Republican reverend ignored recent history in condemning only Democrats for atrocities against African Americans

››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

Appearing as a guest on the June 28 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, former co-host of the intensely partisan Republican Radio and author Reverend Wayne Perryman declared that African Americans should not vote for present-day Democrats because "the Democratic Party, [which] started in 1792, was the most racist, violent, terrorist organization that this nation has ever known."

Stating that "the Ku Klux Klan was the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party," Perryman demanded reparations "not because of slavery, [but] what the Democrats did to blacks after slavery -- Jim Crow laws, black codes, repressive legislation, killing us, lynching us, mutilating us, cutting us." When Hannity & Colmes co-host Alan Colmes asked, "[O]nly Democrats [should pay reparations]? No Republican taxpayers, just Democratic taxpayers, right?" Perryman responded, "Look, the Nazis paid reparations to the Jews. They were the party that committed the atrocities and the acts." When Colmes attempted to shift the focus to today's politics by asking what President George W. Bush has done for African Americans, Perryman responded as follows: "Blacks did not give him their vote, so why should he give them anything?"

However, in confining his attacks to the Democrats, Perryman ignored the party realignment that occurred in the twentieth century. As PBS illustrated in a documentary titled The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, "[B]y [President Franklin Delano] Roosevelt's second term (1937-1940) ... the Democratic party had become more liberal, less deferential to Southerners, and more interested in urban issues."

As historian David Greenberg documented in his Slate.com "History Lesson" column in 2000, "The GOP's abandonment of African-Americans commenced with the presidential election of 1876"; "[a]nti-lynching laws [passed in the 1930s] marked the last major civil rights issue on which Republicans were out in front." Greenberg noted that party "realignment crystallized under President Franklin Roosevelt" when the "Depression hit black Americans disproportionately hard, and FDR's relief programs, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Public Works Administration, gave them much-needed aid and jobs" around the same time that "Northern and Western Democrats [in Congress] took the lead on progressive racial legislation."

Finally, Perryman's analogy of Democrats paying reparations and the Nazis paying reparations to the Jews is a non sequitur: The Nazi Party was disbanded in 1945 (at the end of World War II) and was, therefore, no longer in existence when the German government began paying Holocaust reparations in 1952, according to the Jewish Virtual Library (which references the American Jewish Historical Society).

From the June 28 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes:

PERRYMAN: The Democrats, the Democratic Party, started in 1792, was the most racist, violent, terrorist organization that this nation has ever known. The Ku Klux Klan was the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.

[...]

PERRYMAN: I think there is a strong case for reparations, not because of slavery, what the Democrats did to blacks after slavery -- Jim Crow laws, black codes, repressive legislation, killing us, lynching us, mutilating us, cutting us.

[...]

COLMES: Only Democrats? No Republican taxpayers, just Democratic taxpayers, right? PERRYMAN: Look, the Nazis paid reparations to the Jews. They were the party that committed the atrocities and the acts.

[...]

COLMES: I have a question. What has [President] George W. Bush done for African Americans?

[...]

PERRYMAN: Let me answer your question, Alan. Hey, blacks did not give him their vote, so why should he give them anything? I think he's reaching out to blacks with his faith-based initiative programs and other programs, his voucher programs for children and education. I think he's doing far more than Clinton and far more than what Kerry would do.

Reverend Perryman is the minister in charge of church administration for Mt. Calvary Christian Center Church of God in Christ; author of Unfounded Loyalty: An In-Depth Look into the Love Affair Between Blacks and Democrats (Pneuma Life Publishing, 2003); and a former conservative radio co-host of Republican Radio, the "life of the [Republican] party."

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Race & Ethnicity
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