Skip to comments.Woodrow Wilson and Black People
Posted on 08/03/2003 9:33:31 AM PDT by Mn. Black Republican Coalition
Woodrow Wilson and Black Ameircans Part 2, of our series on this President
Why do most textbooks only have a few sentences about Wilsons racism? We shall cover this in Wilson, Part 3
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Sarah Breedlove was born on a cotton plantation near Delta, La., in 1867. Orphaned at age 7, married at 14, widowed at 20, Breedlove earned a subsistence living as a laundress in St. Louis, Mo. Seeking to supplement her income--and cure her case of alopecia, or baldness, commonly suffered by black women at the time because of scalp diseases, poor diet and stress--Breedlove became an agent for Annie Turnbo Pope Malone's Poro Co., selling its "Wonderful Hair Grower." Realizing the potential of these products, Breedlove took her daughter and $1.50 in savings to Denver, married her third husband, a newspaper sales agent named Charles Joseph Walker, and with him established a hair-care business that made brilliant use of advertising in the growing number of black newspapers.
"Walker became a central figure in black leadership and one of the first black philanthropists, donating funds to build a black ymca in Indianapolis and restore Frederick Douglass's home in Washington, and helping lead the protest against lynching--she traveled to the White House with other leaders to present a petition to Woodrow Wilson. (He declined to see them.) "
Do you have more information about Wilson's attempt to segregate the federal government?
I am doing some research on him, and it ties in to what I am looking for.
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Question for my American friends: Was Woodrow Wilson a democrat or a republican?
I think he was a Democrat.
We know that textbooks - especially those editted in today's world - are incorrect and misguided.
How pitiful it is that our children are misled.
Agencies that were desegregated after the Civil war were resegregated as one of Wilson's first actions -- all the way down to separate rest rooms and lunch rooms. Black managers were demoted or fired, even those with many years of service and no white could report to a black manager.
It was a major step backwards for black Americans. Wilson even went so far as to praise D.W. Griffiths film "Birth of a Nation" that re-wrote the ugly history of the Klu Klux Klan portraying them as southern patriots instead of what they really were, the terrorist wing of the Democrat party. (Rewriting history is nothing new for Hollywood.) After Wilson praised the film, it became the first major box-office "blockbuster" and because of it the Klan reemerged as a potent political force throughout the south and in a number of Northern and Midwestern states where large scale black migration from the south to work in northern factories caused racial tensions.
It was an ugly period in our history and Wilson rightly deserves much of the blame. Much of the torment we went through in the 50s and 60s, and even to this day regarding race relations can be traced to the Wilson administration.
And that is not even mentioning the unconstitutional Federal police powers Wilson spawned during WWI with mass arrests of and detention of so-called disruptive elements -- mostly people who opposed going to war in Europe. It made the Patriot Act of today look like a civil liberties picnic.
If so, thanks..........if not, thanks! :o)
Do you have a resource (Internet or hardcopy) for the information you cited there?
Thanks for the info.
BTW, it is a smelly irony that most of the blacks now would support a party who has a history of supporting segregation.
Almost as ironic as Senator Byrd emerging as one of the Dems attempting to block confirmation of Dr. Rice as Sec. of State... I believe he was the one who caused the delay, when originally it was believed she might be sworn in on inauguration day. From a PR standpoint, I just don't think having the KKK alum block the appointment of a black woman to the post was a good choice...
I'll see if I can find some of my older links over the weekend when I have more time.
"The eugenics movement concentrated on differences: its roots in scientific racism looked to the differences between the white and other races, while the family studies created a distinction between fit and unfit white folks. There are two types of eugenics:
"negative eugenics"-- the reduction of the excessively large number of births among the less favored, with the widespread use of contraception, sterilization and abortion.
"positive eugenics"-- increased production of the "fit"; can be advanced through artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and genetic engineering."
It's not generally collected all in one place, so it takes a bit of putting together, but it was under Wilson (D) that the "Back to the Cornrows" policy was implemented, where all non-whites were removed from all non-servitude federal positions.
Compare that to the McKinley(R) and Roosevelt(R) Administrations.
LOL. He's one of the Democrat Party's big gov. heroes. Gave us the income tax, federal reserve etc.
In 1912 Woodrow Wilson probably received more black votes than any previous Democratic presidential candidate, but his administration proved to be a bitter disappointment to African Americans. Black voters had abandoned William Howard Taft, Wilsons Republican predecessor, in part because he had appointed or retained a mere thirty-one black officeholders. But Wilson made only nine black appointments, and eight of these were Republican carryovers. Worse still, Wilson extended and defended segregation in the federal civil service. Black workers were forced to use inferior and segregated washrooms, and screens were set up to separate black and white workers in the same government offices. African Americans protested Wilsons policies. One of the most famous protest delegations was led in 1914 by Monroe Trotter, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard and Boston newspaper editor. Wilson found Trotters manner insulting and dismissed the delegation. The encounter made front-page news, and subsequent rallies protested Wilsons poor treatment of Trotter. But the segregation of the federal service continued.
38th President of the United States
28th under the US Constitution
Although he entered the 1912 Democratic National Convention a poor second to Speaker of the House Champ Clark, he won the nomination after 46 ballots. Offering a program of reform he called the New Freedom, Wilson ran against a divided Republican party. In November, Wilson won only 41.85 percent of the popular vote but polled 435 electoral votes, compared with Roosevelt's 88 and President Taft's 8.
Segregation had never been the custom in federal government offices in Washington, D.C. However, faced with strong pressure from his fellow Southerners, Wilson allowed segregation in the capital. Challenged with his vague promises before election that he would treat blacks with fairness, he could only say that the new policy of segregation was in the best interests of blacks and he would angrily end the interview when he was disputed.
The most shameful aspect of Wilson's presidency was the adoption of segregation in the federal government. For race relations during the Wilson years, see Leon Litwack's excellent 'Trouble in Mind : Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow', while Desmond King provides a good account of the Wilson administration's segregation campaign in 'Separate and Unequal: Black Americans and the Us Federal Government'. In 'Jim Crow and the Wilson Administration: Protesting Federal Segregation in the Early Twentieth Century', Nicholas Patler demonstrates that many Americans objected to Wilson's expansion of segregation, though ultimately to no avail.
Wilson's racist views were hardly a secret. His own published work was peppered with Lost Cause visions of a happy antebellum South. As president of Princeton, he had turned away black applicants, regarding their desire for education to be "unwarranted." He was elected president because the 1912 campaign featured a third party, Theodore Roosevelt's Bullmoose Party, which drew Republican votes from incumbent William Howard Taft. Wilson won a majority of votes in only one state (Arizona) outside the South.
What Wilson's election meant to the South was "home rule;" that is, license to pursue its racial practices without concern about interference from the federal government. That is exactly what the 1948 Dixiecrats wanted. But "home rule" was only the beginning. Upon taking power in Washington, Wilson and the many other Southerners he brought into his cabinet were disturbed at the way the federal government went about its own business. One legacy of post-Civil War Republican ascendancy was that Washington's large black populace had access to federal jobs, and worked with whites in largely integrated circumstances. Wilson's cabinet put an end to that, bringing Jim Crow to Washington.
Wilson allowed various officials to segregate the toilets, cafeterias, and work areas of their departments. One justification involved health: White government workers had to be protected from contagious diseases, especially venereal diseases, that racists imagined were being spread by blacks. In extreme cases, federal officials built separate structures to house black workers. Most black diplomats were replaced by whites; numerous black federal officials in the South were removed from their posts; the local Washington police force and fire department stopped hiring blacks.
Wilson's own view, as he expressed it to intimates, was that federal segregation was an act of kindness. In historian Friedman's paraphrase, "Off by themselves with only a white supervisor, blacks would not be forced out of their jobs by energetic white employees."
According to Friedman, President Wilson said as much to those appalled blacks who protested his actions. He told one protesting black delegation that "segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen." When the startled journalist William Monroe Trotter objected, Wilson essentially threw him out of the White House. "Your manner offends me," Wilson told him. Blacks all over the country complained about Wilson, but the president was unmoved. "If the colored people made a mistake in voting for me," he told The New York Times in 1914, "they ought to correct it."
Great resources! Thanks!
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