America liberated all black slaves in 1865, and the federal government under a Republican majority set out to empower blacks with the same civil rights enjoyed by others.
The Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery passed with the support of 100% of Republicans and 23% of Democrats. This shows that a large number of white people in America cared for the rights of black people and wanted to help them. A great many whites gave their lives for this cause, both before, during, and after the war.
In 1866, Republicans in Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment granting citizenship to former slaves and equal protection under the law. Under President Ulysses Grant (1868-1876), Republicans, backed by federal troops, sought to “Reconstruct” the South by enforcing the federal laws granting liberties to blacks. Republicans campaigned on the Fourteenth Amendment in the 1866 midterm elections and voters rewarded them with veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress. Again, it is obvious that a majority of whites outside of the South were sympathetic to black civil rights.
In 1869, Congress passed the 15th Amendment granting the right to vote to all men regardless of race.
In 1872, the first seven black members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives were seated. Between then and 1900, nearly 40 blacks would serve in the U.S. Congress (all Republicans).
After the Civil War and the liberation of blacks from slavery, there was a massive movement to educate them and to otherwise lift them out of their desolate condition. Literacy among southern blacks increased from 5% in 1870 to 70% by 1900. It was an unprecedented event in history. Booker T. Washington, who was in the midst of the phenomenon both as a learner and as a teacher, described it as follows: “This experience of a whole race beginning to go to school for the first time, presents one of the most interesting studies that has ever occurred in connection with the development of any race” (Up from Slavery, 1901). The American Bible Society and the American Tract Society distributed millions of copies of Bibles and religious materials among freed blacks.
Blacks made great progress in the decades after the Civil War, in spite of starting out from the depraved condition created by 200 years of slavery and in spite of the southern Democrats’ ferocious attempt to put them back under bondage.
From the beginning of the 20th century, there was growing pushback against Jim Crow segregation.
In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order opening government jobs and defense contracts to all Americans regardless of race.
In 1948, President Harry Truman issued an executive order ending segregation in the military.
Though there was still white supremacist thinking in the South in the mid-20th century, the mood had changed greatly. Most were opposed to the type of violence that the KKK had perpetrated in previous times. Law enforcement, judges, and juries could no longer be depended on to justify these things (David Chalmers, Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan, 2007).
In 1957, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It removed the restrictions to voting rights which had been used against minorities.
In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. It prevents employment discrimination due to race, color, sex, religion or national origin.
In 1965, President Johnson issued an executive order requiring firms under contract with the federal government to take “affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” During the Richard Nixon administration, this was expanded to set quotas for hiring minority-owned firms.
There have been 25 minority race governors and lieutenant governors.
162 blacks have served in Congress. The 116th Congress (2019) was the most racially diverse in the nation’s history with 116 non-white members. This was an 84% increase over the 107th Congress (2001) which had 63 minority members.
America has more than 6,000 black public officials. About 330 of America’s cities have black mayors, including many cities in the South (e.g., Atlanta, GA; Baton Rouge, LA; Birmingham, AL; Augusta, GA; Shreveport, LA; Jackson, MS). 39 of the 100 largest American cities have black mayors; 40% of them serve in cities that do not have black majority populations. Black women lead seven of the nation’s largest cities.
From 2009 to 2017, a black man held office as the 44th president of the United States. He was elected to two terms of office though blacks only formed 13% of the population. A majority of his total votes nationwide for this black man were cast by whites.
About 30% of America’s police nationwide are non-white. The number almost doubled between 1987 and 2013. In 2013, there were 130,000 non-white police officers, including 58,000 blacks, about 12% of the total. In Los Angeles, nearly 65% of the police force is non-white. The Detroit police department is so dominated by blacks that it was sued in 2005 for discrimination against whites. There are many black sheriffs and police chiefs. North Carolina, in the deep South, has 20 black sheriffs.
America has spent trillions of dollars in support of non-white “minority” communities. In 2018, Baltimore alone received more than $5 billion in federal aid.
“From 1950 to 2000, Black people in the United States experienced much larger income gains than whites did. The group that had the largest income gains, by far, was Black women. Their incomes nearly doubled over that period (after inflation). The race gap persists, but it is much lower today than it was in 1950. Does this sound like the financial results from a systemically racist country? ... The Census Bureau report released earlier this month finds that from 2016 to 2019, Black incomes rose more than in any three years in the history of the United States. The median household income for Blacks is now $45,438. ... The highest-income group in America today is not white-skinned workers. It is Asians. Astonishingly, the median household income of Asian Americans reached just shy of $100,000 a year. One of America's wonders as a land of opportunity is that an immigrant can come to America dirt-poor from China or India and, within 20 years, move into the middle class or even become wealthy. ... This couldn't have happened in America if this were a nation that hates brown-skinned Americans. It could not have occurred in a xenophobic country. ... The average Hispanic household in America makes more than $56,000 a year today. That is a massive leap forward from what Hispanics earn in Mexico, El Salvador or Cuba. ... I would submit from all this that America isn't the most but rather the least racist nation on Earth when it comes to upward economic mobility” (Stephen Moore, The Washington Examiner, Sep. 24, 2020).
“While it might not be popular to say in the wake of the recent social disorder, the true plight of black people has little or nothing to do with the police or what has been called ‘systemic racism.’ Instead, we need to look at the responsibilities of those running our big cities. Some of the most dangerous big cities are: St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore, Oakland, Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta, Birmingham, Newark, Buffalo and Philadelphia. The most common characteristic of these cities is that for decades, all of them have been run by liberal Democrats. Some cities -- such as Detroit, Buffalo, Newark and Philadelphia -- haven't elected a Republican mayor for more than a half-century. On top of this, in many of these cities, blacks are mayors, often they dominate city councils, and they are chiefs of police and superintendents of schools. Democratic-controlled cities have the poorest-quality public education despite their large, and growing, school budgets. Consider Baltimore, Maryland. In 2016, in 13 of Baltimore's 39 high schools, not a single student scored proficient on the state's math exam. In six other high schools, only 1% tested proficient in math. Only 15% of Baltimore students passed the state's English test. That same year in Philadelphia only 19% of eighth-graders scored proficient in math, and 16% were proficient in reading. In Detroit, only 4% of its eighth-graders scored proficient in math, and 7% were proficient in reading. It's the same story of academic disaster in other cities run by Democrats. ... White liberals and black politicians focus most of their attention on what the police do, but how relevant is that to the overall tragedy? According to Statista, this year, 172 whites and 88 blacks have died at the hands of police. To put police shootings in a bit of perspective, in Chicago alone in 2020 there have been 1,260 shootings and 256 homicides with blacks being the primary victims. That comes to one shooting victim every three hours and one homicide victim every 15 hours. Three people in Chicago have been killed by police. If one is truly concerned about black deaths, shootings by police should figure way down on one’s list--which is not to excuse bad behavior by some police officers” (Walter Williams, “The True Plight of Black Americans,” Townhall, June 10, 2020; Williams is Professor of Economics at George Mason University).
“So when people start to talk about systemic racism, built into the system, what they’re really doing is expanding the territory of entitlement. We want more. We want society to give us more. Society is responsible for us, because racism is so systemic. Well, that’s a corruption, and I know it’s a corruption, because the truth of the matter is blacks have never been less oppressed than they are today. Opportunity is around every corner. In all of this, no one ever stops to say, well, you’re unhappy with where minorities are at in American life, and blacks continue to be at the bottom of most socioeconomic measures. You’re unhappy about that. Well, why don’t you take some responsibility for that? Why don’t you take more responsibility? I would be happy to look at all the usual bad guys, the police and so forth, if we had the nerve, the courage to look at black people. To look at black Americans, minority Americans, and say, you’re not carrying your own weight. ... We’re farther behind than we’ve ever been, and we keep blaming it on racism, blaming it on the police. I’m exhausted with that. I grew up in a time when there was real segregation. Blacks during the ’50s took a lot of responsibility for their lives, because the government didn’t. My father bought three ramshackle houses, rebuilt them, rented them out, kept clawing his way up the ladder. A man with a third-grade education from the South. What civil rights bill is going to replace that? That value system? And he was not exceptional. Across the community we lived in, those were the values. That is the problem. We have allowed ourselves to be enabled in avoiding our real problems by a guilty white society. ... There’s always going to be some racism, in every society. My own sense is that it is endemic to the human condition. ... We have let this sort of guilty society, and our grievance industry, put us in this impossible situation where we are a permanent underclass. Before the ’60s, there was no black underclass. That’s a new phenomenon” (Shelby Steele, Life, Liberty, and Levin, June 7, 2020; Steele is former Lt. Gov. of Maryland, conservative political analyst, columnist, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution).
“This is not 1960. You got Democratic cities--Chicago, Atlanta, LA--run by Democrats, run by people of color. There’s chaos in those cities and they're calling 'systemic discrimination. They need to look in the mirror. This is not 1960. This is not Bull Connor. This is not German Shepherds chasing black folks down the street and yet they play this game of using a word, a term, a phrase that does not apply in 2020. ... Let me be as clear as possible: I, as a black man, as an American, do not support Black Lives Matter. Why? Very simple. Black Lives Matter doesn’t care about all black lives. ... They are profiteers. You will see Al Sharpton--you’ll see him at a police case involving a black man and a white officer, but other than that, those are the only black lives that matter” (Leo Terrell, “Civil Rights Attorney Talks about Being Shunned,” Daily Caller, July 15, 2020).
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