Lesson Plan 14 | Post-Civil Rights Movement (1967-Present)


The early civil rights movement concentrated on eliminating segregation and winning the right to vote in the South but largely disregarded the economic problems that faced northern blacks. The massive shift of unskilled blacks to urban areas created public housing and black ghettos that limited quality education, produced high crime rates, brought endemic poverty, created female-headed households, teenage pregnancy, and chronic government dependence. The militant ideology of young black power leaders felt that the followers of Martin Luther King moved too slow, so they preached self-reliance, separatism, racial pride, economic and political empowerment. Government agencies would increasingly become “political plantations” as the war on poverty programs attempted to eliminate poverty and racial injustice. The “ghetto rebellions” of the 1960s illustrated the disappointment to extend the gains of the early civil rights era to the urban North.

On January 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson in his first State of the Union Address declares unconditional “war on poverty” in America, thus initiating a broad array of government programs to assist the poorest citizens of the nation including a lopsided number of blacks. Numerous government agencies would now address the Civil Rights Movement with a focus on the "war on poverty" which hoped to foster the underclass into a black middle class.  On August 20, President Johnson signed The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (EOA) that became the centerpiece of the “war on poverty” and included such agencies as: Head Start; Upward Bound; and Volunteers to America (VISTA).


To study the “ghetto rebellions” summer 1967
Kerner Report, 1968
Blacks resent Vietnam War
To understand how the Great Society faded
The 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago
Comparing presidents (Nixon – Obama) Civil Rights record
Nixon paves way for Affirmative Action
Reagan’s speech “A Time for Choosing”

Time: Four Lesson Plans


Background Information:

Dramatic demographic shifts occurred after WWI and with the mobilization for WWII, caused blacks to migrate to the North in high numbers to fill the demand for unskilled industrial labor. This urbanized movement of blacks to the cities concurred with the white exodus to the suburbs. In Detroit, the automobile industry moved out of the city center, and with the highway construction programs of the 1950s and 1960s, white flight to the suburbs helped shred old  towns of their middle classes, reduced the tax base, and left blacks in economically weakened central cities.  Detroit, as an example, was further gutted with vacant storefronts, widespread unemployment, and impoverished despair. This growing underclass became increasingly secluded from the deindustrializing economy that demanded skills they did not possess and jobs they couldn’t reach from the central city.

Overcrowding and deterioration in public housing exacerbated the malaise in the black community. When President Truman signed the bill that created The Housing Act of 1949, his thought was to provide “a decent home in a decent environment for every American,” there would be no way to know that his experiment in public housing would have created racial ghettoes.

Ghetto Rebellions:

Watts Riots, August 11 – 16, 1965. The riot started after Marquette Frye was stopped for possible intoxication. Six days of rioting, 100 square blocks destroyed in the commercial district of Watts, 14,000 National Guard troops called to restore order, 34 deaths, one thousand are injured and 3,000 arrested.  The investigation revealed that riot was due to longstanding grievances, growing discontent, high unemployment, substandard housing, and inadequate schools. Despite findings, Democratic Los Angeles Mayor, Sam Yorty, and Democratic Governor Pat Brown failed to implement any changes to improve the social and economic conditions of blacks in Watts. https://ia801602.us.archive.org/34/items/ViolenceInCity/violence%20in%20city.pdf

Watts Riots, August 11- 16, 1965

Guiding Questions:

  • How did the early civil rights movement differ from the later grievances of northern blacks that migrated to the cities?
  • What did President Truman hope to give inner-city occupants? What did the Housing Act of 1949 create? Why?
  • What was white flight? How did it affect blacks in the northern cities? 
  • What other factor contributed to white flight from the cities?
  • What conditions did blacks find themselves in the impoverished inner cities? How would you react under these conditions?
  • How did the Watts Riot start? Why did blacks burn down businesses? Do you know how long it took for the Watts district to recover?
  • How did the Democratic leadership in the LA/Watts area react? What did they promise to do?

The Long Hot Summer of 1967:

The race riots in the summer of 1967 were pent-up resentment of the black underclass in more than 150 cities across America. In total there were 83 dead, thousands injured, and property damage in the millions of dollars in cities like Newark, Detroit, Cleveland, Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Tampa, Chicago, New York, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis. The two most violent and destructive riots were in Detroit, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey.

The black neighborhood of Detroit’s Virginia Park was only about 460 acres where more than 60,000 low-income residents lived in small, sub-divided apartments. Racial tension was already high due to racial profiling accusations against the Detroit Police Department. The five-day riot started when an after-hours club operated by William Scott was raided, and 85 people were asked to leave. A crowd formed on the outside of the club as police waited for these patrons to be taken away. Nearly 200 onlookers initially lined the streets, bottles were thrown, and more people came out on the street, soon shops and business were looted, and much of the street was on fire. At the end of the rioting in Detroit, the death toll was forty-three, 342 were injured, 1400 buildings destroyed, and 7,000 National Guard and U.S. Troops were needed to restore order.

The Newark riot from July 12 through July 17, 1967, resulted in 26 people dead, 727 injured and 1, 465 people arrested. It started when John Smith, a black cab driver, was arrested for a simple driving violation. He was arrested and bodily injured by the police. Newark cab drivers spread the word about the condition of Smith and gathered outside the precinct. A resident took a bullhorn and urged violence, objects were thrown at the precinct windows along with Molotov cocktails. Looting began and drew more massive crowds as Newark was  overcome with rioting. http://www.blackpast.org/aah/newark-riot-1967

July 1967, Michigan National Guardsman stands at the ready as firefighters  battle one of numerous blazes in riot-torn Detroit (AP Photo)
July 1967, Michigan National Guardsman stands at the ready as firefighters  battle one of numerous blazes in riot-torn Detroit (AP Photo)

Newark, New Jersey, Riots July 1967 (Image Ownership: Public Domain) 

National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders: (The Kerner Report) 1968

President Lyndon Johnson established a commission to examine what happened after the race rioting in the summer of 1967 when more than 150 cities violently protested racial injustice and oppression. Everette Dirksen (R- IL) called it “a state of anarchy.”  The Kerner Report addressed several reasons for the riots and recommendations for what can be done to prevent it from happening again. The two largest riots were in Detroit and Newark, and the unrest was attributed to lack of proper opportunity, good schools, underemployment, poor housing, the inadequacy of federal programs, and police practices. One of their recommendations was more government spending: “The great productivity of our economy and a federal revenue system which is highly responsive to economic growth can provide the resources. The major need is to generate new will – the will to tax ourselves to the extent necessary, to meet the vital needs of the nation.” 

At the end of the report, the commission asked Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, a distinguished scholar, to give his assessment - here is what he said about the report referring to the reports of earlier riot commissions, he said: “I read that report…of the 1919 riot in Chicago, and it is as if I were reading the report of the investigating committee on the Harlem riot of 1935, the report of the investigating committee on the Harlem riot of 1943, the report of the McCone Commission on the Watts riot…I must again in candor say to you members of this Commission – it is a kind of Alice in Wonderland – with the same moving picture re-shown over and over again, the same analysis, the same recommendations, and the same inaction.”

Orangeburg Massacre, February 8, 1968

The Orangeburg Massacre took place in Orangeburg, South Carolina at South Carolina State University. The college students were protesting the refusal of Orangeburg’s only bowling alley to accept black patrons. When the students protested on the South Carolina State University campus, a state trooper shot in the air to calm the crowd, but other troopers were thinking they were being attacked, and shot into the crowd. Two university students and one high school student were killed, and 27 others were wounded. It was the worst violence on a college campus in South Carolina’s history.

Democratic Governor Robert E. McNair was a finalist to become Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey’s running mate in 1968, but this incident ended his political career. McNair blamed “Black Power” influences for the event and lied about the shooting being “off the campus.” Edmund Muskie of Maine became the party’s vice-presidential pick – it would be the first time in decades that a southern candidate would not be on the Democratic ballot. That along with the raucous demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August 1968, would lead to a Republican victory.

The nine officers held responsible for the shooting were all acquitted of all charges and only Cleveland Sellers, the Student Coordinating Committee (SNCC) representative was convicted of inciting the riot that led to the shootings. He would later be pardoned.

Democratic Governor Robert E. McNair was a finalist to become Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey’s running mate in 1968, but this incident ended his political career.
Governor Robert E. McNair (D-SC)

1968: Civil Rights Act: Signed into law in April 1968 – popularly known as the Fair Housing Act – prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, and sex. The bi-partisan bill was initially designed to protect blacks and civil-rights workers by outlawing racially-motivated acts of violence against persons exercising their rights under the 14th Amendment. Some Democrats opposed this bill.

Guiding Questions:
  • What resentments did the black underclass have that caused more than 150 cities to riot in the long hot summer of 1967?
  • Compare the two most massive riots in Detroit and New Jersey. How did these riots change these cities?
  • Do you think it was necessary to use the National Guard to restore order in these cities? Why or why not?
  • President Johnson ordered a commission to study the riots in the summer of 1967. What did the study find? 
  • Read the Kerner Report. What were the recommendations?
  • What did it mean to be an “Alice in Wonderland” moment?
  • What was the Orangeburg Massacre about?
  • What did the Fair Housing Act accomplish?
  • How did this incident and the Chicago Democratic Convention affect the 1968 election?

Comparison of the 1968 Democrat and Republican Platforms:

1968: Democratic Platform: "To uphold the truth, when Thomas Jefferson and James Madison brought the Democratic Party to birth 175 years ago, they bound it to serve the people and their government as a united whole…We affirm the binding force of our inherited duty to serve the people and their government. We here, therefore, account for what we have done in the Democratic years since 1961.  It is our resolve to do that in the years ahead—just as we did in the Democratic years since 1961 when the nation was led by two Democratic Presidents and four Democratic Congresses…Education is one example. From the beginning of our Party history, Democrats argued that liberty and learning must find in each other the surest ground for mutual support." (Hubert H. Humphrey, nominee) http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29604 (This platform only mentions what the Democrats have done since 1961 to serve the people and to provide educational opportunities and equal education for all.)

1968: Republican Platform: "A century ago, Abraham Lincoln gave that leadership. From it came one nation, consecrated to liberty and justice for all. Fifteen years ago, Dwight D. Eisenhower gave that leadership. It brought the end of a war, eight years of peace, enhanced respect in the world, orderly progress at home, and trust of our people in their leaders and in themselves…Our inner cities have become centers of despair. Millions of Americans are caught in the cycle of poverty—poor education, unemployment or serious under-employment, and the inability to afford decent housing…We must bring about a national commitment to rebuild our urban and rural slum areas…Welfare and poverty programs will be drastically revised to liberate the poor from the debilitating dependence which erodes self-respect and discourages family unity and responsibility."  (Richard Nixon, nominee) www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=25841 

Chicago Democratic Convention Protestors, 1968

On March 31, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not seek reelection and the two principal contenders would be Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Senator Robert Kennedy. Kennedy’s murder in June made Humphrey the inevitable nominee. Johnson’s vision for the Great Society gave way to the expensive encumbered war in Vietnam. The war was a cause of unrest for inner-city poor who resented the billions spent on a foreign war, and for anti-war protesters who wished to end it immediately.

The Democratic Convention of 1968 was held August 26 – 29 in Chicago, Illinois. Mayor Richard Daily was determined to keep Vietnam protesters from disrupting the party convention. The protestors and Chicago police clashed in bloody demonstrations throughout the four days as tens of thousands of protestors swarmed the streets of Chicago. The Democratic party was divided on what to do with the Vietnam War, and this paved the way for a Republican victory for Richard Nixon who campaigned for law and order. Also, the third-party candidacy of George Wallace helped to peel votes away from the Democratic nomination of Hubert Humphrey.

The Chicago Seven were the political radicals who were accused of inciting riots at the Democratic Convention. The Seven included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines and Lee Weiner. Bobby Seale, the co-founder of the Black Panthers, was dropped from the original eight because of his conduct in court and sentenced to four years for contempt of court – this ruling later reversed. After a five-month trial, the Chicago Seven were acquitted of charges to incite a riot at the 1968 National Convention.

Protests at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, August 16 – 19, 1961 (Photo Credit: Charles Philips)

Democratic National Convention August 26 - 29, 1968

The Chicago Seven were the political radicals who were accused of inciting riots at the Democratic Convention. The Seven included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines and Lee Weiner.

Guiding Questions:
  • Compare the Republican and Democratic platforms. Which party platform do you support? Why?
  • What clues can you find in the party platforms that give you insight into the  history of each party?
  • How did the Vietnam War affect the Democratic Convention in Chicago?
  • What did blacks feel about the Vietnam War? Why did the protest?
  • How did Richard Nixon’s campaign for law and order affect the election?
  • What did Chicago mayor Richard Daily do to the protesters?

Overview of How Presidential Administrations Affected a Post-Civil Rights Era:

The office of the presidency has afforded each chief executive to put his stamp on his administration through his personality and with the necessities of the times while in office. Only a few presidents have been transformational because they; identified the changes needed: created a vision to guide that change; and executed the changes promised while campaigning.  President Lyndon Johnson’s presidency was overwhelmed by the Vietnam war which left his image of the Great Society unfinished.  President Richard Nixon would be confronted with the after-effects of the long hot summer of 1967, and the disparities within the black community. The Watergate scandal would cause Nixon to resign, and Vice President Gerald Ford replaced him. Outsider Jimmie Carter would owe his victory against President Ford to the Voter Education Project, led by civil rights icon John Lewis, who plastered thousands of posters across the South that read, “hands that pick cotton…now can pick our public officials.” Carter was a Washington D.C. outsider whose greatest strength was his image as an honest man. 

Ronald Reagan, also a Washington D.C. outsider, equaled or surpassed the number of civil rights cases filed by any previous administration in almost every enforcement category. Reagan would sign a bill on November 2, 1983, establishing January 20 as a federal holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Reagan spoke to the NAACP in July 1981 and warned about making needy people government dependent, rather than independent. President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; it was one of the most pro-civil rights bills in decades that prohibited discrimination based on disability. He also signed the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which permitted racial quota based on “business necessity.” 

President Clinton was successful with the economy, but his 1994 Crime Bill with its three-strikes provision and 1996 Welfare Reform Bill were thought by blacks to be detrimental to the community. The most impoverished blacks became worse off according to the Pew Research Center. President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act which was a bipartisan effort to raise school standards in low-income areas, The Patriot Act, and the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act, and Medicare prescription act for seniors, the Bush administration increased funding for many federal programs. President Obama increased federal spending on a myriad of government programs that raised the national debt, and his signature domestic achievement was the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). On civil rights, he posted no agenda, unveiled no vision, set forth no overarching mission to be accomplished.

Lyndon B. Johnson: (D) 1963 – 1969

 A year after President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill, he gave a commencement address at Howard University that expressed what he thought Government should do next on behalf of blacks. Jason Riley wrote in Please Stop Helping Us about President Johnson, “This is merely the ‘end of the beginning’ he said quoting Winston Churchill. That beginning is freedom, and the barriers to that freedom are tumbling down…At the time, the country was focused on the war in Vietnam, but Johnson had launched another battle at home. It was a war on poverty and racial inequality, and he was going to win it by redistributing wealth and pushing numbers-based on racial remedies…it was the most ambitious attempt to redistribute income ever undertaken in the United States.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcfAuodA2x8 (Commencement Speech at Howard University, 1965)

President Johnson's “war on poverty” faded under the strains of a costly and unpopular war in Vietnam. 

President Lyndon Johnson (1963 – 1969)

President Richard Nixon: (R) 1969 – 1974

The long hot summer of 1967 as well as the Vietnam War caused our nation to be the most divided since the Civil War. When Nixon accepted the Republican nomination, he said, “As we look at America, we see cities enveloped in smoke and flame. We hear sirens in the night. We see Americans dying on distant battlefields abroad. We see Americans hating each other; fighting each other; killing each other at home. And we see and hear these things, millions of Americans cry out in anguish; did we come all this way for this?” 

One of the first essential issues that confronted the Nixon administration was the successful peaceful school desegregation of the southern schools. Fifteen years after the Brown v. Board of Education Topeka decision, 80 percent of schools in the South remained segregated. The Johnson administration left the Nixon administration with 68% of blacks in all-black schools, but by the end of Nixon’s first term, only 8% attended all-black schools.

The Justice Department under President Nixon did more to implement the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act than it had under President Johnson’s administration.  In addition, Nixon expanded economic opportunities for blacks by ending discrimination in the workplace; doubled the aid to black colleges; opened the Office of Minority Business Development Agency; signed the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969; increased hiring of women in the federal government; and signed the Equal Employment and Opportunities Act of 1972.

President Nixon resigned office for his part in the Watergate break-in. 

President Richard Nixon (1969 – 1974)

Guiding Questions:
  • Compare the domestic challenges that Johnson and Nixon faced. How were they similar? How were they different? 
  • How were the President's domestic problems handled? What international events overshadowed their administrations?
  • Do you think that President Johnson’s expansion of government with his “war on poverty” helped blacks or hindered them?
  • Who do you think did more for blacks in each administration?
  • Both presidents left office earlier than expected, why?
  • Compare President Lyndon Johnson’s speech https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcfAuodA2x8 with Ronald Reagan’s https://www.c-span.org/video/?153897-1/ronald-reagans-a-time-choosing-speech
  • What differences can you identify in each of the speeches of these two men?

Gerald R. Ford: (R) 1994 – 1977

President Ford rescued the American presidency after being sworn in after the resignation of President Nixon. Ford replaced Spiro Agnew as Nixon’s vice president, and when he became president, he chose Nelson A. Rockefeller to be vice president. This was the only time in our history when an unelected president and an unelected vice president lead our country. Ford was not been given proper credit for his support for civil rights. He promoted equal employment opportunities, supported minority enterprise and educational opportunities, housing, anti-poverty, and social programs. https://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/library/document/factbook/black.htm. He supported Affirmative Action and wrote in the New York Times: https://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/library/speeches/990808.asp

January 19, 1976, President Gerald Ford formally rescinds President Franklin Roosevelt’s notorious Executive Order authorizing internment of over 120,000 Japanese-Americans during WWII.

1976: Republican President Gerald Ford, formally rescinds FDR’s Interment Executive Order 9066 for 120,000 Japanese-Americans.
1976: Republican President Gerald Ford, formally rescinds FDR’s Interment Executive Order 9066 for 120,000 Japanese-Americans.

Jimmie Carter: (D) 1977 - 1981

Jimmie Carter was over his head as President, he mismanaged the economy and foreign policy, caused inflation and increased unemployment for black and white Americans. Although Carter had the support of Andrew Young and Barbara Jordan and other blacks, he was known to cater to segregationists to win their votes. He sparked controversy on April 3, 1976, while discussing public housing. “The then-presidential candidate said that he thought community members should be able to preserve 'ethnic purity' of their neighborhoods, a statement that sounded like the tacit support of segregated housing. Five days later, Carter apologized for the comment.” Carter supported affirmative action, which endeared him to blacks.

In addition to the economy, Carter had to deal with the U.S. Embassy in Tehran with 52 diplomats being taken as hostages for 444 days.

Jimmie Carter: 1977 – 1981

Guiding Questions:

President Ford and President Carter brought a freshness to the office. What did they do? 
What did each president do to affect minority interests?
Was president Carter over his head as president? Why? Why not?
What events in the Carter administration help Ronald Reagan get elected?

Ronald Reagan: (R) 1981 – 1989

Reagan’s A Time for Choosing (October 27, 1964) was his brilliant speech to a nationwide audience that critiqued the Democrats’ socialist agenda while not quite fully endorsing Barry Goldwater. Reagan said, “This is the issue of this election: “whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan ourselves.” http://cdn.constitutionreader.com/files/pdf/constitution/ch123.pdf (text of speech)

President Reagan never forgot what it was like to grow up in a household with very minimal financial means. He knew its impact on quality of life and helping the poor escape poverty was something he cared about deeply. Under his leadership, Federal spending for basic low-income assistance programs rose by 40%. The President also knew that a good education was the ticket out of poverty, and when his National Commission on Excellence in Education termed the U.S “A Nation at Risk” because of declining educational quality, he called for a variety of remedies including overall higher standards and accountability, parental choice and merit pay for teachers and principals. https://www.reaganfoundation.org/search-results?query=Reagan+Civil+Rights&top_search_focus=Search+Site

On September 15, 1981, President Ronald Reagan established the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), to increase African-American participation in Federal education programs (HBCU). June 29,1982, President Ronald Reagan signs 25-year extension of 1965 Voting Rights Act.  On November 2, 1983, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday was  established and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. August 10, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act, compensating Japanese-Americans for deprivation of civil rights and property during WWII internment ordered by FDR. (HR 442, 110,000 individuals of Japanese descent were offered an apology and reparation payments of $20,000 to each person incarcerated.)

In 1981, President Reagan established White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges & Universities.

June 29, 1982, President Reagan signed the 25-year extension of Voting Rights Act

November 2, 1983, President Reagan signed the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday into law

August 10, 1988, President Reagan signs Civil Liberties Act of 1988, compensating Japanese-Americans for deprivation of civil rights and property during WWII internment ordered by FDR

Guiding Questions:
  • How did President Reagan redefine the purpose of government?
  • What measures did he take to help blacks?
  • In what way was President Reagan’s brilliant speech, A Time for Choosing so different from the Democratic socialist agenda? Read the speech and identify differences.
  • How did President Reagan’s political philosophy affect blacks?

George H. W. Bush: (R) 1989 – 1993

President Bush was the first sitting vice president to ascend to the presidency since 1837. Bush would serve a full term without party control, so he appealed to Democrats in Congress to devise a federal budget rather than to appeal to the American people as did President Reagan. President Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 that prohibits discrimination based on disability. He also signed the Civil Rights Act of 1991 which permitted racial quotas based on “business necessity.” Undersecretary of Education, Michael Williams, recommended to outlaw race-based college scholarships, but Bush rejected that idea. Affirmative action would continue to challenge America and is a government program that gets in the way of self-development. Instead of being based on merit and skill, it becomes a quota-based program.

President Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush signed into law H.R. 751, the landmark National Literacy Act.
(To help promote adult literacy in the hopes of setting families on a path of success)

Guiding Questions:
  • Do you feel the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 has helped with discrimination in the workforce?
  • How did the Civil Rights Act of 1991 affect racial quotas in other venues and affirmative action?
  • Do you think George H.W. Bush and Reagan in political agreement? Why? Why not?

William Jefferson Clinton: (D) 1993 – 2001

According to the William Jefferson Clinton’s Library, during his tenure: the welfare system was reformed; the sale of handguns was restricted; environmental regulations were strengthened, and a massive federal budget deficit turned into a surplus. However, what did the “first black president” do for black interests? His administration passed the Violent Crime Control Act and Law Enforcement Act in 1994 with the help of the Congressional Black Caucus. This was the largest  crime-controlled bill ($30 billion) in U.S. history. States were spending more money on prisons than universities after this bill was passed. Clinton had lauded and celebrated the critical role that education played in American society. Critics said the bill decimated communities of color and accelerated mass incarceration and proponents said it contributed to a major decline in violent crime.

On August 22, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law, The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, it was a comprehensive bipartisan welfare reform plan that changed the nation’s welfare system into one that required work in exchange for time-limited assistance. Most significantly, the legislation ended the entitlement of basic support that had been in place since the New Deal. President Clinton said the act would “end welfare as we know it.”

Clinton’s intimacy with blacks helped smooth over his policy moves that harmed black interests and as radio personality Tom Joyner noted, “he reached out to black America in ways no other U.S. president had before.”  Columnist Deborah Mathis accurately described Clinton’s popularity with blacks “a victory of personality over policy.” Similarly, University of Maryland political scientist, Ronald Walter attributes Clinton’s phenomenal success in winning black support to his adroit use of “symbolic politics.”  Clinton had a mild defense of affirmative action and summed it up by saying “mend it, don’t end it.” Professor Michael Eric Dyson to speak of Clinton’s shortcomings, “he exploited black sentiment because he knew the rituals of black culture,” concluded that the former president “exploited us like no other president before him.” http://www.blacksandpresidency.com/billclinton.php

In 1995, John Boyd founded the National Black Farmers Association. John Boyd remembers watching a USDA official toss his loan application in the trash. It was the late ‘80s, and Boyd, a fourth-generation black farmer from Baskerville, VA., was counting on a $5,000 loan to keep his family farm in business. Boyd was told to come back the next week to re-file his paperwork, but a white farmer walked out of the office with a $157,000 check.  
http://grist.org/food/what-happened-to-americas-black-farmers/   By 1997, African-American land ownership had rapidly declined, comparing the U.S. Agriculture Census data on African-American farmland ownership for 1910 and 1997, it shows a drastic decline from its peak of 15 million acres in 1910 to 2.4 million acres in 1997. The 1997 landmark legal case, Pigford v. Glickman, alleged that 400 farmers claimed and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had denied them loans based on racial discrimination.

His administration passed the Violent Crime Control Act and Law Enforcement Act in 1994 with the help of the Congressional Black Caucus. This was the largest  crime-controlled bill ($30 billion) in U.S. history. States were spending more money on prisons than universities after this bill was passed.
President Bill Clinton (1993 – 2001)

Guiding Questions:
  • Did President Clinton increase government intervention in our lives? 
  • How did the black community feel about hid administrations’ Violent Crime Act and Law Enforcement Act of 1994?
  • How did Clinton hope to change the welfare system?
  • Why was President Clinton called the “first black president?”

George W. Bush: (R) 2001 – 2009

Republicans are often accused of not caring about blacks in America, but the truth is they do. Republicans need to be proactive and make people aware that how other people’s money is collected and spent, for too long, blacks have turned a blind eye to their welfare and have voted blindly for the Democratic Party. President Bush wanted tax cuts, school reform, encouraged entrepreneurs, home ownership, used The Small Business Administration to help blacks get more loans for businesses. 

In January 2001, President Bush appointed Colin Powell to be Secretary of State and appointed Condoleezza Rice to the position of National Security Advisor – this is the first time that either post was held by African-Americans. President Bush’s administration was much affected by the attack on our country on September 11, 2001. His leadership helped heal the nation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7OCgMPX2mE
By January 2005, Condoleezza Rice became the Secretary of State - She is the second woman and the first African American woman to hold the post.

President Bush warned about the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, required schools to be accountable for the higher performance and progress of every student making a measurable difference in the community. Bush spent more than three years on education K-12 education than the last administration did in eight years. President Bush increased funding to black colleges and universities by 30% from 2001 to 2005. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/6290818/ns/us_news-life/t/steele-bush-has-done-more-blacks/#.W0epU9JKjIU

January 25, 2001, U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee declares school choice to be “Educational Emancipation.” Black Alliance for Education Options (BAEO), reports that an overwhelming majority of blacks support school choice.

In January 2001, President Bush appointed Colin Powell to be Secretary of State and appointed Condoleezza Rice to the position of National Security Advisor – this is the first time that either post was held by African-Americans.
President George W. Bush (2001 -2009)

Guiding Questions:

What measures did President Bush use to help blacks get ahead?
How did he help children get a better education?
Why was school choice called “Educational Emancipation?”

Barack Obama: (D) 2009 – 2017

The core socialist philosophy of the Democrats is to give a man a fish, so that he can eat for a day. Socialism uses welfare – giving a man a fish – to keep blacks in poverty. The core enterprise philosophy of the Republicans is to teach a man how to fish so he can feed himself for a lifetime. In Dreams From My Father, President Obama described a story about black men in a barbershop discussing “plantation politics.” Black people in the worst jobs, housing, and police brutality rampant, but the only time they see the so-called black committeemen is around election time, we’d all line up and vote the straight Democratic ticket.  (142)

At the beginning of his first term, Obama, by executive fiat, eliminated the work requirement for welfare thus killing the welfare reform, removing the job training and child care assistance that helped poor blacks get out of poverty. Also, while sending his own children to a private school, President Obama, at the behest of teachers’ unions, sued the state of Louisiana to stop that state’s charter program and worked to end the school choice scholarship program in the District of Columbia that helps poor blacks get a better education.

At the beginning of his first term, Obama, by executive fiat, eliminated the work requirement for welfare thus killing the welfare reform, removing the job training and child care assistance that helped poor blacks get out of poverty.
President Barack Obama (2009 -2017)

Guiding Questions:
  • How is the Democratic philosophy of giving a man a fish rather than teaching a man to fish, unsustainable?
  • One of the most egregious things President Obama did was to eliminate the voucher system in D.C. Why do you think he did that? What union do you think encouraged him to do that? Why?

Donald Trump:  (R) 2017 -

President Trump is doing precisely what he campaigned to do and has carried out those promises. After two years in office, this disruptor-in-chief has reduced regulations, enforced immigration laws, appointed Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, made America more energy independent, renegotiated trade deals, supported our military, renewed the Veterans Choice Act of 2014, made national security a priority, signed the most pieces of legislation since Harry Truman, made more executive orders than President Obama, has worked on criminal justice reform, and supported religious freedom.

We now have the lowest unemployment for blacks and Hispanics ever recorded, more than 3.5 million jobs created, more than 10 times the factory jobs created than President Obama’s administration, food stamps fell by 1.3 million from December 2017 to February 2018 and supports the National School Choice Week with a proclamation for all students to have school choice.

This pro-growth agenda of tax cuts and deregulation have provided a “stratospheric trajectory” for Main Street giving the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index the “second highest in its 45-year history.” All of these accomplishments help all communities in particular our minority communities.

We now have the lowest unemployment for blacks and Hispanics ever recorded,
President Donald Trump (2017 -

Guiding Questions:
  • President Obama was a community organizer and a politician; President Trump is a businessman. How do you think their approaches produced different outcomes?
  • How would you describe their strengths and weaknesses of President Obama and President Trump?

The Challenges of a Post-Civil Rights Era:

In April 1865, Frederick Douglass spoke to the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, “Everybody asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, ‘What should we do with the Negro?’” said Douglas. “I have but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall…And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs!”

Today, many distinguished black leaders and writers in the Post-Civil Rights era write about the polarization of the political right and left and how it has affected the progress and promises of the 1960s. Writers, such as, Star Parker, Jason L. Riley, and Shelby Steele challenge us to look at the well-intentioned Great Society programs with its “war on poverty,” but require us to analyze how these government handouts, with their unintended consequences, have affected the black community after more than a half-century of implementation.

Thomas Sowell, a black economist with the Hoover Institute, gives the following perspective, “The assumption that spending more of the taxpayer’s money will make things better has survived all kinds of evidence that it has made things worse. The black family – which survived slavery, discrimination, poverty, wars, and depression – began to come apart as the federal government moved in with its well-financed programs to help.”

The solution is not just more money, because more than fifteen-trillion dollars have been spent on LBJ’s Great Society and the casualties created are an underclass of permanently poor. What is needed is an opportunity to compete equally. LBJ’s Great Society overreached with his “war on poverty” promising to end poverty with equal results, he should have been focused on equal opportunity.


Shelby Steele recently interviewed by Mark Levin and was asked about the NFL player protests, and his comment was the NFL is stuck with group identity and unity from the past. He said that this type of protest is old…You have all the social justice you need…Your problem is freedom, not racism. White guilt keeps feeding this type of behavior as no one wants to be seen as a bigot or a racist, so protesting NFL players making $15 million or more are not resonating with their audience.

Steele writes in Shame, “The civil rights movement was the first movement to win legitimacy because its charges against America were so blatantly true… but the time for protesting is over, it is time for blacks to understand how to deal with freedom and take responsibility for success and take yourself ahead.”  Steele says, "although there will always be racism, our problem is dealing with freedom, not racism."

Democrats have successfully shed their racist past, won a veil of innocence, while Republicans are branded with America’s shame, and black leaders continue to “milk” the white guilt for political gain. Shelby writes, “I think, the great trick of modern liberalism is to link its poetic truths (false as they may be) with innocence from all the great sins of America’s past – racism, sexism, imperialism, capitalist greed, and so on – and, similarly, to stain the actual truth with those selfsame sins.” Democratic programs with their moral authority to engineer the culture have weakened the black family with dependency and dysfunction, perpetuated that blacks are victims, and whites are privileged. By the 1970s, welfare policies incentivized black women not to marry when they became pregnant, and this generated a black underclass.

“No nation has struggled harder to overcome the barriers to our common humanity or sanctify the individual, than America. The contortions of our hyperbolic politics can be depressing. But America’s essential truth – the deepest theme of our identity – is still freedom. Freedom is still our mother tongue.” Shelby Steele

Guiding Questions:
  • How long should it take for the “war on poverty” to work? Why has it not worked so far? Give a few reasons.
  • What are the unintended consequences of government handouts?
  • What is the difference between equal results and equal opportunity? Explain.
  • Shelby Steel writes that today’s black problem is freedom, not racism. What does he mean?
  • How have Democrats positioned themselves to erase their racist past and brand the Republican party with it?
  • How does being ignorant of history undermine the future of this country?

Affirmative Action:

Star Parker, “I think affirmative action is a disruption to the black journey towards freedom. Blacks were told they couldn’t compete on their own, and this distracted them from the true mission of the civil rights movement. We have to allow people to live free, and achieve their goals based on merit.”

Ben Kinchlow in Black Yellow Dogs, “Affirmative action objectively viewed, is  racial profiling, as the following example of Orwellian doublespeak clearly illustrates: Singling out a young black male on the New Jersey Turnpike because he is a young black male is racial profiling. Singling out the same young man on the Rutgers campus (also in New Jersey), because he is a young black male is affirmative action. The end result is a plantation mentality, a new form of slavery – new generations of blacks dependent upon subsidies from 'the big white house.'”

Jason L. Riley’s book, Please Stop Helping Us, writes, “No matter its original meaning or intent, affirmative action in practice today is racial discrimination…the more accurately you describe affirmative action, the worse it polls.” Affirmative action originated in employment discrimination and evolved into the  required consideration of race and sex…the goalposts were moved. Mark Levin interviewed Shelby Steele on July 15, 2018, and when asked about affirmative action, Steele stated that affirmative action will not go away for a very long time because the left would have no power without it. Affirmative action dispirits the very people that it is supposed to help and to lower the standards so a black can get the job, is exploitative.

Thomas Sowell feels the “Supreme Court exceeded its authority by granting the University of Texas an exemption from the Constitution’s requirement of ‘equal protection of the laws,’ by voting that racial preferences for student admissions be legal.” Sowell feels that affirmative action cases are as egregious as Plessey v. Ferguson in 1896 that upheld “separate but equal” facilities in the South. That  ruling would remain until Brown v. Board of Education 1954 overturned it. We are now five decades into this social engineering program.

Booker T. Washington said that “It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of these privileges.”

Guiding Questions:
  • Do you think that affirmative action is racial profiling?
  • If a university mandates that 10% of the student population must be black, how would that affect both black and white students?
  • How might this affect black college graduates?
  • How would you make the distinction between unemployability verses discrimination?
  • Many black writers and leaders feel that “social engineering” has hurt the black community. What do they mean? Cite some examples.


One of the most challenging problems within the black community is poor educational opportunities. Teacher unions and the Democrats block school choice for inner-city children stuck in poor schools. Star Parker reports that “in the case of our black children, the results are dismal. In the 2015 NAEP math scores, 17 percent of black fourth-graders and 11 percent of black eighth-graders performed at ‘proficient’ levels. In reading, 16 percent of black fourth-graders and 15 percent of black eighth-graders were ‘proficient.’” Walter E. Williams told Project Baltimore, “The education that white Americans receive is really nothing to write home about, but the education that black kids receive is a national tragedy.” “Politicians are looking for votes. I’m not looking for votes. So, I can be honest.”

Billions have been spent on education, so why so little to show for it? Mark Levin writes in Plunder and Deceit, “In the fiscal year 2012, the Census Bureau reports that federal, state, and local governments cumulatively spent more than $600 billion, or an average of $10,608 per student per year, on public education. The range of spending spanned from $19,552 per pupil in New York State to $6,206 per student in Utah. Despite the enormous and unparalleled costs, America’s schools are performing poorly, and many are failing. The government is buying young people a poor education…The data demonstrate there is no overall correlation between the dramatic spending increases during the last several decades and academic achievement.” (Mark Dixon, U.S. Census Bureau, Public Education Finances: 2012, G12-CG-AsPEF, U.S. Govt. Printing Office, Washington, D.C., p11, http://www2census.gov/govs/school/12f33pub.pdf.)

Walter E. Williams believes that the poor educational outcomes for black students start with the family and an uninterested home environment. A student must get help with homework, be provided nutritional food, get enough sleep, and taught to behave in school. While growing up, most of Williams’ friends had two parents, and 1950 statistics show that only 20 percent of black children came from single-family homes as compared to 75% today. Without family support, educational dollars can’t produce much. https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/12/17/educational-rot-6cca6  Urban schools cannot save every child, but Williams favors a system that saves those who can be saved with expanded school choice, vouchers, and tax credits so a parent can choose their kids’ schools.  http://foxbaltimore.com/news/project-baltimore/dr-walter-e-williams-no-hope-for-urban-schools

Betsy Devos, Secretary of Education, is a big supporter of school choice and therefore a threat to the teacher unions and their Democratic allies.  Devos has been supporting school choice programs, laws and policies for more than 20 years to enable parents to choose the schools that their children want to attend. Eva Moskowitz, the founder of Success Academy, has 47 charter schools in the New York area that services 15,500 students and has a waitlist of more than 10,000 families…Moskowitz is also a threat to the teacher unions. The bottom line for DeVos, “Federally mandated assessments. Federal money. Federal standards. All originated in Washington, and none solved the problem…We had the No Child Left Behind Act under President Bush and the Race to the Top under President Obama. Different approaches, but the same power, control, and money coming from Washington.” It is interesting that the majority of blacks support school choice.

There is plenty of blame for poor educational outcomes: some are the result of individual self-defeating attitudes; lack of family support; government overreach; teacher unions that block school choice; politicians that support the unions; and an inability to recognize and deal with the learning gap of urban children. See how Success Academy of New York https://www.successacademies.org/edinstitute/# video is successful.

In 1848, Frederick Douglass battled for the right to send his daughter, Rosetta, to Seward Seminary instead of an inferior segregated Negro school. She was promptly expelled but immediately accepted at another excellent school. Here is what Douglas wrote, “I am glad to inform you that you have not succeeded as you hoped to do, in depriving my child of the means of a decent education, or the privilege of going to an excellent school…she now sits in a school among children as pure, and as white as you or yours, and no one is offended, Now I should like to know how much better you are than me, and how much better your children than mine?” Douglass understood the best way to get out of slavery or poverty was through good, quality education.

Success Academy Crown Heights, Founder, and CEO, Eva Moskowitz https://www.successacademies.org/edinstitute/#video

Guiding Questions:
  • How does school choice help the black community? Are you in favor of it?
  • What does the black community need for a successful school experience?
  • Why do you think that the teacher unions are against school choice?
  • Success Academy in New York requires a uniform. What advantages does a school uniform provide for the culture of the school?


Current immigration policies hurt our younger citizens and future generations.  In 1965, the Hart-Celler Act introduced the chain migration system, and additional immigration was established with the idea of family reunification. This change in American immigration policy may have been the most thoughtless of the Great Society programs initiated by the Johnson administration. Democrats would like us to believe that unfettered immigration, with no period of assimilation between immigration flows, does not harm our nation. They would have us believe that these immigrants are only taking the jobs that American citizens are unwilling to do. However, according to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), 16.5 million American citizens have jobs in the sixty-seven occupations composed of a significant percentage of what would be considered “immigrant-type” jobs. This process is hurting young blacks. (“Are There Really Jobs American Won’t Do?Center for Immigration Studies, May 2013, http://cis.org/are-there-really-jobs-americans-wont-do)

Is there another reason for this unfettered illegal immigration? Mark Levin in his interview with Shelby Stelle, asks what does it mean to be Americanized and how does that affect immigration? 
Shelby replied, “If immigrants come to America, and say ‘Good to be here, we're going to now become Americans.’ That doesn't make the left happy. That doesn't give them any - because they are not going to be victims. So, you look at the problem we have now with immigration. The people on the left immediately characterize it as a moral problem of a people of color being oppressed, once again, and therefore, we have - it falls on us as liberals to somehow redeem America from its abusive people like this.

There is a lot of power. I mean, there is so much power, and the rewards are so high because you get an identity and I see this in any number of people. There is a - I am going to - to vote for somebody on the left, liberal whomever, makes ‘I am in with the good people. I'm not in with - look at how abhorrent white people were, and I'm above that…’" 
Guiding Questions:
  • Who do you feel is most affected by unfettered immigration? Who has the most to gain from this type of immigration?
  • Democrats say that immigrants only take jobs that Americans don’t want. Is that true?
  • Look at the link provided at the end of the first paragraph, what do you find?  http://cis.org/are-there-really-jobs-americans-wont-do.
  • Shelby Steele explains that there is a lot of power in getting illegal aliens into this country. What does he mean? Explain.

Minimum Wage:

Why is it that Democrats continue to defend the minimum-wage laws as a way to alleviate poverty? President Roosevelt in 1938 talked about a “better standard of living and increasing the purchasing power to buy the products of farm and factory;” President Clinton would say that upping the minimum wage would “raise the living standards of twelve million hard-working Americans;Senator Ted Kennedy would declare that “the minimum wage was one of the first – and is still one of the best-antipoverty programs we have;” and President Obama would declare at the 2013 State of the Union address, “Tonight , let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour.”

The calls for the increase in minimum wage are said to be compassionate, but the fact is it is a job killer, especially for low or unskilled workers, and younger people especially. Entry level jobs for teenagers and young adults are a necessity for training to becoming an adult; it teaches responsibility, promotes self-worth, and may help the family. It is not a means “to save for a dignified retirement” as President Obama characterized it. The job loss that occurs due to minimum wage raises affects blacks more than any other group.

Mark Levin, in Plunder and Deceit, “The minimum wage is declared a humane way to increase the standard of living for low or unskilled workers. But most individuals who work in these jobs are younger people, many of whom are working in their first jobs, often part-time jobs, learning skills and gaining experience that will help them improve their future employment prospects or start their own small businesses. When the minimum wage is increased, younger people often face layoffs because employers, including franchisees and retailers, are working on thin profit margins or can find less costly alternatives.”

Jason Riley in Please Stop Helping Us: “The minimum wage has increased during the Democratic and Republican administrations alike, though Republicans have tended to approve hikes reluctantly, and usually in return for something else to help offset the damage. Like tax breaks for small businesses. And it’s true that a minimum-wage hike will improve the lot of those making the minimum, provided they keep their jobs and continue to work the same number of hours, neither of which should be assumed. Remember the minimum wages deal with wages not employment. The government can mandate that someone be paid at a level above his productivity, but it can’t (yet) mandate that he be hired in the first place, or that he keeps his job after the cost of employing him rises. So, some people will lose their job or never be hired, and others will get a raise. But on balance, are low-skilled workers better off?”

Guiding Questions:
  • What group is most often compromised by an increase in the minimum wage?
  • Do you think a minimum wage can alleviate poverty? Why or Why not?
  • President Obama said that the minimum wage was the ability to save for a dignified retirement. What do you think?
  • How does an increase in the minimum wage affect young blacks?


Black on black crime is devastating black communities in cities that are Democratically controlled by black politicians such as Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Washington.  On the south side of Chicago, Illinois, 90 percent of the deaths are young black men. Only 33 percent of Chicago is classified as black, but blacks commit most of the homicides. We keep hearing about “black lives matter,” but it seems that politicians only seem to care when it helps them get votes, and when the slogan demonizes the police. The 99 percent of black lives destroyed by people who are not the police don’t seem to attract nearly as much attention in the media or with the Democrats.

As far as the nation is concerned, black men commit nearly half of all murders in this country, which is astounding when you consider that blacks make up only about 13% of the population. So, doesn’t it make sense that with these statistics that black men would be more likely to be involved with the police? https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-black-americans-commit-crime

If the black community wishes to change these statistics, they must change the behavior.  In the first half of 2009, blacks and Hispanics committed 98 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies. Whites, on the other hand, committed 5 percent of all violent crimes.

Guiding Questions:
  • Is racial profiling caused by the inordinate amount of crime in black communities?
  • Black on black on crime is destroying black communities. What do you think some solutions might be for these communities?
  • How can these statistics be changed?


It is one thing to keep the truth from Americans and to support revisionist history when it comes to black history and civil rights. Far too long, blacks have been used, oppressed, lied to, and kept in bondage on plantations and in ghettos, and have allowed government programs to rob them of an equal opportunity. Blacks have consistently voted with the Democratic party on most issues, but in fact, blacks have supported school prayer by 80%, support school choice by 73%, support faith-based initiative by 74%, support English as the official language by 84%, do not support race-based preferences, or same-sex marriage by 71%.  It is as though they are in a political dance with a partner whom they have little in common. By today’s standards, most blacks would be considered right-wing conservatives, not left-wing liberals. Blacks embrace conservative values but vote liberal values.

The government thinks they know better than we do. For too long, we have had career politicians making decisions that expand government. We are in an education crisis with our youth, especially our black students, and some are stuck in a generational poverty crisis with government handouts that determine how much we are worth and remove self-respect and hope. It is time to stand up to be proactive and not reactive voters. Dream what is possible!