Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 13: Roosevelt's Race Relations Speech

On this date in History .... 1905:

Theodore Roosevelt discusses race relations in a speech to the New York City Republican Club soon after winning re-election.
Roosevelt & Booker T.
Washington in 1901
There was still tension between the North and the South and the influx of Asian immigrants was adding to racial tensions. Roosevelt used a metaphor of “the rising tide raises all ships” to make his point, that if “morality and thrift among the colored men” can be raised, then the same virtues, already to be assumed in an advanced state in white men, would also rise higher.
Referring to whites as the “forward race”, he charged them with helping to raise the status of minorities by “training the backward races ….. in industrial efficiency, political capacity, and domestic morality.”

With those words he place responsibility on whites “the burden of preserving the high civilization” our forefathers had envisioned.

It was not until Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did the government actually take action to assure equality in the law.


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