Right to vote? When Southern states balked at implementing the 14th Amendment, Congress came back and passed the 15th Amendment in 1870, guaranteeing blacks the right to vote. Every single Republican voted for it, with every Democrat voting against it.
Ku Klux Klan? In 1872 congressional investigations, Democrats admitted beginning the Klan as an effort to stop the spread of the Republican Party and to re-establish Democratic control in Southern states. As PBS' "American Experience" notes, "In outright defiance of the Republican-led federal government, Southern Democrats formed organizations that violently intimidated blacks and Republicans who tried to win political power. The most prominent of these, the Ku Klux Klan, was formed in Pulaski, Tenn., in 1865." Blacks, who were all Republican at that time, became the primary targets of violence.
Jim Crow laws? Between 1870 and 1875, the Republican Congress passed many pro-black civil rights laws. But in 1876, Democrats took control of the House, and no further race-based civil rights laws passed until 1957. In 1892, Democrats gained control of the House, the Senate and the White House, and repealed all the Republican-passed civil rights laws. That enabled the Southern Democrats to pass the Jim Crow laws, poll taxes, literacy tests, and so on, in their individual states.
Civil rights in the '60s? Only 64 percent of Democrats in Congress voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act (153 for, 91 against in the House; and 46 for, 21 against in the Senate). But 80 percent of Republicans (136 for, 35 against in the House; and 27 for, 6 against in the Senate) voted for the 1964 Act.
What about the reviled, allegedly anti-black, Republican "Southern strategy"? Pat Buchanan, writing for Richard Nixon (who became the Republican Party candidate two years later) coined the term "Southern strategy." They expected the "strategy" to ultimately result in the complete marginalization of racist Southern Democrats. "We would build our Republican Party on a foundation of states' rights, human rights, small government, and a strong national defense," said Buchanan, "and leave it to the 'party of [Democratic Georgia Gov. Lester] Maddox, [1966 Democratic challenger against Spiro Agnew for Maryland governor George] Mahoney, and [Democratic Alabama Gov. George] Wallace to squeeze the last ounces of political juice out of the rotting fruit of racial injustice.'" And President Richard Nixon, Republican, implemented the first federal affirmative action (race-based preference) laws with goals and timetables.
So next "Black History Month," pass some of this stuff along.
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