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The Republican Party's 150 years of advancing civil rights:

To stop the Democrats' pro-slavery activities, anti-slavery activists founded the Republican Party in Ripon, Wisconsin on March 20, 1854. The party spread across the northern and western United States like a prairie fire of freedom. In the election of 1860, Republicans swept to victory in the White House and won majorities in both houses of Congress. Just six years after the party's founding, the Governor of every northern state in America was a Republican. That phenomenal progress was possible only because the Republican Party was based on the powerful idea that our nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to equality, must live up to its founding principles.

Despite fierce Democrat opposition, Republicans passed constitutional amendments banning slavery, extending the Bill of Rights to the states, guaranteeing equal protection of the laws and due process to all citizens, and extending the right to vote to persons* of all races and backgrounds. Republicans in Congress also enacted the first ever Civil Rights Act, which extended citizenship and equal rights to people of all races, all colors and all creeds.

*(Note that "persons" included only males at that time.) In 1875, the Republican Congress voted to give all citizens the right of equal access to all public accommodations. Struck down by the Supreme Court eight years later, this landmark legislation would be reborn as the 1964 Civil Rights Act.. .Republicans led the fight for women's rights, and most suffragists were Republicans... The suffragists included two African-American women who were also co-founders of the NAACP: Ida Wells and Mary Terrell.

Landmark Event : March 21, 1965-- Republican Federal Judge Frank Johnson authorizes Martin Luther King's protest march from Selma to Montgomery, overruling Democrat Governor George Wallace.

Democratic opposition to Republican efforts to protect the civil rights of all Americans lasted not only throughout Reconstruction, but well into the 20th century. In the South, those Democrats who most bitterly opposed equality for blacks founded the Ku Klux Klan, which operated as the party's terrorist wing.

Every single African-American in Congress until 1935 was a Republican. Among the Republican pioneers were South Carolina's Joseph Rainey, the first black member of the House of Representatives.

Republican Hiram Revels of Mississippi became the first black U.S Senator the same year. Two years later, Pinckney Pinchback of Louisiana became the first black governor. California was the first state to have a Hispanic governor, Republican Romualdo Pacheco, in 1875.

The first Asian-American U.S. Senator was a Republican, Hiram Fong from Hawaii. The first African-American Senator after Reconstruction was a Republican, Ed Brooke from Massachusetts. the first woman on the Supreme Court was a Republican, Sandra Day O'Connor, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan. The first women elected to the majority leadership in both the House and the Senate were Republicans, Jennifer Dunn and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

In 2004, America marked the 50th anniversary of the modern civil rights movement which began with the Brown v.s. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. That landmark decision was written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the three-term Republican Governor of California appointed by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower. Three years after Brown, President Eisenhower won passage of his landmark Civil Rights Act of 1957. Republican Senator Everett Dirksen authored and introduced the 1960 Civil Rights Act of 1957 and saw it through to passage... The 1964 Civil Rights Act became law only after overcoming a Democrat filibuster.

Adapted from the 2005 Republican Freedom Calendar, by Rep.Christopher Cox, Chairman of the House Policy Committee.

 

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