CBS Sunday Morning featured Mo Rocca’s new book – The Reconstruction and Death of Representation. Most people would think that the 1950’s or the 1960’s would be the first time an African American served in the US Congress. But this famed lithograph features the first African Americans of Congress after the Civil War – All of them Southerners and Republicans. Least we forget, Abraham Lincoln was the “Republican President” who emancipated the slaves and fought to “preserve the Union and save “Democracy”.
Hiram Revels from Mississippi was elected first. He had served as a Chaplin to Black Regiments during the Civil War. He filled the seat of Jefferson Davis who left his seat in the US Congress to become the President of the Confederate States of America. Only two of the men were born free the rest were slaves of other people.
D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film “The Birth of a Nation” was claimed a cinematic hit (as a two time US military veteran, I saw it as a propaganda tool); it portrayed Black legislators as uncouth and drunks while the Ku Klux Klan was portrayed as the heroes and protectors of the White Race. All US military members, pledge to protect the Constitution of the United States of American against all enemies foreign and domestic. We fight to give people have the right to protest, but intimidation is a federal offense.
When I was in high school back in the 1960’s, Reconstruction was treated as a footnote. It was the dark ages of African American history. Dr. Henry Louis Gates has published a couple of books on the subject like Dark Sky Rising; Reconstruction and the Rise of Jim Crow.
The Compromise of 1877 was a informal unwritten deal that settled the intensely disputed 1876 US Presidential election. It resulted in the United States government pulling troops out of the South which ended the Reconstruction era after the Civil War.
Terms of the 1877 comprise
- Removal of all federal troops from Confederate States; North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Tennessee.
- Appoint one Southern Democrat to Hayes cabinet
- Start another construction project of the Transcontinental Railroad using Texas to the Pacific.
- Provide legislative help to restore the economy of the South
- Allow the states to use Home Rule without Northern/Federal interference
Progress was swept away with pseudo-governmental State government rules and regulations that disfranchised African Americans with Jim Crow laws and segregation.
If we don’t listen closely to the candidates and examine their record, we may be in trouble again. Greed and corruption is a human condition. All Democrats are not interested in the ‘Democratic process’ and all Republicans aren’t concerned about the Republic.