Sunday, December 21, 2014

Editorial by Dragoon Charlie Graham Regarding Racial Issues in the South

Published in the December 19th edition of the Montgomery Advertiser.

Racial issues hardly confined to South
             In 1641 Massachusetts was the first American colony to legally endorse slavery through its Body of Liberties. 150 years later in the census of 1790 it was the first state to register no slaves.

Jim Crow and Black Codes are routinely attributed to Southern culture. Some of the earliest Southern Black Codes were established by federal Gen. Ben Butler while he occupied New Orleans during the War Between The States. These codes were patterned after some of America’s earliest, established by Massachusetts in the early 1700s. Massachusetts wasn’t doing anything that wasn’t done by all of the other colonial states of the time.

Contrary to popular advocating, the elements of racial disparities do not begin and end in the South. If one is to believe that the national sentiment is exhibited through decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, we must examine the Plessy vs. Ferguson 7- decision in 1896. The Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions that states could maintain separate black and white cars on intrastate trains and facilities.

This was 30 years after the war. The 13th and 14th Amendments were in existence. The “separate but equal” mantra of segregation was thereby established and remained in effect until the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision .
            To explore the intrinsic collective roots of prejudice, one must exit the Southern enclave of alleged iniquity and wander around in the North for 400 years. One may also discover some unaddressed prejudice against Southerners embellished with hypocrisy.
 Charlie Graham

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