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Who did more damage?

By Jim Coull - Amherst | Aug 11, 2019

I do not know who at the Telegraph is responsible for the selection of the letters the paper receives, but Raymond Guarino’s letter in the Sunday Telegraph really distorted the truth, and I cannot let it stand unanswered. In his closing paragraph, Mr. Guarino states, “Thus far, over the past 100 years, Republicans have done nothing and continue to offer nothing toward eliminating discrimination and injustice and making things right for our fellow citizens in our big cities.” This is so far from the truth that it must be responded to. Here are a few facts that Mr. Guarino doesn’t know or chooses to ignore.

First, it was a Republican president, Abraham Lincoln who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 freeing the slaves in the South.

Second, it was a Republican House and Senate in 1865 that submitted the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that abolished slavery and was ratified by a majority of the states thereafter.

Third, it was a Republican House and Senate that in 1868 submitted the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that provides equal protection under the law to all citizens of the United States, duly ratified.

Fourth, and more recently, it was Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower who in 1957 forced the integration of the Little Rock, Arkansas, schools in defiance of Democrat Gov. Orval Faubus by first federalizing the Arkansas National Guard who had been blocking the black children from entering the high school, and then sending a detachment of the 101st Airborne Division to escort the “Little Rock 9” into the high school.

Fifth, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed with 80% of the Republicans voting in favor versus 60% of the Democrats voting in favor. In the Senate, Democrat senators led by Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), Strom Thurmond (D-S.C.), James Eastland (D-M.S.), Richard Russell (D-Ga.)and Sam Ervin (D-N.C.) filibustered the Voting Rights Act for nine days before a group led by Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.) along with Senate Majority Leader Hubert Humphrey (D-Minn.) and Mike Mansfield (D-Mont.) that finally gathered enough other Democrat senators to end the filibuster and pass the bill.

Sixth, the 1960s were a time of much racial turmoil in the South, and in particular Alabama where Rosa Parks defied the segregated bus seating rules and caused a bus boycott that finally ended the seating rules. The “Children’s March” of 1963 in Birmingham was broken up with fire hoses and police dogs and then there was the bombing of a black church that resulted in the death of a small African-American girl. The people who perpetrated these acts of violence were not Republicans, but the Bull Connors and George Wallace’s were all Democrats.

So, to Mr. Guarino, I say, study who was responsible for the Jim Crow laws in the South and then decide which party did more to suppress “our fellow citizens in our inner cities.”


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