Republicans and Negro music

A bit of sixties history:

citizen councils and negro music

This was a flyer distributed by the Citizens Council of Greater New Orleans. These ‘Concerned Citizens Councils’ were the button-down equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan, more likely to get you fired from your job than burn a cross on your lawn. Shockingly, they still exist today.

As late as 1998 Republicans like Trent Lott and Bob Barr were still attending CCC meetings and talking conservative politics to their members. As late as 2010 Republican presidential candidate Haley Barbour was praising the good work a CCC did in his hometown of Yazoo City, Mississippi.

By the way, yesterday marked the beginning of Black Music Month.

The event was called “A Republican Salute to Black Music Month” and, according to organizer Raynard Jackson, a black Republican consultant, was to include R&B legend Sam Moore (“Soul Man”), Marlon Jackson of the Jackson 5 and others…

Moore, Marlon Jackson and the others showed up. But among the “confirmed participants,” [Reince] Priebus was the sole man missing. And there was nobody from the RNC to take his place.

The chairman of the Republican Party was supposed to grace the event with his presence, but for some reason he missed. Maybe he wasn’t missing much.

Whatever the cause of the chairman’s absence, it would be unfair to say there was widespread disappointment, because attendance itself was not widespread. The organizers had warned of the “limited number of seats available to the general public,” but half of the 50-odd place settings in the room were unused. Rather than a Republican salute to black music, this was a limp handshake.

Even with members of Sam And Dave and the Jackson 5 on the panel, “A Republican Salute to Black Music Month” didn’t draw 30 members of the public. Too bad. I’m sure Sam Cooke fans would’ve have loved to hear this:

…music producer Carvin Haggins, offered the novel view that African Americans quit the Republican Party because of Watergate (and not, say, Barry Goldwater or the civil rights movement). The Democratic Party, he said, “is the slave master’s party.” He explained: “Instead of leaving my plantation and making it on your own, stay here and we’ll feed you and we’ll give you health care.”

Priebus (and the RNC in general) has been widely criticized for doing virtually nothing to integrate the Republican Party after all these long, white years. Still, the organizer of “A Republican Salute…” keeps the faith.

Raynard Jackson offered a defense, of sorts, of the absent chairman. “When I first met him I thought he was a chicken, but when I got to know him and I became friends with him I think he’s a pig now,” Jackson said. “For a chicken to lay eggs, that doesn’t mean anything. But when you ask a pig for bacon, that’s a total commitment. And see, most Republican chairmen have laid eggs in the black community. . . . He’s my pig. He’s made a total commitment.”

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