Black History Facts:
(continued from Facebook)
How did a man born enslaved rise to be a respected national politician and his career comes to an abrupt and tragic end?
Rainey’s hopes were thwarted when white supremacists used violence and illegal tactics to force him and his colleagues out of office. Armed vigilante groups marauded throughout the South, openly threatening voters and even carrying out political assassinations. Southern Democrats—identifying themselves as “the white man’s party”—committed wide-scale voter fraud.
After African American politicians were stripped of their positions, their contributions were deliberately hidden from view. Popular histories and textbooks reported that Southern Republicans, known by opponents as “scalawags,” had joined forces with Northern “carpetbaggers” and allowed formerly enslaved people to have voting power they were unprepared to exercise. According to that story—taught for generations in schools North and South—the experiment of giving African Americans the vote had been a dismal failure, marked by incompetence and corruption.
Bobby J. Donaldson; Reporting by Christopher Frear