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Conservatism Does Not Equal Racism


Tim Gratz
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John recently made the absurd charge that I was a racist, or a hypocrite on civil rights, because I supported economically conservative positions that he believed would hurt black people. That thesis is, of course, absurd, and its absurdity is easily demonstrated by the fact that there are many black intellectuals who support the same positions I do.

I recently ran across the transcript of an interview with Armstrong Williams on C-Span and I found it so uplifting that I hope at least several of you will take the time to read it. Regardless of your political persuasion, I am sure you will find many sections interesting and thought-provoking.

I did not know that Mr. Williams was recently the business partner of the fiance of Oprah Winfrey, by the way.

Below is a link to that transcript:

http://www.booknotes.org/Transcript/?ProgramID=1260

Edited by Tim Gratz
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I find it ironic that one can lecture others on syllogistic reasoning and critical thinking and then fail to employ same in their own arguments. For an overview on syllogistic reasoning see: http://changingminds.org/explanations/deci...c_reasoning.htm

In an attempt to label John Simkin's "charge" as absurd, the author makes the claim that because "many black intellectuals support the same positions" as he does, the author cannot be hypocritical in his views on civil rights. First of all, this claim erroneously assumes that because one's skin color is black, and is assumed by some to be "intellectual," that person cannot be hypocritical when it comes to civil rights.

That is a racist conclusion in its own right.

Here is an example:

Armstrong Williams is a black intellectual who supports the economic policies of the Bush administration.

I support the economic policies of the Bush Administration

Therefore, it is absurd to claim that I am hypocritical when it comes to civil rights

Quoting the referenced link on syllogistic reasoning:

"Beware of making linked assertions that seem reasonable but in fact are logically incorrect. You can, of course, make such assertions deliberately, using logic that seems valid to persuade. If you do this, of course, you run the risk of the other person exposing your false logic."

John recently made the absurd charge that I was a racist, or a hypocrite on civil rights, because I supported economically conservative positions that he believed would hurt black people. That thesis is, of course, absurd, and its absurdity is easily demonstrated by the fact that there are many black intellectuals who support the same positions I do.......

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Michael, sorry, here is the proper syllogism and syllogistic reasoning:

MAJOR PREMISE: All economic conservatives are racist because the policies they espouse hurt blacks.

MINOR PREMISE: Armstrong Williams and Thomas Sowell, among many others, are black intellectuals who support conservative economic policies.

CONCLUSION: Armstrong Williams and Thomas Sowell are racists.

The absurdity of the conclusion demonstrates that the major premise is wrong. Obviously neither Williams nor Sowell are racists. When a syllogism produces an absurd conclusion, it demonstrates that one of the premises of the arguments is wrong.

Is it so hard for you to see the absurdity of the proposition that all economic conservatives are racists? I did note in your bio that you have enough sense to move to Florida!

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Mr Gratz,

In an attempt to provide the "proper syllogistic reasoning" you have conveniently shifted the discussion to your interpretation of John Simkin's reasoning rather than my discussion of your reasoning.

You make the claim that obviously neither Williams nor Sowell are racists. Is that because of your interpretation of their statements on racial issues? Or is your claim in any way based upon the fact that the color of their skin happens to be black? Are you saying that therefore "intellectual blacks" cannot have views that are racist?

Getting back to the point, please note that I was referring to your lack of syllogistic reasoning in your original post and not your "syllogistic" interpretation of John Simkin's reasoning. Is it so hard for you to see that?

I realize that this is a forum pertaining to the debate on the assassination (murder) of JFK. I will attempt to keep my future posts on topic. In that vein, this is my last comment on this particular thread.

Michael, sorry, here is the proper syllogism and syllogistic reasoning:

MAJOR PREMISE: All economic conservatives are racist because the policies they espouse hurt blacks.

MINOR PREMISE: Armstrong Williams and Thomas Sowell, among many others, are black intellectuals who support conservative economic policies.

CONCLUSION: Armstrong Williams and Thomas Sowell are racists.

The absurdity of the conclusion demonstrates that the major premise is wrong. Obviously neither Williams nor Sowell are racists. When a syllogism produces an absurd conclusion, it demonstrates that one of the premises of the arguments is wrong.

Is it so hard for you to see the absurdity of the proposition that all economic conservatives are racists? I did note in your bio that you have enough sense to move to Florida!

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Mr Gratz,

In an attempt to provide the "proper syllogistic reasoning" you have conveniently shifted the discussion to your interpretation of John Simkin's reasoning rather than my discussion of your reasoning.

You make the claim that obviously neither Williams nor Sowell are racists. Is that because of your interpretation of their statements on racial issues? Or is your claim in any way based upon the fact that the color of their skin happens to be black? Are you saying that therefore "intellectual blacks" cannot have views that are racist?

Getting back to the point, please note that I was referring to your lack of syllogistic reasoning in your original post and not your "syllogistic" interpretation of John Simkin's reasoning. Is it so hard for you to see that?

I realize that this is a forum pertaining to the debate on the assassination (murder) of JFK. I will attempt to keep my future posts on topic. In that vein, this is my last comment on this particular thread.

Michael, sorry, here is the proper syllogism and syllogistic reasoning:

MAJOR PREMISE: All economic conservatives are racist because the policies they espouse hurt blacks.

MINOR PREMISE: Armstrong Williams and Thomas Sowell, among many others, are black intellectuals who support conservative economic policies.

CONCLUSION: Armstrong Williams and Thomas Sowell are racists.

The absurdity of the conclusion demonstrates that the major premise is wrong. Obviously neither Williams nor Sowell are racists. When a syllogism produces an absurd conclusion, it demonstrates that one of the premises of the arguments is wrong.

Is it so hard for you to see the absurdity of the proposition that all economic conservatives are racists? I did note in your bio that you have enough sense to move to Florida!

This is what I mean about you, Tim. As Michael has pointed out, this exercise in self-promotion is disingenuous and entirely in error, both in premise and conclusion. You're much more than merely an economic conservative, BTW. Even though you pretend to be socially progressive, you're a social conservative and a religious fundamentalist as well. Why didn't you expand your major premise to include those facts?

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John recently made the absurd charge that I was a racist, or a hypocrite on civil rights, because I supported economically conservative positions that he believed would hurt black people. That thesis is, of course, absurd, and its absurdity is easily demonstrated by the fact that there are many black intellectuals who support the same positions I do.

Gee, back in my day, bigots who didn't wish to be known as such simply said "But, some of my best friends are black."

I like your more modern version so much better. It's waaay purtier.

One notes that your fellow Republicans, pretending to have a big tent, love to draw upon the old cliche that they represent "the party of Lincoln." It is only too bad that it is easier to pay lip service to the threadbare, ancient notion than to live up to that example, today, in real time.

I'd really like the Republicans to live up to that hoary old cliche, so I'd like to suggest an idea. Here's a cost-effective way to prove that Republicans do care about the lives of African-Americans, while working their way toward a [a-hem...] balanced budget:

The number of black citizens in US prisons [and the military] is astonishingly disproportionate to the percentage they represent of the general US population. Since it's cheaper by far to place a person into Harvard than to keep them in prison, why not take all the non-violent black convicts out of prison and give them a higher education.

Prison costs decline; backlogs in courts diminish; the percentage of black citizens graduating from universities increases; prison recidivism is reduced; costs associated with policing, maintaining the courts, and legal aid decline; drug use among minorities would decrease with the tangible hope for a better life through achievement, thus reducing the cost of your insane "war on drugs." It's the ultimate, genuine "affirmative action."

As a result, perhaps the Republican party can attract more African-American voters and rely less upon the same old handful of "house Negroes" it trots out for photo-ops. Try running that concept past the "black intellectuals" with whom you like to associate. It truly represents a win-win-win proposition, one thinks. [unless, of course, you happen to own a for-profit prison facility contracted to deal with your nation's unbelievable, stuffed-to-bursting rate of incarceration.]

Then again, your country might also be compelled to scrounge a bit harder to shore up the suddenly depleted ranks of your "all volunteer" armed services. After all, when your fellow citizens of colour have been given an alternative to prison or the battlefield, how're you going to keep them on the military plantation?

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John recently made the absurd charge that I was a racist, or a hypocrite on civil rights, because I supported economically conservative positions that he believed would hurt black people. That thesis is, of course, absurd, and its absurdity is easily demonstrated by the fact that there are many black intellectuals who support the same positions I do.

It is of course wrong to say that all conservatives are racists. However, it is accurate to say that in a historical sense, all racists are conservatives. For example, in the United States in the 1960s, conservatives supported the racist view that African-Americans should be denied the vote in the Deep South. Tim’s hero, William Buckley was one of the conservative “intellectuals” who argued this racist philosophy (it was based on the idea that African-Americans in the Deep South were not “intelligent” enough to be given the vote).

The past is always embarrassing for conservatives. This is why Tim is so reluctant to admit to the political policies he favoured in the past. The same is not true of liberals who were active in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. They were right then and they are right about civil rights today. What will Tim Gratz be saying about his views on Guantanamo Bay in 20 years time?

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John recently made the absurd charge that I was a racist, or a hypocrite on civil rights, because I supported economically conservative positions that he believed would hurt black people. That thesis is, of course, absurd, and its absurdity is easily demonstrated by the fact that there are many black intellectuals who support the same positions I do.

It is of course wrong to say that all conservatives are racists. However, it is accurate to say that in a historical sense, all racists are conservatives. For example, in the United States in the 1960s, conservatives supported the racist view that African-Americans should be denied the vote in the Deep South. Tim’s hero, William Buckley was one of the conservative “intellectuals” who argued this racist philosophy (it was based on the idea that African-Americans in the Deep South were not “intelligent” enough to be given the vote).

The past is always embarrassing for conservatives. This is why Tim is so reluctant to admit to the political policies he favoured in the past. The same is not true of liberals who were active in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. They were right then and they are right about civil rights today. What will Tim Gratz be saying about his views on Guantanamo Bay in 20 years time?

Boy John you need to re-read your history of the democrats and republicans in America during the 60's in regard to civil rights....try the civil rights act for starters...

http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_h...ights64text.htm

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Boy John you need to re-read your history of the democrats and republicans in America during the 60's in regard to civil rights....try the civil rights act for starters...

http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_h...ights64text.htm

What is your point? I did not mention Democrats and Republicans. I was instead talking about conservatives and liberals.

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Boy John you need to re-read your history of the democrats and republicans in America during the 60's in regard to civil rights....try the civil rights act for starters...

http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_h...ights64text.htm

What is your point? I did not mention Democrats and Republicans. I was instead talking about conservatives and liberals.

So are you suggesting that the southern Democrats who were opposed to the civil rights act were the conservatives and the northern republicans were the liberals?

You made a very silly statement. "However, it is accurate to say that in a historical sense, all racists are conservatives. " Whats even more troubling is that this statement is coming from an educator.

Edited by Craig Lamson
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Boy John you need to re-read your history of the democrats and republicans in America during the 60's in regard to civil rights....try the civil rights act for starters...

http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_h...ights64text.htm

What is your point? I did not mention Democrats and Republicans. I was instead talking about conservatives and liberals.

So are you suggesting that the southern Democrats who were opposed to the civil rights act were the conservatives and the northern republicans were the liberals?

You made a very silly statement. "However, it is accurate to say that in a historical sense, all racists are conservatives. " Whats even more troubling is that this statement is coming from an educator.

oh brother -- buy this guy a Brownie... a history buff he ain't ... roflmfao!

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Guest Stephen Turner

Boy John you need to re-read your history of the democrats and republicans in America during the 60's in regard to civil rights....try the civil rights act for starters...

http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_h...ights64text.htm

So are you suggesting that the southern Democrats who were opposed to the civil rights act were the conservatives and the northern republicans were the liberals?

Craig, what you badly need to understand is that from a socialist point of view, both of your major parties are indeed Conservative. As Tony Benn said of Labour " Its not a socialist party, its a party with a few socialists" To Europian eyes Democrats, and Repulicans are the ultimate Mr pot, and Mr Kettle.

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Boy John you need to re-read your history of the democrats and republicans in America during the 60's in regard to civil rights....try the civil rights act for starters...

http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_h...ights64text.htm

What is your point? I did not mention Democrats and Republicans. I was instead talking about conservatives and liberals.

So are you suggesting that the southern Democrats who were opposed to the civil rights act were the conservatives and the northern republicans were the liberals?

You made a very silly statement. "However, it is accurate to say that in a historical sense, all racists are conservatives. " Whats even more troubling is that this statement is coming from an educator.

oh brother -- buy this guy a Brownie... a history buff he ain't ... roflmfao!

Again such wonderful insight and wisdom applied to yet another thread David. You add so much to this forum. Bow Wow!

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Boy John you need to re-read your history of the democrats and republicans in America during the 60's in regard to civil rights....try the civil rights act for starters...

http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_h...ights64text.htm

So are you suggesting that the southern Democrats who were opposed to the civil rights act were the conservatives and the northern republicans were the liberals?

Craig, what you badly need to understand is that from a socialist point of view, both of your major parties are indeed Conservative. As Tony Benn said of Labour " Its not a socialist party, its a party with a few socialists" To Europian eyes Democrats, and Repulicans are the ultimate Mr pot, and Mr Kettle.

Stephen,

John introduced the concept of conservative and liberal AS IT APPLIED to US politics in the 60's cival rights era. So it seems to me this is not being viewed through a socialist european lens but rather the lens of US politics in the 60's (and today if you consider Gratz into the picture).

That aside, there is no way in this world that John can support his statement about all racists bring conservatives.

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You made a very silly statement. "However, it is accurate to say that in a historical sense, all racists are conservatives. " Whats even more troubling is that this statement is coming from an educator.
John introduced the concept of conservative and liberal AS IT APPLIED to US politics in the 60's cival rights era. So it seems to me this is not being viewed through a socialist european lens but rather the lens of US politics in the 60's (and today if you consider Gratz into the picture).

That aside, there is no way in this world that John can support his statement about all racists bring conservatives.

As you have made reference to my status as an educator” let me first provide my academic credentials. I have taught American history for over 25 years. I am also the author of the book "Race Relations in the United States" (1988) and the creator of the "Encyclopaedia of the American Civil Rights Movement":

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAcivilrights.htm

We will also need to define what we mean by the term “conservative”. The term comes from the Latin word “servare” which meant to “keep and preserve”. The word was first used in a political sense by J. Wilson Croker in 1830. The word still retains the meaning that it did in the 19th century. That is, to describe a political ideology is that is “resistant to change” or “opposed to liberal reforms”.

The political liberal comes from the Latin word “liber” which meant freedom. In Europe in the 18th century the word liberal began to mean “tolerance” and “lack of prejudice”. Later the term “liberal” was used to describe a political party (in the same way that “conservative” was used by those on the right of the political spectrum). Starting from the 19th century, conservative political parties became defenders of the “status quo” whereas liberals were in favour of reform.

Now let us look at the struggle for civil rights in the United States. The beginning of the modern movement can be dated to the formation of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAnaacp.htm

The NAACP was established by Mary White Ovington, a journalist working for the New York Post. This was as a response to reading an article by William English Walling, entitled "Race War in the North", that described the atrocities being carried out against African-Americans. Walling ended the article by calling for "a powerful body of citizens to come to their aid".

Both Ovington and Walling were both members of the American Socialist Party. However, early supporters included members of the Republican and Democratic parties. In all cases, they identified with the “liberal” or “left” wing of the party. This is understandable as the leadership of the two main political parties were opposed to the NAACP campaign for equal rights.

The NAACP campaigned against what was known as “Jim Crow” laws. After the American Civil War most states in the South passed anti-African American legislation. This included laws that discriminated against African Americans with concern to attendance in public schools and the use of facilities such as restaurants, theaters, hotels, cinemas and public baths. Trains and buses were also segregated and in many states marriage between whites and African American people was illegal.

It was these “Jim Crow” laws that inspired Hitler. He claimed that the legislation used against Jews in Nazi Germany was based on those used against blacks in America. He concluded from this that the United States would never go to war against Germany on the grounds of racism. Hitler was of course right about this. It took the bombing of Pearl Harbor for the Americans to get involved in the war.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAjimcrow.htm

The NAACP also fought a long campaign against lynching. In 1919 it published Thirty Years of Lynching in the United States: 1889-1918. The NAACP also paid for large adverts in major newspapers presenting the facts about lynching. To show that the members of the organization would not be intimidated, it held its 1920 annual conference in Atlanta, considered at the time to be one of the most active Ku Klux Klan areas in America.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAlynching.htm

The term lynching probably derived from the name Charles Lynch (1736-96), a justice of the peace who administered rough justice in Virginia. Lynching was originally a system of punishment used by whites against African American slaves. However, whites who protested against this were also in danger of being lynched. On 7th November, 1837, Elijah Parish Lovejoy, the editor of the Alton Observer, was killed by a white mob after he had published articles criticizing lynching and advocating the abolition of slavery.

After the establishment of the Ku Klux Klan in 1867 the number of lynching of African American increased dramatically. The main objective of the KKK was to maintain white supremacy in the South, which they felt was under threat after their defeat in the Civil War. It has been estimated that between 1880 and 1920, an average of two African Americans a week were lynched in the United States.

In 1884 Ida Wells, editor of Free Speech, a small newspaper in Memphis, carried out an investigation into lynching. She discovered during a short period 728 black men and women had been lynched by white mobs. Of these deaths, two-thirds were for small offences such as public drunkenness and shoplifting.

George Henry White, the last former slave to serve in Congress and the only African American in the House of Representatives, proposed a bill in January, 1901 that would have made lynching of American citizens a federal crime. He argued that any person participating actively in or acting as an accessory in a lynching should be convicted of treason. White pointed out that lynching was being used by white mobs in the Deep South to terrorize African Americans. He illustrated this by showing that of the 109 people lynched in 1899, 87 were African Americans. Despite White's passionate plea, the bill was easily defeated.

There was a decline in lynching during the First World War but more than seventy blacks were murdered in this way in the year after the war ended. Ten black soldiers, several still in their army uniforms, were amongst those lynched. Between 1919 and 1922, a further 239 blacks were lynched by white mobs and many more were killed by individual acts of violence and unrecorded lynchings. In none of these cases was a white person punished for these crimes. Several trade unionists were also lynched. This included two members of the Industrial Workers of the World, Frank Little (1917) and Wesley Everest (1919).

Dr. Arthur Raper was commissioned in 1930 to produce a report on lynching. He discovered that "3,724 people were lynched in the United States from 1889 through to 1930. Over four-fifths of these were Negroes, less than one-sixth of whom were accused of rape. Practically all of the lynchers were native whites. The fact that a number of the victims were tortured, mutilated, dragged, or burned suggests the presence of sadistic tendencies among the lynchers. Of the tens of thousands of lynchers and onlookers, only 49 were indicted and only 4 have been sentenced."

The NAACP hoped that the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 would bring an end to lynching. Two African American campaigners against lynching, Mary McLeod Bethune and Walter Francis White, had been actively involved in helping Roosevelt to obtain victory. The president's wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, had also been a long-time opponent of lynching.

Robert F. Wagner (Democrat) and Edward Costigan (Republican) agreed to draft a bill that would punish the crime of lynching. In 1935 attempts were made to persuade Roosevelt to support the Costigan-Wagner bill. However, Roosevelt refused to speak out in favour of the bill that would punish sheriffs who failed to protect their prisoners from lynch mobs. He argued that the white voters in the South would never forgive him if he supported the bill and he would therefore lose the next election.

The Costian-Wagner Act received support from liberal members of both parties, however, the conservatives in Congress were in the majority and the legislation was easily defeated. You can now see why Hitler did not fear being criticized by American politicians.

The NAACP continued in its struggle against Jim Crow laws and lynching. It was joined in the struggle against this tyranny by left-wing political parties such as the American Socialist Party, American Labor Party and the American Communist Party. However, the two mainstream political parties refused to adopt policies against this racist ideology.

The 1940s saw important developments in the struggle for civil rights. In 1941 Philip Randolph and Baynard Rustin began to organize a march to Washington to protest against discrimination in the defense industries. In May, 1941, Randolph issued a "Call to Negro America to March on Washington for Jobs and Equal Participation in National Defense on July, 1, 1941". By June estimates of the number of people expecting to participate reached 100,000. Roosevelt attempted to persuade Randolph and Rustin call off the demonstration. When this failed, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802 barring discrimination in defence industries and federal bureaus (the Fair Employment Act). As a result of this action Randolph called off his proposed march.

In 1942 three members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), George Houser, James Farmer and Berniece Fisher established the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE). Members of CORE had been deeply influenced by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and the nonviolent civil disobedience campaign that he used successfully against British rule in India. The students became convinced that the same methods could be employed by African Americans to obtain civil rights in America.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAfor.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAcore.htm

In early 1947, the Congress on Racial Equality announced plans to send eight white and eight black men into the Deep South to test the Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in interstate travel unconstitutional. Organized by George Houser and Bayard Rustin, the Journey of Reconciliation was to be a two week pilgrimage through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.

The Journey of Reconciliation began on 9th April, 1947. The team included George Houser, Bayard Rustin, James Peck, Igal Roodenko, Nathan Wright, Conrad Lynn, Wallace Nelson, Andrew Johnson, Eugene Stanley, Dennis Banks, William Worthy, Louis Adams, Joseph Felmet, Worth Randle and Homer Jack.

Members of the Journey of Reconciliation team were arrested several times. In North Carolina, two of the African Americans, Bayard Rustin and Andrew Johnson, were found guilty of violating the state's Jim Crow bus statute and were sentenced to thirty days on a chain gang. However, Judge Henry Whitfield made it clear he found that behaviour of the white men even more objectionable. He told Igal Roodenko and Joseph Felmet: "It's about time you Jews from New York learned that you can't come down her bringing your niggers with you to upset the customs of the South. Just to teach you a lesson, I gave your black boys thirty days, and I give you ninety."

The Journey of Reconciliation was the start of a long campaign of direct action by the Congress on Racial Equality. It was followed by the formation of organizations such as the The American for Democratic Action (ADA), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAada.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAsclc.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAsncc.htm

As we now know, it was because of the efforts of these organizations that eventually brought an end to Jim Crow laws and lynchings (although a large number of white and black civil rights activists were murdered while working for equality in the southern states).

In all my research of the civil rights movement in the United States I have studied the lives of hundreds of brave men and women who risked their own well-being in order to overcome injustice. I found plenty of liberals, socialists, communists and others of various left-wing views. However, I have yet to discover one who could be described as a conservative. After all, they were all too busy defending the status quo.

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