By A. Peter Bailey
A recent column by a black Republican activist in the Washington Informer included the following: “But to my liberal friends who constantly ask ‘When was America great?’ I simply say that America was great when Lincoln freed the slaves. America was great when we passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. America was great when we passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. America was great when we passed the Fair Housing Act of 1968. America was great when we elected the first Black president in 2008.”
It takes a willful denial of American history to make such a statement in 2018. The historical truth is that the federal government of the United States has never in its entire history voluntarily promoted or protected the civil and human rights of black people. It has done so only when forced by compelling, strategic circumstances. The real deal is that the false history he so ardently and inaccurately declares is exactly what is being taught in most elementary schools, high schools and colleges in this country. And those teaching it are well aware of what they are teaching.
The columnist, who insisted that Lincoln freed our enslaved ancestors, should read Lerone Bennett, Jr.’s must-read book, “Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream!” The late brilliant journalist/historian includes the following Lincoln quote in his book: “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the White and Black races. That I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with White people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the White and Black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the White race.”
As for the Emancipation Proclamation, Bennett noted that “Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was a tactical move designed not to emancipate the slaves but to keep as many slaves as possible in slavery until Lincoln could mobilize support for his conservative plan to free Blacks gradually and to ship them out of the country…” Bennett add that “What Lincoln did…was to ‘free’ slaves in the Confederate held territory where he couldn’t free them and leave them in slavery in Union-held territory where he could have freed them.”
Just as Lincoln was forced into glory regarding the enslavement of African people, the U.S. federal government was forced into glory to pass the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. It was forced by the courageness of the warriors against White supremacy and by the country’s propaganda needs of the so-called Cold War with the Soviet Union. The white Russians are just as much white supremacist as their American counterparts. However, they took advantage of racism in the United States for their own propaganda purposes.
Between 1955 and 1968 numerous Black warriors, including Medgar Evers, James Chaney, George Lee, Samuel Younge, Jr., Louis Allen, Samuel Hammond, Delano Middleton, Henry Smith, Phillip L. Gibbs, James Green, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were killed by White supremacist terrorists. Many Black people lost jobs, had their homes firebombed, and were otherwise brutalized by the racist terrorists. Very few of whom were punished for those crimes by local, state and federal governments.
I strongly believe that if it wasn’t for those propaganda needs, the federal government would have sat by and allowed the terrorists to crush the civil and human rights movements. That’s exactly what Washington did when Black folks were regularly lynched by White, racist terrorists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
As for America being great “when we elected the first black president,” my position is one of total skepticism about how that came about. I still want to know how a man who was barely known to most of us before 2004 could be elected president of the United States in 2008. It took big boys to pull that off. I agree with the great Rev. Jeremiah Wright who has been quoted as saying that President Barack Obama “was selected before he was elected.”
The columnist should know that the United States has never been great as far as Black people are concerned. And it will never achieve greatness until it pays in full the debt owed to the descendants of the Africans whom it enslaved for over 300 years. The U.S. loves to brag about being the wealthiest country in the world. It should be since it is the only country in the world to have enjoyed 300 years of free, enslaved labor.