As the month of February progresses, there are a few things that give me a pause. No, it’s not the Februany $5 foot long deal from Subway. It’s not because it is the month of the Hallmark card holiday Valentine’s Day. But, it is the month in which two of my greatest inspirations were born, Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. It is also Black History Month, a month in which we remember all of the great African Americans that helped shape our country.
As a Republican I feel I have a special connection to Black History Month. Many people know that President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Many people do not know that Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican elected to the presidency and also that the Republican Party was founded upon the anti-slavery movement. In fact, throughout history the Republican Party has always had a special connection with African Americans.
The party of the all the founders of the NAACP was the Republican Party. The first African American Senator was Hiram Revels, a Republican. Representative Joseph Hayne Rainey was the first elected African American to Congress. He was not only a former slave, but a Republican. Jackie Robinson, the first African American baseball player who broke the color barrier to play in the major leagues, was a Republican, often participating in fundraisers for Republican candidates. Rat Pack member Sammy Davis Jr. was also a Republican. The “Moses” of escaped slaves and best known for her help in the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, was also a Republican. Republican President Eisenhower sent troops to Arkansas to desegregate the schools. He also appointed Justice Earl Warren to the Supreme Court. Warren was the leading voice who convinced his fellow justices to rule on the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling (this ruling made segregation unconstitutional). It was Republican president Richard Nixon who instituted Affirmative Action, with timelines and established goals. It was George W. Bush who appointed more African Americans to high level government positions than any other president in US history. These are the facts I love about the Republican Party. Every Black History Month I think of them and am proud to hold the same ideals.