The Lily-White Movement was an anti-black political movement within the Republican Party in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a response to the political and socioeconomic gains made by African-Americans following the Civil War and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which eliminated slavery and involuntary servitude ("except as punishment for a crime").[1]

Norris Wright Cuney, the first African-American chairman of the Republican Party of Texas

During Reconstruction, Black leaders in the South gained influence in the Republican Party by organizing Black people as an important voting bloc via Union Leagues and the biracial black-and-tan faction of the Republicans. Conservative whites attempted to eliminate this influence and recover white voters who had defected to the Democratic Party. The Lily-White Movement proved successful throughout the South and was a key factor in the growth of the Republican Party in the region.[2]

Terminology edit

The term Lily-White Movement was coined by Black Texas Republican leader Norris Wright Cuney, who used the term in an 1888 state Republican convention to describe efforts by white conservatives to oust Black people from positions of Texas Republican party leadership and incite riots to divide the party.[3]

The term came to be used nationally to describe this ongoing movement as it further developed in the early 20th century.[4]

Background edit

Immediately following the war, all of the Southern states enacted "Black Codes," laws intended specifically to curtail the rights of the newly freed African Americans. Many Northern states enacted their own "Black Codes" restricting or barring black immigration.[5] The Civil Rights Act of 1866, however, nullified most of these laws, and the federal Freedman's Bureau was able to regulate many of the affairs of Southern black men, who were granted the right to vote in 1867. Groups such as the Union League and the Radical Republicans sought total equality and complete integration of Black People into American society. The Republican Party itself held significant power in the South during Reconstruction because of the federal government's role.[6]

During Reconstruction, Union Leagues were formed across the South after 1867 as all-black working auxiliaries of the Republican Party. They were secret organizations that mobilized freedmen to register to vote and to vote Republican. They discussed political issues, promoted civic projects, and mobilized workers opposed to certain employers. Most branches were segregated, but a few were integrated. The leaders of the all-black units were mostly urban Black People from the North who had never been enslaved. Historian Eric Foner reports:[7]

By the end of 1867 it seemed that virtually every black voter in the south had enrolled in the Union League, the Loyal League, or some equivalent local political organization. Meetings were generally held in a black church or school.

— Eric Foner, Black Leaders of the Nineteenth Century

During the 19th century, a small number of African Americans were elected to the United States Congress; all were members of the Republican Party. In the South, the party was a voting coalition of Freedmen (freed slaves), Carpetbaggers (derogatory term used by southern whites for recent arrivals from the north), and Scalawags (derogatory term describing those southern whites who had been loyal to the US during the Civil War). In the South, the Republican Party gradually came to be known as "the party of the Negro."[8] In Texas, Black People comprised 90% of the party members during the 1880s.[9]

The Democratic Party increasingly came to be seen by many in the white community as the party of respectability.[8] The first Ku Klux Klan targeted violence against black Republican leaders and seriously undercut the Union League.[10]

Republican factionalism edit

Black Republicans increasingly demanded more and more offices at the expense of the Scalawags. The more numerous Black-and-tan element typically won the factional battles; many Scalawags joined the opposing lily-whites or switched to the Democrats.[11][12]

Following the death of Texas Republican leader Edmund J. Davis in 1883, black civil rights leader Norris Wright Cuney rose to the Republican chairmanship in Texas, becoming a national committeeman in 1889.[13] While black Americans were a minority overall in Texas, Cuney's rise to this position caused a backlash among white conservative Republicans in other areas, leading to the Lily-whites becoming a more organized, nationwide effort. Cuney himself coined the term "Lily-White Movement" to describe rapidly intensifying organized efforts by white conservatives to oust black Republicans from positions of party leadership and incite riots to divide the party.[14] Some authors contend that the effort was coordinated with Democrats as part of a larger movement toward disenfranchisement of Black people in the South by increasing restrictions in voter registration rules.[15]

Downfall of black Republicans edit

By 1890, with a few brief exceptions, the Democratic Party had gained control of all state legislatures in the South. From 1890 to 1908, Southern states accomplished disenfranchisement of Black people and—in some states—many poor whites.[16]

During the first three decades of the 20th century, no Black people served in the U.S. Congress due to their disenfranchisement across the South.[17] Black leaders were barred in 1922 from the Virginia Republican Congressional Convention; the state had imposed racial segregation in public places and disenfranchised most Black people by this time.[18]

At the national level, the Republican Party made some attempts to respond to black interests.[19][20] In 1920, Republicans made opposition to lynching part of their platform at the Republican National Convention. Lynchings of black women and men in the South [21] had increased in the decades around the turn of the 20th century. Leonidas C. Dyer, a white Republican Representative from St. Louis, Missouri, worked with the NAACP to introduce an anti-lynching bill into the House, where he gained strong passage in 1922.[22] One of the black-and-tan partisans who continued to hold appointed office was Walter L. Cohen of New Orleans, the customs inspector and later comptroller of customs. He gained appointments from four Republican presidents and continued in office through the Calvin Coolidge administration.[23]

During the NAACP national convention in 1926, the delegates expressed their disappointment with the party:[24]

Our political salvation and our social survival lie in our absolute independence of party allegiance in politics and the casting of our vote for our friends and against our enemies whoever they may be and whatever party labels they carry.

— NAACP, 1926 Convention

Aftermath edit

Lily-white/black-and-tan factionalism flared up in 1928,[25] when Herbert Hoover tried to appeal to upper-class southern whites; and again in 1932 as the New Deal coalition built by Franklin D. Roosevelt and the pro-civil rights voice of Eleanor Roosevelt began to attract African-American voters to the Democratic Party.[26] Due to Harry Truman's proposal for comprehensive civil rights legislation and his anti-segregationist policies, and for support for the civil rights movement and Congressional passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 under Lyndon Johnson, the shift of African Americans toward Democratic candidates accelerated.[27]

According to author and professor Michael K. Fauntroy, the Lily-White Movement is one of the darkest and most "under-examined [eras] of American Republicanism".[28][29]

Important figures edit

Lily-white leaders:

Leading opponents:

Further reading edit

  • Abbott, Richard H. The Republican Party and the South, 1855–1877 (University of North Carolina Press, 1986),
  • Brady, Robert A. (2008). Black Americans in Congress, 1870–2007 (House Document No. 108-224). U.S. Government Printing Office.
  • Casdorph, Paul D. Republicans, Negroes, and Progressives in the South, 1912–1916 (University of Alabama Press, 1981). online
  • Fauntroy, Michael K. (2007). Republicans and the Black vote. Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 978-1588264701.
  • Hales, Douglas (2003). "3: Political Education, 1869–83". A southern family in white & Black: the Cuneys of Texas. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-1585442003.
  • Heersink, Boris, and Jeffery A. Jenkins. "Southern Delegates and Republican National Convention Politics, 1880–1928." Studies in American Political Development 29#1 (2015): 68–88. online Archived 2016-04-10 at the Wayback Machine
  • Hume, Richard L. and Jerry B. Gough. Blacks, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags: The Constitutional Conventions of Radical Reconstruction (LSU Press, 2008); statistical classification of delegates.
  • Jenkins, Jeffery A., and Boris Heersink. "Republican Party Politics and the American South: From Reconstruction to Redemption, 1865–1880." (2016 paper t the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association); online.
  • Lily-White Movement from the Handbook of Texas Online
  • Lisio, Donald J. Hoover, Blacks, & Lily-Whites: A Study of Southern Strategies (1985) online
  • Myrdal, Gunnar; Bok, Sissela (1944). An American dilemma: the Negro problem and modern democracy. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-1560008569.
  • Spragen, William C. (1988). "8: Theodore Roosevelt". Popular images of American presidents. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0313228995.
  • Trelease, Allen W. "Who were the Scalawags?." Journal of Southern History 29.4 (1963): 445–468. in JSTOR
  • Valelly, Richard M. The two reconstructions: The struggle for black enfranchisement (U of Chicago Press, 2009).
  • Walton, Hanes. Black Republicans: The politics of the black and tans (Scarecrow Press, 1975).
  • Ward, Judson C. "The Republican Party in Bourbon Georgia, 1872–1890." Journal of Southern History 9.2 (1943): 196–209. in JSTOR
  • Watts, Eugene J. "Black Political Progress in Atlanta: 1868–1895," Journal of Negro History (1974) 59#3 pp. 268–286 in JSTOR
  • Wetta, Frank J. The Louisiana Scalawags: Politics, Race, and Terrorism during the Civil War and Reconstruction (2012) online review[dead link]
  • Wiggins, Sarah Woolfolk. The Scalawag in Alabama Politics, 1865–1881 (U of Alabama Press, 1977).

Primary sources edit

  • Link, Arthur S. "Correspondence Relating to the Progressive Party's 'Lily White' Policy in 1912." Journal of Southern History 10.4 (1944): 480–490. in JSTOR

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "U.S. Constitution – Thirteenth Amendment | Resources | Constitution Annotated | | Library of Congress". Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  2. ^ Heersink, Boris; Jenkins, Jeffery A. (April 2020). "Whiteness and the Emergence of the Republican Party in the Early Twentieth-Century South". Studies in American Political Development. 34 (1): 71–90. doi:10.1017/S0898588X19000208. ISSN 0898-588X. S2CID 213551748.
  3. ^ "TSHA | Lily-White Movement". Retrieved 2021-11-18.
  4. ^ "Negroes Lose Fight in North Carolina; Pritchard's "Lilly Whites" Recognized by the President. Politicians in Washington Are Puzzled by Contradictory Aspects of Mr. Roosevelt's Policy in the South". New York Times. 17 February 1903.
  5. ^ "African American History". MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 28 October 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  6. ^ Brady (2008), p. 154
  7. ^ Leon F. Litwack and August Meier, ed. (1991). Black Leaders of the Nineteenth Century. University of Illinois Press. p. 221. ISBN 978-0252062131.
  8. ^ a b Masson, David; Masson, George; Morley, John; Morris, Mowbray Walter (1900). "The Future of the Negro". Macmillan's Magazine. Macmillan and Company: 449.
  9. ^ AFRICAN AMERICANS AND POLITICS from the Handbook of Texas Online
  10. ^ Steven Hahn, A nation under our feet: Black political struggles in the rural South, from slavery to the great migration (2003). pp 165–205
  11. ^ Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins, The Scalawag in Alabama Politics, 1865–1881 (University of Alabama Press, 1977).
  12. ^ Frank J. Wetta, The Louisiana Scalawags: Politics, Race, and Terrorism during the Civil War and Reconstruction (2012)
  13. ^ LATE NINETEENTH-CENTURY TEXAS from the Handbook of Texas Online
  14. ^ Myrdal, Gunnar; Bok, Sissela (1944). An American dilemma: the Negro problem and modern democracy. Transaction Publishers. p. 478. ISBN 978-1412815109.
  15. ^ Fauntroy, Michael K. (2007). Republicans and the Black Vote. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 43. ISBN 978-1588264701. ... lily whites worked with Democrats to disenfranchise African Americans.
  16. ^ Michael Perman, Struggle for Mastery: Disfranchisement in the South, 1888–1908 (2001)
  17. ^ "The Negroes' Temporary Farewell: Jim Crow and the Exclusion of African Americans from Congress, 1887–1929". Black Americans in Congress (House of Representatives). Archived from the original on 4 November 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  18. ^ "Virginia Party Politics". Virginia Center for Digital History (University of Virginia). Retrieved 9 October 2009.
    "Negroes Again Barred From G.O.P. Convention". Daily Progress. July 23, 1922.
  19. ^ Lewis L. Gould, The Republicans: A History of the Grand Old Party (2014)
  20. ^ Vincent P. De Santis, Republicans face the southern question: The new departure years, 1877–1897 (1959).
  21. ^
  22. ^ George C. Rable, "The South and the Politics of Antilynching Legislation, 1920–1940." Journal of Southern History 51.2 (1985): 201–220. in JSTOR
  23. ^ Louisiana Historical Association. "A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography". Archived from the original on October 19, 2017. Retrieved December 21, 2010.
  24. ^ Wasniewski, Matthew; Office of History; Preservation House (2008). Black Americans in Congress, 1870–2007. Government Printing Office. p. 183. ISBN 978-0160801945.
  25. ^ Lisio, Donald J. (2012). Hoover, Blacks, and Lily-Whites: A Study of Southern Strategies. U North Carolina Press. p. 37ff. ISBN 978-0807874219.
  26. ^ Marty Cohen; et al. (2009). The Party Decides: Presidential Nominations Before and After Reform. University of Chicago Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0226112381.
  27. ^ Robert David Johnson (2009). All the Way with LBJ: The 1964 Presidential Election. Cambridge University Press. p. 84. ISBN 978-0521737524.
  28. ^ Michael K. Fauntroy (4 January 2007). "Republicans and the Black Vote". The Huffington Post.
  29. ^ Michael K. Fauntroy (2007). Republicans and the Black Vote. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 164. ISBN 978-1588264701.
  30. ^ Hales (2003), p. 40
  31. ^ Spragens (1988), pp. 196–198
  32. ^ Myrdal, Gunnar; Bok, Sissela (1944). An American dilemma: the Negro problem and modern democracy. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-1560008569.
  33. ^ Donald J. Lisio, Hoover, Blacks, & Lily-Whites: A Study of Southern Strategies (1985)
  34. ^ Kevern J. Verney, The Art of the Possible: Booker T. Washington and Black Leadership in the United States, 1881–1925 (2013).

Further reading edit

  • Raffel, Jeffrey. Historical dictionary of school segregation and desegregation: The American experience (Bloomsbury, 1998) online