Perspective on Race – Today and Yesteryear

Perspective on Race – Today and Yesteryear
by JBS President John F. McManus

As reported recently in the Chicago Tribune, Pastor James Meeks of Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church had something important to state to fellow black Americans. He summed up the local situation and then asked a question that many others throughout the nation ought to be asking. He said: “African-Americans have been taken for granted by Democrats for years and years. Our people are stuck in terrible schools; our streets are full of crime; there is blood in the streets; and there are no jobs. So what did we get exactly from the Democrats for all our years of loyalty?” Evidently, Rev. Meeks believes Democrats have been benefitting from overwhelming black American support while ignoring what they really need.

Leonard Patterson during his interview that was used in the civil rights documentary, Anarchy USA, produced by The John Birch Society.

Leonard Patterson during his interview that was used in the civil rights documentary, Anarchy USA, produced by The John Birch Society.

The evident clear-thinking in the pastor’s assessment reminded us of the unique statement given by a man named Leonard Patterson more than 50 years ago. As a young man in the 1930s, Patterson joined the US Communist Party (CPUSA). Recognition of his devotion to the Party along with his eagerness to follow its programs propelled him to steady advancement within the movement. Eventually, communist leaders brought Patterson to Russia for two years of schooling in their strategy and tactics. While there, he shared living quarters with future CPUSA Chairman Gus Hall.

But Mr. Patterson eventually saw through the plans of communism, especially its constant insistence that black Americans had no choice but to look to it as the answer to their grievances. Disillusioned, he abandoned the CPUSA in 1937 and eventually provided testimony about his knowledge of the entire communist movement to an appropriate congressional panel in the 1950s. The following portion of his statement ought to be better-known today by all Americans:

With all the shortcomings that we have in the United States, if you want to put it on a racial basis, or a Negro Basis, we American Negroes are better off, not only than the minorities in Russia, but the so-called Great Russians themselves. I wouldn’t say there wasn’t room for improvement. But if you take it as a whole, we have the highest standard of living, we are better educated, we have more wealth distributed among us, and I defy anyone to deny it.

For several years, Mr. Patterson traveled throughout our nation delivering speeches for local chapters and committees of The John Birch Society. His experience and his forthrightness are well-remembered by many audiences. Listen to one of his speeches posted below on YouTube.

Today, of course, there are famous race hucksters who refuse to accept the progress in race relations that Mr. Patterson pointed to more than half a century ago.

There would even be more progress if all Americans, working together, would contemplate the words of these gentlemen and support the American system of individual and civic responsibility coupled with the freedom to seek out the means to advance their individual, family, and business opportunities.

For further reading, check out “Do Progressive Policies Hurt Black Americans?” published by The New American.

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