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Frank Keating: A profound and special selection for Oklahoma (OPINION)

Frank Keating: A profound and special selection for Oklahoma (OPINION)

Modified: August 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm
Published: September 1, 2012     

History has a way of salving wounds, particularly old and embarrassing wounds that should not have occurred in the first place.

In 1906, Republican Theodore Roosevelt refused to approve Oklahoma's statehood because our constitution contained “race distinction” passages permitting segregation in transportation and education. Roosevelt signed when the transportation piece was dropped.

Following statehood and the removal of the Republican territorial governor, Democrats pressed ahead and enshrined Jim Crow into state law. The new Legislature's first act was Senate Bill 1. It legally demolished black aspirations for years to come. They were relegated to society's bottom rung.

With Republicans largely silent, emboldened Democrats next passed a constitutional amendment to block blacks from voting. In part, the amendment provided that any person who didn't vote at the time the Civil War ended, or who wasn't a direct descendant of someone who voted at that time, couldn't vote in the future. Blacks didn't vote in the 1860s. Most were slaves. Presto — voting rolls going forward would not only be white but exclusively white.

The target of this assault was A.C. Hamlin, a Republican legislator from Guthrie. Hamlin was the first African-American elected to the Legislature and the only black to serve until 1964. With no one of his race voting, it wasn't surprising that he was defeated. His lone two-year term in the sunshine was over... FULL ARTICLE

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Zalfa wrote:
Scott, Awesome filming and great meiromes. I so remember those early cold mornings getting up to the fields and having a long hard work day, getting dirty and tired, and doing it for weeks on end. Glad to see things have improved significantly over the years and that you are still at it. Will have to drop by when back in good old Van Buren. Love the video and seeing you doing your labor of love.

Sat, March 23, 2013 @ 8:05 AM

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