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History Of Civil Rights Legislation Leads For Hope With Gun Control Laws

February 18, 2018

It is amazing to think that following the passage of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution it took roughly a century for any meaningful civil rights legislation to pass the United States Senate.  There were all sorts of outrageous actions taking place in the South from making sure blacks could not vote due to  poll taxes and tests, to the barbaric murders from lynchings.  When President Truman pressed his civil rights agenda as late as 1949 the Southern bloc of senators, and some of the Republican Party controlled by Taft, made sure that nothing was going to pass that would allow for the civil rights of this segment of America to be granted.

The Southern bloc tried to spin their tale that everything was working in harmony in the former states that had succeeded during the Civil War.  Blacks and whites were pleased with how much progress had been made, these white elected officials said.  There was no need for national legislation as there was no problem that required to be fixed.    Any attempt at such a national response was unconstitutional and against states rights they claimed as they stood for hours at a time filibustering in the senate.

“We can fix the problems ourselves,” Richard Russell, Jr. of Georgia stated.   No anti-lynching legislation was needed, he said, as the states were able to pass their own laws.  Yet prior to Russell being in the senate he had been speaker of his legislature, and also served as governor, but with his power and popularity never once made an attempt to pass anti-lynching legislation.

It was not until 1957 that the power of the Southern Bloc buckled and the dam was opened for justice to start moving to the people.  The results prove what can happen when forces are aligned to move a nation forward.  Blacks faced threats, and worse, throughout the south for just trying to cast a ballot.  But then in decades to come an African-American was elected president–for two terms!  No one can tell a reader of history that there is no way to win on an issue.   And, furthermore, the progress in our nation is always towards the liberal turn.

History is always the guide for the future.  Never forget it.

I certainly do not know what further horrific shooting will be the last action required before congress acts on gun control legislation.  But history tells us the day will arrive when congress will hear the pleas and take the action Americans all over this land cry out for.    That is, after all, how the arc of history bends.

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