Reflections on Makeup of the Republican Party
by Marti Miller
When Black History Month in February concluded, I reflected on some facts I DIDN'T see related in the press, while at the same time reading of many remarkable blacks and their accomplishments.
According to the Council for African American Republican Leadership (CAARL), blacks entered Congress in 1869 as members only of the Republican Party. In fact, all of the first black congressmen were Republicans until 1935 when the first black Democrat was finally elected to Congress.
Some of these original dignitaries include: Sen. Hiram Rhodes Revels (R-Miss.) - 1869, Rep. Joseph Rainey (R-S.C) - 1869, Rep. Jefferson Franklin Long (R-Ga.) - 1870, Rep. Robert Brown Elliot (R. S.C.) - 1871, and Gov. Pinckney Pinchback (R-La.) - 1872.
There are many other examples of African Americans achieving numerous political firsts within the Republican Party. In historical retrospect, the story of the Republican Party is largely of its opposition to slavery and racism. Just turn back the clock to Lyndon Johnson's administration when it was the Democrats led by Al Gore, Sr., of Tennessee who opposed the Civil Rights initiative. In the history of Congress through the turn of 21st century, 105 black Americans have been elected, 101 to the U.S. House and four to the Senate. Of the four blacks elected to the Senate, three have been Republicans! It wasn't until the Democrats started promising black citizens the world that their votes turned to the Dems.
The Democrats have used black Americans since the FDR era, holding them dependent upon their handouts and stringing them along with more promises --never quite delivering. Dems do not seem to foster the caliber of black political personages like Republican J.C. Watts and Alan Keyes on the national level, for example... and locally former Detroit councilman Rev. Keith Butler, former Wayne County Sheriff William Lucas (a GOP candidate for governor in 1986), and columnist and radio personality Kevin Fobbs, 1st Vice Chair of the Michigan Republicans.
Then there is the more recent case in point of the Democrats NOT backing a black candidate, the African American H. Carl McCall who endeavored to run for Governor of New York in 2002. It's time we learn more about the upstanding leadership qualities displayed by blacks politically and decide to encourage and spotlight their conservative Republican ideals.