Archive for August, 2016

MAYBE YOU SHOULD LEARN ABOUT THE KKK?

August 28, 2016

Now that the KKK Grand Dragon has publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton, maybe it’s time you learned something about the ultimate racist organization?

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The KKK began in Tennessee after Southern Democrats lost the Civil War.. The white hoods and sheets were meant to represent the ghosts of the Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. But soon, the group was more about terrorizing blacks than it was about protecting whites. The KKK rode at night, perpetrating raids on areas where blacks lived. Nathan Bedford Forrest, former Confederate general, was in command of the KKK until 1868. He formally disbanded the group at this point, appalled by the violence but the KKK lived on.

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Congress created a committee in 1871 to investigate the Klan, and passed the civil rights act of 1871 to help curtail the group’s activities. But years later, the KKK would infiltrate the highest levels of government when President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Hugo L. Black to the Supreme Court. Justice Black, a trial attorney from Alabama who joined the group in 1923, was appointed to the Court in 1937 and there is no evidence that he ever left the KKK. Black had been elected U.S. Senator from Alabama in 1927 and was Chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

The KKK continued to operate throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, and times were volatile for many African-Americans. Harry S. Truman was President from 1945 to 1953. Truman was a KKK member for about two years, but fell out with the group because he believed Roman Catholics should be allowed to be in politics.

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West Virginia Democrat Senator Robert Byrd joined the KKK in the 1940s at the age of 24. He served in the Senate for nearly six decades. Senator Byrd was a recruiter for the Klan while in his 20s and 30s, rising to the title of Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops of his local chapter. Byrd spoke in favor of the Klan during his early political career. Though he claimed to have left the organization in 1943, Byrd wrote a letter in 1946 to the group’s Imperial Wizard stating “The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia.” Byrd attempted to explain or defend his former membership in the Klan in his 1958 U.S. Senate campaign when he was 41 years old.

Despite being the only Senator to vote against both African American U.S. Supreme Court nominees: liberal Thurgood Marshall and conservative Clarence Thomas and filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Byrd later said joining the Klan was his “greatest mistake.” The NAACP gave him a 100% rating on their issues during the 108th Congress. However, in a 2001 incident Byrd repeatedly used the phrase “white niggers” on a national television broadcast.

The KKK experienced a brief resurgence in the 1960s, and violently opposed the Civil Rights movement. The KKK was directly responsible for the murder of several civil rights workers and attacks on activists at this time. But the glory days were over. The KKK would get weaker and weaker after this.

The KKK fractured into small splinter groups and had a membership of less than 10,000 by the 1990s. The KKK has weathered several lawsuits and arrests, not to mention laws and ordinances that prevent them from engaging in their various activities.

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In a bizarre re-branding, one KKK chapter announced recently that it is accepting homosexuals, African-Americans, and Jewish people into the group. The Klan currently has between 5,000 and 8,000 members nationwide.

Democrat Senator Theodore G. Bilbo from Mississippi revealed his membership in the Ku Klux Klan in an interview on the radio program Meet the Press. He said, “No man can leave the Klan. He takes an oath not to do that. Once a Ku Klux, always a Ku Klux.”

Former Grand Wizard David Duke is a politician who ran in both Democrat and Republican presidential primaries. He was founder and Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in the mid-1970s; he re-titled his position as “National Director” and said that the KKK needed to “get out of the cow pasture and into hotel meeting rooms.” He left the organization in 1980. He ran for president in the 1988 Democratic presidential primaries. In 1989 Duke switched political parties from Democrat to Republican. When will voters realize that power is the objective of many politicians? They will join any party if they think it will help get them elected!

Benjamin Franklin Stapleton, a Democrat, was mayor of Denver for 20 years. He was a Klan member and appointed fellow Klansmen to most positions in municipal government. The Ku Klux Klan had no presence in Colorado in 1920. By 1925, Klan members and sponsored candidates controlled the Colorado State House and Senate, the office of Secretary of State, a state Supreme Court judgeship, seven benches on Denver District Court and city councils in some Colorado towns. Governor Clarence Morley of Colorado were also Klansmen. The Klan was stronger in Colorado than any other state. How did the Klan gain power so quickly and absolutely?

William Joseph Simmons of Georgia called for the resurrection of the Klan in 1915. By 1920, only 5,000 or so members had joined in Alabama and Georgia. Clearly, the old organizing prejudices weren’t enough to mobilize a respectable membership. The Klan developed a new recruiting message focused more on the menace that Catholics and Jews posed to the “nation’s Protestant ideals” than on Blacks. According to the excellent history Hooded Empire: The Ku Klux Klan in Colorado by Robert Goldberg, the KKK posed as saviors of “Old Time Religion” and Americanism. As adherents to the Pope and their “polytheistic” religion of saints, Catholics were seen as completely excluded from such Americanism. Colorado was predominantly Protestant, and this message played well there.

While Catholics, Jews and Blacks spoke out against the Klan in newspapers such as the Denver Express, Denver’s major papers were silent or neutral. The Klan infiltrated both political parties. Local Klan chapters preyed on local prejudices and divisions. Business owners proudly displayed Klan stickers, and protestant elites and working people, men and women, were quick to join. Barring a few exceptions, such as Denver District Attorney Philip Van Cise, a fierce Klan opponent, few politicians or Protestants spoke out against the Klan, allowing them to consolidate influence and power rapidly.

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Strangely, part of the Klan’s appeal was that it functioned as a social outing for many Protestants. In fact, members in Grand Junction flocked to the KKK not so much from prejudice, but because they thought of it as another Elk’s lodge, except with hoods and weird cross burning ceremonies out in the desert. Even Dalton Trumbo tried to join because it was the hot “thing to do.” In Denver, the Klan held picnics (one drew 100,000 people), auto races (a Catholic won. See photo), and had many other events. Of course, the old Klan sometimes reared its ugly head, driving Blacks from white neighborhoods. Beginning in 1925, the Klan’s power in Colorado waned. The Colorado Grand Dragon was investigated for tax evasion, and corruption scandals rocked Klan office holders. But for those few short years, the Klan ruled Colorado.

In conclusion, there is nothing positive I can say about the Klan. The reason Blacks suffered after the Civil War at the hands of the Democrats is because they secretly vowed to win back with the pen what they lost with the sword. Segregation, share cropping, lynchings, poll tax and fear kept Blacks subjugated for more than a hundred years. The Southern Manifesto was signed by 19 Senators and 82 Representatives, including the entire congressional delegations of the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia. Bill Clinton’s idol, J. William Fulbright included. The Manifesto was in opposition to racial integration in public places.

I wish I could say racism no longer exists in America but I cannot. Just 20 years ago I hired an Assistant and Top Aide who was working for the U.S. Department of Justice who happened to be a Black woman. An executive in my organization was overheard by some Black employees when he said, “McVay hires Blacks whether they’re qualified or not.” The woman he considered not qualified had a Master’s Degree and was working on a PhD. When I retired she was promoted to a much higher position in Washington, DC. Those remarks resulted in an investigation by an Air Force Flag Officer from Kentucky. I don’t call it an investigation, I call it a cover-up. Clearly, our government cannot have racism in the government itself, it would not look good on the front page of the Washington Post.

In my experience, those crying racism are KKK members or closet racists themselves. America is becoming the Land of Smoke and Mirrors because too many people know nothing about History and only know what Rachel Maddow or Scott Pelley tells them.

Sam Houston and His Brother in Arkansas

August 21, 2016

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I was driving on Izard County Road 13, a dirt road between Boswell and Calico Rock, when I paused at a plot of land with two signs and a single grave. The plot was about a mile from where Piney Creek flows into the White River. The town of Athens, the crossroads of north Arkansas has vanished except for these two scant signs and a single grave.

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The first permanent Courthouse was just 20 by 20 feet surrounded by a Tavern, Blacksmith Shop, General Store and a Grist Mill. It was here where Izard County’s first officials administered justice, conducted the county’s business and maintained law and order. Matthew Adams was the County Judge, John Adams was the County Sheriff and John Houston was the County Clerk. I might add that four generations of McVay’s lived in Izard County and I have been visiting there for more than 70 years.

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Most likely, you never heard of John Houston but there is a 65 foot tall statue of his younger brother in Texas. In fact, John’s brother was the only person ever elected Governor of two different states in America. He also lived three years with the Cherokee Indians and spoke fluent Cherokee. He was the 1st and 3rd President of Texas the 7th Governor of Texas, a U.S. Senator from Texas and the 7th Governor of Tennessee. He was a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and a Major General in the Texian Army.

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John’s brother Samuel is probably best remembered for his role in bringing Texas into the United States as a constituent state. His victory at the Battle of San Jacinto secured the independence of Texas from Mexico in one of the shortest decisive battles in modern history.

John Houston was commissioned in 1825. He had served earlier as clerk of Blount County in Tennessee during the years 1808 to 1812. In 1812 Sam Houston founded a one room school house in Blount County and taught there at age 19.

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Sam Houston School was the first school built in Tennessee. In 1823 John was in Little Rock and advertised in the Arkansas Gazette as an attorney at law. In 1827 Major Jacob Wolf was the first Representative to the Fifth Territorial Assembly and had been influential in the formation of Izard County. He persuaded John P. Houston to come to Izard County and serve as the first clerk of the newly formed county and help with its establishment.

Also in 1827 at age 33, Sam Houston was elected Governor of Tennessee. He planned to run for reelection; however, his marriage to eighteen-year-old Eliza Allen fell apart under mysterious circumstances and Houston resigned his office on April 16, 1829 as a result of this domestic turbulence.

A few days later, Houston left Tennessee for the wigwam of his adopted father, the chief of the Cherokees, in Arkansas. Traveling in disguise by the steam packet Red Rover, by flatboat, and by steamboat to Arkansas Territory, Houston arrived in Little Rock on May 8, 1829. Houston had apparently heard rumors that he was contemplating an unauthorized military incursion to foment or support a Texas revolution and flatly denied them in a letter; he was, however, in good enough spirits to try to mend bridges between Andrew Jackson and Colonel Robert Crittenden, the acting governor, and to report that he intended to engage in a summer buffalo hunt.

Houston then took passage upriver aboard the Facility and landed at Tahloneeskee, near Webbers Falls, where he was allegedly told by Chief Jolly, “My wigwam is yours—my home is yours—my people are yours—rest with us.” Jolly’s “wigwam” was in fact a plantation house. John Jolly was Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation–West when the 1828 constitution was adopted.

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Jolly was a wealthy merchant and planter who spoke no English, and dressed in buckskin with a hunting shirt, leggings and moccasins. Jolly had followed his brother Tahlonteeskee to the Arkansas Territory. Tahlonteeskee served as the third Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation—West. Upon the death of his brother, in 1819. Jolly became the fourth Principal Chief.

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The Capital of the Charokee Nation was named for Jolly’s brother and eventually the Capital was moved from Tahlonteeskee to Talequah. Tahlonteeskee is the oldest governmental capital in Oklahoma and is a ghost town on private land in Gore, Oklahoma today.

During Jolly’s term of office, the Cherokee Nation—West adopted a constitution establishing a tripartite government, much like that previously adopted by the Cherokee Nation—East. Jolly established a capital city, Tahlonteeskee, named in honor of his brother. That same year, most of the western Cherokee were moved from Indian Reserve areas in the Arkansas Territory to the newly established Indian Territory.

In his role as leader, Jolly frequently raised issues of security and treaty rights with both U.S. government officials in Washington D.C. and with Arkansas territorial authorities. Shortly after being named president, Jolly wrote to Arkansas governor George Izard in alarm over rumors that the governor was about to broach the subject of the sale of Cherokee lands in Arkansas. Jolly advised the governor that the Cherokee had no lands whatsoever that they wished to sell and that, furthermore, the U.S. government was in arrears in meeting its financial obligations left over from the previous treaty of 1817. For a decade, he used diplomatic means to fend off pressures from American settlers and government representatives to restrict Cherokee lands in Arkansas and eventually to force the Arkansas Cherokee to move again out of Arkansas and into Indian Territory.

During June and July, Houston visited in the region, served as Jolly’s representative at a conclave where he was unsuccessful in preventing a declaration of war between the Cherokee, Pawnee and Comanche, and wrote Jackson and others in the government on behalf of several of the tribes.

In August and September 1829, when Houston was prostrated with malaria, it seems clear that he at least briefly considered going to Natchez, Mississippi. He wrote Jackson: “Your suggestion on the subject of my location in Arkansas has received my serious attention, and I have concluded that it would not be best for me to adopt the course. In that Territory there is no field for distinction—it is fraught with factions; and if my object were to obtain wealth, it must be done by fraud and peculation upon the Government and many perjuries would be necessary to its effectuation!”

The following month, on October 31, 1829, Houston received his citizenship in the Cherokee Nation. While among the Cherokee, Houston wore native dress and allegedly refused to speak English. Houston’s attempt to use his Cherokee citizenship to avoid licensing as a trader, however, was rejected by the U.S. government.

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In the spring of 1829, Houston traveled to Washington DC as a representative of the Cherokee. It was at this time that Dr. Robert Mayo later claimed that Houston was organizing an expedition against Texas, having settled among the Indians in order to cloak his true intentions. Whatever the truth of this, Houston failed to get the contracts on which he bid, and he returned to Arkansas Territory in June 1830. He built a log house, “Wigwam Neosho,” took an influential Indian wife, “Talihina” Diana Rogers Gentry, and set up as a trader.

Between June 22 and December 8, Houston wrote a series of five articles for the Arkansas Gazette dealing with the status of the removed tribes and attacking the activities of their Indian agents, using the pen names “Tah-Lohn-Tus-Ky” and “Standing Bear.” These constitute the first defense of Native American rights and exposure of government corruption written by a well-known Westerner.

In December, Houston accompanied a second Cherokee delegation to Washington, meeting Alexis de Tocqueville on the way and becoming caught up in the speculation on Texas lands. His caning of Congressman William Stanbery for slanderous remarks concerning Houston and Indian contracts led to legal proceedings in Congress. Jackson asked Houston to treat with the Comanche, leading to Houston’s arrival in Texas in December 1832. It has been claimed that when Talihina refused to accompany him so Houston left her with the title to their house, property, and two slaves. He did, however, return again to the territory in May 1833 for a meeting between the Comanche and U.S. commissioners at Fort Gibson. After this fell through, Houston obtained a power of attorney from Talihina on June 27 and spent most of the rest of his summer in Hot Springs recuperating from an old shoulder wound.

Many of Houston’s basic attitudes were formulated during his sojourn in Arkansas Territory: “Houston’s contributions to the Indian administration are…among his most significant achievements. Reforms instituted in the Agency system…were basic and long-lasting. Treaties and agreements negotiated with Houston’s assistance provided a stable basis for Indian-White relations along the Southwestern frontier.” There is also recurring evidence for the premise that Houston’s accomplishments in Texas grew out of his initial plans for an Indian-backed empire.

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Houston was active in the Texas Revolution of 1835–36 and, as commander-in-chief of the Texan army, was responsible for the stinging Mexican defeat at San Jacinto and the capture of Santa Anna. As a result, Houston was elected president of the Republic of Texas in 1836 and reelected in 1841 after a constitutionally required hiatus. When the republic was annexed to the Union in 1845, Houston served as one of the state’s first U.S. senators from 1846 to 1859. Defeated in a run for governor in 1857, he was elected to that office in 1859, and his name was even bruited about for president of the United States in 1860.

In 1861, following Texas’ secession from the Union, Houston and other officials were ordered to pledge their loyalty to the Confederacy. He wrote his “fellow citizens” that “in the name of your rights and liberties, which I believe have been trampled on” and “in the name of my own conscience and my own manhood…I refuse to take this oath.” Houston was peacefully removed from the governorship and died of pneumonia in Huntsville, Texas, on July 26, 1863 at age 70. Historians might simply say Sam Houston was a School Teacher who became Governor of Tennessee?

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Sam’s older brother John lived in Izard County for nine years and passed away in 1836 at age 46.

Thank you for reading.