The Know-Nothing Party II

Lead: Formed to resist the flood of immigrants in the 1850s, the Know-Nothing Party made prejudice pay big dividends at the ballot box.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By 1853 the Order of United Americans had chapters in towns all over the country. Riding a wave of resentment against the huge influx of German and Irish immigrants, the Order was better known as the Know-Nothing movement. Legend says that it took its name from what members said to questions about the Order's secret meetings - "I know nothing."

 

 

 

 

The Know-Nothing Party I

Lead: In 1854 the Know-Nothing Party riding a wave of anti-immigrant prejudice, rolled up victory after victory. Except for the pre-Civil War Republicans, it was the best third party showing in American history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The United States is nation of immigrants. Beginning with the Jamestown Colony in 1607, successive waves of aliens have sought a new life and prosperity in what they considered to be a land of opportunity. Crowding out the original Native Americans, whose ancient ancestors actually may have themselves emigrated from the eastern Asia, more strangers arrived each decade in search of a new home. Within a couple of generations, their families now firmly established, many of the newcomers considered themselves "native Americans" and looked with barely tolerant superiority at the next batch of immigrants spilling onto the docks of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York.

 

 

 

 

Loving vs. Virginia III

Lead: In one of the most important decisions of his term as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Earl Warren struck down racially based anti-miscegenation laws.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: After being convicted of the violation of Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act (1924) Mildred and Richard Loving were banished from the Commonwealth. They contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to help them seek redress. ACLU lawyers Bernard S. Cohen and later Philip Hirschkop enthusiastically accepted the case to further the ACLU’s crusade against anti-miscegenation laws nationwide. Loving v. Virginia would be the signature case in that crusade.

Loving vs. Virginia II

Lead: In 1924, because of deep-seated white racism and growing out of the now-discredited concept of eugenics, Virginia passed the Racial Integrity Act. It lasted 43 years.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: During the Civil War, in an effort to pin the label of race mixing on Republicans, Democrats published in New York a fake pamphlet advocating miscegenation, the sexual intermixing of white and black races. Unfortunately, before the pamphlet was demonstrated to be a hoax in 1864, the vile word miscegenation entered American social and political discourse. Beginning in the 1880s, particularly in the former Confederate states, laws were passed to attempt to blunt the effects of Constitutional amendments thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen, and maintain African American second-class citizenship. One such law was Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act (1924). It was for violation of this prohibition against interracial marriage or interracial sexual intercourse that Mildred Jeter Loving and Richard Loving were arrested, convicted and banished from the Commonwealth in 1959.

Loving vs. Virginia I

Lead: In summer 1958 the long arm of Virginia law propelled by generations of racial animus reached out to ensnare Richard and Mildred Loving.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: On a warm night in mid-July, Caroline County Sheriff R. Garnet Brooks and two deputies invaded the bedroom of the sleeping Lovings. The cops asked why the two were in bed together. Mildred said, “I am his wife.” When Richard Loving pointed to their District of Columbia marriage license hanging on the wall, Brooks said, “That’s no good here.” They were arrested and hauled off to jail.

The Saga of Leo Frank III

Lead: In 1915, Georgia Governor John M. Slaton commuted the sentence of Leo Frank, a man wrongfully convicted in the brutal murder of one of his employees, young Mary Phagan. That summer a mob broke into the prison farm where Frank was being held, took him out and lynched him.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Slaton said later he would have pardoned Frank had he been asked to, but the failure to request complete exoneration was the latest in a long series of blunders by Frank's defense teams and the ultimate triumph of a prosecution which conspired in what was little more than an official frame-up. Frank was convicted by the testimony of a black janitor who was almost certainly guilty of the murder himself. An ironic twist of American justice: anti-Semitic prejudice prevailed over anti-black bias. In 1942 Rev. L.O. Bricker, the Baptist pastor of Mary Phagan's parents, revealed the popular sentiment at the time, "My own feelings, upon the arrest of the old Negro night-watchman, were .... [that he] would be poor atonement for the life of this little girl. But, when .... the police arrested a Jew, and a Yankee Jew at that, all of the inborn prejudice against Jews rose up in a feeling of satisfaction, that here would be a victim worthy to pay for the crime."

The Saga of Leo Frank II

Lead: In 1913 Leo Frank, a leader in Atlanta's Jewish business community, was accused of brutally murdering one of his female employees, Mary Phagan. It has been called "one of the most shocking frame-ups ever perpetrated by American law and order officials."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In order to obtain an indictment against Frank, Solicitor Hugh Dorsey withheld from the grand jury the key fact that he had another suspect, Jim Conley, a janitor from the factory. Conley had been seen washing blood from a shirt after the murder, he admitted writing two notes found near the body which, in nearly unintelligible language, attempted to shift the blame away from himself, and under strong pressure from police investigators, changed his story over and over. In retrospect, it is clear that the police were determined to get Frank's conviction and used Conley to do it.

Eugenics II

Lead: From its start as an optimistic approach to improving the human condition, eugenics degenerated into a racist tool in the hands of bigotry and ultimately led to the gas ovens of the Third Reich.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The fundamental problem with eugenics, even as Sir Francis Galton articulated it in the 19th century, was that it focused primarily on inborn characteristics and almost completely disregarded social, environmental, educational, and physical factors when examining the human race. Basically, eugenicists advocated a form of genetic determinism. A person is born with a genetic imprint that determines the course of their lives. Not surprisingly these theories became a powerful tool in the hands of racists. It all depends on who is setting the standard. If society is to improve itself, it is said, it must eliminate genetic threats to racial purity. In the sad history of eugenics, a wide variety of groups have been singled out for social restriction, sterilization, or elimination. Feeble-minded or mentally ill people, habitual criminals, sexual libertines, Negroes, Native Americans or any non-whites, Jews, gypsies, and evangelical Christians have all fallen under the wary and sometimes fatal scrutiny of the eugenic mandate. They bore undesirable human traits.