As summer comes to a close, so does the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Ironically, the racial tensions flaring in Ferguson, Missouri prove that as far as we’ve come with race relations as a nation, we have farther to go still.
Never satisfied to let a crisis go to waste, Al Sharpton gave a speech in Ferguson on August 17 that was televised LIVE on MSNBC in which he notified the community that “booths” were being set up around protest sites to register voters. While encouraging participation in our system is admirable, Sharpton has made no secret of his dislike for the Republican Party; therefore, one can presume that Sharpton’s invitation was a battle cry to join the Democrat Party.
Before registering to vote, followers might want to check Sharpton’s Democrat Party regarding their record on civil rights. It is uglier than those first few tense nights in Ferguson.
The fact is that Sharpton’s beloved party actually stood in the way of civil rights for more than 100 years.
According to publicly-available voting records dating back to the mid-1800s, it turns out it was overwhelmingly Republicans — not Democrats — who cast the votes to pass civil rights.
In fact, the Democrat Party was responsible for passing Jim Crow laws as well as so-called Black Civil Codes that forced Americans to utilize separate drinking fountains, swimming pools and other facilities. According to the Public Broadcasting Service, during that time “the Democratic Party identified itself as the ‘white man’s party’ and demonized the Republican Party as being “Negro dominated.’”
Democratic icons such as John F. Kennedy actually voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Act while serving in the U.S. Senate.
Then-Sen. Al Gore, Sr. (D-Tenn.) also opposed it.