Fwd: What's Wrong with Senate Anti-Lynching Apology
- --- Julie Keller <jakeller@...> wrote:
> To: email@example.com
> From: "Julie Keller" <jakeller@...>
> Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2005 13:48:22 -0000
> Subject: [utepprogressives] What's Wrong with Senate
> Anti-Lynching Apology
> There was a heartening story in the Times today
> about the Senate
> passing a resolution (Senate Resolution 39) against
> the lynchings that
> took place in America in the pre-civil rights era.
> One might be
> tempted to believe the Senate is interested in
> righting a wrong.
> Republicans will surely tout the passage of this
> resolution as proof
> that it took a GOP-controlled senate, the party of
> Lincoln, to pass
> this resolution. Where have the Democrats been on
> this all these years?
> But wait.
> The devil's in the details. What was not reported
> in the El Paso
> Times-edited version of this wire story was that
> this measure passed
> on a voice vote, not a roll call vote, so the
> Senators will not have
> to account for whether they supported it or not.
> Keep in mind that
> the GOP is strong in the South today because all the
> Dixiecrats left
> the Democratic Party and joined the GOP in the '60's
> to protest the
> Civil Rights Act.
> Further, the measure was supported by 80, not 100,
> senators. There
> were more than a few Republicans who did not sponsor
> this resolution,
> and also a few Democrats who did not, either. I am
> sure they will be
> scrambling to make up for lost time today, but for
> the record, here is
> a wire service story that includes more background
> than what got
> reported in the Times today, followed by a list of
> the Senators who
> did not sponsor the resolution (yes, Cornyn and
> Hutchison did not
> sponsor the resolution).
> Senate Issues Apology Over Failure on Lynching Law
> By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
> WASHINGTON, June 13 - Anthony Crawford's
> granddaughter went to her
> grave without speaking a word to her own children
> about his lynching,
> so painful was the family history. On Monday, Mr.
> descendants came to the Capitol to tell it - and to
> accept a formal
> apology from the Senate for its repeated failure,
> despite the requests
> of seven presidents, to enact a federal law to make
> lynching a crime.
> The formal apology, adopted by voice vote, was
> issued decades after
> senators blocked antilynching bills by filibuster.
> The resolution is
> the first time that members of Congress, who have
> apologized to
> Japanese-Americans for their internment in World War
> II and to
> Hawaiians for the overthrow of their kingdom, have
> apologized to
> African-Americans for any reason, proponents of the
> measure said.
> "The Senate failed you and your ancestors and our
> nation," Senator
> Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, chief Democratic
> sponsor of the
> resolution, said at a luncheon attended by 200
> family members and
> descendants of victims. They included 100 relatives
> of Anthony
> Crawford, as well as a 91-year-old man believed to
> be the only known
> survivor of an attempted lynching.
> He is James Cameron, who in 1930, as a 16-year-old
> shoeshine boy in
> Marion, Ind., was accused with two friends of
> murdering a white man
> and raping a white woman. His friends were killed.
> But as Mr. Cameron
> felt a noose being slipped around his neck, a man in
> the crowd stepped
> forward to proclaim Mr. Cameron's innocence. Mr.
> Cameron came here in
> a gray suit and a wheelchair, his voice shaky but
> his memories
> apparently fresh.
> "They took the rope off my neck, those hands that
> had been so rough
> and ready to kill or had already killed, they took
> the rope off of my
> neck and they allowed me to start walking and
> stagger back to the
> jail, which was just a half-block away," Mr. Cameron
> told a news
> conference. "When I got back to the jail, the
> sheriff said, 'I'm going
> to get you out of here for safekeeping.' "
> He learned only later, he said, that the sheriff was
> a member of the
> Ku Klux Klan. "I was saved," Mr. Cameron said, "by a
> There have been 4,742 recorded lynchings in American
> history, Ms.
> Landrieu said. Historians suspect that many more
> went undocumented.
> Although the House passed antilynching legislation
> three times in the
> first half of the 20th century, the Senate,
> controlled by Southern
> conservatives, repeatedly refused to do so. Senator
> George Allen of
> Virginia, chief Republican sponsor of the new
> resolution, called it
> "this stain on the history of the United States
> Although the Senate garnered praise on Monday for
> acting to erase that
> stain, some critics said lawmakers had a long way to
> go. Of the 100
> senators, 80 were co-sponsors of the resolution, and
> because it passed
> by voice vote, senators escaped putting themselves
> on record.
> "It's a statement in itself that there aren't 100
> Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, said.
> "It's a statement
> in itself that there's not an up-or-down vote."
> Others described the resolution as an act of
> expediency for Mr. Allen,
> who is a likely presidential candidate and who has
> been criticized for
> displaying a Confederate flag at his home and a
> noose in his law
> office. Mr. Allen said that they were part of
> collections of flags and
> Western paraphernalia and that he was motivated not
> by politics, but
> by a plea by Dick Gregory, the civil rights
> advocate, who wrote him a
> letter urging him not to "choose to do nothing."
> The memories were especially painful for the
> relatives of Anthony
> Crawford, whose family was torn apart by the
> lynching. Mr. Crawford
> had been a wealthy black landowner in Abbeville,
> S.C., a cotton
> farmer, registered voter and community leader who
> founded a school for
> black children and a union for black families. In
> 1916, after a
> dispute with a white man over the price of cotton
> seed, he was hanged
> from a pine tree and shot more than 200 times. His
> family lost his
> land, and the relatives scattered.
> "Someone is finally recognizing our pain," said
> Alberta Merriwether, a
> retired schoolteacher who is his great-granddaughter
> and whose mother
> never spoke of the lynching.
> Mrs. Merriwether's aunt Magdalene Latimer, 84, was
> not so certain
> about the senators. "I have to let God be the
> judge," Ms. Latimer
> said, "because I don't know if they meant it out of
> their heart or
> they're just saying it out of their mouth."
> Senators who did NOT sponsor S. Res. 39:
> Alexander TN
> Bennett UT
> Bingaman NM
> Cochran MS
> Conrad ND
> Cornyn TX
> Crapo ID
> Enzi WY
> Grassley IA
> Gregg NH
> Hatch UT
> Hutchison TX
> Kyl AZ
> Lott MS
> Murkowski AK
> Reed, Jack RI
> Shelby AL
> Smith, Gordon OR
> Sununu NH
> Thomas WY
> Voinovich OH