This month is the 50th anniversary of Little Rock. It is excellent reading, the 'Vanity Fair' article Through a Lens, Darkly
During the historic 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, 26-year-old journalist Will Counts took a photograph that gave an iconic face to the passions at the center of the civil-rights movement--two faces, actually: those of 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford on her first day of school, and her most recognizable tormentor, Hazel Bryan. The story of how these two women struggled to reconcile and move on from the event is a remarkable journey through the last half-century of race relations in America.
What has become of the Dixiecrats, the heirs of the Southern Democrat white supremist party? That was when the Democratic Party boasted such 'great lights' as Orville Faubus, ( Arkansas Governor at the time of Little Rock) George Wallace and Strom Thurmond. Well many segued, as designed by Kevin Philips via the Southern Stratetgy and promoted by Lee Atwater, to the perennial reigning party in the South, the GOP.
In 1981, during the first year of Mr. Reagan's presidency, the late Lee Atwater gave an interview to a political science professor at Case Western Reserve University, explaining the evolution of the Southern strategy:
"You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger,' " said Atwater. "By 1968, you can't say 'nigger' -- that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights, and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites."
Bob Herbert, the 'New York Times' 'boring' but worthy columnist is very angry at the latest shenanigans of the GOP leadership and its frontrunner candidates, includes the aforementioned Atwater quote in a op'ed today, 'The Ugly Side of the G.O.P'
Hey, I don't think George W. Bush is personally racist, though his approval rate with blacks was down to 2% (+ or- 3% depending on the margin of error)...I recall at Yale college, he stood up against racism. It's just that blacks get the short end of all Republican policies and especially Republican political strategies, including Rove's efforts to disenfranchise their voting rights, (through caging) or something so mean as denying DC representation in Congress.
A hat tip to Kevin Drum who covers much of the material in his post.
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