campaign stop WWE match political rally in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump claimed that African-American voters have been choosing Democrats almost exclusively for over a century.
“African Americans vote for Democrats, for the most part. Vast majority. They’ve been doing it for over a hundred years,” he told fans at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium.
Earlier in the day, Trump held a fundraising event in support of Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who is running a close race for the U.S. Senate against former two-term Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, the result of which may tip the balance of power in the Senate.
Trump, who tends to go off on tangents and reality, did so again, because the 100-year claim sounded all good, except that it would be
a lie ahistorical—not only because a century ago, black folks tended to choose the “party of Lincoln,” but also because black people were disenfranchised up until the 1960s in this country.
So, if one did the math, it would mean that African Americans have only “voted for Democrats” for about 50 years (something that those who like to say that slavery and its effects happened so long ago should be keen to remember).
But back to that party-of-Lincoln thing: The 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, did allow for men to vote regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” and for a few brief years, black men were able to exercise that right, even electing a black man to the U.S. Senate from Mississippi in 1870 and 1871. U.S. Sen. Hiram Revels, was, in fact, a Republican.
However, during post-Reconstruction, whites, especially in the Confederate states of the South, wielded violence and the threat of violence, as well as insidious practices such as literacy tests and poll taxes, to disenfranchise African Americans and keep blacks from voting for the next 100 years.
Finally, after the civil rights movement had been in full swing for at least 15 years, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, after which, as Vox notes, voter registrations in the South rose dramatically.
But, again, not without much sweat, blood and tears. Lots of blood.
Again, it would behoove those in power to at least have a basic grasp of American history and tell it like it is, not as they would like it to be.