By Ronna McDaniel – Black History Month is the time where the nation honors and celebrates the contributions of Black Americans and Black American culture in the United States. This year, I challenge other working Conservative moms, and all these so-called “woke” parents to use Black History Month as a teachable moment for your children. In a season where the popular thing to do is cancel the contributions of those on the Republican side of the aisle, push back against that and tell the complete story of the history of Blacks in America.
Politically speaking, the Republican Party has always been the home to Black Americans, and I am humbled to be the leader of the party that carries on that torch of freedom and opportunities for all that came before me in our party, especially those Black Americans.
Like many Americans, my children are attending school virtually because our local Michigan school district has shut down in person schooling. This time has allowed me to have a greater understanding of what our children are being taught, and what they are not being taught. It is a disservice that the majority of America’s schoolchildren will not hear about the contributions that Black Republicans have made to Black History and quite frankly, American history. We have to be intentional in our actions and that means highlighting the positive examples of Black Americans that are not properly recognized in our history books.
When mainstream media elites attempt to challenge me about the GOP and our history, it is shocking that many just do not know understand our roots. We are NOT the party of slavery, we are NOT the party of segregation, we are NOT the party of Jim Crow and the KKK. In fact, we are the party of the exact opposite – the party of faith, freedom, and opportunities.
When we say we are the party of Lincoln it is because he was a moral champion who stood tall and was willing to have a Civil War if that meant we would be a nation free of the scourge of slavery.
The values and principles that define this party have been that way from the start, and we will continue to engage with the Black community to not only talk about our connected histories, but our exciting futures.
This past year we saw two new Black Republicans get elected to the United States Congress, Rep. Burgess Owens of Utah, and Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida. Donalds recently reflected on his election saying, “in 1871, Josiah T. Walls was the first Black Republican to represent Florida in Congress, and 150 years later, I am proud to carry the mantle as the first Black congressman from Florida’s 19th Congressional District.”
The media was right to highlight that we had over two dozen Black Republicans on the ballot last year as nominees all over the nation, and over sixty run for the nomination. As RNC Chairwoman, I was proud of all of them because I knew our party was growing, expanding and looking even more like America.
Historically, having several Black Republicans in Congress was the norm, because the first three Black Americans to serve in the U.S. Senate and the first twenty-one Black Americans to serve as Members of the U.S. House of Representatives starting in 1870 were all Republicans.
Textbooks should also be filled with great Americans like Robert J. Brown, Kay Coles James, Arthur Fletcher, Condoleezza Rice, Herman Cain, Janice Rogers Brown, Dr. Ben Carson, David Stewart, Sec. Alphonso Jackson, Lionel Hampton, Jennifer Carrol, Ida B. Wells, Thomas Sowell, Walter E. Williams, James Weldon Johnson, Charles Evers, and Jewel Lafontant – just to name a few Black Republicans.
Take Justice Clarence Thomas: the media may try to cancel him like he is not a historical figure worthy of being highlighted for his achievements. However, given the fact that we have only had two Black Americans on the Supreme Court and one of them is a strong Conservative from the South, raised by his grandfather who came from virtually nothing to become an incredible judge on the highest court of the land, Justice Thomas should be celebrated and properly highlighted.
During Black History Month, the RNC hosts a Trailblazers event where we honor the contributions of men and women who have opened doors and paved the way for so many in our party, regardless of color. I want my children to also be taught about Black Conservatives, so they know the full history of our party and understand that no matter what Joe Biden says, Black Americans are diverse and are not monolith in thought or geography.
Black History Month is not just about Black Liberal history. To minimize a community into one ideology or political thought is wrong and discounts the stories, experiences and value of Black Republicans – past and present – and cancels a major portion of Black History. This year, we should not let a cancel culture trend move into our textbooks for our children. Black Republicans should be recognized and honored too.
As the Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, I have always celebrated the achievements of Black Americans in our party and will make sure my children and our team continue to do that, not just in February this Black History Month, but year-round through our intentional engagement efforts to connect directly with Black Americans.
Ronna McDaniel is the Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.