20th Century, African American, History, Minnesota, Politics, Uncategorized

Humphrey on Civil Rights

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1948
Hubert Humphrey makes an impassioned plea for civil rights at the Democratic National Convention. His speech offends Southern Democrats, who walk out of the convention, but sets the party on a course toward the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“To those who say that we are rushing this issue of civil rights–I say to them, we are 172 years late!” -Hubert H. Humphrey at the Democratic National Convention*

Hubert H. Humphrey saw the United States as the emerging leader of the free world after World War II, but dared to question its authenticity. The specters of fascism, communism, and racial balkanization were very real in the aftermath of WWII. It also underscored the dichotomy of winning liberties for those outside the US while ignoring the racial injustices at home. What did he see as the root cause and motive for the Civil Rights movement?
“For us to play our part effectively, we must be in a morally sound position.” ***

Yet, by what means would America redefine itself and reclaim this “morally sound position”? Humphrey posited our need to lead by example of a consistent standard, not a double standard on rights. Humphrey proposed the notion in this address that human rights exceeded the value of states’ rights.
“To those who say that this civil-rights program is an infringement on states’ rights, I say this: The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.” ***,****

Further, he willingly threw down the gauntlet of human rights with the full knowledge of its opposition within his own party. The locus of this opposition were Southern Democrats concerned that the Civil Rights movement made our Supreme Court stronger than State law. Their debate over the next decade centered on the Declaration of Constitutional Principles, also known as the “Southern Manifesto”, arguing that the Tenth Amendment limited the Supreme Court from overreach into their State law. See Tenth Amendment below:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Humphrey’s address rang the bell on a sixteen year, tag-team wrestling match of our national conscience. Most legislators agreed that something must be done about racial injustices, but disagreed as to the proper method Constitutionally. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed, it had more Republican than Democratic support. The roll call tally of June 19, 1964 shows that 82% Republican “Yeas” and 18% “Nays”, and 69% Democratic “Yeas” and 31% “Nays”. ***** Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona embodied the position of Republican critics. He voted to end segregation, and was an active member of the NAACP, yet objected to Title II and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Why? He felt they could interfere with the rights of a business to do business with or employ whomever they chose. Additionally, he had reservations that these Titles could be misused to usurp States’ rights and free speech of the individual. ******

In all, this riveting oratory decries the courageous heart of Hubert Humphrey. Though viewed as emotional grandstanding to his detractors, he willingly spoke his conscience, and the conscience of millions. He dared ask the question, “What is to be done when America’s head conflicts with our heart?”

So we seek You in this moment, Father. We come to You asking insight and wisdom as to Humphrey’s rhetorical line in the sand. How did this speech affect You?

First, we ask forgiveness for the racism of Humphrey’s era. We have offended You first in our legal, cultural, and personal false assessments of African-Americans. Granted, Minnesota’s culture was less legally overt and more free than many states, but we acknowledge the subtle and quiet prejudices that hurt these brothers and sisters: we tolerated red-lining in housing, we tolerated discriminatory lending practices, in many ways, we zoned African-Americans away from us. We have practiced associating crime with a color, and negated the noble contributions of many minorities. Will You forgive our misbeliefs and unbeliefs? We have denied You when we deny Your Image in our African-American brothers and sisters. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy!

Next, we thank You for the life of Hubert H. Humphrey, and the gift You placed in his heart of having the courage of his convictions. Clearly, he was willing to be misunderstood, even by his own, for daring to call out injustice. We commend him in his intense moments at the Democratic National Convention held at Philadelphia Convention Hall on July 12-14, 1948. Will You continue to give us leaders like him who are willing to speak the raw truth in love and respect?

We acknowledge to You the pains of betrayal at the hands of our beloved! WE acknowledge to You the oceans of these judgment’s past. Will You forgive the judgments’ of Democrats towards those of their own, mostly but not limited to Southerners who expressed dissent at Humphrey’s take on civil rights? Will You forgive Democratic dissenters of Humphrey’s vision their counter judgments’ and bitterness? Will You forgive Republicans their judgments’ of those within their party who voiced dissent to the Civil Rights Act? Will You forgive the counter-judgments of those led by Goldwater towards those who supported Humphrey’s ideals?

In this, we may have judged our political opinions to be more sacrosanct than the relationship with the beloved human being in front of us. We have closed our ears to their objections, because it is easier to break relationship than listen to honest criticism of our political and personal doctrines and dogmas. We have feared our detractors, and closed our minds to the wisdom to be gained in real dialogue and debate. You have said, “Come now, let us reason together…” ******* We have turned it to “Come now, you are unreasonable!”

We have offended You in our failure to listen to our friends, and hear out our opposition in our zeal for our rights. We have attempted to gain a more just America, too often, by too much political and legal force. We have attempted to heal the bitter judgments towards African-Americans through bitterly judging those who disagree with our version of justice for African-Americans. Will You forgive and heal us then, free us in the present, and bless the future of Civil Rights? May we come to agree with Our Creator as to the worthiness and inherent value of every human being made in Your Image. We have failed to learn our lesson from the world’s first sibling rivalry where Cain hated and murdered his brother Abel over doing a good thing; an offering of thanks?!? In this we are 5778 years too late!

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** Photo credit: smithsonianmag.com
*** See transcript of this famous speech. (1948) Blackpast. “Hubert Humphry, Speech at the Democratic National Convention” December 14, 2010. https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/1948-hubert-humphrey-speech-democratic-national-convention/
**** See HHH give this speech. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xQZX5ZvcnY
***** See a photo of the official roll call vote. The Center for Legislative Archives “Roll Call Tally on Civil Rights Act 1964, June 19, 1964” On June 19, 1964, the Senate passed the Civil Right Act of 1964; 73 to 27. The House passed the amended bill on July 2; 289 to 126. https://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/civil-rights-1964/senate-roll-call.html
****** Mooney, Kevin J. “The 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Conservative Movement”, November 14, 2013. https://www.theblaze.com/contributions/the-1964-civil-rights-act-and-the-conservative-movement
******* https://www.biblehub.com/isaiah/1-18.htm

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20th Century, African American, History, Jesus, Minnesota, Prayer

Duluth Lynchings

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Jun 15, 1920
In 1920, Duluth is home to a small black community. It is a period of heightened racial conflict across the country. On June 15, 1920, police arrest several young black men accused of raping a white woman. That evening, three of them – Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie – are taken from jail by a mob and lynched. A call for justice, but the lynch mob is only lightly punished. Two blacks are tried on questionable charges of rape. Three white men are imprisoned for rioting; one black man is imprisoned for rape. Afterwards, many blacks leave Duluth. Minnesota’s black community establishes the Duluth Branch of the NAACP and campaigns for anti-lynching legislation. Years later, the three victims are finally properly laid to rest.*

Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent-the Lord detests them both. Proverbs 17:15 NIV

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury … , and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”
U.S. Constitution Amendment VI

Lord, there are so many forces and counter-forces involved in this event. Will You help me separate the questions, think clearly, and pray effectively? Will You justly and mercifully deal with the plots and sub-plots of this event in Minnesota’s history?

Your Word exhorts humanity to protect innocence against evil and all kinds of defilements. More specifically, the book of Deuteronomy in the 22nd chapter connects the idea that rape violates a present or future marriage. The guiding principle is that the marriage relationship is to be kept inviolate.

Will You forgive the misogyny of the sexual misconduct and or rape in this event? All rape shows a contempt for You, and Your image within women. All rape defiles its recipient twice; it is a sin against her body and spirit. Will You forgive these offenses against Irene Tusken, and Your life within her?

Granted, there was some justification of payback to the offender(s) given an assumption of rape. In contrast, will You forgive the crushing mob violence against these black males, and especially targeting Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie based on assumptions? I acknowledge the heart of this riot to be violence based on mixed motives; a combination of racial stereotypes and a truthful, yet impatient desire for justice.

Later, when Miss Tusken was examined for the evidence of rape and or assault, no physical evidence was found. “Two days later on June 17, 1920, Judge William Cant and the grand jury had a difficult time convicting the lead mob members. In the end the grand jury issued thirty-seven indictments for the lynching mob and twenty-five were given out for rioting and twelve for the crime of murder in the first degree. Some of the people were indicted for both. But only three people would end up being convicted for rioting. Seven men were indicted for rape. For five of the indicted men, charges were dismissed. The remaining two, Max Mason and William Miller, were tried for rape. William Miller was acquitted, while Max Mason was convicted and sentenced to serve seven to thirty years in prison.” ****

Our city is tarnished by this crime of lynching! Our city has offended You first insofar as it judged Your image in Clayton, Jackson, and McGhie. Our city has offended You insofar as it sought vengeance rather than waiting for a trial by jury. Will You forgive these sins, and take the judgments of mob violence, human skin color, and vengeance up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ?

We have judged You too quickly, Lord! We have assumed Your place as the Supreme Justice of the universe, and crowned ourselves as the rightful sheriffs, magistrates, and jurists of our offenders. Have mercy on this mob of Duluth citizens, and the perpetrator(s) of the crimes against Irene Tusken!

In the same way, we have committed lynchings in the present era in the court of public opinion without a trial. We have been incited to riot and rage in our hearts based on accusations alone, and have not the patience for a public trial and clarity. Have mercy on Minnesota’s present era judgments of the alleged sexual offenses of: President Trump, Senator Franken, Secretary Clinton, Judge Moore, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, and Garrison Keillor.

Help us, Father, we are in a conundrum! We stand with the victims of any sexual crimes and misconduct! Bring justice to them as citizens, and healing and wholeness to them as individuals! We stand with the accused in their 6th Amendment rights as citizens, and against the potential counter-judgment of misandry based solely on their chromosomes!

We need better paths to avoid long-standing silences of victims who are shamed or terrified from naming their offenders beyond the statute of limitations! We need methods to discern false accusations beyond the destruction of evidence and statutes of limitation. Will You give us grace that overcomes our misogyny and misandry? Will You give us patience to wait for the truth so that we do not compound a crime with the crime of street justice?

Will You have mercy on my lack of mercy for the most heinous offenses of the most abhorrent offenders? Will You forgive the murder, misogyny, and misandry of my heart and thoughts? Will You forgive my judgments of my neighbor made in Your Image irregardless of: race, nationality, background, identity, or origin? Will You replace lynchings with acts of public restoration, blessing, and commendation in Duluth? Will You replace sexual assault violations with lionizations of the relationship of marriage in our State?

‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself;’ I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18 NIV

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:9 NIV

 

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**Overview of the Duluth Lynchings of 1920. http://www.mnhs.org/duluthlynchings/index.php
***Another summary by M. Ziebarth on lynchings. http://collections.mnhs.org/MNHistoryMagazine/articles/55/v55i02p072-072.pdf

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