Race seems to be the controlling criterion in contemporary dialogue when it comes to evaluating relationships among black and white Americans. Nothing is more harmful to the brainpower of black people than the elevation of the myth that one cannot thrive due to racism. Undeniably, racism is a reality, but it has never been sufficient enough to prevent black Americans from gaining an economic advantage in a struggle to better ourselves.
In 1834, a group of Connecticut businessmen declared that the “white man cannot labor upon equal terms with the negro….the black can afford to offer his services at lower prices than the white man.” Fugitive slaves had escaped there and opened businesses. When slavery ended in 1865, blacks carried their work ethic into the free market. Their white counterparts legislatively enacted discriminatory laws in an effort to stifle the competition from blacks.
Many 19th century black Americans wanted nothing more than the freedom to be productive. A shared intellectual currency at the time motivated blacks to perform very well without viewing race as a disability. In the 1870s, blacks occupied positions as lieutenant governor, mayor, sheriff, magistrates, treasurer, superintendent of education in five states including Republican Speakers of the House in Mississippi and South Carolina.
One day after Congress approved the Thirteenth Amendment ending slavery, Republican Senator Charles Sumner introduced a motion that made John Rock the first black attorney to be admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was already an American teacher, doctor, dentist, and abolitionist. John Rock was also one of the first black Americans to earn a medical degree (1852).
It’s how we respond to experiences and learning that makes the difference. In 1910, 71 percent of blacks over nine years of age were employed or operated family businesses. This heightened racial tensions that prompted whites to burn down black business and suppress the black vote in an effort to gain economic ground.
We needed the government to protect our civil liberties rather than provide wealth. When the 1964 Civil Rights Act came up for argument and a vote, Senator Olin Johnston, a Democrat from South Carolina said: “This is indeed the blackest day in the U.S. Senate since 1875, when Congress passed a civil rights bill similar to this one. It was 89 years ago that the [Republican] Congress passed the nefarious Reconstruction era civil rights laws, identical with what we are now discussing….” It was Republican William McCullough who stated in supporting the bill: “I believe in the right of each individual to have his constitutional rights guaranteed. On the other hand, he must always be prepared to shoulder the obligations and assume the burdens of citizenship….”
Rev. Tommy Davis is a full time chaplain in upstate New York
by Providence Crowder
Author Donald W. Dayton produced a remarkable historical summary of America’s evangelical legacy in his work entitled, “Discovering an Evangelical Heritage.” This book provides compelling evidence that confirms “the Christian witness” has a powerful impact upon society when the gospel is put into action. Unlike contemporary evangelicalism, which by and large evades questions of social responsibility, Dayton sets out to prove that the evangelical heritage left by nineteenth century evangelicals such as Catherine Booth and Charles G. Finney demonstrated that the gospel and social responsibility were once intimately integrated. He provides thrilling accounts of how the nineteenth century evangelical “abolitionists” understood that to right societal wrongs, social injustice demanded a radical and Christian response. The abolitionist movement was chiefly political and religious; abolitionists believed that slavery was a sin. Through moral suasion, they set out to change laws in an effort to permanently abolish it. (more…)
Before the 2008 election a white pastor friend of mine asked to meet with me. He wanted my advice and counsel on how to deal with the discussions within his congregation regarding the election and what I thought would happen as a result of the election. Some of his members supported Obama and others supported McCain.
After a healthy discussion on the Bible and Politics, I predicted that Obama would win in part because Americans were tired of the war in Iraq and because Obama was well educated, good looking, very articulate, America’s first black candidate and because many whites wanted to prove that they were not prejudice – but his presidency (from a racial standpoint) will divide us, not unite us. Why? Because there will be those in the media and in his camp who will not hesitate to play the race card when whites disagreed with his policies. Well, we all know my first prediction came true, he is the President, but sadly, we see the second one coming true as well. Those who disagree with his policies are being called racist. (more…)
Normally, when it comes to government programs that attempt to address ethnic bigotry, I am a total critic. Policies that include contemporary affirmative action actually turned out to encourage discrimination rather than discourage unfairness when it comes to certain groups of people.
The original affirmative action ruled out race as a factor. Contemporary affirmative action leads to the underdevelopment of those who did not really obtain success through candid competition; but rather through policies that reward failure and penalize someone else’s achievement.
As a Republican, I understand that laws must be initiated that would prevent citizens from being deprived of their human and citizenship rights by other citizens. In January of 1865, Republican President Lincoln prompted Congress to enact the Thirteenth Amendment ending slavery. The Civil War ended that same year when General Lee surrendered on April 9 with Lincoln being assassinated 6 days later. (more…)
You may have heard some people refer to certain black Americans as “Uncle Tom.” This term is widely used as derisive language to discredit the accomplishments of successful black Americans who probably overcame poverty through hard work. What many black Americans are unaware of is the fact that “Uncle Tom” was an actual hero. This fictional character helped slaves escape the harsh plantations according to the novel titled “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” You may have also heard people say: “Republicans don’t like black people.”
Equally troubling is the fact that many people use the phrase “Uncle Tom” in a negative light having never read the book. In the same way, black Americans are unaware of the rich history of the Republican Party. They only pass on negative information having never researched the accounts of the past. (more…)