Monday, February 8, 2010

Frederick Douglass/Unmasking the Black Conservative Series, Part I: 'The Church & Prejudice' Speech

by Mark Baker

This last month has been one of deep reflection for me. On January 30th, I posted a review of my thoughts on Denzel Washington's latest film, 'The Book of Eli.' As I shared in that post, beyond finding the film, and Washington's performance both inspirational and poignant, it caused me to deeply ponder what so drove Mr. Washington's passion to make (star and produce) such a bold, politically 'in-correct' film in a time which increasing numbers of individuals refer to as 'Post Christian?' That thought-seed caused me to research Denzel's life, from childhood as a pastors son, to present-day, as a devout, loving husband and father, and a contrarian man who rejects the Hollywood lifestyle for one of real substance based on the foundations of God, Family and Hard Work. Nobody 'gave' Denzel Washington anything, yet he today stands as one of the Film Industries' most respected and sought after actors.

It finally struck me a couple days later; what I liked most about 'The Book of Eli' was that it was racially neutral. Here was a man whose heart was strong and pure enough to be worthy of Gods greatest trust, to protect and deliver the last copy of His Word, the Bible to a safe place where it could again be duplicated for all men. He was pure and devout, but could be brutal with those who stood between he and his calling. Contrast this to the ignorant, racially-charged statements of those on the left who can't seem to see anything other then the color of a man's skin (or tone thereof).

Let us not forget (as Barack has shown a propensity to do)the comments of Joe Biden regarding Obama when he was running again he was himself seeking the Presidency: Told the New York Observer on January 31, 2007, that Barack Obama is "the first mainstream African-American [presidential candidate] who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." Then we had Harry Reid's self-expose wherein he shared his belief that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama -- a "light-skinned African American with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

The fallout from this revelation was barely settled, when a day after Obama's first SOTU speech, Chris Matthews, appearing on his own network, offered his portion of what Psychologists refer to as 'Projection,' with:

"I was trying to think about who he was tonight..... It's interesting. He is post-racial, by all appearances... I forgot he was black tonight for an hour." "He's gone a long way to become a leader of this country and past so much history in just a year or two," Matthews said of the first African American president. "I was watching him... he's an African American guy in front of a bunch of other white people, and there he is, the president of the United States, and we've completely forgotten that tonight. "I think it was in the scope of his discussion, it was so broad-ranging, so in tune with so many problems and aspects of American life, that you don't think in terms of the old tribalism, the old ethnicity... it was astounding in that regard. "It's so hard to talk about, maybe I shouldn't talk about it.'' Yeah, maybe not Chris, but we actually appreciate white liberals racial slip-ups, because although Senator Robert Byrd was the last white liberal Democrat who actually wore a Klan Hood in public:

"I am a former Kleagle [recruiter] of the Ku Klux Klan in Raleigh County. . . . The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia. It is necessary that the order be promoted immediately and in every state in the union."

--Robert C. Byrd, 1946
Democratic Senator from West Virginia, 1959-present
Senate Majority Leader, 1977-80 and 1987-88
Senate President Pro Tempore, 1989-95, 2001-03, 2007-present
His portrait stands in the U.S. Capitol.

So imagine my outrage, when I went to Michigan's State Capitol last Wednesday night to attend my first Tea Party sponsored by Wendy Day and Melanie Hall's 'Common Sense in Government' Movement (See my February 4th Post herein). As soon as the invited speakers began giving their speeches, a group of militant radicals including what appeared to be white hippy re-treds and several young 'students' both black and white, but all loud, rude and in some cases physically aggressive, shouted chants at the top of their lungs. After several minutes of this behavior, I approached one holding a bull-horn and politely asked who they represented. My cordiality was met with profanity questioning my linage and accusations of racism on my part though I'd said nothing of a racial nature. At this same time I realized that I was now surrounded by four large young black 'students,' two of whom were pushing me and attempting to get me to physically engage them. State Police Troopers intervened at this point and minutes later began moving the whole group back as they continued to taunt other Tea Party attendees.

While I was relieved to have not have been assaulted, I was struck with the fact that this group wasn't there to engage in rational debate of any sort, but rather to simply obstruct the free speech of others and attempt to 'frighten away' attendees through intimidation.

A black women who like me had come to hear the 'Common Sense in Government' speakers, introduced herself and offered an apology for the rude behavior of the thugs I'd encountered. I told her that she had nothing at all to apologize for as she wasn't part of that group. The other thing that bothered me about the obstructors was that a few of them carried Martin Luther King signs referring to his Dream Speech. I couldn't help but wonder what words Dr. King would have 'shared' with these idiots if he could be there? I began to wish that great men like Dr. King and Frederick Douglas (one of my all-time hero's) could return to us to speak to this generation; I wonder what they'd have to say to those who falsly claim to 'Care-for' and speak for Black Americans such as the Democrat Party and racist idiots such as Reid and Matthews?

That evening caused me to do a little research on the default champions of these leftest wonks, Democrats. What I uncovered is a documented poor history on the subject of race as evidenced in these quotes:

"Blacks are "a subordinate and inferior class of beings who had been subjugated by the dominant race."

-Chief Justice Roger Taney, Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1856
Appointed Attorney General by Andrew Jackson in 1831
Appointed Secretary of the Treasury by Andrew Jackson in 1833
Appointed to the Supreme Court by Andrew Jackson in 1836

"I hold that a Negro is not and never ought to be a citizen of the United States. I hold that this government was made on the white basis; made by the white men, for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever, and should be administered by white men and none others."

--Sen. Stephen A. Douglas (D., Ill.), 1858

Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, 1860
"Resolved, That the enactments of the State Legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect."

--Platform of the Democratic Party, 1860

"The Almighty has fixed the distinction of the races; the Almighty has made the black man inferior, and, sir, by no legislation, by no military power, can you wipe out this distinction."

--Rep. Fernando Wood (D., N.Y.), 1865
Mayor of New York City, 1855-58, 1860-62

"My fellow citizens, I have said that the contest before us was one for the restoration of our government; it is also one for the restoration of our race. It is to prevent the people of our race from being exiled from their homes--exiled from the government which they formed and created for themselves and for their children, and to prevent them from being driven out of the country or trodden under foot by an inferior and barbarous race."

--Francis P. Blair Jr., accepting the Democratic nomination for Vice President, 1868
Democratic Senator from Missouri, 1869-72
His statue stands in the U.S. Capitol.

"Instead of restoring the Union, it [the Republican Party] has, so far as in its power, dissolved it, and subjected ten states, in time of profound peace, to military despotism and Negro supremacy."

--Platform of the Democratic Party, 1868

"While the tendency of the white race is upward, the tendency of the colored race is downward."

--Sen. Thomas Hendricks (D., Ind.), 1869
Democratic nominee for Vice President, 1876
Vice President, 1885

"We, the delegates of the Democratic party of the United States . . . demand such modification of the treaty with the Chinese Empire, or such legislation within constitutional limitations, as shall prevent further importation or immigration of the Mongolian race."

--Platform of the Democratic Party, 1876

"Republicanism means Negro equality, while the Democratic Party means that the white man is supreme. That is why we Southerners are all Democrats."

--Sen. Ben Tillman (D., S.C.), 1906
Chairman, Committee on Naval Affairs, 1913-19

"This is a white man's country, and will always remain a white man's country."

--Rep. James F. Byrnes (D., S.C.), 1919
Appointed to the Supreme Court by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941
Appointed Secretary of State by Harry S. Truman in 1945

"Slavery among the whites was an improvement over independence in Africa. The very progress that the blacks have made, when--and only when--brought into contact with the whites, ought to be a sufficient argument in support of white supremacy--it ought to be sufficient to convince even the blacks themselves."

--William Jennings Bryan, 1923
Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, 1896, 1900 and 1908
Appointed Secretary of State by Woodrow Wilson in 1913
His statue stands in the U.S. Capitol.

"Anyone who has traveled to the Far East knows that the mingling of Asiatic blood with European or American blood produces, in nine cases out of ten, the most unfortunate results. . . . The argument works both ways. I know a great many cultivated, highly educated and delightful Japanese. They have all told me that they would feel the same repugnance and objection to have thousands of Americans settle in Japan and intermarry with the Japanese as I would feel in having large numbers of Japanese coming over here and intermarry with the American population. In this question, then, of Japanese exclusion from the United States it is necessary only to advance the true reason--the undesirability of mixing the blood of the two peoples. . . . The Japanese people and the American people are both opposed to intermarriage of the two races--there can be no quarrel there."

--Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1925
President, 1933-45

"Mr. President, the crime of lynching . . . is not of sufficient importance to justify this legislation."

--Sen. Claude Pepper (D., Fla.), 1938
Spoken while engaged in a six-hour speech against the antilynching bill

"President Truman's civil rights program "is a farce and a sham--an effort to set up a police state in the guise of liberty. I am opposed to that program. I have voted against the so-called poll tax repeal bill. . .. I have voted against the so-called anti-lynching bill."

--Rep. Lyndon B. Johnson (D., Texas), 1948
U.S. Senator, 1949-61
Senate Majority Leader, 1955-61
President, 1963-69

"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 their 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. For if we don't move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there'll be no way of stopping them, we'll lose the filibuster and there'll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It'll be Reconstruction all over again."

--Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson (D., Texas), 1957

"I have never seen very many white people who felt they were being imposed upon or being subjected to any second-class citizenship if they were directed to a waiting room or to any other public facility to wait or to eat with other white people. Only the Negroes, of all the races which are in this land, publicly proclaim they are being mistreated, imposed upon, and declared second-class citizens because they must go to public facilities with members of their own race."

--Sen. Richard B. Russell Jr. (D., Ga.), 1961
The Russell Senate Office Building is named for him.
(Speech delivered at the Plymouth County Anti-Slavery Society, November 4, 1841)

"I did not lie awake at night worrying about the problems of Negroes."

--Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, 1961
Kennedy later authorized wiretapping the phones and bugging the hotel rooms of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"Everybody likes to go to Geneva. I used to do it for the Law of the Sea conferences and you'd find these potentates from down in Africa, you know, rather than eating each other, they'd just come up and get a good square meal in Geneva."

--Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D., S.C.) 1993
Chairman, Commerce Committee, 1987-95 and 2001-03
Candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, 1984

"I do not think it is an exaggeration at all to say to my friend from West Virginia [Sen. Robert C. Byrd, a former Ku Klux Klan recruiter] that he would have been a great senator at any moment. . . . He would have been right during the great conflict of civil war in this nation."

--Sen. Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.), 2004
Chairman, Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
Candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, 2008

Now, I'd like to share the first of three speeches given by the great Frederick Douglas, the ex-slave, abolishionist, statesmen whose wisdom speaks not just to those of his own race, but rather, all men.

THE CHURCH AND PREJUDICE (Speech delivered at the Plymouth County Anti-Slavery Society, November 4, 1841):

"At the South I was a member of the Methodist Church. When I came north, I thought one Sunday I would attend communion, at one of the churches of my denomination, in the town I was staying. The white people gathered round the altar, the blacks clustered by the door. After the good minister had served out the bread and wine to one portion of those near him, he said, "These may withdraw, and others come forward;" thus he proceeded till all the white members had been served. Then he took a long breath, and looking out towards the door, exclaimed, "Come up, colored friends, come up! for you know God is no respecter of persons!" I haven't been there to see the sacraments taken since.

At New Bedford, where I live, there was a great revival of religion not long ago--many were converted and "received" as they said, "into the kingdom of heaven." But it seems, the kingdom of heaven is like a net; at least so it was according to the practice of these pious Christians; and when the net was drawn ashore, they had to set down and cull out the fish. Well, it happened now that some of the fish had rather black scales; so these were sorted out and packed by themselves. But among those who experienced religion at this time was a colored girl; she was baptized in the same water as the rest; so she thought she might sit at the Lord's table and partake of the same sacramental elements with the others.

The deacon handed round the cup, and when he came to the black girl, he could not pass her, for there was the minister looking right at him, and as he was a kind of abolitionist, the deacon was rather afraid of giving him offense; so he handed the girl the cup, and she tasted. Now it so happened that next to her sat a young lady who had been converted at the same time, baptized in the same water, and put her trust in the same blessed Saviour; yet when the cup containing the precious blood which had been shed for all, came to her, she rose in disdain, and walked out of the church. Such was the religion she had experienced!

Another young lady fell into a trance. When she awoke, she declared she had been to heaven. Her friends were all anxious to know what and whom she had seen there; so she told the whole story. But there was one good old lady whose curiosity went beyond that of all the others--and she inquired of the girl that had the vision, if she saw any black folks in heaven? After some hesitation, the reply was, "Oh! I didn't go into the kitchen!"

Thus you see, my hearers, this prejudice goes even into the church of God. And there are those who carry it so far that it is disagreeable to them even to think of going to heaven, if colored people are going there too. And whence comes it? The grand cause is slavery; but there are others less prominent; one of them is the way in which children in this part of the country are instructed to regard the blacks.

"Yes!" exclaimed an old gentleman, interrupting him--"when they behave wrong, they are told, 'black man come catch you.'" Yet people in general will say they like colored men as well as any other, but in their proper place! They assign us that place; they don't let us do it for ourselves, nor will they allow us a voice in the decision. They will not allow that we have a head to think, and a heart to feel, and a soul to aspire. They treat us not as men, but as dogs--they cry "Stu-boy!" and expect us to run and do their bidding. That's the way we are liked. You degrade us, and then ask why we are degraded--you shut our mouths, and then ask why we don't speak--you close our colleges and seminaries against us, and then ask why we don't know more.

But all this prejudice sinks into insignificance in my mind, when compared with the enormous iniquity of the system which is its cause--the system that sold my four sisters and my brothers into bondage--and which calls in its priests to defend it even from the Bible! The slaveholding ministers preach up the divine right of the slaveholders to property in their fellow- men. The southern preachers say to the poor slave, "Oh! if you wish to be happy in time, happy in eternity, you must be obedient to your masters; their interest is yours. God made one portion of men to do the working, and another to do the thinking; how good God is! Now, you have no trouble or anxiety; but ah! you can't imagine how perplexing it is to your masters and mistresses to have so much thinking to do in your behalf! You cannot appreciate your blessings; you know not how happy a thing it is for you, that you were born of that portion of the human family which has the working, instead of the thinking to do! Oh! how grateful and obedient you ought to be to your masters! How beautiful are the arrangements of Providence!

Look at your hard, horny hands--see how nicely they are adapted to the labor you have to perform! Look at our delicate fingers, so exactly fitted for our station, and see how manifest it is that God designed us to be His thinkers, and you the workers--Oh! the wisdom of God!"--I used to attend a Methodist church, in which my master was a class leader; he would talk most sanctimoniously about the dear Redeemer, who was sent "to preach deliverance to the captives, and set at liberty them that are bruised"--he could pray at morning, pray at noon, and pray at night; yet he could lash up my poor cousin by his two thumbs, and inflict stripes and blows upon his bare back, till the blood streamed to the ground! all the time quoting scripture, for his authority, and appealing to that passage of the Holy Bible which says, "He that knoweth his master's will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes!"

Such was the amount of this good Methodist's piety.

Mark's Notes: Please stay tuned for two additional segments on Douglas' Speeches. The next Douglas Segment will feature Frederick's speech from July 4th, 1852 to the elites of Rochester, NY, who had invited him to speak as part of their Independence Celebrations. Rather than offer a shallow 'rah, rah' speech, Frederick spoke from the heart and offered a searing speech that spoke to the hypocracy of celebrating Freedom in a country where millions were currently still held as slaves. The third and last installment will highlight Douglass' April, 1865 speech to the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in Boston on the topic of The Equality of all men before the law; Note that this was given within days of the close of the Civil War and the assassination of President Lincoln.

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