White Extremists Then and Now
Black History Month is all about bringing awareness to the successes and struggles of Black people since the United States was established. With this in mind, we decided to take a look at the enduring legacy of white supremacy and its impact on Black people. This is a list of the men that have made the lives of Black people a constant struggle.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson of Tucker Carlson Tonight has created one of the most dangerous spaces for racism to spread, which is on television. On his show, he incites fear in his audience by saying that immigrants will take over the political status of the country and that protests by groups like Black Lives Matter were a threat to our safety. He also discussed the “replacement theory” which sparked his white followers to believe Jews were plotting to have Black people White folks. The theory that he spewed on television loosely connected him to the Buffalo mass shooting in May 2022 as the shooter said he was inspired by the theory. The New York Times claimed his show may be “the most racist show in the history of cable news — and also, by some measures, the most successful.”
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David Duke, a white supremacist, represented Louisiana in the House of Representatives in 1989-1993. Duke founded the KKKK, Knights of the Klu Klux Klan, in 1975, and was a KKK grand wizard. His views centered around preserving white America, and most of his rhetoric is rooted in anti-Semitism. He was a vocal supporter of Donald Trump in his presidential campaign.
President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson was the 28th president of the United States. During his time as president, he made interracial marriage a crime, and allowed the Treasury and Navy to be segregated. Wilson required that photos be supplied for every applicant of federal jobs, despite the disapproval of Black leaders. He was also sympathetic to the Klu Klux Klan.
White supremacist and former Youtuber Nick Fuentes was in attendance during the January 6th storming of the Capitol in 2021. He was also present at the Unite the Right rally in 2017. Fuentes is a Holocaust denier and has been suspended and banned from multiple social media platforms for hate speech.
President Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th president of the United States, and possibly the worst and most racist person to ever lead this country. Johnson did not believe that the South lost the Civil War and thought Black people would forever serve white people. When he was sworn into office days after the death of Abraham Lincoln, he stopped any hopes of civil rights in its tracks by giving property back to Confederate soldiers and officials. He also opposed the 14th and 15th Amendments, and vetoed the Civil Rights Bill of 1866.
George Wallace won the election to become Governor of Alabama in 1962 by promoting populist beliefs including segregation. In 1963, he blocked Black students from attending the University of Alabama.
Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has dedicated his governorship to blocking “woke” materials in classrooms. He wants to make sure that any lessons that demonize white people are never taught. He has also attempted to block numerous Black and LGBTQ+ history curriculums.
Lee Atwater was a Republican strategist who worked on campaigns for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He is credited with using the “Southern strategy” to help get Republicans elected to office. The “Southern strategy” reassures white people that Black people will not gain more in any aspect over white people. He also created smear campaigns against opponents, a winning tactic.
Robert E. McNair
On February 8, 1968, highway patrolmen opened fire on a group of 200 civil rights protesters at South Carolina State University, killing 3 students and injuring almost 30. The violence occurred because Governor Robert McNair ordered in the National Guard and blamed Black leaders for causing tensions to rise.
Cecil Price was one of 18 men convicted for the deaths of three civil rights workers in 1964. Price was the deputy sheriff who arrested the three men (two white, one Black) for speeding in Philadelphia. The three men were in town investigating a Black church that was burned down. After they were released from jail, Price followed them, arrested them again, and gave them to a mob who shot and killed them.
The James Byrd Case: Shawn Allen Berry, Lawrence Russell Brewer, John William King
In June of 1998, three white men named Shawn Allen Berry, Lawrence Russell Brewer, John William King offered a Black man, James Byrd, a ride in their pickup truck. Byrd accepted the ride but was taken to the woods by the men, beaten, and sprayed with black paint. The three put chains on Byrd’s ankles, and attached the chains to the truck. They then dragged his body for three miles and left his remains in a Black cemetery. The event was categorized as a hate crime since Brewer and King were known white supremacists.
Richard B. Spencer
Richard B. Spencer is the leader of the National Policy Institute, and its mission is to ensure that white people keep their power in the United States. Spencer is incredibly racist, has called Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a “degenerate,” is wildly Islamophobic and anti-Semitic, and is against immigration. He is credited with coining the term “alt-right.”
Strom Thurmond was the governor of South Carolina in 1946 and was pro-segregationist, so much so that he was willing to use violence to keep Black people away from the spaces he believed that they didn’t belong. While serving in the Senate in 1954, Thurmond did a one-man filibuster opposing the civil rights bill that lasted 24 hours.
Former President Donald Trump built his presidential campaign and four-year term on racism, causing a terrifying ripple worldwide, and emboldening people to be outward with their hate for all kinds of people.
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