Negro Republican Party

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The Negro Republican Party is the name given to African American branches of the Republican Party formed in the Southern United States after the American Civil War (1861–1865).

William F. Butler of Jefferson County, Kentucky spoke at the first convention of the Negro Republican Party held in Lexington, Kentucky in November 1867 and became the president of the party.[1][2] The religious leader Elisha Green was chosen vice-president of the Kentucky branch at the Lexington convention in 1867. He was a leading Baptist preacher in Maysville and Paris until he died in 1889.[3]

The Democrats were opposed to the Negro Republicans, which represented the majority of eligible voters in some states. In 1866 the Old Guard magazine accused the Democrats of using force and fraud to gain and retain power, and representing "but a despised faction of the American people".[4]

Many years later, the New Orleans The Times-Picayune was hostile to the organization in Louisiana, publishing editorials in the 1890s in favor of disenfranchisement of Negroes on the basis that they were "unfit to vote, ignorant, shiftless, depraved and criminal-minded", and would be controlled by a "ring" of white politicians. In September 1895 after a "pow-wow" of the Negro Republican Party, the Picayune claimed that whites would be willing to accept subordinate positions in the party to control the Negro vote.[5] In his 1920 book "Children of the Slaves", the British author Stephen Graham mentions that in New Orleans the Negro Republican Party could not count for much in votes.[6]

African Americans were allowed to vote in Alabama until 1901, when the state disenfranchised them although still letting them register. The Negro Republican Party in Birmingham, Alabama was organized in opposition to the lily-white Republican party, after that party prevented any of the twenty-five black delegates from taking part in its Birmingham convention.[7] In Maryland, while the Democrats were typically against allowing blacks to vote at all, the Republicans wanted to give them this and other basic rights, but many did not want blacks to hold important political offices or to have frequent contact with whites. Their vote was important to the Republicans though. In 1909, at a time when the Democrats were pushing for disenfranchisement in the state, the Republicans called on all members of the Negro Republican Party to turn out on voting day in every district.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Butler, William F.". University of Kentucky Libraries. Retrieved 2010-10-04. 
  2. ^ Anne Elizabeth Marshall (2010). Creating a Confederate Kentucky: The Lost Cause and Civil War Memory in a Border State. UNC Press Books. p. 47. ISBN 0-8078-3436-X. 
  3. ^ "Elisha Green - Religious Leader". Groundspeak, Inc. Retrieved 2010-10-04. 
  4. ^ Chauncey Burr, Thomas Dunn English (1866). The Old guard: a monthly journal devoted to the principles of 1776 and 1787, Volume 4. C. Chauncey Burr & Co. p. 648ff. 
  5. ^ Rayford Whittingham Logan (1997). The betrayal of the Negro, from Rutherford B. Hayes to Woodrow Wilson. Da Capo Press. p. 296ff. ISBN 0-306-80758-0. 
  6. ^ Stephen Graham (2009). Children of the Slaves. BiblioBazaar, LLC. p. 237. ISBN 1-110-03649-3. 
  7. ^ Lynne Barbara Feldman. "Birmingham, Alabama: Civic, Literary, and Mutual Aid Associations". BookRags. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  8. ^ C Whig. "One Step Closer to Freedom" (PDF). Simmons College. p. 89ff.