Note that in Thomas Sowell's autobiography, Sowell said he thought that Reagan had much to offer black Americans, but regretted that the man was wholly unable to reach them. And Sowell wasn't just saying that blacks wouldn't listen to Reagan. He found Reagan lost, when it came to connecting with blacks.
I find it amusing that so many conservatives simply refuse to note one key statistic, the black poverty rate. They'll cite the absolute numbers of blacks who entered the middle class (ignoring the fact that the total number of blacks ALSO rose in that period) or America's overall poverty rate. They do this because it undermines their case, as Reagan's record for blacks is mixed. Fact is, the black poverty rate was stagnant for over two decades until the mid-1990s under President Clinton and a Republican Congress (when the black poverty rate went from 35% to an all-time low of 21%). While Reagan wasn't as bad as leftists try to portray, he also wanted a messiah for black folks as conservatives claim either.
Reagan gets big props from me for his Cold War activities (man, have I had to defend him this week), bringing democracy back to Grenada, black entrepreneurship rise, signing a Voting Rights Act extension, rise in black high school and college rates, bringing the military back from liberal hell, and overall returning optimism to America.
However, I can't forgive Reagan for starting his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi (where 3 civil rights workers were killed in the 1960s) talking about "states' rights," how he fought (and only under massive pressure signed) the Dr. King holiday, tried to undermine the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Commission. And his support for South Africa's apartheid regime and against pro-democracy activists (go-fast on anti-communism in Europe but go-slow on freedom for South African blacks?) got my gourd even as a teenager.
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