On MSNBC, Roland Martin tells John Kelly to "go back and read a history book" about America's racist history
Martin: White people who "glorify these Confederate leaders" serve to "normalize white supremacy"
Video ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
From the October 31 edition of MSNBC Live with Velshi and Ruhle:
Loading the player reg...
ALI VELSHI (CO-HOST): John Kelly said that to not appreciate this shows a lack of appreciation for history. You have tweeted out this morning calling Kelly's comments insanely stupid. Tell me how you really feel about this.
ROLAND MARTIN: Yeah. I'm not going to allow four stars to allow stuck on stupid to simply go on. Here's a man who's utterly clueless. For him to say that, well, we could have compromised. Really? We did compromise. It was a thing called the United States Constitution. And do you know what that said? If you're black, you're 3/5 of a human. What he should do is go read Lawrence Goldstone's book Dark Bargain where details the compromises made with the South just to get the Constitution passed. You want to talk compromise? How about the Hayes-Tilden Compromise, which was never written down called the Great Compromise of 1877 that ended the 12 years of Reconstruction and ushered in Jim Crow. They removed the federal troops from the last three remaining southern capitals. We could talk about compromise -- the fact we had a Civil Rights Act of 1866, one in 1875, and we didn't another one til 1957, which was rather weak. How about compromise? We had three Reconstruction amendments: the 13th Amendment, the 14th Amendment, and the 15th Amendment. But you know what? America didn't care about those constitutional amendments because of that 1877 compromise, which led to the Civil Rights Act of '64 and the Voting Rights Act of '65 and the Fair Housing Act of '68. And so I need John Kelly to actually go back and read a history book that my 12-year-old nieces are reading right now because clearly he fell asleep in history.
STEPHANIE RUHLE (CO-HOST): I don't know if he fell asleep in history, but I'll tell you, my son who's in the sixth grade is reading that same history Roland's nieces are. What about Kelly's claim that 150 years ago, states were more important than country, and that he gave up his country to fight for the state of Virginia -- Robert E. Lee I'm talking about.
MARTIN: Well, guess what then. Then I want to see General Kelly defend anybody who's in ISIS. Because you know what they're doing? They're giving up country for ideology. It's the same exact thing. See, this is how we normalize white supremacy. And then to say, well, we don't have an appreciation of history. I love this whole deal about how, well, you know, he was an honorable man. Really? There were abolitionists during that particular period who did not believe in slavery. So, don't call the men of their time. But maybe General Kelly also didn't read this, which was from Wesley Norris, one of the slaves that he had, where he said that when we ran away, he asked why did we run away. And we said, because we're free. He ordered us to be beaten, given 50 lashes. And then when one of his overseers wouldn't do it, he called Dick Williams, a county constable, who was called in to give us the lashes. And it was Lee who said lay it on well, an injunction which he did not fail to heed. Not satisfied with simply lacerating our naked flesh, General Lee then ordered the overseer to thoroughly wash our backs with brine, which was done. You call that honorable? You call that decent?
We have too many people in this country who are white who do not know history, who want to somehow glorify these Confederate leaders. And I'm telling you right now, they ain't my founding fathers and they're not my leaders. We need to have real history, not a his-story, but history. And I will say that John Kelly, shame on you.
Real quick: Laura Ingraham, you need to go read a history book too because if you let him lie like that in front of you, you don't know what the hell you're doing.