Juliette Ochieng on an important moment of America’s history largely tossed down the Memory Hole for political expediency and political correctness:
In the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War and during what is known as the Reconstruction period, sixteen black American men—several of them former slaves–served in the US House of Representatives with most being from states of the former Confederacy. All were quite literate and some were self-educated. What is certain is that these men saw hardship and racism that most of us 21st century brats of all colors cannot begin to conjure.
What is also certain is that each of these men were Republicans and for a very good reason: the Democrat Party of that time was the self-described Party of Slavery and remained the Party of Black Oppression long after. (Arguably, this legacy continues.)
Linked here are the fascinating biographies of each congressman and some of the speeches the men gave during the debates for the Civil Rights Act of 1871—also known as the Ku Klux Klan Act—and the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
The site linked is called Neglected Voices and the voices of these men have indeed been neglected but the title is so…weak. These men were anything but weak, hence the title of this post. I’m sure, however, that they’ve been spinning in their graves of late at the words and deeds of those for whom they set precedent.
These men didn’t have to invent tales of racial epithets hurled or of racial violence; such were their constant companions throughout their lives. Yet they did more than muddle through life, they soared. These were real men, not victims; our current crop of representatives looks microscopic next to them
Read the whole thing.