Breaking Brown

September 14, 2016

Where Were Democrats When Rep. John Lewis Was Trying to Build the African-American History Museum?

Where Were Democrats When Rep. John Lewis Was Trying to Build the African-American History Museum?

Georgia Congressman John Lewis recently spoke to CBS about the years it took to create the National Museum of African American History and Culture. What Lewis failed to mention was how much help for the project came from Republicans, and how little came from the Democrats Lewis fiercely defends.

Both Democrats and Republicans have played a role in damaging the black community. Democrats like Lewis, however, tend to caricature Republicans as racist devils, whereas Democrats are presented as the only option for black voters. The political backstory to how the African-American history museum came to be, however, speaks to the falsity of this binary,

Rep. Lewis began introducing the bill for the museum in 1988 and continued introducing it with each new Congress. According to a Washington Post report, when segregationist Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) blocked the bill, it was Republican Senator [George] Mitchell and Senator [Robert] Dole who tried in earnest to push the project.



Where Were Democrats When Rep. John Lewis Was Trying to Build the African-American Museum?


Republicans J.C. Watts and Sam Brownback also stood with Lewis. And both Brownback and Watts played an essential role, as the Post reports:

Then God intervened, according to Kansas Gov. Brownback, who was a Republican senator at the time.


“It was divine intervention, and I say that truthfully,” Brownback recalled recently. He was praying in church one day when the idea of an African American museum came to him. He didn’t know that Lewis, in the House of Representatives, had been pushing for the same thing.


“A number of us at the time had been talking about racial reconciliation,” Brownback said. “I went back and asked staff to do some research. That’s when I found .?.?. that John Lewis had put in a bill for a dozen years.”


Along with Watts, a congressman from Oklahoma, they built bipartisan support. But they still couldn’t get over the problem of its location. Lewis and others fought for a spot on the Mall, a provision that proved controversial in the 1990s and was still a problem a decade later.

President George W. Bush signed the bill into law in 2003.

The only Democrat spoken highly of in the Post story is Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.).

Only recently, Rep. John Lewis allowed himself to be used as a tool by Democrats pushing gun control. He used the language and tactics of the Civil Rights movement to justify a meaningless spectacle. But do the Democrats who routinely trot out Lewis whenever they require political cover stand up for him when he has a piece of legislation he feels strongly about? That’s a question we should be asking of all black Democrats.



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22 thoughts on “Where Were Democrats When Rep. John Lewis Was Trying to Build the African-American History Museum?

  1. Jason Bird says:

    The same place he was when we were trying to put Bernie in the White House

  2. Tim Williams says:

    Telling blks that the republicans are racist and don’t believe anything they say. Now let’s plan for the homosexual agenda coming to a school near u!

  3. Rick Manigault says:

    The Museum put acknowledgements of the phony rape hoaxes being used to destroy Bill Cosby. I’m going to pass on this place.

  4. Joseph Harris says:

    It doesn’t hold the same merit if they aren’t the ones to implement itU0001f609

  5. Adisa A. Alkebulan says:

    Where was John Lewis when Obama was advancing Bush economic and foreign policies and praising Reagan at every opportunity? Oh yeah. Standing right behind him.

  6. Fige Bornu says:

    Uncle Tom John Lewis

  7. Tommy Jaom says:

    The entire cbc was taking donations from prison industry cigarettes and liquor

  8. Dan Lee says:

    This project has been decades in the making….To imply that ONLY republicans were involved is laughable!

  9. Milton Cosby says:

    Where is John Lewis on education, better schools, employment and job training, for his constituencies is Baltimore? Where is John Lewis on gentrification of the hood? Try this you can sell-out and buy-in. Selling out got you nothing try buying back in or give someone a chance to do something or sell out too.

  10. Darrin Butler says:

    I want BLACK history, African American is a sand on the beach compared to BLACK history

  11. Tommy Jaom says:

    While promoting republican ideology

  12. TinaSue says:

    My family did our part over the years, financially, to help the Museum.  I can’t wait to visit there and commune with my ancestors four hundred year history in this country.  It will probably be the most visited Museum in D.C.
    Well done Lonnie Bunch.

  13. DeAndre M. Hines says:

    Wrong. Look at that comment again.

  14. Willie Daniels says:

    I guess I’ll vote Republican now, Republicans J.C. Watts probably is from a long line of Black republicans seeing that he was a rep Oklahoma. 1800’s republicans not 1980’s.

  15. Johnw11 says:

    Dems never stand with Blacks on anything meaningful. Even Rep. James Clyburn was denied his rightful succession to the number two minority congressional leadership position in 2011 (after Dems lost control of the House in 2010 because they didn’t meet voters’ needs). Rather than give him his rightful leadership role, they created a number three sinecure role for him. 
    Because they need Black votes, they ensure that at their national conventions they have plenty Blacks for show. These Blacks give the illusion to the unsophisticated that Blacks have influence in the Dem outfit’s operational and policy decisions. They don’t. They have no more influence than a mannequin has on department store pricing or product line decisions. They have no more influence than a mascot or cheerleader has on sport team decision making and play calling.
    It’s time for African Americans to move on. Neither Dem nor GOP parties have anything to offer Blacks.
    I’m voting Green.

  16. Hartsel C. Shirley says:

    Where were the Republicans??????? Like the police, never where they should be…

  17. Sophia Brown says:

    I don’t care to much for this guy not to mention I can’t quite understand what he’s saying half the time. The cbc has helped every group except black people. They are all useless.

  18. Linda Wickstein says:

    Where was John Lewis when Bernie Sanders needed support?

  19. 44blue says:

    kind of shortchanged Clarence Thomas….

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