LBJ’s miserable War on Poverty and his expansion of the Vietnam War helped create the disconnected society in which we live. The War on Poverty, in particular, betrayed the civil rights movement. Out of the Democrats’ good intentions came an intractable underclass. A class which has lost hope, lives in ignorance and decadence, a class that needs a miracle to change the mindset that controls it.
Democrats, devoted to the War on Poverty, destroyed the black family and black communities in the U.S. Before the War on Poverty, a majority of African-American children were born into two-parent families. These days, nearly 70 percent are born to young, poor, single women.
Before the War on Poverty, black communities, despite Jim Crow laws, were doing well in such diverse places as Detroit and New York. Black dads were finding their way into the middle class. In many areas, black children were doing better in school than were their white counterparts. That was true in Harlem and that was true in many major American cities.
Black culture and society might have thrived except for the selfishness of Democrats, who saw a client group they could keep on the government plantation by offering more and more federal programs and handouts.
Before the Democrats’ War on Poverty, blacks could point to a proud history of survival and triumph over the odds, in spite of racism and bigotry. Yet Democrats continue to promote victim status of blacks and the less important aspects of black history.
In a comprehensive article in a recent City Journal, African-American historian James McWhorter reminds us:
“… but a history only of horrors cannot inspire. What could be more demoralizing than ‘Mba Mbulu’s Ten Lessons: An Introduction to Black History,’ for example, a chronicle mostly of slavery and segregation, with ‘White People’s Attacks on Other People’ and ‘Back in Our Place’ as typical chapter titles? Except for a little dollop of blacks’ contributions to what is called ‘White History,’ the overall message is a grim saga of victimization. This kind of history is deeply damaging to blacks. When ‘Learn your history’ means ‘Don’t get fooled by superficial changes,’ today’s New York City Street Crimes Unit can’t be distinguished from yesterday’s Bull Connor, and our aggrieved despair over our sense of alienation from the national fabric remains as sharp as ever. Could any people find inner peace when taught to think of their own society as their enemy?”
McWhorter mentions Chicago’s “Bronzeville” as an example of pre-LBJ War on Poverty. He relates:
“As the city industrialized after 1875, blacks occupied a three-by-15-block enclave on the South Side, and the Great Migration from the South swelled the black population to 109,548 by 1920. … Bronzeville was a leading center of innovation in jazz, nurturing Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, and Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines. Oscar Micheaux’s film company, producing a pioneering oeuvre of ‘race movies.’ … This was a thriving civic community, supporting branches of various civic organizations, including a YMCA settlement house that ran job-training programs. Bronzeville’s churches, all 92 of them, stressed ‘community uplift’; they ran lodging facilities for new arrivals from the South and employment agencies to shunt them into the workforce. Olivet alone had 53 departments devoted to community programs. Bronzeville produced several political leaders, including the first black congressman since Reconstruction, Oscar DePriest.”
Bronzeville’s Provident Hospital was “one of the top black hospitals in the country, employing many of black Chicago’s [by 1929] 176 doctors and running a nursing school. One of Provident’s founders was the extraordinary Daniel Hale Williams, who was the first doctor in America to operate upon the human heart and the only black doctor among the 100 charter members of the American College of Surgeons.” Odd, these blacks managed all this without the help of Democrats or well-intentioned liberals or leftists of either race.
In American public schools these days, American black history is presented as a mythical narrative of abuse and separateness with very few successes. Black intellectuals and politicians eulogize the grievance collectors or the black radicals. They do not promote the history of black heroes and heroines such as Crispus Atticus, the Buffalo Soldiers, black cowboys, black women who pioneered in the West, or the Civil War warriors who fought on both sides of the conflict.
How few relate the tales of Black Jack Pershing and his contingent of Rough Riders. Few young black males find inspiration in the stories of the Tuskegee Airmen or the soldiers and sailors of Vietnam and the Gulf War. They read the latest misery index of Toni Morrison or Cornell West and think that is what blacks are about.
It is inconvenient for Democrats and their friends on the left to give credit to modern great black businessmen and scholars like Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Ward Connerly, Condi Rice and Colin Powell. But these individuals succeeded in spite of whatever racism or bigotry existed in their lives.
Democrats should be ashamed. They have betrayed progress for blacks – for all Americans, for that matter. They won’t free them OR the rest of us from the pigeonholes and stereotypes they have plugged us into. Examples of this abound: the recent TV appearance of singer Harry Belafonte and a bug-eyed, ranting Phil Donahue demonizing and crying “Uncle Tom” as they castigated successful conservative blacks like Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell.
George Paar, “Duke of Duvall County” —- LBJ