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Letter: Don’t forget, Democrats were backers of segregation
A figure is hanged in effigy in front of Howell domitory on the Georgia Tech campus Dec. 2, 1955, after Gov. Marvin Griffin requested that the Board of Regents ban interracial athletic games. Words on the dormitory, partially concealed by the tree, read, 'Ha Griffin.' Later in the evening some 2,000 Tech students gathered on Tech's campus to protest the governor's request. The students than staged a mass protest march downtown. (AP Photo/Charles Pugh/AJC staff) - photo by Associated Press

In 1955, Georgia Tech accepted an invitation to play in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1, 1956 against Pittsburgh. Immediately, a problem arose: Pittsburgh’s fullback was black. 

The Democratic governor of Georgia, Marvin Griffin, an avowed racist, stomped in. Griffin called for an emergency meeting of the Board of Regents to prevent Georgia football teams from competing against integrated teams. For the full story, go to the book “Dodd’s Luck,” pages 182- 191, or The Atlanta Constitution and The Atlanta Journal from mid-December 1955.

I was born and grew up in Atlanta. From an early age, say 1941 on, I was aware of segregation. By the time I was in high school, I observed “white only” drinking fountains, segregated schools, white-only restaurants and the back of the bus. I didn’t like it but said nothing.

At that time, the South was solid Democrat. Today, the Democratic Party blames whites, Americans and the South for racial problems. Nothing could be further from the truth.

To my knowledge, no Republican governor stood in a school door blocking blacks after segregation in schools ended in 1954. At least two Democratic governors did, George Wallace in Alabama and Ross Barnett in Mississippi. 

After the Civil War, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ended slavery, the 14th Amendment granted equal rights to all naturally born citizens and the 15th Amendment gave blacks the right to vote. Democrats overwhelming opposed these amendments. 

Republicans shut down the Ku Klux Klan toward the end of the 1800s. Democrat President Woodrow Wilson revived the KKK. One historian called the KKK the “Terroristic Arm of the Democratic Party.”

Americans, by and large, have never been and are not now racists. It is the Republicans who fought for equal rights for all U.S. citizens. 

I voted for President Donald Trump. He is doing a good job and like all presidents has made some mistakes. A big one was calling black football players who do not stand for our national anthem “SOBs.” 

Instead he should invite these players to come to Washington to talk, say on a Monday at government expense, and he should be ready to hear their side. They might not end up agreeing, but at least they would be heard by our nation’s leader.

George C. Kaulbach


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