Black History Month: The White Supremacy of Franklin Roosevelt
President Franklin Roosevelt is among the most honored presidents by Democrats. He is especially honored among black Americans. Today’s older blacks often recall how images of FDR hung alongside Jesus in the family homes.
When giving a speech at an African AME Church in the late 1990s, a woman in the audience praised Roosevelt for getting her people out of the Depression. I brought to her attention that based on the unemployment rates in her community, they have never been out of Depression-level unemployment since the stock market crash of 1929 – and that was more than 70 years at that time. It has now been almost 100 years, and that statement is still generally true.
The unvarnished truth about FDR is that he was a hardcore racist and white supremacist – and his personal action and policies reflected that at every turn. Rather than lift blacks out of the Depression, his policies plunged them deeper into it.
So, let us look at some of the FACTS that are not included in contemporary left-wing interpretations of Roosevelt and race – the politicized version which dominates the culture today.
A Few Factoids About FDR
- When running for governor, Roosevelt ordered his aides to prevent a photograph of him with Negroes.
- FDR was a staunch supporter of President Wilson’s racist segregationist policies – and, as an official in the Navy Department, participated in the segregation of the military and the Executive Branch of the federal government.
- During World II, Roosevelt illegally and unconstitutionally ordered Japanese Americans into concentration camps because we were at war with Japan. When German and Italian Americans expressed fear of similar action, Roosevelt assured them that the order would not apply to them — white folks.
- Roosevelt expressed his deeply racist beliefs about Asia. He wrote: “Japanese immigrants are not capable of assimilation into the American population. Anyone who has traveled in the Far East knows that the mingling of Asiatic blood with European and American blood produces, in nine out of ten, the most unfortunate results.”
- FDR was an acolyte of the racist eugenic movement that used pseudoscience in an attempt to “prove” the inferiority of Negros and to oppose intermarriage. He was a friend and follower of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who used Eugenics to advance her genocidal practices of forced abortions and sterilizations.
- When Roosevelt hosted the 1936 Olympic team at the White House, black participants were not invited – including the four-time gold medal winner and national hero Jesse Owens. When told that Hitler had disrespected the track star responded that it was his own President who disrespected him. Owens did not even get a congratulatory telegram from Roosevelt.
- Roosevelt died at an alleged health spa in Warm Springs, Georgia, that he frequented allegedly for health reasons. It had a whites-only policy. It was FDR’s own policy because he owned the resort – and often used it to entertain major donors. It is where he hosted his annual birthday fundraiser. Despite the pleas of such black groups as the NAACP, Roosevelt maintained his racist policies up to his death in 1944.
- Roosevelt successfully opposed repeated efforts by congressional Republicans to pass federal anti-lynching laws.
- FDR refused recommendations to appoint a black person to the Cabinet. Rather he created a window-dressing committee of prominent leaders in what was referred to as his “black cabinet”. They had no power, and their recommendations were basically ignored by the President.
- Roosevelt appointed four staunch segregationists to the Supreme Court – including Hugo Black, a one-time organizer for the Ku Klux Klan.
- FDR’s prisoner of war policies were racist. German prisoners in Texas were allowed to take jobs in the local town – jobs not available to the black residents or soldiers. German prisoners were given the best “white” seats in the theaters, while their black military guards were assigned to less desirable seats.
- FDR was responsible for the scheme to hook segregated black on generational government dependency as a cynical means of controlling and maintaining black voting loyalty. (More on that in a later commentary.)
The New Deal
Despite FDR’s noble rhetoric about the New Deal, the implementation was turned over to the most racist leaders of the Democratic Party. Prior to his Supreme Court appointment, Hugo Black was a major influence in crafting and implementing the New Deal’s racist programs.
The racism was prominent in three elements – jobs, financial compensation, and accommodations. The unstated purpose of the New Deal was to transfer the jobs of working blacks to unemployed white folks. This was made apparent in the numbers. Prior to the Great Depression, blacks and whites had about the same unemployment rate (roughly 3 to 4 percent) – although blacks held low level jobs that white workers did not want at the time.
When the Depression hit, unemployed whites were desperate for any jobs – and the only jobs available were those held by blacks. As a result of the racist policies of the Roosevelt administration, black unemployment rose to over 50 percent while white unemployment hit a high around 18 percent. There is only one explanation for that difference. Blacks were losing jobs to whites.
Black sharecroppers were not provided with the government financial assistance as were white sharecroppers. Whites losing land to the Tennessee Valley Authority project were compensated. Blacks were not. While more than 25,000 men were given jobs on the Hoover Dam project, only about 25 were black. Agricultural grants were not available to black farmers. Land owned and worked by blacks was seized and turned over to white farmers. In situations in which a small number of blacks were hired for government funded work projects, they would be given inferior accommodations and services.
Every New Deal program was so obviously racist that the head of the NAACP renamed the National Recovery Act (NRA) as the “Negro Riddance Act”.
Of all the contemporary presentations we see in the media on black history, where have you seen any of these FACTS? The historic image of FDR has been whitewashed – figuratively and literally – by a politically biased recounting. The Democratic Party still honors Roosevelt as one of its most admired historic figures. Hillary Clinton launched her 2016 presidential campaign with a speech in New York City’s Roosevelt Park in homage to the past President.
It is long past the time for grandma to remove that photograph of Roosevelt from the dining room wall.
So, there ‘tis.