Friday, June 25, 2010

Lost History: Neglected Black Voices From The Reconstruction Period

Did you know that we once had a black Speaker of the House?  Neither did I.  His name was Joseph H. Rainey.

Glenn Beck has produced a series of programs on Fox News called Founders' Friday.  In recent programs Beck introduced his audience to black patriots who played significant roles in the founding of America -- people whose names and brilliant contributions have disappeared from the history books; that is, until Texas recently revised its textbook standards.  At one time schools used The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution (1855) for a textbook.  This book is out of print but can be read on Google Books.  In the Introduction Harriet B. Stowe writes:
The colored race have been generally considered by their enemies, and sometimes even by their friends, as deficient in energy and courage.  Their virtues have been supposed to be principally negative ones.  This little collection of interesting incidents, made by a colored man, will redeem the character of the race from this misconception, and show how much injustice there may often be in a generally admitted idea.
In considering the services of the Colored Patriots of the Revolution, we are to reflect upon them as far more magnanimous, because rendered to a nation which did not acknowledge them as citizens and equals, and in whose interests and prosperity they had less at stake.  It was not for their own land they fought, not even for a land which had adopted them, but for a land which had enslaved them, and whose laws, even in freedom, oftener oppressed than protected.  Bravery, under such circumstances, has a peculiar beauty and merit.
It is to be hoped that the reading of these sketches will give new self-respect and confidence to the race here represented.  Let them emulate the noble deeds and sentiments of their ancestors, and feel that the dark skin can never be a badge of disgrace, while it has been ennobled by such examples.
And their white brothers in reading may remember, that generosity, disinterested courage and bravery, are of no particular race and complexion, and that the image of the Heavenly Father may be reflected alike by all.  Each record of worth in this oppressed and despised people should be pondered, for it is by many such that the cruel and unjust public sentiment, which has so long proscribed them, may be reversed, and full opportunities given them to take rank among the nations of the earth.
David Barton, Founder of WallBuilders was asked how and why these mens' names were dropped from the history textbooks.  He replied that Democrat President Woodrow Wilson was largely responsible.  When Wilson came into office, he kicked all blacks except one from their government offices.  Wilson held a Ph.D. in history and political science, and had written a seven-volume set of books titled The History of the American People.  His books reflected his racist views, and it was these books that became the basis upon which we were taught 20th century history.  

Imagine how different race relations might be today if "The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution" had not been dropped from the curriculum, and if a racist had not been elected President.  I suspect race hustlers plying their trade now would be out of business, including Barack Obama. 

You can read the actual speeches of these black founders here, and three of Beck's YouTube videos are below the fold.

Readers are also encouraged to re-read Of Toms and Sambos, which was brilliantly written by a black conservative blogger named Digital Publius.

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