Martin Luther King a Republican? Civil Rights In Spite of Harry Reid, Democrats

Today, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life is being celebrated across our nation. The discussion of civil rights is always with us in America, and in spite of the lies and intimations of Harry Reid and our current pumpkin patch of Democrats, Republicans played a huge role in bringing about the Civil Rights acts that were far too long in coming – but nevertheless, did come because of the tireless and emotional work of some key Republicans. Here is the story:

Originally published at GrizzlyGroundswell by Maggie M. Thornton

In the wake of yet another Harry Reid “inartful” comment, and MLK’s
niece saying Reid is “sadly outrageous,” the Grand Old Partisan reminds
us that Martin Luther King voted for Republican Dwight Eisenhower for
president in 1956 and over the next ten years, Republicans were
emotionally and politically active in bringing civil rights into being.
Does it matter? And what does that have to do with Harry’s “inartful”

It matters. It matters because Black leaders, like Jesse Jackson say things like:

“Leadership cannot just go along to get along.
Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day.”

But there is
never a discussion of the definition of “moral challenge.” One party sees it one way and the other party sees it another way,
and the “other party,” Republicans, never seem to get it right in the
eyes of most Black Americans.

This is a time to acknowledge the truth: Conservatives cannot say
that our President speaks English well, and also speaks “Negro” well.
But Harry Reid can. And when he says it, the President calls it a

One year after Eisenhower was elected, his Vice President, the much
maligned Richard Nixon, presided over the Senate and was a staunch
supporter of those opposing filibuster on the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

I’m quite frankly sick of Democrats claiming to be the champions of
Black America. No one political party should be champion of anyone.
Everyone is equal. That’s the proper argument, but the very fiber of
the Democrat party and the powerful Black Caucus, think they are
saviors, and a large block of Democrat voters see it the same.

Let’s look at some of the facts behind the civil rights acts. They
are not what the Left would have you believe. In the discussion of
civil rights history, how often do you hear the names of Republican
Senator Everett Dirksen from Illinois? Not often. How often do you hear
the name Democrat Senator Robert Byrd in connection to civil rights? Not often,
but for very different reasons. Dirksen was a champion for civil
rights. Robert Byrd was not. But you do hear the name of Senator Strom
Thurmond disparaged when civil rights are on the table, but readers, he
was a Democrat in those days – and most people do not know that.

An agenda can be identified by what is NOT being said. The names of
Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Everett Dirksen and the many
Republicans who fought for, and/or voted for the bill, are never
uttered. Neither is it mentioned that Republicans voted for the civil
rights bill in a greater percentage than did Democrats.

As President of the Senate, Nixon witnessed Democrat Senator Strom
Thurmond (yes, he was a Democrat before he was a Republican) and his
single-man filibuster to prohibit Black voting rights…a filibuster
which went for 24 hours and 18 minutes straight on the Senate floor.
Republicans helped end it.

In the Civil Rights Act of 1964 here’s how the vote counting went down [Source Diane Alden Newsmax]:

Remember that the Republicans were the minority party at
the time. Nonetheless, H.R.7152 passed the House on Feb. 10, 1964. Of
the 420 members who voted, 290 supported the civil rights bill and 130
opposed it.

Republicans favored the bill 138 to 34; Democrats supported it
152-96. Republicans supported it in higher proportions than Democrats.
Even though those Democrats were Southern segregationists, without Republicans the bill would have failed. Republicans were the other much-needed leg of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Alden describes the importance of conservative Senator Everett Dirksen to civil rights:

He was the master key to victory for the Civil Rights
Act of 1964. Without him and the Republican vote, theAct would have
been dead in the water for years to come. LBJ and Humphrey knew that
without Dirksen the Civil Rights Act was going nowhere.

Dirksen became a tireless supporter, suffering bouts of ill health
because of his efforts in behalf of crafting and passing the Civil
Rights Act. Nonetheless, Sen. Dirksen suffered the same fate as many
Republicans and conservatives do today.
Even though Dirksen had an exemplary voting record in support of
bills furthering the cause of African-Americans, activist groups in
Illinois did not support Dirksen for re-election to the Senate in 1962.

Believing that Dirksen could be forced into voting for the Civil
Rights Act, they demonstrated and picketed and there were threats by
CORE to continue demonstrations and violence against Dirksen’s offices
in Illinois. James Farmer of CORE stated that “people will march en
masse to the post offices there to file handwritten letters” in protest.

Dirksen blew it off in a statement typical of him: “When the day
comes that picketing, distress, duress, and coercion can push me from
the rock of conviction, that is the day that I shall gather up my togs
and walk out of here and say that my usefulness in the Senate has come
to an end.”

Dirksen began the tactical arrangements for passage of the bill. He
organized Republican support by choosing floor captains for each of the
bill’s seven sections.

The Republican “swing” votes were from rural states without racial
problems and so were uncommitted. The floor captains and Dirksen
himself created an imperative for these rural Republicans to vote in
favor of cloture on filibuster and then for the Act itself.

As they worked through objections to the bill, Dirksen explained his
goal as “first, to get a bill; second, to get an acceptable bill;
third, to get a workable bill; and, finally, to get an equitable bill.”

In any event, there were still 52 days of filibuster and five
negotiation sessions. Senators Dirksen and Humphrey, and Attorney
General Robert Kennedy agreed to propose a “clean bill” as a substitute
for H. R. 7152. Senators Dirksen, Mansfield, Humphrey and Kuchel would
cosponsor the substitute.
This agreement did not mean the end of the filibuster, but it did
provide Dirksen with a compromise measure, which was crucial to obtain
the support of the “swing” Republicans.

On June 17, the Senate voted by a 76 to 18 margin to adopt the
bipartisan substitute worked out by Dirksen in his office in May and to
give the bill its third reading. Two days later, the Senate passed the
bill by a 73 to 27 roll call vote. Six Republicans and 21 Democrats
held firm and voted against passage.

In all, the 1964 civil rights debate had lasted a total of 83 days,
slightly over 730 hours, and had taken up almost 3,000 pages in the
Congressional Record.

On May 19, Dirksen called a press conference told the gathering
about the moral need for a civil rights bill. On June 10, 1964, with
all 100 senators present, Dirksen rose from his seat to address the
Senate. By this time he was very ill from the killing work he had put
in on getting the bill passed. In a voice reflecting his fatigue, he
still spoke from the heart…[and ended with “it must not be stayed or

Lest it get lost in the discussion, is this important question to Senator Dirksen and his answer:

After the civil rights bill was passed, Dirksen was
asked why he had done it. What could possibly be in it for him given
the fact that the African-Americans in his own state had not voted for
him? Why should he champion a bill that would be in their interest? Why
should he offer himself as a crusader in this cause?
Dirksen’s reply speaks well for the man, for Republicans and for
conservatives like him: “I am involved in mankind, and whatever the
skin, we are all included in mankind.”

On July 2, 1964, the legislation was signed into law by President Johnson – thanks to Republicans in great part.

President Eisenhower appointed prominent Blacks to prominent and
important jobs in his administration, and other administrations
followed: J. Ernest Wilkens to Assistant Secretary of Labor, Scovel
Richardson as Chairman of the U.S. Board of Parole, Charles Mahoney as
the first Black full delegate to the U.N. from the U.S., Clifton R.
Wharton as Minister to Rumania and George M. Johnson and J. Ernest
Wilkens as members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

President Nixon put the “bite” in affirmative action with his
revised “Philadelphia Plan,” where it was mandated that minority
workers in the construction industry be hired.

In other words, not until the Nixon administration did “affirmative action” begin to become synonymous with “civil rights.”…

Nixon’s civil rights enforcement budget for fiscal 1973
represented an eight-fold increase over Johnson’s for fiscal 1969.
Enforcement funds for fiscal 1974 doubled those of 1972 with the EEOC
budget increasing from $20.8 million to $43 million and the budget for
the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department increasing from
$10.7 million to $17.9 million….

The Nixon administration 1)desegregated southern schools; 2) significantly increased funding for the enforcement of both group and individual civil rights; 3) achieved court approval of goals in hiring practices rather than quotas; and 4)
clearly transformed the power and responsibility for civil rights to a
court-enforced approach based on recommendations of permanent
government affirmative agencies within the executive branch.

I find this comment especially interesting and well put, from Mountain State University:

Nixon remains the only modern president whose
personality, rhetoric, and image can be used with impunity to dismiss
or ignore his concrete achievements, especially in the area of
expanding civil rights enforcement in particular, and domestic reform
in general.

Johnson had a long history
of voting with the South against civil rights, and prior to 1957, he
voted 100% with the South, including voting against the Civil Rights
Acts of 1957 and 1960.
After the Civil Rights Acts, the southern Dixicrats who opposed
civil rights, dissolved and most returned to the Democrat party,
although if you listen to Democrat rhetoric you would think all
Dixicrats became Republicans. Some did, but most did not, and to name a
few that did not: Richard Russel, Mendell Rivers, William Fulbright,
Robert Byrd, Fritz Hollings and Al Gore, Sr., the father of former Vice
President Al Gore.

William Fulbright was the left of the Left, stauch apologist for
Stalin, and mentor of the first Black president, Bill Clinton.
Fulbright was a Dixicrat and a life-long Democrat. This week we’ve
learned that in 2008 when Hillary was running against Obama, Bill
Clinton, fresh from Harlem, quipped to Ted Kennedy “a few years ago,
this guy [Obama] would have been getting us coffee.”

It is time for America to wake up and smell the coffee. Conservatives are not the enemy of Blacks. Democrats may be.

The following is a portion of commentary from Paul Weyrich at Newsmax in 2004:

Prior to 1936, those Blacks who could vote generally
supported Republican Presidential candidates. The GOP was the party of
Abraham Lincoln, after all. Even Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal failed
to completely break the bond between Blacks and the GOP. Ike received
strong support from Black voters in 1952 and 1956. Then came the 1960
election. John F. Kennedy, no strong civil rights crusader before and
even during most of his presidency, did make a special and emotional
appeal to the Black community by telephoning Coretta Scott King after
her husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King, had been jailed. It worked,
helping him to carry a majority of black votes.

Republicans in the 87th Congress were determined to get the Black
vote back in the GOP column. It was they, under the leadership of
Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen (R-Il.), who drafted a very
extensive Civil Rights Bill. They didn’t have the votes to pass the
bill and there were some in the Republican Party, such as Sen. Karl
Mundt (R-SD), who opposed it.

Still, word was out in the Black community that the Republicans were
looking after them. President Kennedy, who contrary to current
mythology was not a popular President, worried that the Black vote
might return to the GOP. In a close re-election, which he anticipated
would be the case, that would be fatal to his chances. So he quickly
introduced an alternative bill that some analysts at the time said was
not as potent as the Republican bill. No doubt that was an effort to
win over some Democrats who were not enthusiastic about the legislation.

It is easy to forget, with the disciplined leftwing Democrat caucus
in the current Senate in the 108th Congress, that not only were there
Southern Democrats back then who opposed the kind of legislation that
Kennedy proposed but such Northerners as Frank Lausche (D-OH.), Alan
Bible (D-NV), and Mike Monroney (D-OK), were not enthusiastic about it

As Senator, John F. Kennedy had opportunities to vote on the Civil
Rights Act of 1957, but instead voted to send it to the Senate
Judiciary Committee. Instead, the vote happened and it passed with the
help of Republicans, even if the bill was not all it could have been.
After becoming president, JFK introduced no new civil rights proposals.

So in 2008 we have Senator Harry Reid exclaiming that Obama can
speak English well and he can speak “Negro” well, and Black leaders are
not at all upset. It is not just Harry Reid that is “outrageous.” The
Black leadership is the embodiment of “outrageous.”

My friend and fellow-blogger, namaste, is a Black American blogging at My Voice on Wings of Change. She said this of the Reid comment:

As for saying Obama is “light-skinned” with no “negro
dialect?” So what? He spoke the truth. Political correctness is for
LIARS. I suppose this is a painful reminder to the world that the
maority of blacks are undereducated and many, including Obama,
including the highly intelligent and well-read, prefer to speak in a
vernacular of street slang and broken English when they are in each
other’s company.

Ah, but we just cannot tell the truth can we? Is it fair to say that
some Blacks might sound differently from other Blacks? Of course it is
fair, but only if a Democrat says it. Is it fair to say that some
Whites might sound differently from other Whites? Of course it is fair,
but who cares? The point is, a Democrat White has privileges that a
Republican White does not have when it comes to race, and when it comes
to pop culture – or maybe the privilege is simply that they can be rude
and we cannot. But how is it rude if it is the truth?

It is not okay for a White Republican to say that our President
speaks English well, and also speaks “Negro” well. That’s just a fact
that cannot be denied, and it is sadly outrageous that our President
tells us Harry Reid’s comment was complimentary. Had Mitch McConnell
said it, it would not have been complimentary. Enough of the smurf-talk
out of the Oval Office.
H/T to Grand Old Partisian and Infidel Bloggers Alliance

Read Michelle Malkin’s post on MLK. Here’s a teaser:
Hey, who knew Dr. King’s dream was for his children to one day be dependent on government from cradle to grave for everything from their health care to college tuition to mortgage payments?