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Fwd: What's Wrong with Senate Anti-Lynching Apology

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  • Greg Cannon
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 14, 2005
      --- Julie Keller <jakeller@...> wrote:

      > To: utepprogressives@yahoogroups.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).
      > Story:
      > Senate Issues Apology Over Failure on Lynching Law
      > 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.
      > Crawford's
      > 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
      > miracle."
      > 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
      > Senate."
      > 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
      > co-sponsors,"
      > 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
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