Apologies Due All Around
Sam Cooke gets his due; Democrats get a pass
Mayor Adrian Perkins issued an apology to the Sam Cooke family recently during the Let the Good Times Roll Festival in Shreveport for what Mayor Perkins says was the unfair treatment that Sam Cooke received here more than five decades ago when he was arrested for disturbing the peace.
“The King of Soul” had performed at the Municipal Auditorium on Oct. 8, 1963. Afterward, when his wife, brother and manager attempted to check in to a local motel, they were turned away because they were black. The mayor says Cooke turned this “humiliating experience into the anthem of the Civil Rights movement.”
Mayor Perkins’ apology isn’t nearly enough, though. Racism is an abhorrent stain upon our history, and apologizing to the Cooke family should include Mayor Perkins’ apology for his own Democrat Party. The party’s support of slavery and segregation, especially during the 1950s and 1960s, gave protection to those who discriminated based on skin color and gave rise to the very incident that led to the arrest of Sam Cooke on that late October night in 1963. Such incidents didn’t just happen in Shreveport – thousands of black Americans suffered the fate of Sam Cooke across the country, mostly at the hands of Southern Democrats in the 1950s and 1960s, who opposed civil rights legislation in Congress.
This included our own Democrat Congressman Joe D. Waggoner Jr. from the 4th Congressional District and continued the Democrat Party’s history of discrimination against black Americans. In fact, not one Democrat in Congress voted for the Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection of the laws) nor for the Fifteenth Amendment (the right to vote), nor even for the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
Despite civil rights legislation having greater support in Congress from Republicans than Democrats, Democrats are still considered more caring and sympathetic toward the needs of black Americans. Even though their “caring” for the black community has resulted in higher poverty rates, higher unemployment rates, higher illegitimacy rates, greater income inequality and declining education standards – in the 50-plus years since the Great Society programs were initiated.
And if Democrat Party opposition to civil rights legislation wasn’t insidious enough, consider the Democrats’ support of welfare programs – for more than 50 years – which virtually destroyed the black family and the black community.
In fact, before these welfare programs began in 1965, only 22% of black children were born into single-parent families; after these Democrat-led programs started, the illegitimacy rate in the black community tripled to almost 70%, sending millions of black families into poverty.
And to add insult to injury, the poverty rate for single-mother families is nearly five times more than the rate for marriedcouple families, not to mention that boys born to these single-mothers, especially who didn’t finish high school, are twice as likely to end up in prison.
Mayor Perkins should also apologize for the Democrat Party’s continued push for open borders and sanctuary cities, which has marginalized the black community by allowing more illegal immigrants to flood the market – in turn, reducing wages and employment opportunities in the black community (not to mention taking their votes for granted) because there are simply not enough low-skilled jobs to go around for both blacks and illegal immigrants.
Yes, apologizing for the unfair treatment that Sam Cooke received in Shreveport back in 1963 is a good, first step to acknowledging what was true for so many more during that time. We must likewise acknowledge those who prolonged the discrimination against black Americans – and injustice everywhere – all while unapologetically pretending to “care” more about such matters than anyone else.
Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in The Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at email@example.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.