By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Let me begin this week’s column by wishing all of you a happy and reflective Black History Month.
Dr. Carter C. Woodson, “the father of Black History,” believed that if whites were made aware of the extraordinary contributions of African Americans, then race relations in this country might improve.
Hence, we owe an eternal debt of gratitude to Dr. Carter G. Woodson for his diligence and hard work.
Because of his lifelong quest to chronicle Black events as a serious, scholarly endeavor, the month of February is now designated as Black History Month.
The convergent pasts of Black Americans and the Grand Old Party (GOP) is well documented.
One of the core principles of the early Republican Party was its outright opposition to slavery.
Moreover, history tells us that Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863.
A case can be made that this proclamation was a military stratagem devised by the North to weaken the South by emancipating the slaves in Confederate States.
But, that was over 150 years ago, and much has changed in the once cozy relationship between the Party of Lincoln and African Americans.
The GOP of today has completely re-branded itself.
It’s all about promoting big business, big investment and maximizing big profit to the exclusion or detriment of others – especially minorities.
Interestingly enough, in honor of Black History Month, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced this week that it’s rolling out advertisements in Black media outlets highlighting the efforts Black Republicans, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Frederick Douglass.
According to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, this ad campaign is intended “to share the remarkable stories of Black Republicans who have broken barriers and opened doors so that others may succeed.”
But, the Republican Party of today is no Party of Lincoln.
Moreover, the historic ties which once held these two entities in concert have long since disintegrated.
Republicans talk incessantly about the scope of their party’s appeal, and how it wants to expand its tent by attracting more people of color into its fold.
Truth be told, an advertisement campaign calculated to solicit favorable sentiments about the Republican Party from a bygone era will be seen for exactly what it is: a political ploy.
Moreover, what separates Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass from likes of a Condoleezza Rice or a Clarence Thomas for that matter is much more than time.