Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Slavery, Segregation, Solutions, and No Gratitude Part 3 of 5

Slavery, Segregation, Solutions, and No Gratitude
Part 3
by Rev. Dr Paul Samson

In the early 1950s, once again racist Democrats tried to block Civil Rights. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Many southern political leaders claimed that the Desegregation Decision violated the rights of states to manage their systems of public education, and they responded with defiance, legal challenges, delays, or token compliance. As a result, school desegregation proceeded very slowly. By 1960s, less than 10 percent of black children in the South were attending integrated schools.

In 1957, National Guard troops under orders from Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower were the first Federal Troops used to enforce Civil Rights. But, even after Little Rock, school integration was painfully slow, and segregation in general remained largely untouched.

In February 1960, four black college students sat down at a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., and asked to be served. They were refused service, and they refused to leave their seats. Within days, more than 50 students had volunteered to continue the sit-in, and within weeks the movement had spread to other college campuses. Sit‑ins and other protests swept across the South in early 1960, touching more than 65 cities in 12 states. Roughly 50,000 young people joined the protests that year.

Across the nation, more than 70 percent of African Americans voted for J F Kennedy, and these votes provided the winning edge in several key states. When President Kennedy took office in January 1961, African Americans had high expectations for the new administration.

But Kennedy's narrow election victory, and small working margin in Congress left him cautious. He was reluctant to lose southern support for legislation on many fronts by pushing too hard on civil rights legislation. Instead, he appointed unprecedented numbers of African Americans to high-level positions in the administration, and strengthened the Civil Rights Commission. He spoke out in favor of school Desegregation, praised a number of cities for integrating their schools, and put Vice President Lyndon B Johnson in charge of the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity. Attorney General Robert Kennedy turned his attention to voting rights, initiating five times the number of suits brought during the previous administration.

In the fall of 1962 the Comprehensive Civil Rights Bill cleared several hurdles in Congress, and won the endorsement of House and Senate Republican leaders. It was not passed, however, before November 22, 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated. However, with the support of Republicans and northern Democrats the Civil Rights agenda continued to progress. Southern members of the House and Senate were vehemently against such an act. Republican Congressmen and Senators prevailed, and in February of 1964, the House of Representatives passed the Civil Rights Act by a vote of 290 -130. The Senate vote was 73-27. President Johnson signed the bill into law on July 2, 1964.

The take away from the Civil Rights story is that white northern Democrats and Republican leadership led the way for blacks to achieve legal equality. The so called “Solid South” part of the Democratic Party remained openly racist, and used ignoble tactics to continue the oppression of black people.

So, why in the world do black voters consistently vote Democratic? Why are black people so angry with white people?

Where are the monuments erected by black people to honor the white, fallen soldiers from the Civil War? Where are the brass plaques for the white Civil Rights martyrs such as James Reeb, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner who gave their lives to the cause of black equality?

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