You may have heard some people refer to certain black Americans as “Uncle Tom.” This term is widely used as derisive language to discredit the accomplishments of successful black Americans who probably overcame poverty through hard work. What many black Americans are unaware of is the fact that “Uncle Tom” was an actual hero. This fictional character helped slaves escape the harsh plantations according to the novel titled “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” You may have also heard people say: “Republicans don’t like black people.”
Equally troubling is the fact that many people use the phrase “Uncle Tom” in a negative light having never read the book. In the same way, black Americans are unaware of the rich history of the Republican Party. They only pass on negative information having never researched the accounts of the past.
In 1865, Chief Justice Salmon Chase swears in Black Republican John S. Rock. Attorney Rock became the first black American admitted to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court. No, I didn’t make a mistake. This was 1865! No racial quotas, no affirmative action programs! John Rock was also a licensed dentist and doctor! Black Republicans succeeded despite discrimination!
January 31, 1865, marks the passing of the 13th Amendment by the House of Representatives abolishing slavery. All 118 Republicans voted to end slavery, and only 19 Democrats out of 82 voted for the Amendment; and these were the Democrats from up north. The Republicans passed EVERY civil rights law relative to the rights of black Americans.
Republicans have also fought for black Americans to get a decent education by supporting the school choice program. This will allow poor parents to send their children to better schools. In 2001, the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee declares school choice to be “Educational Emancipation” because it frees children trapped in underperforming schools. The Democrats oppose this initiative, thereby preventing poor children from acquiring a suitable education.
Many are under the assumption that Democrats supported and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Even though President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Act while being pressured by a Republican Congress, it was Democrat Senators Robert Byrd and Richard Russell who led the Democrat opposition against the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. If it had not been for the strong support of Republicans, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would have never become law.
Today’s Republican Party strives to maintain the same agenda. Some of the things the Republican Party stands for are EQUAL rights (freedom of opportunity), limited government, balanced budgets, freedom of religion, and low taxes.
Americans would do well to observe facts about history especially as it relates to a people (black Americans) who misidentify the source of contemporary social ills. Thus, it is to my credit that some identify me and other black Republicans as “Uncle Toms” as we continue to help blacks escape the pangs of modern slavery under the control of the Democratic party.
Rev. Tommy Davis