Families that Discuss together, stay together

Families that Discuss together, stay together
Families that Discuss together, stay together

Friday, April 22, 2011

Civil Rights Bill of 1875: Antidote to Slavery or Freedom?

James T. Rapier’s speech to Congress in support of the Civil Rights Bill of 1875 suggested that the supposedly republican nation ought to practice what it preaches. Written into the Constitution’s Fourteenth amendment is the provision that all people born or naturalized in the United States are citizens of the country and the state. Rapier expected that all African Americans be treated as ordinary citizens, but instead they were treated as the lowest of the low such as in a Caste System. Some of his arguments were that freedom cannot be divided between being free and being a slave and that inferiority is maintained by suppression of quality education and that the dark color of skin constitutes a crime in the minds of the white men.
First, the Alabaman Senator argued that man cannot be half free and half slave. He questioned why, in America, can he enjoy political rights while being denied civil ones. He was protected while in Congress, but not on the road to get to Congress. He could “legislate for a free people, while his own chains of slavery [hung] about him.” Ratification of the Civil Rights bill would allow him and his race to be completely free from discrimination and the “half-time” slavery, or so it seems.
The distance between the educated white and the suppression of quality education perpetuated inferiority of race for the African Americans. Rapier noted that the colored man was “cut off from every avenue that [lead] to the higher grounds of intelligence and usefulness and then [was] challenged…to a contest upon the highway of life to decide the question of superiority of race.” In Rapier’s experience he “always found more prejudice existing in the breast of men who [had] feeble minds and [were] conscious of it, than in the breast of those who [had] towering intellects and [were] aware of it.” His cry was for equal opportunity in seeking and obtaining higher education.
Rapier contests that the African American was accused with the crime of color. He questioned Congress if they had ever reflected that this was “the only Christian country where a poor, finite man must be held responsible for the crimes of the infinite God whom they profess to worship,” the crime of color. According to the majority of the white men, the color of the skin was the determining factor that kept men inferior intellectually and morally.
To sum up, Rapier was an advocate of the Civil Rights Bill that resulted in the endeavor to regulate the conduct of individuals and to compel private businesses to accept all people without discrimination. The bill was in force for eight years before it became unconstitutional.
What do you think? Was Rapier right?
Post a Comment