by Montgomery Blair Sibley, ©2021, blogging at Amo Probos

(Feb. 16, 2021) — I thought it appropriate at the half-way mark of “Black History Month” to add my two bits of Black History which necessarily includes “White History”; as if the two really can be separated.

 
On July 4, 1854, Dred Scott publishes a pamphlet, concluding: “I have no money to pay anybody at Washington to speak for me.  My fellow-men, can any of you help me in my day of trial?  Will nobody speak for me at Washington, even without hope of other reward than the blessings of a poor black man and his family?  I do not know.  I can only pray that some good heart will be moved by pity to do that for me which I cannot do for myself; and that if the right is on my side, it may be so declared by the high court to which I have appeal.
 
By December 30, 1854, when the Supreme Court docketed Dred Scott v. Sandford, no attorney had stepped forward.  Yet, Montgomery Blair agreed to take up a case so unpopular that no one in D.C. was willing to take it and risked his career.  Why?
 
Montgomery Blair stated in a letter on December 24, 1856, “I believe in the Southern States, almost every lawyer feels bound to give his services when asked in such a case arising in the community to which he belongs.”
 
In 2007, I gave a 25-minute lecture on Montgomery Blair and the Dred Scott case and how it impacted Montgomery Blair personally.

[See the video here.]

While I won’t here sketch out the history and impact of the Dred Scott case as that is a book length chore, the March 6, 1857 decision by Chief Justice Taney held that the federal Constitution created a “perpetual and impassible barrier” between whites and blacks. This barrier defined blacks as a “subordinate and inferior class of being,” with no natural rights. 

We have come a long way, though obviously not far enough.

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  1. The fact that there’s such a thing as BLM kind of negates any imaginary “come a long way”.
    But isn’t it quite amazing how stupidity and ignorance survives, not only from year to year, but from centuries to centuries?
    The “Nation of Islam” is a prime example of ignorance taken to the 9th degree: perpetuating every imagined excuse for individual failure except the mantra of hard work, honesty, and to treat others as you too would wish to be treated.
    Our country was on the right track and then came Barry Soetoro, aka Obama, and his AG Eric Holder and the “race card” reared its ugly head.
    Enter Donald Trump and the clouds opened and ALL Americans could see blue skies and a bright future, a land where ALL Americans were judged by the “content of their character” and by not who whined the loudest or threatened a business with a boycott.
    This separating the races, such as “Black History Month”, by a narrow focus, just perpetuates the dangerous beliefs of separatism, isolation, and narrow mindlessness which can only lead to a dead-end that results in such warped beliefs as “The Master Race” ending in misery and death, setting the clock of advancement back to the time of the Brontosaurus.

    Professor “Trash the masks” Zorkophsky

  2. In the 18th and 19th centuries, there was an ongoing dispute over state and federal citizenship rights which reached a head in 1857, when the Supreme Court decided the Dred Scott v. Sandford case. The plaintiff, Dred Scott, had been a slave and sued the executor of his deceased owner’s estate under the theory of state citizenship diversity jurisdiction of the federal courts. Scott was seeking a ruling that he was made free because his now deceased owner/master, while alive, had voluntarily taken him into free territory. Chief Justice Robert Taney decided with the majority that Scott was not a citizen of any state because the Constitution limited state and national citizenship on racial grounds, excluding persons, like Scott, who were of African descent. This and other aspects of the Court’s opinion were disputed by dissenters on the Court, who pointed out that free blacks had been regarded as citizens by many states at the time of the Founding.

    Chief Justice Taney also stated that Congress could not bar slavery from federal territories. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln won control of the White House and his Administration took the position that free blacks were American citizens. After the Civil War, the Republican Party controlled the 39th Congress and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which stated all persons born or naturalized in the United States were citizens in the state in which they lived, proclaiming a rule of citizenship by birth that did not depend on race. The only exceptions to this birthright citizenship were American-born persons who were “subject to any foreign power” and for “Indians not taxed.” The Act also gave all citizens of each state the same basic civil rights, including the right to hold property and make contracts.

    Many argue that the amendment allows any citizen born in the United States to be President, but that is not true.

    On March 9, 1866, during debate in the House over the Fourteenth Amendment, Rep. John Bingham stated the following:

    “I find no fault with the introductory clause, which is simply declaratory of what is written in the Constitution, that every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural-born Citizen; but, sir, I may be allowed to say further, that I deny that the Congress of the United States ever had the power or color of power to say that any man born within the jurisdiction of the United States, and not owing a foreign allegiance, is not and shall not be a citizen of the United States.

    The Fourteenth Amendment says nothing about the President of the United States. Per Congressman Bingham, it was never intended to.

    The amendment was needed, in part, to invalidate the racist Dred Scott decision which was still valid case law until the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment.