Juan Williams’s piece on blacks and police brutality is a very good piece, but here are few things that he did leave out.
Police violence against blacks was a fact of life in Selma. The sheriff, Jim Clark, shoved down and arrested a middle-class and middle-aged black woman, Amelia Boynton, who was standing in line to register; Clark later elbowed another marcher, and when she fought back, he had his men hold her down while he hit her in the head with a stick.
“If Negroes could vote, there would be no Jim Clarks,” King told activists in Selma. “Our children would not be crippled by segregated schools …”
Later, C.T. Vivian, executive director of Dr. King’s group, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, stood before police blocking the door to the registrar’s office and said, “We know your badge numbers … There are those who followed Hitler like you blindly follow this Sheriff Clark … You can’t keep anyone in the U.S. from voting without hurting the rights of all other citizens. Democracy is built on this. This why every man has the right to vote…”
Clark responded by hitting Vivian in the mouth, even as television cameras captured the bloody scene.
Meanwhile, only 1 percent of blacks in Selma had been allowed to register to vote. As a 65-year-old black man famously said at the time: “If what I done ain’t enough to be a registered voter with all the taxes I got to pay, then Lord have mercy on America.”
That led to the events at the Pettus Bridge on March 7. Dr. King was not there, but John Lewis, then head of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and now a congressman from Georgia, led activists to start a march from Selma across the bridge and down the highway to the state capital, Montgomery, to call for voting rights. Alabama state troopers ordered them to disperse, and then they suddenly rushed into the marchers, knocking them down and beating them. Some of the marchers were trampled by horses.
What Juan fails to mention, is that these horrible acts were not committed by White Republicans, but rather by committed southern white Democrats, who were very racist and hated blacks with a passion. George Wallace was, in fact, a Democrat; who left the party, because he felt that the Democrats were caving, in his mind, to the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and he started the “Dixiecrat” movement.
Juan also fails to mention that in Alabama and in Atlanta, Georgia; the Government was basically indirectly controlled by the Klu Klux Klan; which was basically, since its inception and in subsequent incarnations; a terrorist wing of the Democratic Party. This was due to resentment because of the south losing the civil war. Now, has the Democratic Party changed since that time? Oh yes, quite a bit. There is racism in that Party, very much so. However, it is much more subtle now and is really not the entrenched, institutionalised morass that it once was at one time.
Juan goes on to talk about how the police overreact with blacks; which is a direct result of a police state. Which is something that his party, The Democratic Party and also some neoconservatives have consistently voted for, and allowed to exist for many years. Proof of this is with the selling of old military vehicles to local police departments and the creation of these god-awful “swat teams.” Again, this is all a creation of big Government types which the Democrats and some so-called Conservatives fully support.
The Bottom Line: If Juan Williams wants to blame anyone for the treatment of blacks; he might want to look at his own political party.