Media simply cannot acknowledge the role of Democrats who obstructed civil rights. As the 50th anniversary of James Meredith’s enrollment at the University of Mississippi is marked, the man who was governor of the state will also be mentioned.
An article that will be widely distributed throughout media across the nation was published by the Associated Press. The AP omitted a key fact.
Gov. Ross Barnett was a Democrat and like many in his party at the time, Barnett was a segregationist.
What many people don’t realize is that the Democrat Party gained a sizable footing in the South after the turmoil of the Reconstruction era. Elderly people will remember; young people haven’t been taught much U.S. history.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, was certainly aware of the challenges as civil rights legislation became an issue. After all, it was Eisenhower who sent federal troops to Little Rock, Ark., on Sept. 4, 1957, after another Democrat, Gov. Orval Fauvus, who was a lifelong segregationist, vowed to block black students from integrating into white schools.
The only person who mentioned Fauvus during the Democrats’ convention in Charlotte was former President Bill Clinton who gave it a brief, unmemorable nod. The official opening of the convention occurred on the 55th anniversary of Fauvus calling out the National Guard to stop black students.
The Eisenhower Memorial said [boldface added]:
Eisenhower achieved Congressional passage of the first civil rights legislation in the 82 years following Reconstruction. The Senate at first refused to pass the bill, which included both voting rights and a provision authorizing the Attorney General to protect all civil rights. Eventually, Congress approved the Civil Rights Act of 1957 without overall civil rights protection. This was a much weaker law than what Eisenhower had advocated. In 1960, Eisenhower was successful in getting Congress to pass additional voting rights legislation. These laws were the precedents for the civil rights legislation of the 1960s.
There’s a misconception about each party’s role during that period of social upheaval in the U.S.
I have, more than once, corrected history teachers my daughters had in public schools over the years.
The common meme is that all the Dixiecrats—Dems who left the party fold over integration—became Republicans.
That is not true.
Diane Alden at Newsmax had this to say about that myth [boldface added]:
“[Sen. John] Kerry also maintained that all the Dixiecrats became Republicans shortly after passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, another big lie. Richard Russell, Mendell Rivers, Clinton's mentor William Fulbright, Robert Byrd, Fritz Hollings and Al Gore Sr. remained Democrats till their dying day.
Most of the Dixiecrats did not become Republicans. They created the Dixiecrats and then, when the civil rights movement succeeded, they returned to the Democratic fold. It was not till much later, with a new, younger breed of Southerner and the thousands of Northerners moving into the South, that Republicans began to make gains.”
Democrats controlled both the U.S. House and Senate from 1955-1981.
Fact is, it took both Republicans and Democrats to correct the policy that violated the U.S. Constitution on the same level that contract is being violated today. Just as then, the American people today, regardless of color, bear the cost and the burden of those violations.
Black Republicans today face the same harsh attitudes from Democrats as in the Civil Rights era. Black Republicans are routinely singled out as targets for dirty politics and they are routinely assailed for not blindly accepting the socialist principles the Democrat Party relies on today.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Oct. 1, 2012)