Blog Post – What Would Dr. Martin Luther King Think Today?
America has a history of segregation, open bigotry, and lack of employment prospects for blacks. Despite the oppression, blacks were making considerable advancements. America fought a civil war to end slavery – 620,000 Americans died during the war. No other country has fought brother against brother, father against son to end the scourge of slavery.
According to economist Walter Williams, “[f]rom 1900 to 1954, blacks were more active than whites in the labor market. Until about 1960, black male labor force participation in every age group was equal to or greater than that of whites … As early as 1900, the duration of black unemployment was 15 percent shorter than that of whites; today it’s about 30 percent longer.” According to economist Thomas Sowell, “[t]he poverty rate among black families fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent in 1960, during an era of virtually no major civil rights legislation or anti-poverty programs … In various skilled trades, the incomes of blacks relative to whites more than doubled between 1936 and 1959.” From 1890 to 1940, the black marriage rate was slightly higher than that of whites. In 1950, only 9 percent of black families with children were headed by a single parent (today, roughly two-thirds of black children are not raised in single-parent families.
What has happened since 1950? There has been progress against racism, segregation and other issues that have plagued blacks in the past, but what happened to change the above stats to where blacks are now living under more dire circumstances?
Let’s take a look at the politics behind the change.
- The Republican Party passed the Civil rights Acts of 1866 and 1875 granting blacks protection from the Black Codes and prohibiting racial discrimination in public accommodations. Democrats opposed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution — abolishing slavery, granting citizenship rights to newly freed slaves and guaranteeing the right to vote to blacks.
- Democrats passed the Black Codes and Jim Crow laws which legalized racial discrimination and denied blacks their rights as citizens.
- Prior to the 1960’s most blacks, including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Booker T. Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were Republicans.
- Most of the politicians who stood for segregation were mostly Southern Democrats.
- The Ku Klux Klan was founded by Democrats.
- More Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Inner-city parents want vouchers in order to place their children in better schools. Most Democrats oppose these.
- Democrat Lyndon Johnson’s big government’s “Great Society” saw blacks as tools for political gain and the Democrats have used blacks as political pawns ever since!
Laws like the Davis Bacon Act barred federal contracts from paying less than union wages, pushed blacks men out of federally funded/financed construction jobs at the behest of white unions. Segregated public housing pushed blacks into inner-city ghettos where poverty was concentrated and its impact worsened. Government handouts punished those who tried to work and, worst of all, men who had limited employment prospects were offered a way to feed their families via the federal government – as long as they left their families!
Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream was an America that judged blacks by the content of their character, not their skin color. For that to happen, we need economic equality among blacks and whites. Yet economic equity will only happen when the government gets out of the way and allows blacks to rise according to their own God-given talents.