I started writing this in November of 2020, before the election was certified but proved that Biden was the president-elect. Since then, tRump has tried his best, legally as well as illegally, to turn the election.
That's a blog by itself, but, since then, there has been an attempted insurrection as the formal vote count was being established in the Senate. This was attempted by a mob of tRump supports, who had a rally in Washington, D.C., with the backdrop of the White House. Five people died in their attempt. President tRump has now been impeached.
I titled this "Progress and the backlash" for one reason: EVERY TIME WE MAKE SOCIAL ADVANCEMENT IN THIS COUNTRY, THERE IS A BACKLASH. The reason why it's that way is because white people are scared their supposed dominance in this stolen land is somehow not going to be as relevant as they would like to think.
If you notice in the above photo, there is a theme that is reaching into today's theme of "white activism," which is the word "Communism." That was meant to scare people; the Cold War was raging at the time this picture was taken and meant as a warning: "If you integrate school and let those Black people in, we are headed to a state of communism."
Do you remember the slogan "Make America Great Again"? What did tRump mean by that? Well, to me, the above picture makes a lot of sense. White, clean, happy, but angry about their white privilege being threatened. Take away the racist signs and they just look like pure ol' Americana. You may say we have progressed remarkably since then but ... no, trust me, this is a result of trying to enforce the Constitutional rights of Black people.
So, when you have to make signs and T-shirts saying that you're not racist, then, it's obvious, you're racist.
With that, here is what I started writing, and how I'm finishing it up.
The death throes of the tRump administration have finally begun. It's not over yet, as I write this; the Electoral College has yet to certify their votes, but at 290 predicted Electoral College votes for Biden vs 217 to tRump, it's effectively over. There is going to be a boatload of analysis as to how this all happened, from people wanting a different and unconventional president to the absolute vile hatred of Hillary, but I'm going to give you a factual view from the BLACK PERSPECTIVE.
Now some of you are going to say, "Here we go again, more whining from the Black perspective". But it's not. Progress in this country has been made by the "African American" in this country despite absolute opposition to the Black equal status since emancipation and the first Civil Rights Act amended to the Constitution of 1866 but was not ratified until 1870.
Because of this amendment to the Constitution, it allowed a historical moment: the ability for Black men to vote. These names will go down in history, the first Black senator and representatives: Sen. Hiram Revels (R-MS), Rep. Benjamin S. Turner (R-AL), Robert DeLarge (R-SC), Josiah Walls (R-FL), Jefferson Long (R-GA), Joseph Rainey and Robert B. Elliott (R-SC).
Now, this was seen as triumphant progress, from either being a free but non-citizen or a slave, these men now represented their constituency and were part of this great nation. This proved that democracy works. This also proved the absolute power of the Black vote given the large concentrated numbers of Black people in the South. More than 90% of all Black people lived below the Mason-Dixon line.
With these newly elected Black congressmen and one senator, historians called this the “biracial democracy” in the Reconstruction-era Deep South. But it also caused a scare in the white community. It was a pivotal moment in American history even though it was shortly overthrown.
At its peak, at least 15 African-Americans served in Congress — some of them former slaves. You have to say this was a remarkable feat. This was by no way an attempt for payback. If anything, the African American — captured, transported, bought, sold, separated from their loved ones, deprived of their cultural heritage — was not ready to participate in the very society that subjugated them.
Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first. A freeborn native of North Carolina, he was of biracial heritage. He worked as a barber and was educated in Quaker schools and later at Knox College in Illinois. He became a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and served as a teacher and preacher at churches throughout the South and Midwest. He worked in St. Louis, according to his congressional biography, despite the fact that Missouri prohibited free Blacks from settling in the state, fearing their presence could inspire a slave insurrection.
Now if anyone had the background to take on the job, it was Revels. Revels' spiritual disposition (faith) helped him tremendously
“I sedulously refrained from doing anything that would incite slaves to run away from their masters,” he wrote in his autobiography. “It being understood that my object was to preach the gospel to them, and improve their moral and spiritual condition, even slaveholders were tolerant of me.”
Now you might say he was part of the slave machine, getting black preachers to keep the slave masses in order, but it also worked out during the Civil War as he was a chaplain. He helped recruit and organize two Black Union regiments. After serving his term in the senate he was appointed as the first president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College, which is now Alcorn State University. As you can see, he had a sense of duality that many African Americans have to deal with. We live in two worlds, one being in a small minority of whites and appear as non-threatening; and having to be accepted and provide leadership among our own people.
Here comes an attempt at a level playing field
The Reconstruction era began in late 1863 and ended in 1877. Reconstruction ended the remnants of Confederate secession, abolished slavery, provided citizenship for their new Black citizens and amended the Constitution. During this period, Federal troops occupied the South to ensure no retribution from southerners against their newfound equal citizens, you know ... Black people.
Long story short, this did not happen seamlessly. The Memphis Riots and the New Orleans Massacre were some of those results. But also of importance was the southern economy, which was shattered.
Farms were in disrepair and the pre-war stock of horses, mules and cattle was much depleted; 40% of the South's livestock had been killed. The South's farms were not highly mechanized, but the value of farm implements and machinery according to the 1860 Census was $81 million and was reduced by 40% by 1870. The transportation infrastructure lay in ruins, with little railroad or riverboat service available to move crops and animals to market. Railroad mileage was located mostly in rural areas; over two-thirds of the South's rails, bridges, rail yards, repair shops and rolling stock were in areas reached by Union armies, which systematically destroyed what they could. Even in untouched areas, the lack of maintenance and repair, the absence of new equipment, the heavy overuse, and the deliberate relocation of equipment by the Confederates from remote areas to the war zone ensured the system would be ruined at war's end. Restoring the infrastructure — especially the railroad system — became a high priority for Reconstruction state governments.
Another important part of the Compromise of 1877 was that Republicans agreed to home-rule in the South. Home-rule meant the Republican Party would refrain from interfering in the South’s local affairs and that white Democrats, many of them racist, would rule.
The Black Codes indicated the plans of the Southern Whites for the former slaves. The freedmen would have more rights than did free blacks before the war, but they would still have only a limited set of second-class civil rights, no voting rights and no citizenship. This was soon abolished but something more sinister came up: Jim Crow laws.
This came in the form of vagrancy laws, which punished you for being unemployed, jailed, then farmed out to those same plantations you were freed from. Other laws were mischief laws and insulting gesture laws. But it was good ol' state and local Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation in the South. These laws were enacted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by white Southern Democrat-dominated state legislatures to disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by Black people during Reconstruction. They stole economic progress from black people. It even reached the halls of Washington, enacted by Woodrow Wilson, a Southerner.
Another interesting point of history was white women. After the war, white women were angry that the former slave could vote, but white women, or any women for that matter, could not vote. They were angry and expressed that to their white husbands. This didn't lead to the KKK but contributed to bands of unruly white men harassing Black people, preventing them from voting.
Jim Crow had powerful overreach in schools, churches, housing, jobs, restrooms, hotels, hospitals, prisons, funeral homes, cemeteries and morgues. Even a Supreme Court ruling in 1896 upheld these laws because they reflected "customs and traditions" and "preserved public peace and good order." These laws were in every state south of the Mason Dixon line. Good freakin' grief.
These were all backlashes to the end of slavery. White people freaked out, RELIGIOUS white people — those who believed in the Bible. This goes directly against religious doctrine to love and respect your fellow man. But the problem was, they didn't think Black people were human. This also speaks to the notion of "religious freedom." It's only religious freedom for the white Christian, and they were exonerated from the religious values the Black man was supposed to adhere to.
These laws continued into the 20th century until the landmark case Brown vs. the Board of education. Segregation was declared illegal, almost. White southerners again took several different measures, including protesting in front of schools willing to take Blacks, migrating to the newly forming suburbs, and another thing — white private schools. White private schools permeated the South.
But hold on, the South wanted to hold on to this "white thing." The Southern Manifesto was signed by 101 out of 120 congressmen from the south. This was a pledge to maintain "Jim Crow" by all means possible. Five states passed 50 new "Jim Crow" laws AFTER Brown vs. the Board of Education, which crushed segregation in schools.
Oh, but the backlash continued — segregation academies, mostly CHRISTIAN. So, here again, the God factor comes into play, the false narrative that this is what God wants through creating schools for whites only.
Now before we start getting ahead of ourselves REMEMBER white wealth is 10 times greater than Black people's, especially when it comes to homeownership. In 1934, the federal government created a risk-rating system: REDLINING. Black neighborhoods were marked off in red ink, thus REDLINING. Once suburbs began to pop up, Black people, through the property deeds, were not allowed to purchase in those areas, thus were relegated to renting, which meant the ability to build upon the wealth of was negated.
The FHA also promoted building freeways through predominately Black neighborhoods to separate them from white neighborhoods. In addition, the GI Bill, which was supposed to loan money to war veterans of WWII, was denied to Black men. One million Black veterans were not allowed this benefit. Example: New York and New Jersey gave out 67,000 mortgages, and fewer than 100 were loaned to black people — once again, the continued backlash of slavery, and denied the benefits of serving in WWII. This act alone proved to be one of the most widening wealth gaps in the United States between white and Black people. This was exasperated by blockbusting. If you have no idea what that was, dig this:
Blockbusting is a business process in which U.S. real estate agents and building developers convince white property owners to sell their houses at low prices, which they do by telling house owners that racial minorities will soon move into their neighborhoods in order to instill fear in them
The FHA, VA, and GI Bill all are liable for suppressing Black progress in the country since the early 1940s. If there were any period of a great theft of wealth in this country, this was it; ALL future generations of Black people were affected by this. As of this writing, Congressman James E. Clyburn is introducing a bill in Congress to address the following:
Extends access to the VA Loan Guaranty Program to the surviving spouse and certain direct descendants of Black World War II veterans who are alive at the time of the bill’s enactment; extends access to the Post-911 GI Bill educational assistance benefits to the surviving spouse and certain direct descendants of Black World War II veterans alive at the time of the bill’s enactment; requires a GAO report outlining the number of individuals who received the educational and housing benefits; and establishes a Blue-Ribbon Panel of independent experts to study inequities in the distribution of benefits and assistance administered to female and minority members of the Armed Forces and provides recommendations on additional assistance to repair those inequities.
Thank God for Congressman Clyburn's efforts on this inequity.
The civil rights movement, then another backlash
It's now in the ’40s. WWII did not start for the United States until December 7, 1941. leading up to it, there was the March on Washington Movement (MOWM), a major force in the attempt for equal parity for Black people. These marches were formed in order to protest segregation in the armed forces. The hypocrisy behind calls to “defending democracy” from Hitler was clear to Black people living in the separate but so-called equal society called Jim Crow, of which the segregated quota system and training camps of the United States military were only the most obvious examples.
Early lobbying efforts to desegregate the military had not persuaded President Franklin Roosevelt to take action. On January 25, 1941, A. Philip Randolph, the president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, proposed the idea of a national, black-led march on the capitol in Washington, D.C., to highlight the issue. These marches were canceled when an alarmed President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, establishing the first "Fair Employment Practices Committee." In return, Randolph canceled the march. But this only delayed the inevitable, which occurred a week before the protest: An alarmed President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, establishing the first Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC). In return, Randolph canceled the march but established the March on Washington Movement (MOWM) to hold the FEPC to its mission of desegregating the armed forces and to continue agitation for civil rights.
Roosevelt had a war to win so he did not want to delay this effort by internal turmoil in the country about the inequities of black people. Remember, 2.5 million Black soldiers served in WWII. That is a huge number of soldiers who were spread out in almost every combat theater during the war.
More to come as I continue this segment during Black History Month.