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Capitol Voices

Pelosi’s Crusade to Erase History Should Start with Her Own Party’s Racist Past

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

We all saw Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s publicity stunt ordering the removal of the portraits of four Speakers of the House with Confederacy ties from the walls of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.


"There's no room in the hallowed halls of this democracy, this temple of democracy, to memorialize people who embody violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy,” Pelosi said at a press conference preceding her whitewashing of history.

Robert Hunter of Virginia, Howell Cobb of Georgia, James Orr of South Carolina, and Charles Crisp of Georgia all served in the Confederacy in some capacity. But these men are also linked by the “D” next to their names. 

Why stop with these four? In her quest to scrub the Capitol of bigotry, Speaker Pelosi should leave no stone unturned. It’s time the Speaker comes to terms with her party’s racist past and ensures every depiction of a racist Democrat is removed from the Capitol for good.

After all, the Democrats are the party of slavery, the party of Jim Crow, the party of the Southern Manifesto, and the party that resisted civil rights laws. History won’t forget the Democratic Party’s racist past and neither should the American people. After all, the Democrats’ hand-picked nominee, Joe Biden, is part of that ugly history; he opposed efforts to integrate schools in the 1970s and bragged about his ability to compromise with segregationists.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. As far as we know, 16 Democratic politicians were active Klansmen before taking office. Notably, West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd was the Exalted Cyclops in the Ku Klux Klan when he began his career in Democratic politics.

"I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side ... Rather I should die a thousand times and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds,” reads a letter from Senator Byrd to his Democratic colleague in 1944.


These vile words make my stomach turn — but still, Senator Byrd’s portrait was unveiled in 2007 to hang in the Old Senate Chamber of the U.S. Capitol. U.S. Courthouses in both Beckley and Charleston, West Virginia, and some 55 other bridges, dams, highways, and facilities across the state of West Virginia also bear the late Senator’s name.

What about our 28th President Woodrow Wilson? Will the Speaker denounce the Democratic president who resegregated bathrooms in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and screened the pro-KKK film Birth of a Nation? Will she reject President Wilson’s words when he said, “segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit,” or when he called the African American race “ignorant and inferior?” Where are the calls to rename the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge that spans the Potomac River?

How about Senator Richard Russell? The Georgia Democrat was a segregationist who opposed the civil rights movement, and once said, “I am willing to go as far and make as great a sacrifice to preserve and insure white supremacy in the social, economic, and political life of our state as any man who lives within her borders.” Yet a Senate office building still bears Senator Russell’s name.

While we’re at it, we can’t forget eugenicist Margaret Sanger, the founder of organizations that evolved into the Democrats’ darling campaign donor and abortion factory: Planned Parenthood. In A Plan for Peace, Sanger wrote the government should, “give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization.” Democrats revere this despicable organization, which was founded on the idea of racial purity and continues to this day to destroy unborn human life, especially in minority communities. 


Sanger’s words from her letter to Clarence Gamble say it all: "We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population..."  

If the Democrats were truly committed to taking a stand against their racist past, then they should join the Pro-Life movement in defunding and disowning an organization created to either segregate or sterilize African American people.

The fact of the matter is, Democrats are conveniently ignoring their racist past in order to gaslight the American public. If the Speaker truly wants to scrub the Capitol of racists, she should start by taking a look at her own party. 

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