Plantation Politics and Black Republicanism

First Black members of Congress... Republicans all

First Black members of Congress... Republicans all

The photo of the men above illustrate part of the reason I made my transition from the plantation of the Democratic Party on which many Black Americans continue to languish. These men elected during the period of Reconstruction were the first, and for a very long time, the only Black Americans elected to the United States Congress. They were all of them, courageous and bold men who put lie to the then prevailing notion that Blacks were innately inferior to Whites and they served with distinction.

hiram revels Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first Black member of the Senate and of Congress, and he was elected from the state of Mississippi in 1870.

Joseph Rainey was the first Black elected to the House of Representatives.joseph rainey from South Carolina.

These men, and the others, were all republicans. In fact the Republican Party “owned” the Black vote until the 1930’s when FDR’s New Deal programs began to peel away Black voters from their allegiance. It wasn’t until the 1960’s and 1970’s however that Blacks began to move solidly into the Democrat camp. Ironically, it was continued Republican support for Civil Rights that led to the re-enfranchisement of Blacks throughout the South, something that had been systematically stripped from them by Democrats as quickly as possible after the Reconstruction Era. The infamous Compromise of 1877 that ended Reconstruction gave Democrats a free hand to institute as reasonable a facsimile of slavery as possible while Whites on both sides of the Mason-Dixon agreed to agree on making as much money as possible and looking the other way as the US Constitution was trampled underfoot.

Why is it that this rich history was something I and most Americans are never exposed to? Could it be that acknowledgment of Republicans long standing commitment to Civil Rights and the Democratic Party’s long standing use of race politics stands counter to conventional liberal wisdom? Perhaps it simply doesn’t suit the narrative that Republicans are all racists and that Democrats are the party of peace, love, and equal opportunity. I once remember being told by a teacher that the Republicans who championed Civil Rights would be Democrats today.

The absurdity of this claim is obvious to anyone who knows the history, as many unfortunately do not. It was in fact the Republican Party that was from the outset anti-slavery and pro-civil rights. Then and now the Republican Party supported the rights of individuals to stand and fall on their own accord, and not based on his or her race, creed, or confession. Then as now, the Democrat Party held firmly to a doctrine of control.

After all, what else is a plantation but a world in which men are systematically separated from their families, women and children are supported by the plantation establishment, educational opportunity is determined for you, religious expression is smiled upon as long as it doesn’t threaten the status quo, working in the big house is held up as the highest possible attainment (and is usually only permitted for biracial folks who uphold the establishment), and one and all are threatened that freedom of conscience, of self determination, and of life outside the plantation means nothing but sure destruction? A plantation or the state of Black Americans under Democrat control?

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12 Responses to Plantation Politics and Black Republicanism

  1. btx3 says:

    I usually don’t visit “black Republican” or “black conservative” sites often, other than Booker Rising because of the trauma caused laying out the truth to those who have willingly enslaved themselves on the Republican Plantation as house slaves creates. You came up on my WordPress Tag surf today…

    To be a black Republican, particularly of the racial politics bent you describe above is to ignore every bit of history in this country since the Civil Rights Act of 1964/5… Indeed starting with Goldwater in 1960.

    Been thinking about doing a piece on the racial aspects of McCarthy, and how black educators and Civil Rights activists were singled out as “communist sympathizers” in an effort to suppress the nascent post-war Civil Rights Movement.

    I do a series under the heading of “The New Jim Crow” which specifically – with references and statistics outlines the history, roots, and impact of Republican conservative racism – right on through the Bushsquat. You might want to read it, considering your professed interest in history…

    • I will be glad to read it when I have a chance. I am a student of history and enjoy reading such things. Allow me to be clear; I do not at all deny that Republicans have played the race game as frequently (though less adeptly) as have Democrats, and I was a Democrat for most of my voting life. I am very far indeed from being enslaved on anyone’s plantation. Racial politics have a very long history in our country going all the way back to the Revolution itself when emancipation was offered to slaves who would join the side of loyalists to the crown, on to the Constitutional convention when “virtual representation” of Black slaves became a way for southerners to balance the demography of representative government, and so on until today.

      That the Civil Rights Act of 1964/65 (and all Civil rights legislation prior) were passed with mostly Republican support is also a historic fact. I am under no illusion however that such policies were passed out of the goodness of anyone’s heart. It was then, and is now, about power and economics. That many black activists and Civil Rights leaders were singled out as communist sympathizers is likewise not in dispute. The fact is that many of them were indeed communist sympathizers if for no other reason than that communists actively sought to exploit the hypocrisy of the American system that so vehemently and aggressively discriminated against Blacks on the basis of race. It was for that same reason that communism found such support among oppressed colonial peoples. I am not a specialist in American history, but neither am I wholly ignorant. Facts neither traumatize nor surprise me. Opposing opinions don’t frighten me. And no one owns me.

      • Donna Reeves says:

        Strom Thurmond (leader of the Dixiecrats) and Jesse Helms were both Democrats. The southern strategy of 1968 was to capture the white southern male vote. White southern men who felt disfranchised by the fact that the party moved toward supporting Civil Rights. Democrats have always had to do a tricky dance throughout the twentieth century before the passage of the CRA in 1964. They did not want to alienate powerful southern Democrats from the South who controlled a number of committees. That might explain Kennedy’s reluctance…he was a pragmatic politician. Further, Kennedy’s speech on the night of Medgar Evars murder clearly puts him in the camp of civil rights supporters. It is after his death that LBJ twisted every arm he could to pass the CRA and the VRA. Your teacher was right, Republicans of the 1860’s would be Democrats today. Also remember that in the 1960s both parties had members from all across the ideological spectrum. It is doubtful that the Republicans who voted for the CRA would be Republicans today. Frankly, if a Republican voted for something like that now they would surely face a primary challenge.

    • White people were accused of communism too. Communism is a centrally planned state controlled economy like we have today. Eight of the ten principles outlined in the communist manifesto are in this country today. Obama is the leader today. Commies suck.

    • NWHStLouis says:

      @btx3 I went to “The New Jim Crow” and read every page. The conclusions seem to be based on a faulty premise that doesn’t identify the root causes but comes to conclusions based on the outcome. Should the gangs of Chicago committing murder be spared the criminal justice system?

      How did those in the system get there? Is it perhaps the failed education system in inner cities? Who runs those cities where education is failing? Who rules the political system in Chicago, Detroit, DC, Newark, Philadelphia and St Louis? Who has run been in power in local gov’t? In the School systems, boards, faculty, city councils? The same group of people with the same political ideas, political agenda, failed policies and loyalty to a party of failed ideas and policies.

      Why have those same people not embraced school choice over teachers unions? In that stance they have doomed the opportunities of their own student to choose the best education possible. They’re confined to failing schools by something as arbitrary as their zip code. In those schools the culture espoused is the same victim-hood they get from the leaders they elect. There is no freedom of opportunity where there is no freedom of choice. Choice to take their education dollars and use them in schools with a proven track record. They students who get the best grades and have proper diction and grammar are ridiculed as “too white”. The language skills they need and the education they need for long term success in the business world, legal field and corporate offices are thereby quashed. They’re made to conform to what’s hip, what’s acceptable with their piers. They’re encouraged to fail. They’re encouraged to toe the line. They’re discouraged from thinking for themselves and investigating all points of view so they can decide for themselves. They must say the same things, believe the same things, act the same way as those around them. If they don’t, they will pay a price.

      Anyone who truly believes in liberty and freedom, equal opportunity and fairness must not require conformity of speech, thought and ideas. I could go on for days but I suspect I’m typing to someone with a fixed world view that doesn’t allow for true diversity of opinion. Perhaps you should open your mind to the thought that what is and has been for so long may be the wrong direction. At least based on the results. You see the results and assume the cause. I look at the direction and history and know the results before the policies are even implemented.

    • NWHStLouis says:

      As a follow up FYI. It was Robert F Kennedy who directed J. Edgar Hoover to investigate MLK for any connections to communism, affairs or other dirt he could dig up. RFK was NOT a Republican trying to undermine the Civil rights Mov’t. JFK voted against CRA of 1957 and CRA of 1960. CRA of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed over a filibuster by Dems and overwhelmingly supported and passed by Republicans. Dems like group think, Republicans and Libertarians prefer the individual to groups in all areas of rights and liberty. Thus group think, be it KKK, Unions, NAACP, Women’s groups, Latino groups, etc. tend to be Democratic Party followers. Those preferring individual liberty, not based on color, religion or other affiliation, etc. tend toward INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY. If every American individually has liberty, we are a free people. You know….content of character over the color of my skin!

  2. btx3 says:

    You obviously haven’t read much about the history of the NAACP, and how exactly that “communist” label got attached to the Civil Rights Movement – nor of the Labor Movement.

    Suggest you do a bit of that before spouting off about “communist sympathizers”.

    Here is the Cliff notes version:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Communist_Party_and_African-Americans

    And Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation (followed by one from George Washington) predated the founding of the Republican Party by 70-80 years.

    • Gentle commenter, I hesitate to alert you to the fact that you were the first to use the words “communist sympathizers” in your initial comment. I was only borrowing your phraseology. Thank you for your citation which supports my point: that Blacks (both American and African) were drawn to communism because communism promised an antidote to the political repression experienced by Blacks.

      Lord Dunmore’s proclamation of course preceded the founding of the Republican party. As I noted racial politics have a long history in this country, extending back beyond even the revolutionary period; Lord Dunmore’s proclamation being but one example. This was prior to the founding of the republic or to the adoption of our current constitution.

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