CIVIL RIGHTS: WHO
ARE THE “COWARDS”?
On taking office as
Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder stated that America is a
nation of “cowards” when it comes to race and that he would commit the
Department of Justice to making civil rights cases a top priority. President
Obama himself promised to “reinvigorate federal civil rights enforcement,”
especially by prosecuting cases of voting discrimination against blacks.
May 15 Obama’s Department of Justice quashed a civil rights case involving
voter intimidation by blacks in Philadelphia on election day, 2008.
New York chairman of Democrats for McCain, I had gone to Philadelphia on
election day to work as a volunteer at polling places. An old hand at election
work, I had been Robert Kennedy’s New York campaign manager in 1968, had
worked for Charles Evers when he ran for governor of Mississippi in 1971, and
had worked in South Carolina against Strom Thurmond in 1978. In Mississippi I
had stopped the voting in the towns of Red Lick and Midnight and made them
remove nooses that were hanging from tree branches outside the polling places.
But never until I went to Philadelphia on November 4 had I seen a man with
a weapon blocking the entrance to a polling place.
men dressed in black combat boots, black berets and black uniforms blocked the
door to the polling place at 1221 Fairmount Street. One was brandishing a large
billy-club, intimidating anyone who approached. The two were members of the New
Black Panther Party (NBPP). Our campaign called the police and the press. The
press filmed the incident. The police ordered the armed man to leave, but did
not take away his weapon. As he passed three McCain volunteers, the armed man,
Minister King Samir Shabazz, the party’s leader in Philadelphia, yelled:
“You are about to be ruled by the black man, Cracker!”
been arrested in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 1966 while working as a civil
rights lawyer, and having received a civil rights medal from Senator Edward
Kennedy in 2003 for my work with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under
Law, I appreciated the racist irony.
March I received a call from an attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the
Department of Justice, asking me if I would confirm my experience in an
affidavit in support of a suit under the Voting Rights Act to enjoin such
activity. He said that if such conduct were not actionable under the Act, then
nothing could be. He said my affidavit could involve risk as the NBPP had
injured several policeman in an incident in New York. I said I would do it
provided that they saw the law suit through to the end. On April 7 I signed the
early May the Federal court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania entered a
default judgment versus King Shabazz enjoining him from again appearing at a
polling place with a weapon. But on May 15, with victory certain because the
other defendants (including the national NBPP) had not answered the proceeding,
the new leadership at the Department of Justice dropped the case by filing a
Notice of Voluntary Dismissal. The government attorney said to me: “The
decision to drop the case against the other defendants came as a surprise to all
of us working on it.” He said this failure to enforce the Voting Rights Act,
the keystone of American civil rights legislation, would “embolden” other
abuses in the future.
would have been said had the Bush administration quashed civil rights
enforcement against voter intimidation by whites? The Southern Poverty Law
Center and the Anti-Defamation League describe the NBPP as a hate group, and the
original Black Panthers have denounced it, but the new administration is
Luther King and Robert Kennedy did not die to have thugs dressed like storm
troopers and carrying weapons block the doors of polling places, nor to have the
Attorney General of the United States protect the thugs instead of the voters.
will our next elections be like? ACORN, the principal instrument of voter fraud
in 2008, has now been lavishly funded by the “Stimulus Package”.
Intimidation at the polls is designed in part to prevent poll watchers from
challenging the fraudulent voters registered by Acorn. The new census is to be
overseen by the political office in the White House. Hundreds of thousands of
illegal immigrants have been registered under the “Motor-Voter” Bill, which
mandates voter registration at Motor Vehicle Bureaus. The New Black Panthers
will be at the door. Who are today’s “cowards” about race?
Law School. Civil Rights Lawyer in Mississippi 1966. Robert Kennedy's New
York State Campaign Manager 1968. Campaigned
for Charles Evers for Governor of Mississippi in 1971. Jimmy Carter's New
York State campaign manager. Former publisher of The Village Voice. 2003
received a civil rights medal from Senator Edward Kennedy for his work with
the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Author of novels China Star,
Shanghai Station, The Devil's Oasis, and A Cafe on the Nile.