Saturday, September 15, 2007

AP News Analysis: Central High 50th could boost Clinton, Huckabee

Upcoming is the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Little Rock Nine. That is the incident when the Democrat Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus barred nine black students from attending Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Republican President Dwight Eisenhower called in the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army to let in the black students to attend school. They were treated cruelly by segregationist even after they were let in. Read more info here.

Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton will be attending the Anniversary event on Sept. 25. I have highlighted some important statements from the article in The Pine Bluff Commercial Online.

  • LITTLE ROCK - When Mike Huckabee was Arkansas' governor, he built inroads with the black community through his ties as a Baptist minister and appointments to boards and commissions.
  • Organizers say neither Huckabee nor Clinton will have a speaking role at the event marking the day then-President Dwight Eisenhower sent federal troops to the all-white school. But both may still benefit symbolically from their presence.
  • Huckabee could have the chance to highlight his 10 years as Arkansas governor and show that he may be the best hope for the Republican Party to gain support in the black community after wariness with the Bush administration.
    A year after he was sworn in as governor, Huckabee joined Bill Clinton on the steps of the city's largest high school to mark the 40Th anniversary of its desegregation. During his speech there, Huckabee renounced the racism that nine black students encountered and called prejudice a "sin problem," not just a skin problem.
  • The Southern Baptist minister even singled out his fellow clergy.
  • "What is really tragic that we today come to renounce is the fact that in many parts of the South it was the white churches that helped not only ignore the problems of racism, but in many cases actually fostered those feelings and sentiments," he said.
  • It was rhetoric like that and his record in appointing blacks to boards and commissions that helped Huckabee build support unusual for a white Republican in a Southern state, political scientist Jay Barth said.
  • "I think that Huckabee clearly for a Republican did some explicit and legitimate outreach to the African-American community when he was here," said Barth, a professor at Hendrix College. "He was able to use his ministerial background as a starting point for that outreach.
  • "Though he's presented himself as a conservative Republican who can win the South, Huckabee as a presidential candidate hasn't strayed from his moderate stances on issues of race and civil rights. On immigration, he hasn't backed away from his claims that some of the more outspoken opponents of illegal immigrants are partly motivated by racism.
  • "It pitted a president against a governor," Virgil Miller, chairman of the anniversary commission. "It was not an insignificant event as it relates to the struggle for civil rights in this country. I would hope the presence of these high-profile individuals is a testament to that."
  • Both candidates may benefit more from who's not there rather than from anything they say. Miller said the commission had not yet heard whether President Bush would attend the anniversary ceremony.

This last sentence shows that Mike Huckabee is a man of actions, not just words. My momma always says, "actions speak louder than words."

Read the full article here.

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