Howard U to Rand Paul: We Know Our History. And Yours

Rand Paul (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Rand Paul (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made a speech to Howard University students on Wednesday, delivering remarks that his staff said were designed to focus on "the importance of outreach to younger voters, as well as minority groups."


But according to accounts from members of the audience, some of the content of this particular outreach effort didn't quite click at the historically black university — and some of it wasn't exactly true. From the Washington Post:

A protester with a banner using the words "white supremacy" was removed from the speech early on, and the crowd was taken aback during a later question-and-answer session when Paul asked whether they knew that the founders of the NAACP were Republicans.

"We know our history!" said one student.

"I don't mean that to be insulting," Paul said. "I don't know how much you know … "

Colorlines has collected some of the tweets from the event, including those of Mother Jones' Adam Serwer, who wrote, "At Howard, Rand Paul falsely claims he never opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

Greg Carr, chair of Howard's department of Afro-American studies, tweeted, "Paul just bold face lied about his position in the civil rights act, didn't address Voting Rights Act at all. He fails a big test. Dishonest."

From Serwer's piece at Mother Jones:

… So Paul made it quite clear in 2010 that he didn't believe in federal law banning discrimination in privately owned businesses that are open to the public. At Howard, Paul seemed to be saying he never opposed the Civil Rights Act in its entirety, but he certainly opposed a key part of it that completely reshaped American society. Supporting the right of white business owners not to serve blacks may be the "hard part of freedom" for someone, but not for anyone who looks like Rand Paul.

Paul got a warm reception from the Howard audience for some of his positions on foreign policy and the war on drugs. But in what seems like a tacit acknowledgement that his past position on a piece of historic civil rights legislation is embarrassing, Paul fibbed about what that position actually was …


Read more at the Washington Post, Colorlines and Mother Jones.