|Angry White citizens in Little Rock, Arkansas hold protest against integration and "race mixing." One protestor's sign stated that "Race Mixing is Communism."|
|President Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat from Texas, signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Noted leader of the civil rights movement, Rev. Martin King, Jr., was present at the signing.|
|The infamous Bull Connor getting ready to sic violent dogs on nonviolent civil rights marchers, which was a common on the journey to freedom and justice for African Americans in America in the 1950s and 1960s.|
"People would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South."
Christie was speaking to a State Senate Judiciary Committee. The remark was made in reference to the approval of a bill pushing New Jersey closer to legalizing same sex marriage. Christie's comparison of same sex marriage to the civil rights movement is way off base and completely disconnected.
I guess it would be fair to cut Christie some slack, but I am not in the mood to be fair. As governor of a former slave state, his lack of history is inexcusable. I am quite aware that Black history was not taught in segregated schools. White students were not required to learn about the contributions Black people made to America.
"In Asbury Park, Mayor Ed Johnson, who is Black and gay, said: 'Can you imagine President Truman placing integration of the Armed Forces on the ballot? Or us voting on whether women should have equal pay for equal work?"
Christie should have known if civil rights for African Americans was left up to White people and individual states, African Americans would not be allowed to vote today. Left to a referendum, African Americans would be the designated "immigrants", earning less than minimum, working at low skill jobs, and still living under Jim Crow laws in a segregated America.
Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation---Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, technically emancipated enslaved Africans via an executive order during the Civil War, January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation only abolished slavery in 10 Confederate states. In addition to freeing slaves, the 13th Amendment squashed all forms of involuntary servitude.
"When the American Civil War (1861-65) began, President Abraham Lincoln carefully framed the conflict as concerning the preservation of the Union rather than the abolition of slavery. Although he personally found the practice of slavery abhorrent, he knew that neither Northerners nor the residents of the border slave states would support abolition as a war aim. But by mid-1862, as thousands of slaves fled to join the invading Northern armies, Lincoln was convinced that abolition had become a sound military strategy, as well as the morally correct path.
"On September 22, soon after the Union victory at Antietam, he issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in the rebellious states "shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free." While the Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave, it was an important turning point in the war, transforming the fight to preserve the nation into a battle for human freedom.
"Lincoln and the Republican party recognized that the Emancipation Proclamation, as a war measure, might have no constitutional validity once the war was over. The legal framework of slavery would still exist in the former Confederate states as well as in the Union slave states that had been exempted from the proclamation. So the party committed itself to a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. The overwhelmingly Republican Senate passed the Thirteenth Amendment by more than the necessary two-thirds majority on April 8, 1864. But not until January 31, 1865, did enough Democrats in the House abstain or vote for the amendment to pass it by a bare two-thirds. By December 18, 1865, the requisite three-quarters of the states had ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, which ensured that forever after “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude ... shall exist within the United States.” (History.com)
Despite all noble intentions the 13th Amendment was not a good friend to ex-slaves. They were left homeless, penniless and abandoned. They had nowhere to go. They had no prospect for a better life. They had no rights the dominant population had to recognize.
From what I read in some historical accounts, thousands of freed slaves stayed on with their "former" owners. Being homeless, having no money, no prospects for paid employment, the ex-slaves were subjected to vagrancy laws that landed them in jail, and back to working free. Nonetheless, without an income they were expected to pay the fines imposed on them. They were caught between a rock and hard place, and the hard place was winning. They could not escape the burdens of their previous condition. The Emancipation Proclamation did not deal the freed slave a fair hand in a society that hated the color of their skin.
The bus driver demanded that she go to the back of the bus. She was sitting closer to the front than the back, somewhere in the middle, which was a no-no in those days. The irony is, if there were no available seats in the front of the bus, the bus driver could demand that a “Negro” give up his or her seat in the back of the bus for a White passenger. Parks steadfastness caused her to get arrested, thus sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1964.
Now doesn't that sound familiar?
Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker said, "Frankly, I wouldn't be where I am today if states had voted on civil rights."