Progress Unraveling

Three years after the Brown vs Board of Education decision that partly struck down Plessy vs Feguson (1896) and called for schools to be de-segregated, Judge Thomas P. Brady of Brookhaven, Mississippi, gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco.  The speech is lengthy, but I have culled a few of the most damning parts to share here.  In the event you have the stomach for it, you can read his entire speech here.

  • I want you to distinctly understand that the South does not hate the Negro. I dare say you know little, if anything about the true Southern Negro.  Among the finest characters I have ever known are Negroes.  There is a great deal of genuine affection and understanding between the races.  We have lived harmoniously together with a minimum of violence and bloodshed.  We have nurtured the Negro, taught him, provided for him, educated him and endeavored to make of him a worthwhile citizen.  The Negro has made great strides and the Southern white man is largely responsible for these advancements.
  • There is, as every honest socialist knows, a distinct correlation between the degree of segregation of the races and the numerical strength of the Negro. The reason is obvious.  If in the South the Negro was permitted, as in some Northern States, to obtain the ballot by simply reaching 21 years of age, it would mean that no qualified white man in many counties throughout the South could ever hold public office.  It would also mean that in the halls of Congress, seats now held by competent white representatives would be held by ignorant, incompetent Negroes.
  • While I regret that I must do so, I must nevertheless comment upon some of the intellectual and moral aspects of the reason why the South must remain socially segregated. The average vocabulary of the Negro in the South consists of approximately 650 words.
  • It is because of an inherent deficiency in mental ability, of psychological and tempermental [sic] It is because of indifference and natural indolence on the part of the Negro.  All the races started out at approximately the same time in God’s calendar, but of all the races that have been on this earth, the Negro race is the only race that lacked mental ability and the imagination to put its dreams, hopes and thoughts in writing.
  • Never forget that the leftwing socialist groups are forever grading down, never grading up the intelligence, the industry and the genius of this country! They wish to equalize, thereby reducing to a low minimum the intelligence of America.
  • The Negro, in so far as sex is concerned, is not immoral, he is simply non-moral. He merely follows his natural instincts.  We cannot disregard his utter disregard for the laws relating to theft.  We cannot overlook his proclivity for drunkenness and dope addiction.  We cannot overlook his natural tendency to immorality and violence and subject our children to the terrible consequences resulting from such traits through integration.

He goes on to say that the people of Mississippi, having formed the ‘White Citizens Council’ will defy the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown vs Board of Education and …

  • As long as we live, so long shall we be segregated, and after death, God willing, thus it will still be!

As I read his words, realizing that those very words were not uttered centuries ago, but actually in my own lifetime, I felt physically ill.  A full decade after the ruling in Brown v Board of Education, 98% of school children in Mississippi were still attending segregated schools!

And then, a few years later in 1963, came the brutal murder of civil rights worker Medgar Evers in front of his wife and children, and the following year, the murders of three civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner who were trying to help Black citizens register to vote.  In the interim, the KKK and the White Citizens Council were busily terrorizing Black people in Mississippi and throughout the South.  Far too many members of law enforcement in the South were also members of the KKK in the 1960s and perhaps beyond.

So now you’re wondering, “Why the history lesson, Filosofa?”  Patience, grasshopper … there is method to my madness.

Look today at Florida, Texas, even Virginia.  The states, particularly in the deep south, are using the excuse of Critical Race Theory … something that is not taught in elementary or secondary schools (though perhaps it should be) and something that the average person knows nothing about other than the lies they’ve heard from the likes of Tucker Carlson and others.  They seized on it as an excuse to stop teaching about the racist history of this nation.

Many believe that the current Supreme Court is all but set to overturn Roe v Wade (1973) that gave women the right to make decisions about their own bodies.  There is also talk of the Court attempting to overturn Obergefell v Hodges (2015) that gave same-sex couples the right to marry.  There is also talk of overturning Loving v Virginia (1967) that removed the barriers to interracial marriage.  Given the composition of the Court today, is it such a stretch, then, to think that ultimately, they might also overturn Brown v Board of Education?

Women’s rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights and perhaps most importantly, voting rights … all are potentially on the chopping block in this, the 21st century.  States are overstepping their bounds, writing laws that directly conflict with federal laws, conflict even with common sense, decency, and human rights.  This nation is traveling backward today, seemingly bent on destroying the progress of the last 70 years or so.  Why?  I am told that white people fear they will lose their “majority status”.  SO WHAT???  Who cares what colour skin anybody has, or how many white people as compared to Black or Brown people?  Apparently, some people care and those are attempting to change the course of history, to turn this ship around and take us back into the Dark Ages.

Read Judge Brady’s words again … is that a world any of us want to live in?  I certainly don’t.  I won’t.

25 thoughts on “Progress Unraveling

  1. Jill, let me just pick one example of many as a retort. The US Supreme Court ruled 9 to 0 in the Loving v. State of Virginia in the mid-1960s to secure the right in any state for people of different races to be married. The Loving family (their real names) sued when the state banned them from marrying. They did not rule 5 to 4, they ruled 9 to 0 which in essence is telling Judge Brady that white and black people are equal in the eyes of the law and can marry anyone they see fit.

    The Jim Crow period lasted so long as church and other leaders rationalized the ability to discriminate. Church leaders would even use the bible as a weapon in this cause. Judge Brady saying blacks are “non-moral” is just evidence of such crock, in my view. Sadly, too many Brady’s feel empowered to speak out now against the rights of other groups.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Keith

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    • Thanks, Keith. With the decisions like Loving and others, with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s & 1960s, I really thought we had passed through the era of blatant racism, had come out on the other side of Jim Crow forever, had put paid to the Judge Bradys of the world. But today, I’m seeing a return of racism and other forms of bigotry such as homophobia, and it makes me wonder … are we headed back to those days? Will we someday see segregated lunch counters again or “Whites only” signs?

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      • Jill, I think that would be a major reversal, yet I never thought “1984” would look possible. I think we need to move away from this segregated news and pseudo news and we need people to demand our leaders to be among our better angels and not our worse demons. Democrats are not perfect, but my former party the Republicans is mired in so much fiction, people do not know what is true even when it is obvious. As you reported conservative pundit Michael Gerson said the “Republican party is in decay.” As an independent and former GOPer, I agree. Keith

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        • I guess the thing that frightens me most is that many of today’s “leaders” seem to have no better angels. Their goals are not incorporated or even remotely related to the oaths of office they once took, but are aligned with their own desire for wealth and power. The sacrifices they make are not their own, but they are sacrificing the entire nation and don’t really seem to care … at all.

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  2. A timely warning given the current make-up of the Supreme Court and with mouthpieces lacking common decency like Tucker Carlson trying to make it seem that this emotive subject is actually The People’s Will. And who would be the first to fly to safety if war breaks out on the streets as a result of these regressive changes? Yes Carlson and some of his more unattractive guests from Congress, probably to continue complaining from the comfort of Victor Orban’s Palace.

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    • Indeed, people like ol’ Tucker plant a seed in the minds of those without much brain power, the seed takes root, and pretty soon they are convinced that they should hate Black people. Sigh. War is already in progress on the streets here … sometimes it’s about racism, sometimes something else, but gun violence is out of control. 6 people were killed and 12 injured in Sacramento last weekend … no reason that I can tell. Sigh. Were it in my power, I’d send the entire GOP to reside with Orban … they would fit right in!
      Cwtch

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