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The Old-New South (2)…

I recall that one of the more common sights I witnessed in the South of the 1950s and ‘60s were billboard ads: Impeach Earl Warren!  Warren was the Chief Justice at the United States Supreme Court.

June 1963 Birmingham, AL

It was almost 100 years since the end of the Civil War when Warren steered the unanimous decision for Brown v. Board of Education (1954), thus overturning the Jim Crow era Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the so-called “separate but equal” racist double-speak decision.

Earl Warren was an unlikely character.  He was a former Republican Attorney General of California, author of the Japanese internment camps (even for American-born citizens), and Governor of California.  While Chief Justice, he also championed one man-one vote (1964), the limitation of police searches and the Constitutional recognition of rights to all, including those accused of crimes (1966 et al.), and the right to privacy.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower–who appointed Earl Warren–was the former General of the Army during World War-II, had presciently warned of the “military-industrial complex” and had revealed in his memoir, Mandate for Change, that he had turned down a French request for nuclear weapons against the Vietnamese.  He had his own principled side when given half a chance.  Interesting times…

Home-grown terrorists view their work…

I’ve had a long time to ponder these and other realities…

We’ll never know for sure of course, but it may have been one of the great ironies of history that the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by a southern zealot at the end of the war (1865) was what scuttled his plans for the rebuilding and reconciliation of the South.

That loss led to the pillage of the South by privateers, and another hundred years of Jim Crow and neo-slavery for its black citizens.

Within a dozen years (1877), the Republican Party–the party of Lincoln–surrendered all the gains of the war, removing the Union Army and Freedman’s Bureau—the last defense of freedom for the former slaves.

Southerners, with their “peculiar notion” of black humanity, lost no time employing the 13th Amendment’s exception clause to criminalize blacks thru a specific program of Black Codes legislation, re-enslave them to the state, disenfranchise their vote and political power, and systematically dehumanize them to the public thru Jim Crow depiction and segregation laws.

It was a prison system largely shaped by the above realities that I was soon enough to find myself in.  We have inherited a cyclical reactive policy of retribution and punishment.  We need to seek rehabilitation, restitution and reconciliation.

               Dr. Publico

Category: BlackCodes
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