Monday, October 10, 2011

Blacks Built The Republican Party In Southern States

By Ken Raymond
Black Politics on the Web

Many former slaves left a political legacy that’s been ignored or completely forgotten by their descendants--even during Black History Month.

As they struggled against the violence and racism of the mid-1800’s, it’s likely they thought this heritage would continue to improve the lives of their descendants.

This legacy is the Republican Party.

For over 50 years, Black people have given over 90 percent of its votes to the Democrat Party. The Democrat Party can always count on strong support from the Black Community.

But that’s certainly wasn’t the case during the mid-1800’s. During that time, the Republican Party led the fight against strong Democrat opposition to pass the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. These changes abolished slavery, granted blacks citizenship and the right to vote. It was clear to all Black people who their friends were in the political arena.

General sentiments towards the Republicans were very hostile, in the south, after the Civil War. Most, if not all, southern citizens had a friend or a family member that died in the Civil War. That made it was very difficult for the GOP to get a solid foothold in southern states--even among southerner’s that agreed with them.

Blacks built the GOP in Southern States.
As documented in Helen Edmonds’ book, The Negro in Fusion Politics in North Carolina, 1894-1901, the black founders of the North Carolina GOP helped build local organizations and establish Republican voter majorities in 16 counties by 1896.
So why did blacks switch from giving over 90 percent of their support from Republicans to Democrats? Especially since the Democrats were staunchly pro-slavery, established the Klu Klux Klan, and anti-civil rights?

It started in 1892 when Democrat President Grover Cleveland was elected and the Democrats took control of Congress. Their first act was to repeal the Enforcement Act and the Civil Rights laws passed by Republicans. These laws were replaced with the Black Codes and Jim Crow laws — which severely limited economic, educational, social, and political opportunities of blacks.

[Ed. This February 2011 article is being recirculated by email by the Republicans For Black Empowerment.  I think this article needs to stay in constant circulation!]

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