Guest post by John Hughes
On June 19, 2022, America celebrates Juneteenth. President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law in 2021. It is a long overdue and admirable commemoration of the end of slavery in America, but its meaning and significance is misunderstood by many. What exactly is Juneteenth?
After Abraham Lincoln’s election, the southern (slave) states and their predominantly Democrat leaders seceded from the Union and formed the Confederacy. In 1861 the Civil War began initially more as a conflict over states’ rights than one over slavery. On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln freed the slaves in principle with the Emancipation Proclamation, but African Americans remained enslaved until their Confederate/Democrat led military was defeated and surrendered on April 9, 1865. However, not all states ‘got the memo’ and Texas continued its evil institution until Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston, Texas with thousands of Union (Republican controlled) troops and proclaimed that the slaves were free at last. Avoiding further bloodshed, the Texans (Democrats) backed down and set their slaves free.
After that fateful day in Galveston, Republicans in Washington DC supervised the rebuilding of the South, dismantling of slavery and promotion of African American rights in the South under Reconstruction. Former slaves were given the right to vote and African Americans were elected to both the US Senate and US House of Representatives. White resistance to Reconstruction began to rise. The KKK, founded in 1865, by Democrat and former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest with other Democrats used violence against Republicans and African Americans to reassert dominance. By 1871 the group’s violence had increased to the point that President Grant was authorized to use military force in 1871 to suppress it, but the KKK remained active. The KKK lynched thousands during this period, mostly African Americans but the victims included white Republicans in the South as well. Over 300,000 white Union soldiers and over 1,000 lynched white Republicans made the ultimate sacrifice to free the slaves and guarantee rights for African Americans in the 1860s and 1870s.1
Reconstruction and hope for African American rights came to an end in the mid 1870s as the southern democrats rose up and, through violence and intimidation, reclaimed elected offices from Republicans and instituted segregationist policies and Jim Crow laws that would last for a century. Democrats would remain the dominant political force in former Confederate states until the late 20th century. Even as late as 1963, Alabama Democratic Governor George Wallace proclaimed “Segregation now, segration tomorrow, segregation forever.” Meanwhile, Republicans slowly granted rights and recognition to African Americans. Republican President Eisenhower would integrate the schools in the 1950s. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed with the support of 80% of House Republicans and 82% of Republican senators vs 63% of House Democrats and 69% of Democrat senators. Republican President Reagan established Martin Luther King Day in 1986 to recognize civil rights heroes.
This is where the optics of racism between the parties becomes contentious. In 2017, US Representative Keith Ellison said “The fact is that today the Republican party is the party of racism.” He acknowledged Democrat segregationists for decades in the South but explained how democrats stamped out segregation and racism in its ranks in the 1970s.2 This explanation hasn’t necessarily played out as true. Despite only being 13% of the population, African Americans account for 38% of abortions (compared to 33% for whites).3 African Americans continue to lag behind whites in income earned and education despite massive Democrat spending policies and affirmative action. School curriculum changes are spreading in America. Organizations such as EquitableMath.org are founded on the theory that math is racist. Their organization, with large grants from Bill Gates, has a website stating “White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when…the focus is on getting the ‘right’ answer.”4 So, the US seems to be the only country in the world focusing on making students score lower, particularly on the African American demographic, setting them up for failure in the real world and workplace and perpetuating poverty and the victim complex.
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President Biden, whose mentor was Senator Robert Byrd (a high ranking KKK member), famously stated that if African Americans didn’t know who to vote for then “you ain’t black.” African American GOP politicians are frequently derided by the media as ‘uncle toms’ and other derogatory terms. The GOP has attracted more African American voters in recent elections; perhaps Democrats feel threatened. Either way, such party pressure is paternalistic and racist towards millions of African Americans. Former President Donald Trump was once the darling of the left, earning public praise from the Clintons, Jesse Jackson, multiple universities, etc. However, once he changed parties, the same Democrat groups immediately condemned him as racist and even revoked his recently bestowed honorary college degrees.
In my medical lane, Dr Gerald Harmon, President of the AMA and a white Democrat from the South, presides over an organization that favors de-emphasizing MCAT scores and GPAs for medical school candidates to increase the number of black physicians in the US. This implies that he and the AMA think that African Americans aren’t smart enough to be doctors. He also set in motion an extensive anti-racism campaign which blamed white doctors and racism for most African American health issues.
Democrat slaveowners in the 1800s maintained control by breaking up families at auctions, suppressing religion, and outlawing literacy, making slaves more docile and dependent on their masters. It can be argued that contemporary left leaning policies to promote abortion, Medicaid, welfare, illiteracy, and atheism and providing substantial pressure for African Americans to not think and vote on their own but instead to vote en masse for Democrats each cycle achieves nearly the identical aim. Slavery is gone but social servitude is alive and well.
On June 19th, I will reflect on Juneteenth for the beautiful, long overdue holiday that it is – the day the Republicans freed the black slaves from their oppressive, violent Democrat masters. The freedom and recognition lasted only a decade until Democrats regained control and applied segregation for nearly a century before freedom began to appear again in the 1960s. The widespread social narrative that the modern Democrats alone have the best interests of African Americans is one of the best magic tricks in modern American history, and a tragic one for African Americans. I remember the United Negro College Fund commercials of yesteryear that were on TV when I was growing up. They would always end with “The mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Well said, sir. Perhaps 157 years later, it is time for the Republicans to once again rescue African Americans from Democrats.
John Hughes, MD
Combat Veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan
3rd Generation West Pointer
1Emanuel, Richard. “Many Whites were lynched for fighting racism.” Montgomery Advisor September 25, 2017.
2Moody, Chris. “DNC leader says GOP is the ‘Party of Racism’” CNN.com 11 AUG 2017.
3Reported Legal Abortions by Race of Women Who Obtained Abortion By the State of Occurrence. Kff.org 16 JUN 2022.
4Bond, Paul. “Math Suffers from White Supremacy, According to a Gates Funded Course.” Newsweek.com 23 Feb 2021.