get rid of it at all. In fact, we spread it. We destroyed the self-esteem of millions of people, grinding them down in a welfare system that penalizes moms for wanting to marry the father of their children, and penalizes moms for wanting to save money. Friends, that’s not right.”

Internationally renown pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson was appointed U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He stated: “My mother worked as a domestic, two, sometimes three jobs at a time because she didn’t want to be on welfare. She felt very strongly that if she gave up and went on welfare, that she would give up control of her life and of our lives, and I think she was probably correct about that. … But, one thing that she provided us was a tremendous example of what hard work is like.”

Dr. Carson added: “The more solid the family foundation, the more likely you are to be able to resist peer pressure. Human beings are social creatures. We all want to belong, we all have that desire, and we will belong, one way or another. If the family doesn’t provide that, the peers will, or a gang will, or you will find something to belong to. That’s why it becomes so critical for families with young children to understand what a critical anchor they are.”

Beginning in the 1960s, educational emphasis transitioned from academic achievement to behavior modification.

Voters who were less educated could be more easily manipulated and controlled, as was the case in the Democrat pre-Civil War South.

North Carolina passed in 1831 an Act to Prevent Teaching Slaves to Read: “Any free person, who shall hereafter teach … any slave within the State to read or write … or shall give or sell to such slave … any books or pamphlets, shall … be fined not less than one hundred dollars … imprisoned, or whipped.”

More recently, “racism” has been redefined to mean anyone opposing big government dependency welfare programs. In a tragic irony, growing dependency on government entitlements and handouts is reminiscent of the dependency which existed on Southern Democrat plantations where slaves waited for handouts from their masters. This has been pointed out by many black leaders.

Star Parker, founder of CURE (Center for Urban Renewal) wrote “Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What We Can Do About It.”

Rev. C.L. Bryant produced a documentary “Runaway Slave Movie,” stating: “I am a ‘Runaway Slave’ from the Democrats’ plantation.”

C. Mason Weaver wrote “It’s OK to Leave the Plantation: The New Underground Railroad.”

Wayne Perryman wrote “Unfounded Loyalty: An In-Depth Look Into The Love Affair Between Blacks and Democrats.”

Jesse Lee Peterson, president of Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, commented on black unemployment being at the lowest level on record, that Donald Trump will be considered a “great president” for helping African Americans leave the Democrat “plantation.”

Yahoo Sports reported June 19, 2019, “Former NFL player on reparations: ‘How about the Democratic Party pay'”: “A former NFL player testifying before Congress on Wednesday spoke out against the concept of reparations. Burgess Owens, formerly of the Jets and Raiders, spoke during hearings for H.R. 40. … ‘I used to be a Democrat until I did my history and found the misery that party brought to my race. … Let’s pay restitution. How about the Democratic Party pay for all the misery brought to my race?'”

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Increasingly, media, music and entertainment is employed to stir racial prejudices and passions for political purposes, as President William Henry Harrison warned in his inaugural, 1841: “Understanding of men can be warped and their affections changed by operations upon their passions and prejudices.”

Political organizers employ race-baiting tactics to incite racial tensions for political purposes.

Saul Alinsky wrote in “Rules for Radicals”:

  • The organizer’s first job is to create the issues or problems. …
  • The organizer must first rub raw the resentments of the people of the community. …
  • The organizer … polarizes the issue … and helps to lead his forces into conflict. … An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent. …
  • Fan the latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expression. …
  • He must search out controversy and issues, rather than avoid them … for unless there is controversy people are not concerned enough to act.

This was observed by Republican Booker T. Washington , who had written in “My Larger Education – Being Chapters from My Experience” (1911, ch. V: The Intellectuals and the Boston Mob, p. 118): “There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. …”

Washington stated: “There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who do not want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.”

Rep. J.C. Watts, Jr., stated Feb. 5, 1997: “Too often when we talk about racial healing, we make the old assumption that government can heal the racial divide. … Republicans and Democrats – red, yellow, black and white – have to understand that we must individually, all of us, accept our share of responsibility. … It does not happen by dividing us into racial groups. It does not happen by trying to turn rich against poor or by using the politics of fear. It does not happen by reducing our values to the lowest common denominator. And friends, it does not happen by asking Americans to accept what’s immoral and wrong in the name of tolerance. …”

Watts continued: “We must be a people who dare, dare to take responsibility for our hatred and fears and ask God to heal us from within. And we must be a people of prayer, a people who pray as if the strength of our nation depended on it, because it does. …”

J.C. Watts concluded: “I’ve often told the story of a boy and his father. The father was trying to get some work done, and the boy wanted the daddy’s attention, but the father was busy at his desk with so much to do. To occupy the boy, this father … remembered that he had seen a picture of the world in this magazine. In what he thought was a stroke of genius, the father tore out the picture and tore it into 20 different pieces, and he said, ‘Here son. Go put the world back together.’ And you know what happened? Five minutes later the little Michelangelo was back, saying, ‘Daddy, look what I’ve done.’ The father looked, and he said, ‘Son, how did you do it so quickly? How did you put the world back together so quickly?’ And the little boy answered, ‘Dad, it was easy. There was a picture of a man on the back of the map, on the back of the world. And once I put the man back together, the world fell into place.’ And friends, this is our agenda: to put our men and women back together, and, in that way, get our country back together.”

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