Black Republicans' Legacy




By Rev. Dr. Tommy Davis

Reflecting on black history month I care to be reminded of the foundational advancements that clever African-Americans made in our society. Not only were their precedents valuable, they were made in the midst of malicious discrimination and prior to the enactment of some civil rights laws; as in the case of John Hyman, a former slave born in North Carolina who was elected as a Republican to the 44th Congress in March of 1877.   In spite of being sold to slaveholders in Alabama, the Honorable Hyman overcame the disgrace of prior captivity and took on a political career after the culmination of the Civil War. His political influence would surpass ten years.

Further inspiration should be the appointment of Jeremiah Haralson —born a slave on a Georgia plantation in 1846; self educated, yet was elected as a Republican to the 44th Congress in 1875 where he served for two years. This Alabama representative, also a minister, was raised in servitude and did not consider failure as an option.Jefferson Franklin Long, also born a slave on a Georgia plantation in 1836, was elected to the 41st Congress as a Republican in 1870. Who knows, while a slave, whether The Honorable Long thought he would be Georgia’s first black Congressman. 

Edward Brooke, an African-American Republican from Massachusetts, was the first black man elected to the Senate in 1966 by a popular vote even though three centuries had passed since Massachusetts in 1641 was the first colony to legalize the slave trade.   Senator Brooke had also served as attorney general of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts after having been elected in 1962; and then reelected in 1964, the same year of the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

There are many more African-American notables in the archives that would dismantle the contemporary myths that the primary reasons blacks lag behind is due to systemic racism. I see more evidence that would allow me to suppose that some pause at the rear due to erroneous expectations from government intervention coupled with a paternalistic analysis of economics and leadership.The honorable mentioned share some key components. They took responsibility for their lives, obtained an education, and participated in government by becoming a personal contributor to influence change. They understood that by becoming key players in authority they could limit the effects of inequity. The solution here was not additional legislation, but participation in enforcing the laws already on the books. 

When the Republicans sought to protect southern blacks by passing the Civil Rights bill of 1866, they had to override President Johnson’s veto. The same Congress subsequently drafted the Fourteenth Amendment (ratified in 1868) that nullified the Dred Scott decision of 1857 that said slaves nor descendants of liberated slaves could become citizens.

Section Two of the Fourteenth Amendment also terminated the Three-Fifths Compromise that counted five slaves as three persons for the purposes of apportioning the number of representatives to Congress from southern states. Sometime thereafter, in March of 1877, Frederick Douglas who escaped a Maryland plantation, eventually became the first black to receive a chief government appointment by being named U.S. Marshal of the District of Columbia. 

Black history month would serve well as a remembrance of men like Thurgood Marshall, the first black U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and the Honorable Clarence Thomas, our current conservative Bush Sr. appointee, who believed that in order to create a level playing field, we must be in a position to put into effect and translate into reality the principles that would confirm that all men are created equal.  Hence, the primary legacy of black history month should be to accept no excuses for failure and always be determined to become an asset within our communities.

11 responses

  1. Sheila

    Interesting that the first blacks elected to Congress and the Senate were Republicans. I know the Republican party is licking their chops now, waiting for the Democrats to attempt the push Obama aside. If the Democrats do that I predict it will be “welcome back to the Republican party”. Ironically, the Republicans pushed browns and blacks away. Most blacks who are Democrats are conservation. Why hasn’t the Republican party stepped up the the plate?

    February 19, 2008 at 12:22 am

    • While it is true that repubilcans have not taken advantage of the obvious disparity in historical accounts. The problen is not so much the Republicans as it is the mentality of most Afirican-Amaericans. The entittlement mentality is the new slavery, and for the most part Afircan-Americans love thier new master. He aleviates their responsibility for their own destiny and put it on the backs of “The rich white guy”, or better still the government. Still trying deperately to hang on to a forgotten “african heritage” instead of embracing the the rich historical heritage that make them a vauable part of american history.

      May 12, 2010 at 4:26 am

  2. Shirley Pettaway

    What is also interesting is that since the Obama organization has actually done a great job connecting politically active blacks. They are now in a position to have a dramatic impact on the outcome of 2008 election if they shift to the Republican party.

    It seems to me what is needed is a moderate (not flamboyant) conduit to broker our return to the Republican party. Just recall the march of all those black voters in Texas. Plus the other areas where the Republicans have had trouble before.

    I think the Republican Party is just WAITING IN THE WINGS>

    March 24, 2008 at 8:03 pm

  3. Rev. Tommy Davis, DDCS

    Blacks must return to grooming leaders from inside the camp rather than counting on government for economic stability.

    March 24, 2008 at 8:48 pm

  4. Edward L. Brown II

    Hello. I am an African-American who happens to be a Republican. I used to consider myself a Conservative but now I see myself as a Moderate. Having said that, I feel that I am more of a Republican than Conservatives are. The GOP was not founded on Conservative principals. It was a Moderate party. The Democrats were the Conservatives. They wanted to keep people who look like me in bondage. The GOP wanted to abolish slavery, although they started with the pragmatic approach of promoting the non-proliferation of slavery. Eventually they used the intervention of the federal government to end slavery, grant citizenship to blacks, black suffrage, the Freedmens Bureau and other actions to help African-Americans. This is history that Conservative members of our party choose to not emphasize. The Republican Party did not become a Conservative party until 1964 with the rise of Barry Goldwater. Wake up black folks and Moderates! Take back your party. The Dems are not an option as they choose to empower government while the GOP gives power back to the people. In Virginia, my state, in the 60s and 70s the GOP built a coalition between blacks and the business community. We need to get back to that legacy of Civil Rights advocacy and free market policies. Affirmative-Action, black majority districts and Civil Rights all started as Republican policies. Know and embrace your path in hopes of having a prosperous future. The mistake that, I know that I made and other black GOPers are doing as well, is that we were representing the GOP in the black community. I thought about that. The GOP does not need to be represented. We need to represent Black folks in the GOP.

    March 30, 2008 at 11:41 pm

  5. Rev. Tommy Davis, DDCS

    Conservative depends on what institutions one is trying to conserve. For the Democrats it was slavery which was primarily an economic issue. To the Republicans, who were the liberals of the time, it was abolishing slavery. I am Republican because of what I stand for. Not what the Republicans can do for me. I have very little in common with the Dems.

    March 31, 2008 at 8:02 pm

  6. Robert Jordan

    MY question ia this.. How many black elected congress members are they are today.

    May 1, 2008 at 8:59 am

  7. Anonymous

    I am a Hispanic American born in Puerto Rico to a White Spaniard mom, and Black Indian father. To look at me you will not see the Indian nor the African , but rather the European white of my Spanish mother. This makes-up most of the Puerto Ricans on the island and in the mainland. I and my family and many Puerto Ricans never knew what it was to be racist. We all lived our lives in harmony and never considered the color of ones skin. We confronted racism when many came to the United States for lack of work. We lived amongst African Americans in metropolitan cities throughout the United States and never to my knowledge ever had racist problems. I know that Sammy Davis Jrs. mother was Puerto Ric-an. Yet many people today never even recognize that fact. What I’m finally getting to is,though we are alike in many ways we differ politically. I have seen my island turned into a Nanny State where the biggest employer on the island is the government. I have also seen a once proud people become addicted to government handouts ie: welfare, section 8 housing, and the food stamp programs- (to were it all to be taken away- they would be lost).All these programs were promise to them if they would vote Democrat. And they did!! And what became of this once beautiful island. The governor has been indicted for corruption, government employees throughout the island have gone on strike. The infrastructure is collapsing, and Puerto Rico has had to borrow millions of dollars, just to make it to its next fiscal cycle. This is what we share w/many black communities throughout the United States. We have become wards of the state. Big Government has become our sugar daddy and the Democrat Politician sicks back and laughs at our stupidity. They even helped create the failing school system in which we all send our children to. When the Republicans were trying to put vouchers into play so that parents can make a choice for their children to be put into better performing schools. Who was it that shot it down! the Democrats. When the Republicans wanted to keep school prayer, and God in the public domain. Who was it with their friends in the ACLU and the courts that finally removed it! It was again the Democrats. I pray that someday my Hispanic brethren and the Caribbean and African Americans finally wake-up and ditch the Sugar Daddy Socialist Communist Democrats once and for all. And return to the party whose sole purpose in it founding was to bring Civil Rights to All! The Republican Party…

    May 2, 2008 at 12:52 am

  8. Rev. Tommy Davis, DDCS


    You hit the nail right on its head! Mr. Brown, I have to look into your question.

    May 2, 2008 at 5:14 am

  9. Rev. Coron W. Bentley

    As a life-long Republican,who just so happens to be Black,it is trully a joy to see that this website is dedicated to informing those of us who really want to know the truth.I have always said that one of the main reasons why Black America is in the shape we’re in is due to the fact that too many of us vote for and support people and activities that are destructive to our growth! Remember, knowledge is indeed power(Hosea 4:6;Holy Bible,KJV)! Keep up the good work and keep the faith!Peace and blessings!

    May 11, 2008 at 5:52 am

  10. The problem with the Republican party started with the “Southern Strategy” popularized by Richard Nixon. Why we don’t just tell the truth and apologise for this terrible thing is beyond me. We should be reaching out to ALL Americans – especially blacks, who used to be a core constituency of ours – to show them that WE are the party that best reflect their values.

    Having said that, here are some FACTS that Barack Obama left out of his so-called ‘race speech.’

    Which party started the KKK and the Jim Crow era? The Democratic party. Which party had a man named Robert Byrd FILIBUSTERING the Civil Rights Act of 1965? The Democratic party. Which party FOUGHT against Americans who wanted blacks freed from slavery? The Democratic party. Which party was formed EXPRESSLY to oppose the Democrat party on the issue of slavery? The Republican party.

    Which party passed the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery? The Republican party. Which party turned right around and formed the KKK to make sure blacks went BACK to the plantations after the 13th Amendment was passed? The Democratic party. Which party passed the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution so that blacks could have due process in law, so that their right to vote would not infringed upon regardless of their race or skin color? The Republican party.

    Which party at one of its conventions called itself the “white man’s Party?” The Democratic party. Which party stacked the Supreme Court with racists who then finally rendered blacks 3/5ths human being in the infamous Dredd Scott case? The Democratic party. Which party has a history and pattern of terrorizing black Americans for over 170 years? The Democratic party.

    Which party caused the destruction of the black family unit after the 1965 Civil Rights Act passed by hooking blacks on government programs? The Democratic party. Which party accused those who opposed hooking blacks on those government programs “racists” and “uncle Toms?” The Democratic party. Which party started affirmative action programs? The Republican party.

    Which party pushed for and passed welfare reform to help poor blacks extricate themselves from government dependency programs, reducing poverty rates in black communities by 54%? The Republican party. Which party BLOCKED extension of welfare reform that Democrat Bill Clinton twice vetoed? The Democratic party.

    Which party FOUGHT to exclude blacks from getting a good education for over 170 years? The Democratic party. Under which party did black business and black home ownership set record levels? The Republican party. Under which party have black students made the greatest gains in over 30 years? The Republican party. Which party has enabled over 283,000 loans to small business (30% of which went to minority businesses) totalling $63 billion in five years, almost as much as was spend in the previous 40 years? The Republican party.

    Which Party freed 3.8 million blacks from the tax rolls? The Republican party. Which party started the funding of the first African American museum and culture center? The Republican party. Which party had the very first and second black Secretaries of State, and the first black National Security Advisor? The Republican party. Which party spent three times ($15 billion) more on AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean than had been previously spent? The Republican party.

    And finally, which party continues to pit blacks Americans against white Americans for disgusting political gain? The Democratic party.

    Now do you know why Barack Obama left out THE MOST RELEVANT information about the history of racism in America?

    Thanks for listening.

    May 16, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s