The Civil Rights Act of 1957
Ever heard of the Civil Rights Act (CRA) of 1957? You will after reading this.
We hear so many false suggestions and outright wholly unsupported allegations of racism leveled by the Democrat leftists against Republicans and/or conservatives this political season from political campaigns and the media. So, it’s time to dust off my law degree once again and research the actual legislative history of the CRA and which party did, and which did not, support the CRA. Ignoring and/or re-writing history is never acceptable so here we go.
First, a brief mention of one of the undisputed heroes of the Democrat left, President Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) and his “New Deal” programs. During FDR’s administration, for all its perceived “social justice” and so-called equality, discrimination against blacks in housing, transportation, public accommodation and the armed services went virtually unchecked during the “New Deal”. Fast forward a couple of decades to 1957. In order to break the racist obstruction of Southern Democrats (so-called “Dixiecrats”) Republican President Dwight Eisenhower (Ike), I repeat Republican, sponsored both a civil rights as well as a voting rights act. And who do you think blocked him in the senate? The future president US Senator Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) fought tooth and nail against both. Ike finally signed a very watered down version of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 which was intended to guarantee voting rights of all black people. This was the first civil rights legislation to pass and be signed into law since the Reconstruction era after the Civil War. Ike was forced to send federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to escort black students entering a formally all white school to enforce the law.
Again, fast forward to 1964 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the one along with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which are the only ones mentioned these days along with LBJ, another much admired President by the Democrat left). As I mentioned in the previous paragraph LBJ was no supporter of the civil rights movement. LBJ’s legislative voting record from 1940-1960 was that of a typical “Dixiecrat”, i.e., an actual racist as opposed to the falsely accused Republicans and/or conservatives hung with that heinous label today. And, if you think LBJ had some epiphany and attack of conscience or sudden mysterious injection of righteousness in 1964 and 1965, think again! Here is a direct quote about what he really felt about the civil rights legislation, taken from Ronald Kessler’s book “Inside the White House”:
“These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up they’re uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”
Translation of the above quote is that LBJ made an apparent 360° turn which was based solely on the cynical notion that if black people are dependent upon Democrats for public assistance, welfare and government programs they would, as LBJ quipped be “voting Democratic for the next 200 years”. The Republicans of that era were instrumental in the 1964 and 1965 Acts passing, since the Democrats could never muster enough votes within their own party. The “Dixiecrats” would not vote for either Act.
Today, in the mad dash of the left to demonize and vilify Republicans and/or conservatives the actual history of the civil rights movement has been outright distorted. The story in this article is untold since we know who controls traditional media and text books. LBJ was not the civil rights champion he’s made out to be. In fact, he was quite the opposite. Leftists make a fatal mistake, in my view, when they paint conservatives as racist when conservatives challenge welfare because while we understand people need assistance, we also understand that it cannot become a lifestyle, passed down from generation from generation.
The bottom line is we conservatives look at the potential of the individual and not the potential for further votes and political power due to repression of constituents to rise out of dependency on government as LBJ so callously pointed out in the 1960s. Apparently, LBJ’s plan is working out better today than even he would have imagined, generations relegated to government dependence and the misery it brings and a block of voters that vote nearly 100% Democrat, presumably far into the future.