Politics & Policy

In February, Democrats Wrap Up Black Amnesia Month

Sen. Robert Byrd in 2005 (Reuters photo: Kevin Lamarque)
Contrary to their mythmaking, Democrats have a long history of oppressing black Americans.

Today concludes Black History Month. But for Democrats, February, once again, has been Black Amnesia Month. Members of the party that claims to be the best friend of the black man do their very best to entomb their misdeeds, injustices, and crimes against blacks in an Orwellian memory hole. Here are just a few of the ugly things that Democrats have done to blacks, and hope no one will remember:

‐ The Democratic party supported slavery from its inception in the 1830s until it split over the issue in 1860. In January 1865, 100 percent of House Republicans supported the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. Among those who voted, 78 percent of House Democrats opposed abolition.

‐ Democrats Horatio Seymour and Francis Blair ran for president and vice president in 1868 on this general-election campaign slogan: “This is a white man’s country: Let white men rule.”

‐ Democratic President Woodrow Wilson segregated the previously integrated facility beside the White House, now called the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Source: The Chicago Defender, October 15, 1932

“Beginning Wednesday, Aug. 9, 1916, the toilets in the state, war, and navy department buildings will be allotted for use as toilets . . . For Women . . . For White Men . . . [and] For Colored Men,” read the actual segregation order. It was signed by none other than the assistant secretary of the Navy, Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt

‐ Democrats sank U.S. Representative Leonidas Dyer’s (R., Mo.) Anti-Lynching Bill. This measure — which would have made lynching a federal crime and shielded blacks from being hanged in trees — passed the Republican-controlled House in January 1922. Outrageously, Senate Democrats filibustered it that November. And the lynchings roared on.

‐ Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt nominated former Klansman Hugo Black to the Supreme Court in 1937. After letting his supporters claim that he never associated with the KKK, Justice Black eventually confessed that he had joined the Klan and earned a “gold passport” or life membership.

‐ Democrats stood shoulder to shoulder for decades with the late U.S. senator and former Klansman Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.). As the Washington Post explained, Byrd recruited 150 Klansmen for the Crab Orchard, W.Va., KKK. His local chapter unanimously elected him “Exalted Cyclops.” Byrd wrote the KKK’s Imperial Wizard in 1946: “The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia.”

Democrats ignored all of this and embraced Byrd as their Senate leader as recently as 1989. Hillary Clinton called Byrd “my friend and mentor.” At Byrd’s July 2010 funeral, President Obama eulogized this hatemonger: “It seems to me that his life bent toward justice.”

Compare Democrats’ half century of solidarity with Byrd, an actual Ku Klux Klan leader, with their unbridled, race-fueled vitriol against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a non-KKK alumnus man who helped steer Klansman Henry Francis Hays into Alabama’s electric chair.

‐ Democrat Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor — the über-racist commissioner of public safety in Birmingham, Ala. — arrayed snarling police dogs and high-pressure firehoses against peaceful civil-rights protesters. When he wasn’t busy oppressing blacks, Connor served as one of Alabama’s two representatives on the Democratic National Committee.

‐ Democrats filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Senator Robert “KKK” Byrd decried this measure on the Senate floor for 14 hours, as did other Southern Democrats. Senator Everett Dirksen (R., Ill.) finally mustered enough votes to break the Democrats’ filibuster, but Byrd and 22 other Southern Democrats still spurned America’s cornerstone civil-rights legislation. Nonetheless, the bill passed, and Democratic President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed it into law.

‐ Democrats furnished ten of the eleven votes against Thurgood Marshall as America’s first black Supreme Court justice. These ten were joined in August 1967 by Senator Strom Thurmond (R., S.C.), a former segregationist Democrat who turned GOP. Despite recent liberal claims that Dixiecrats morphed into Republicans, Thurmond is the only prominent one who did. Notorious segregationists such as Governors Orval Faubus of Arkansas and George Wallace of Alabama and Senators J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and Albert Gore Sr. of Tennessee died as Democrats.

‐ Democrats today frequently deliver this humiliating insult: Blacks are too feeble and benighted to present ID cards at the polls (although it’s apparently okay to demand ID of blacks at airports, banks, federal buildings, and even to buy anti-cold remedies).

Democrats claim that blacks are less likely than whites to carry ID cards. If so, why haven’t Democrats led the charge to secure every undocumented black American an ID card, to facilitate full participation in modern life? Instead, Democrats do next to nothing to empower the ultimate little guys — blacks who lack ID. Rather, they deploy this vulnerable population as human shields against Republican ballot-integrity efforts. Meanwhile, Democrats routinely belittle blacks as too collectively pathetic to possess photo ID cards.

‐ Senate Democrats unanimously opposed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. As an advocate and donor for school choice and educational excellence, DeVos has done far more than the average Senate Democrat to boost the life prospects of low-income black kids. However, these lawmakers’ masters in the teachers’ unions hate DeVos and her reformist ideas. So, on February 7, Senate Democrats all rejected her confirmation — educationally abandoned black children be damned.

Democrats rarely admit to any of the above, and their bodyguards in the Old Guard media rarely bother them with any of these inconvenient truths. What a shame.

Henceforth, Black History Month — and the rest of the year — should include a much more sustained focus on the countless ways that Democrats have held down black Americans for centuries — and still do.

Deroy Murdock — Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online.

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