Civil Rights: A Look At The History Of The Republican Party

If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. -Malcolm X

Are Republicans racist? With Donald Trump as the face of the Republican party, is there any doubt? The party is without scruples and void of integrity. Their supporters believe white people are superior yet somehow are being persecuted and people of color are to blame.

This racist ideology was not always the case. Both the party makeup and its ideology changed over time. Did you know in the 19th century, the Republican party had little to no support in the South? Or that most black people voted Republicans? A reason we should not get bogged down in semantics, as yesterday’s Democrats are today’s Republicans.

The Republican Party was not always the racist party or the party of the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis. The party was founded in 1854 by abolitionists. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican US President,1861-1865, and is best known for the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order issued on January 1, 1863, freeing slaves. Let’s be clear, the Republican party was not against slavery because they championed social justice or felt slavery morally wrong; no the party’s motives were economic and political. The South had seceded and Lincoln and company wanted to remove their economic advantage of cheap labor. Further, the Republicans wanted the black vote.

In 1793, over a half-century before the Republican Party, the Democratic Party was founded in the South by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. From the beginning, the Democrats distrusted big government and supported slavery. The first Ku Klux Klan members were Democrats. The Democratic Party was the face of the solid south. The concepts of “state rights” and “traditional” values were code words in support of white supremacy and structural racism.

Following the Civil Rights War and Reconstruction, the South returned to its old ways of exploiting black bodies. By pushing for State rights, the south was able to change the packaging on slavery by creating ‘Jim Crow laws’. These laws employed structural racism to
ensure black people remained at the bottom, serving the needs of white people and working essentially for free. The strategy was ‘Separate but Equal.’ Everyone knew ‘Equal’ was not true. Jim Crow was the law of the South after Reconstruction up until the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In 1948, the southern democrats separated within the Democratic party and became known as the Dixiecrats. The Dixiecrats wanted states rights to continue enforcing Jim Crow laws without federal interference.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat from Texas, signed The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Johnson’s support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 led the solid south to vote for Barry Goldwater, a Republican. In 1968, the Republicans came up with the Southern Strategy, a strategy to maintain white supremacy by employing structural racism (Structural racism limits access to services and goods based on race). The strategy emphasized, “state rights” and “no integration” to woo southern white voters.

The Southern Strategy worked! The Dixiecrats led by Strom Thurmond officially left the Democratic Party in 1964 and joined the Republican Party. The Southern block of politicians joined the Republican Party because it promised to maintain white supremacy. This was accomplished through laws and policies that targeted or limited access based on race.

Today the Republican party is represented by Trump, who while popular among racists at home and abroad, has come to symbolize racism, lack of integrity, lies, inhumanity, and cruelty.

Does the Republican Party still represent American values?

If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. -Malcolm X

#FacesOfRacism
#SocialJusticeNPoliticalParties
#StructuralRacismNPoliticalParties

References:

Butterfield, Fox. All God’s Children.

How Republicans and Democrats switched on civil rights

Source of images:  Pinterest