Not a Legacy of Slavery

This week as the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech is celebrated; there are a number of things not widely known.

For instance, some of the finest buildings in Washington D.C., including the White House and Capitol building were constructed in large part by Blacks, some free, some not — along with immigrants, some free, some not, (indentured servants) who worked side by side without conflict or antipathy. For names and wages see:

One traveler through the South during that era wrote he did not see a single white carpenter, bricklayer, or plasterer, as all skilled trades were performed by Negroes. In the Atlantic Monthly, in case you missed it, Booker T. Washington wrote in November 1889 that, “Under slavery, the Negro was taught every trade, every industry, that furnished the means of earning a living.”

Eight years later in the same magazine, John Stephens Durham cited a 1838 study by The Society of Friends (Quakers) that identified over 45 skilled occupations in Philadelphia in which Blacks were employed. Twenty-one years later an additional 41 trades were added that were not mentioned in the 1838 report. Durham continues, “…today (February 1898) one may safely declare that practically all the trades enumerated by Mr. Bacon (employed by the Quakers) are closed against colored workmen.”

The Labor Unions and the Negro, Atlantic Monthly February 1898.;cc=atla;g=moagrp;xc=1;q1=The%20Labor%20Unions%20and%20the%20Negro;rgn=full%20text;idno=atla0081-2;didno=atla0081-2;node=atla0081-2%3A8;view=image;seq=0228

This reminds me of my fourth grade class, the teacher told my friend Johnny to write his name on the chalkboard. He said, “Hey teach, I ain’t got no chalk.” Correcting him the teacher said, “It’s ‘I don’t have any chalk, you don’t have any chalk, he doesn’t have any chalk, she doesn’t have any chalk, they don’t have any chalk!” Little Johnny blurted out, “What the hell happened to all the chalk?”

Today we ask, “What the hell happened to all the jobs that Blacks formerly held with a Black unemployment rate today of 12.6 vs. 6.6% for Whites and nearly 24% for all teenagers. (Pew Research)

The broadest measure of unemployment (U-6) doubles the figures above.
Durham explains what happened. “Union workmen were not satisfied merely to refrain from working when they had declared a strike. They determined to prevent other men from taking the places made vacant… the unions protested against free blacks and foreigners … against any man who could be distinctively marked…. Some of the friends of equality of opportunity for colored workmen have felt impelled to denounce the trade unions.”

Democrat President Woodrow Wilson in 1913 introduced segregation of Negroes in federal agencies and “the Railway Mail Association, representing the railway mail workers, refused African Americans membership.”

Unions truly only became powerful when with the support of powerful politicians they were able to exclude non-union workers from jobs. They created an artificial shortage of jobs by reducing competition that gained them above market (free market) wages. Blacks were not allowed to become apprentices or join Unions, except for the Sleeping Car Porters union. The unintended consequences are felt today in high unemployment among all workers and especially among Blacks and teenagers. Teenagers without jobs, up to 40% of Blacks, become restless and often turn to crime and dealing drugs. When I was young,
teenagers worked at gas stations and filled your tank, washed your windows, and checked your oil. Millions of teenagers, including me, delivered the daily newspapers and mowed lawns for their neighbors. Laws, some well-intended, eliminated millions of jobs that paid less than union agitated federal minimum wages.

Perhaps a more detailed explanation of what happened to Black jobs is the Davis-Bacon “Prevailing Wage” Act. This is a federal super-minimum wage law (still with us) that originally was intended to keep Blacks, Hispanics, and immigrants from working on federal construction jobs.

Davis-Bacon requires the payment of prevailing wages on federally funded projects. At the behest of Congress, President Hoover who believed it would prevent wages from falling during the Great Depression signed it into law March 3, 1931. President Roosevelt subsequently concurred.

Regardless of what two Presidents believed, Davis-Bacon was approved by Congress after a contractor using “negro labourers” from the South won a contract to build a Veterans Hospital in New York. Alabama Congressman Clayton Allgood fretted about contractors with “cheap colored labor … of the sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country.”

Prevailing wages historically have meant the highest union wages. Non-union construction workers have a tremendous advantage over unionized competitors: They often can do a better job, more efficiently, at less cost to taxpayers. Prevailing Wage laws remove this advantage. Some politicians call this “unfair,” by attacking quality of work while never being able to identify non-union built buildings that are falling down in their districts.

It’s not just wages but also union work rules that cost the taxpayers. Until the 1960s, Walt Richardson, a union painter (and my parents’ business partner) told me the painters union prohibited him using wider than 6 inch paint brushes and he could not use paint rollers or spray guns. Not being subject to such onerous restrictions gave non-union workers a clear edge. I was best man at a friend’s wedding just out of high school when he went to work at National Steel and Shipbuilding. A union steward told Larry to slow down as he was making other workers look bad. Larry said he was just working, not fast, not slow. When he got off work one day all four of his tires were slashed in the parking lot. This was not an uncommon union tactic.

The sole reason for adopting the Prevailing Wage Ordinances is so labor unions will direct their generous campaign contributions to politicians, who vote for such ordinances. All other wondrous explanations are buffalo chips.

If we were in a foreign country this would be illegal under the “Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” (15 U.S. C. § 78dd-1, et. Seq.). Unions give campaign contributions to politicians and politicians contribute “taxpayers money” to unions, via union workers getting “prevailing wages.”

Not only are Prevailing Wage Ordinances a throwback to Jim Crow laws keeping Blacks, Hispanics and non-union workers from competing for jobs but when a city’s residents are needlessly forced to pay more for public services they have less money for other necessities relegating them to a lower standard of living.

Undoubtedly, the union workers who get higher so-called “Prevailing Wages” will be grateful. The workers harmed are invisible to elected officials and probably don’t make campaign contributions anyway. It’s as plain as the nose on your face; politicians takes care of those who take care of politicians. “All political power is derived from what you can do to — or for someone.” In summary, based on experience since 1931, those harmed the most are minorities and non-union workers willing to do a better job at lower cost by adopting union prohibited new technology. Regardless of intent of the law, economist Walter Williams writes, “While today’s supporters of the Davis-Bacon Act talk differently, its racially discriminatory effects are the same.”

Other things not widely known are:
1. It was Democrats that put Martin Luther King in the Birmingham Jail.
2. The Ku Klux Klan was indicted by a Grand Jury as the “Terrorist” arm of the Democratic Party responsible for lynching an untold number of Negroes.
3. For 200 years the Democratic Party was the party of racism, slavery and segregation.
4. John F. Kennedy voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Act. 5. Democratic Senators logged the longest filibuster ever to stop the 1964 Civil Right Act.
6. Attorney General Robert Kennedy authorized the bugging of Dr. King’s bed, and the FBI distributed the tapes to King’s wife 7. Bill Moyers distributed copies to the press?
8. Democrats stood in University entryways to block Black Students in the Civil Rights era.
9. Democrats turned fire hoses and attack dogs on peacefully marching Black children
Nonetheless, Martin Luther King was able to rise above it all proving one man of courage makes a majority.

Thomas Sowell notes that more economic progress was made by Blacks in the 20 years prior to the 1964 Civil Rights Act than in the 20 years after the act was passed. Prior to the 1960s, “most black children were raised in two-parent families. At one time, a higher percentage of blacks than whites were married and working.” The evidence to date indicates the reversal in Black social and economic progress is due not to the Legacy of Slavery, as so often heard, but to the Legacy of Unions, Democrats, and Liberalism.

While, admittedly, the Democratic Party of today is not the same as the party of the past.
In spite of Democrats historically stacking the deck against Blacks, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby are two of the richest people in the world along with tens of thousands of Black U.S. millionaires (variously estimated at 35,000 – 109,000). At least one report claims the collective wealth of Black Americans is greater than all of Black Africa. We have a Black President and Black Attorney General, having followed two Black Secretaries of State and have had numerous Black Senators, Congressmen and Mayors. Claims of America as a racist society appear stupid although undoubtedly some residual racism remains in a few places, among a few people.

Booker T. Washington, 100 years ago acknowledged “a class of Blacks that make a living from agitating for Blacks because it pays!” The media seems obsessed with these race-baiters forever shouting “racism.” You can find more at by Fred Schnaubelt or in Former Democrat Delegate, Rev. Wayne Perryman’s “Unfounded Loyalty” and why he filed a class action suit against the Democrat Party for 200 years of oppression.
Loyalty-In-Depth-Between-Democrats/dp/1562290738 -

Fred Schnaubelt, Former San Diego Councilman Author of Romancing The Voters

Fred Schnaubelt, a San Diego City Councilman from 1977 – 1981 was San Diego’s first elected official to hire an African-American Chief of Staff, Susan Love Brown; he brought Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams to address the City Council and the Urban League; and he was given credit by Clarence Pendleton for his conversion from Democrat to Republican when “Penny,” as he was called, was introduced to Sowell and Williams and appointed Chairman of the federal Civil Rights Commission.


Thomas Sowell argued that the federal minimum wage law has been used to undermine companies that employ blacks. In the fourth quarter of 2012, the black unemployment rate was more than double the rate for whites. But prior to the 1930s, Sowell said, black unemployment was actually lower than white unemployment. “What changed was the government intervention into the labor market,” Sowell said. “1930 was the last year in which there was no federal minimum wage. They brought in the Davis Bacon Act.” Read more: