Wednesday, June 9, 2010

No, It's Not The World's Smallest Political Organization

National Black Republican Association (NBRA) is on Facebook.  There was a time when "black Republican" was redundant; what other party would a black person be in but the party of Abraham Lincoln?

1 comment:

  1. During the Civil War, there were often references to "Black" Republicans - not negroes, who were not yet citizens and voters, but as as sort of intensifier (and allusion to their alleged pro-black intentions.)

    For instance, in 1862, the Union expedition against New Orleans was building up at Ship Island, just off the coast. The fleet was under Farragut, and the troops were under Ben Butler of Massachusetts, perhaps the most political of all political Civil War generals. Before the war, he'd been a Democrat, and tried to get the Presidential nomination for Jeff Davis. This history confused the CSA commander in Louisiana, who opined that

    "A Black Republican dynasty will never give an old Breckinridge Democrat like Butler command of any expedition [that] would result in such a glorious success as the capture of New Orleans."

    (The Confederates had a lot to learn about Butler - Davis eventually decreed that if Butler was ever captured, he was to be hanged.)

    The phrase persisted well into the 20th century. "Wild Bill" Donovan, who founded and led the OSS during World War II, was both a Republican and a personal friend of President Roosevelt. He traded on that friendship to sustain the OSS's role against the opposition of Army Intelligence.

    When the OSS developed a silent, flashless pistol, Donovan took one to the White Houst to show FDR. He had the gun in a shoulder holster, and also took a sandbag.

    Donovan was waved into FDR's private office, where he was dictating a letter. Donovan turned his back, drew the gun, and fired the whole clip (10 rounds) into the sandbag. FDR was now done with his letter; Donovan announced what he'd done and showed the smoking gun to the astonished President.

    Then FDR grinned and said, "Bill , you're the only black Republican I'll ever allow in my office with a weapon like this!"