Black History Month: Democrat Party Owns the Legacy of Racism in America – Part 1
This is a topic that gets a lot of my Democrat friends riled up. Of course, they have totally bought into the current bogus narrative that Republicans are racists – from the top leaders to the grassroots voters. Even worse, we are violent white supremacists.
Do not misunderstand. There are nutcase Nazis and skinheads who espouse racism while claiming allegiance to the Republican Party – just as there are violent nutcase radicals, such as ANTIFA, on the left. Neither represents the opinions and views of the massive majority of Republicans and Democrats. They are not conservatives or progressives. They are … nutcases.
When I say that the Democratic Party owns the legacy of racial oppression in America, I’m not speaking of the millions of people who identify with the Party. Anyone who has followed my writings knows that I do not believe that the American people – on the left or right — are racists. We the people get along a lot better on a day-to-day basis than our political leaders will admit and allow.
The problem is “institutional racism” – the kind that is built into the systems. Examining institutional racism – and how it has evolved – is the only way to address and solve it. And when it comes to institutional racism – black oppression – the facts are clear. It was developed and – to a residual degree – maintained by the Democratic Party.
Although some on the left attempt to engage in revisionist history, the facts are clear.
If we look at the phases of black oppression in America, we start with the colonial period in which slavery was widely accepted and was first made legal in colonial America in Massachusetts in 1641. By the time of the American Revolution, slavery was evolving into a regional controversy, with the north and south beginning to divide on the issue. As the nation geographically divided, it also divided on partisan lines – with Democrats locking in on supporting slavery and the Whigs leaning against, but not fully abolitionists. The partisan divide came into sharp contrast with the birth of the abolitionist Republican Party. The pro-slavery Whig faction merged into the Democratic Party.
It took a Civil War – brother against brother … north against south … the Republican Party against the Democratic Party – to put an end to slavery in America. It did not, however, prevent the future imposition of institutional racism by the Democratic Party. Even the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteen Amendments, a succession of federal laws, and a smattering of Supreme Court decisions did not end violent black oppression wherever Democrats remained in control of the government.
For more than 100 years after the Civil War, blacks residing in the states of the old Confederacy continued to suffer de jure racism that denied them the basic constitutional rights of assembly, free speech, education, upward mobility, and the most fundamental right to determine their future, the right to vote – even the right to life.
Attempts to secure their constitutional rights were thwarted by unconstitutional laws enforced by the bloody tactics of the of the terrorist wings of the Democratic Party – the Knights of the White Camelia, the Red Shirts, the White Citizens Councils, and the most infamous of all, the Ku Klux Klan.
As institutional racism remained the rule in the solid Democrat Dixie, blacks migrated to northern cities for jobs and in the hope of escaping from racial violence and oppression. Instead, they found a more subtle form of institutional racism created and implemented by powerful Democrat one-party political machines – de facto racism. The more powerful the Democrat machine, the more virulent and violent the black oppression.
Without the necessity of unconstitutional laws, blacks were still segregated, oppressed, and impoverished — not unlike their experience in the south. Cities, such as Chicago, even had “social clubs” to violently enforce segregation through terrorist tactics, including beatings and murder. Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley – who has been described as “da boss” of the most powerful Democrat machine in the country – gained political initial attention as the head of the Hamburg Social Club that terrorized, beat, and reportedly even killed blacks who did not know their place.
(If you wonder why a bunch of Irish thugs would select a Germanic name, it was their way of honoring the murder of a group of black soldiers in Hamburg, South Carolina in 1876. The man who proudly claimed responsibility for the killings, “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman, went on to be the Governor and Senator of the Palmetto State.)
To highlight the bridge between southern de jure racism and northern urban de facto racism, Martin Luther King took his crusade for justice to such northern cities as Chicago and Cleveland. In his career, King confronted the powerful political leaders and government officials responsible for institutional racism. It is noteworthy that virtually all his demands, protests, and marches were against the institutional racism of Democrat officeholders at the local, state, and federal levels.
Many who see racism as part of the Republican DNA are likely unaware of the GOP’s role in the modern fight for civil rights. That is because the teaching of the history of the 1960s civil rights era has been cynically misrepresented in our modern political/media culture.
Arguably, the most important civil rights case of the era was the 1954 Brown v. the Board of Education decision by the Supreme Court. The decision to disallow segregated schools was only possible when President Eisenhower named Republican Earl Warren as Chief Justice – replacing the late Democrat segregationist Chief Justice Fred Vinson, who had been appointed by President Truman.
Democrat governors remained resolute in preventing white schools from being integrated. They created a variety of alternative educational systems to circumvent integration –and even summarily shut down the public schools. Alabama Governor George Wallace personally blocked a school door. The opposition was so adamant that President Eisenhower had to send in the 101st Airborne to enable black students to register at hitherto segregated schools and colleges.
The first civil rights acts since Reconstruction were not in the 1960s. There were the 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights Acts supported by congressional Republicans and signed by President Eisenhower. They were vehemently opposed by the powerful southern Democrats, such as then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson –and such prominent northern Democrats as then-Senator Jack Kennedy. Johnson and Kennedy only supported the 1960 bill after successfully removing the all-important enforcement provision – as demanded by the Southern congressional leaders. That is what necessitated the 1964 civil rights bill.
Few folks – including most blacks – seem to be unaware of the fact that it was the Republican Party that drove the success of the 1960s civil rights legislation. Republicans supported the measures by overwhelming numbers in Congress. Democrats mounted opposition and filibusters. It was because of overwhelming Republican support that for the first time a Democrat filibuster of civil rights legislation was ended– and the measure was brought up for a vote.
The 1965 Voting Rights Bill was authored and introduced by Republican Senator Everett Dirksen – and was also passed because of the overwhelming vote by Republican Senators and House members.
But even then, the Democratic Party continued leading the fight against civil rights and school integration. No sooner had the 1960s civil rights legislation passed than southern Democrats launched the Massive Resistance Movement against school integration. It was at that time that several Democrat states added the Confederate battle flags to places of honor – on the state flags, state seals and on state grounds.
This commentary takes through the 1960s civil rights era. The following 60 years of Democratic Party racial oppression will be covered in a subsequent commentary.
So, there ‘tis.
EDITORS NOTE: Larry Horist may be one of the nation’s leading authorities on this subject. He has lived it and written about it for decades and is just completing a major deeply-researched book on the racial history of the Democratic Party.