EXCLUSIVE: Mitt Romney Talks Black Unemployment, Voters and Entrepreneurs

Republican presidential challenger details platform to strengthen nation’s economy

With the debates over, the election is heading into the homestretch as President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney seek to convince Americans that they have the best plan to advance the nation. Among the big issues of this campaign has been unemployment, small business and diversity. I gained the opportunity to interview Republican nominee Mitt Romney about his “Believe in America” platform promoting limited government and tax reform.

Although polls show that his support from African Americans is almost nil, the former Massachusetts governor and ex-CEO of private equity firm Bain Capital has engaged in some activities to reach out to African American voters through his appearance at this year’s NAACP convention, the release of a targeted campaign commercial featuring African American endorsers, installation of a black political advisory group and recruitment of high-profile GOP operative and conservative pundit Tara Wall as a senior communications adviser to advance his message.

The following are excerpts from that session:

Your platform advocates immediately using executive orders to strengthen the economy. What specific measures would you put in place for small business?

I talk to small business people across the country. Each has a different area of concern as it relates to government involvement in their enterprise. For some, regulation is crushing them. For others, they talk about taxation. Mine takes a very holistic approach to say, “How do I make small business have the support of our governmental structure? What do I do to help small business simply?” One, I’m going to put a hold on Obama era regulations, review them, and eliminate those that are killing jobs and crushing small businesses.

Give me an example.

I will literally put a stop on all.

For instance, Dodd-Frank [Financial Reform] has hundreds, thousands of pages of regulation. I want to look at those and find out which of those are making it hard for community banks to stay in business and make loans to small business. In the same vein, I’ll tell every agency through executive order, any new regulation you want to promulgate must be accompanied by an equal regulation you’re going to get rid of. We can’t just keep on adding and adding.

Second area, taxation. I want to reduce the taxes paid by small business. Specifically, the way to do that is to reduce the marginal tax rate that’s paid by individuals. Most small businesses, as you know, are taxed as individuals, not as corporations. So, I want to take the top marginal rate from 35% to 28%. And I want to cut all the other marginal rates by 20% across the board. That allows small business to keep more capital and grow their enterprise.

Number three, I’m going to label China a currency manipulator, which will allow me to apply tariffs if necessary where they have stolen intellectual property or have participated in unfair trade practices. There are a number of businesses that are going out of business because foreign competition has been unfair.

Critics say that with a Republican in office there will be fewer resources for the Small Business Administration and Minority Business Development Agency.

We’ll look at whichever programs are the most effective at encouraging the economy. We can’t keep spending every year $1 trillion more than we take in. I will go through our budget and try and eliminate those programs that are ineffective and expensive. But SBA has been an effective way of helping start businesses. Small business is a great source of job growth in this country. The SBA will be part of my agenda going forward.

Will the MBDA be a part of your agenda?

I don’t know a good deal about the program. So I’m not going to tell you it’s going to be eliminated or cut because I just don’t know enough about it or about how effective it’s been in terms of it stimulating minority business investment.

Are there any initiatives you’d develop to ensure black and minority
firms gain access to financing and contracting opportunities?

My ambition is to target and encourage small business. I don’t have plans to provide a special set-aside for minority-owned businesses other than the programs that currently exist. So, I will continue to encourage small businesses to grow, and to be the most pro-business president we’ve seen in a long, long time.

Diversity is a large part of business. Looking at your 25 years of business experience, including Bain Capital, how did you apply diversity to recruiting executives?

In hiring, we try to hire the best person we could possibly get without regard to the gender, race, or the sexual orientation of the person involved. I can tell you that when I became governor [of Massachusetts] I noted that government by and large drew from the same pool of applicants. I wanted to get more diversity in my senior administration members. So, I tasked our team with reaching out to other sources of résumés and to bring in people of a broader background. So, in my cabinet I had a number of minority members.

So how would your presidential cabinet look?

I would hope to have the most capable people that I could find across the country. I would expect a number of them would have business backgrounds. I would hope a number would also have experience in the public sector. I recognize that you’re looking to see if there would be representation of various ethnic groups and genders. The answer is yes. I would love to have a cabinet that reflected the fabric of America.

If you’re elected, where do you expect to see the unemployment rate?

I see it being 6% or less by the end of my [first] term. We’ve put together a model. One: Aggressive use of domestic energy. Two: Opening new trade for American goods around the world, particularly in Latin America, where we have natural advantages. Three: Scaling back the growth of the federal government because it’s scaring the investors of the world to put money in America given the size of our deficits. Four: Building human capital, meaning giving people the skills they need for the jobs of today and improving our schools. Then number five: Restoring economic freedom, making America the best place for entrepreneurs and innovators and small and big business again. That means lowering tax rates, taking out the special deals and exemptions and loopholes that are currently there.

An interesting plank on your platform involves re-employment initiatives.

One of the things that I found in my state [of Massachusetts] was that people who’d been unemployed for long periods of time had a particularly difficult time getting a job. We put in place a small program that I would like to see expanded upon. We said if you hire someone who’s been unemployed for a year or more we will pay your company $2,000 to train that person. I’d like to see it applied on a more extensive basis. I favor the idea of giving small businesses either tax credits or training credits to hire people who they might otherwise not have hired.

You talked to the NAACP about addressing African American unemployment. What specific measures would you take?

The best thing I could do to help African American unemployment is to create growth of the overall economy which will lead to greater employment overall. I will get the economy going through the five major steps I described. That will put all Americans to work and it’ll get African Americans back to work.

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  • tcos

    There is no way I would entertain any candidate that refers to African Americans and any race that is struggling to make their ends meet as “victims”

    • Latosha

      This election is simple. We can stay out of name calling and he said/she said.
      If you believe in more federal government programs, more federal regulation, less state rights, higher federal taxes, more government jobs, less private jobs… Vote Obama
      If you believe in the individual. opportunity, smaller federal government, less federal regulation, more state rights, lower federal taxes, less government jobs, more private jobs… Vote Romney
      Romney is not perfect and neither is Obama, but Romney is closer to my principles for the America I want to live in…more opportunity for those that work hard, more personal freedom for those that are responsible.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victoria-Stith/100000168285196 Victoria Stith

        So let me guess your one of many black christians that will not support President Obama because of his stand on gay marriage or do you really have a legitimate reason. utopia got over 900 people killed by Jim Jones in 1978.

  • Iceguy75

    0%

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  • Not Impressed

    Nothing he said was specific “best candidate” most qualified is code word for no blacks allowed our diversity is not his thing. Come on people let’s not be fooled by all this “black” talk all of a sudden.

  • Nana

    Remember the 47%. Don’t believe the “bull” that Mitt is talking. Now all of a sudden he’s interested – no way.

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  • Latosha

    Obama just says what he thinks we want to hear and then does what he wants. Romney tells it like it is. I am not voting for someone again that is going to lie to me. Mitts my man.

    • Dot

      Latosha and just how is according to Mitt? I am a resident of Massachusetts. I was here when Mitt was governor. Sure he balanced the budget, but that is required of most all states. But, he voted for fees that hurt low income and small businesses.
      I think you need to sit down and view some of the interviews Mitt has done.
      It by any chance Mitt does become president, I would love to hear from you 18 months of him being in office, to see if he’s still “your man”.
      I am voting for the president. He has not done everything I think he could/should have.

      • Latosha

        Everyone wants to give the President a pass for the taxes and fees he raises. He had 2 years of complete control and could pass any bill unilaterally with a Democrat congress. The President keeps pointing fingers and blaming everyone but himself. It is time to face the facts that the Federal Government is to big and can’t meet its commitments. Mitt is for smaller Federal Government and has shown how he can reach across the aisle while working with an 85% Democrat state government that sent up the bills in Massachusetts to raise the fees that hurt low income and small businesses.

        • http://www.facebook.com/fran.dunham Fran Dunham

          Oh, but Latosha, there was never a Super Majority…that’s a myth. There were never enough Democrats. Do you really believe that Willard is not going to raise your taxes? Romney talks about smaller government but notice who he wants to release from employment…Teachers, Firemen an Police. He’ll cut government alright. Any program that helps anyone except the elite and those who funded his Super PAC. 12 million jobs will be created over the next four years no matter who is in office. Fact check that one and you’ll see. Talk to the people who live in Massachusetts. Read what they have to say. They believed him once…They are warning us of the consequences of offering that trust. Romney didn’t have to reach across bigots, racist and people who said they wanted to see him fail. Everyone there was on the same “let’s fix Massachusetts” team. Still, he raised the taxes on the middle class, made it harder on small businesses and left the state in debt. Voting for Romney I hope that you are prepared to realize and deal with his dream for America. Because it only includes 53 percent of us. Of which 52 percent will be there strictly to serve his needs…

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victoria-Stith/100000168285196 Victoria Stith

          Latosha It sounds like wishful thinking on your part, I saw a documentary on Mitt Romney after the first night of he Democratic National Convention in Massachusetts he vetoed 800 bills. I live in California and former governor arnold swarzennegger didn’t veto 800 bills and he was govenor for 10 years. FYI food stamps and government subsidies aren’t just for the poor and uneducated. I was on food stamps from 2002 to 2005. I attended SF State University and I had part-time jobs.I’m a US born citizen and my ancestors were brought here in chains me I feel like I we have right to government subsidies if it’s needed. This is why people are eating out of garbage cans. In fact in San Francisco’s financial ditrict there was a white woman and her 18 month baby girl that woman panhandling at Market and New Montgomery Streets. I told her to goto 170 Otis to apply for welfare she literally stated “no I don’t want any welfare” She lost her baby. Non-profit agencies that collect government and private grants and they practice and enforce “fire at will” There are 100,000′s of men and women who serve time in jails and prisions many aquire GED’s , AA’s, and marketable skills but because they’ve served time in jails and prisons employers won’t hire them. When you vote for Mitt Romney make sure you truly believe in your heart you are making the right choice.

    • Michele

      So LATOSHA when Romney spoke of the 47% he wasn’t talking about you?

      • Latosha

        No, because I do pay taxes and I am voting for Romney. I don’t want to be offensive, but, if you are one of the 47% that don’t pay federal income taxes and won’t consider voting for Romney, then you are proving my man’s point. Did you watch the video or are you going by what someone else tells you about the video? I am an entrepreneur and believes in good pay for hard work and fair taxation.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victoria-Stith/100000168285196 Victoria Stith

          On the real if you’re an entrepreneur help somebody else out especially your people. Now that would be following the Will of God and the true American way.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fran.dunham Fran Dunham

      Romney doesn’t tell anything Latosha. He makes you think you heard something unless you are listening. He’s the entrepreneur of manure with a PHD in Screwology…

  • Steno Star Yvette

    I was a little frustrated that Black Enterprise would even interview Mitt Romney, but after reading the governor’s answers, I now would like to thank you for putting this in print. It only confirmed what he has been saying all along, and that’s pretty much nothing. During the second debate, he said if we want to know the full plan he and Ryan have for the country, visit his website. What? Regardless of the forum, there’s a lot of “I don’t know’s…. and I hope…..”. And, there’s a lot is discrepancies across the board.

  • http://www.facebook.com/norman.geary.77 Norman Geary

    HUMMMMM………..HEAD>>>>>SCRATCH

  • ImaniKristina

    It would’ve been very interesting to know whom he’d appoint to the Supreme Court during his tenure. He pretty much said what he thought we wanted to hear!!

  • Earnest

    I’ll be voting for Mitt Romney, he gave an outline of what he plans to do. He can’t go into specifics, why give the other party more than they have given. All we got from Obama was “hope and change”. Those who voted for him, hoped he would do something, but all he did was leave change in my pocket and regulate me out of a career. I refuse to vote for a man based on the color of his skin, I’m still all about the contact of his character. Character matters and I’ve seen B. Obama’s and I don’t like it. I look forward to his final flight on our plane as we drop him off in Hawaii.

    • Earnest

      content of character, not “contact”.

      • http://www.facebook.com/k.mike.jones Kenneth M. Jones

        I going to say this and hope everyone reads this and understands it. So many people blame President Obama for the loss of jobs. That is truly insane and stupid. Jobs were falling off as President Obama was taking office. I couldn’t find a job right out of college and I graduated in 2007. To remind you, Bush was in office. Its like a land slide. Can you stop a land slide in the middle of it falling? Thats utterly impossible. you have to wait until it truly slows down or hit rock bottom. President Obama has done everything he could possibly do for the economy. It is coming back slowly, but it is coming back. People are so slow. Mitt constantly repeats himself that government cannot create jobs but he keeps saying he’s going to create jobs. WHAT? Is he serious or is he that STUPID? He’s still talking about government creating jobs. People WAKE UP. Dude is a straight liar. His plan completely changed from the time he began to run from the time he got in front of those cameras for the debates. He is an entirely different person. Why is that? He is a snake. He never gave an outline he just said what he would do and not how. To Earnest and other Mitt Wrongley followers, its like i tell you im going to buy you a house but leave out the details. I tell you i found this house. It is a very nice house. Im going to take out a loan and buy the house and give it straight to you. Don’t worry about the bills, I got you. I didn’t tell you the cost of the house, what bank im going to, If I have a job, ect, ect. Later I go in and kill the owner, clean up, get the keys , give them to you and tell you to move in. Thats what Mitt Wrongley is going to do. He’s going to lie, give you a smoke screen, and make you suffer for the things he did. You better believe he will walk away feeling happy because his pockets will be fat while your on the bottom unless you apart of the 47%. What kind of character is that?

    • http://www.facebook.com/fran.dunham Fran Dunham

      Have you ever considered that the reason Willard Romney is not more up front with disclosure of his plans is because he knows that his base would run for cover? He has changed his position on just about everything he’s said. His outlines are so vague until they’re invisible. How can anyone know where he stands when he obviously doesn’t? At least not to say out loud before the vote. His nature for saying one thing today and another tomorrow doesn’t speak of a stance or stability. His business record speaks for itself. He’s into acquisitions. He buys in, sells off and outsources to China which he now wants to express a desire for our country to divest in while he’s heavily invested there. Staples, where he is also invested, employs people at minimum wage. Many of them are on food stamps to make ends meet. The people of Massachusetts were left disillusioned and in debt. I would also not vote for a man based on skin hue. But character does count and Romney has been shown to say whatever he believes he needs to say to the venue in which he’s presenting himself….Very disingenuous. Just something to think about..

      • Latosha

        Fran,

        You have only reiterated the falsehoods that have been forced down our throats by the liberal biased media. The liberal media only wants to divide America instead of bring us together. Romney does not cater to any special interest groups, and speaks to all Americans. Don’t forget that Obama ate dogs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fran.dunham Fran Dunham

    Romney’s religious history has shaped his negative views on Black people specifically and minorities in general. Views that he taught to others in his temple. Views that showed in the way he spoke to and at President Obama during the debates.

    He spoke what he honestly felt in his “off microphone” statement that excluded 47 percent of the population. Combine that with his comments that demeaned single parent households, and negated the abilities, rights and contributions of women outside of the home, and those within his “binders”…

    His constant and not so clandestine use of language that implies that if
    not for the poor and minorities being comfortable and unmotivated government parasites, the economic recovery would be easier. Meanwhile laying the responsibility for the gun violence that plagues the United States solely upon the shoulders of single mothers. Note that he not one time mention with disdain the absence of dead beat fathers which directly points to his views on the role and responsibility of women.

    All of this constant criticism while negating to mention even one positive contribution to the country or community made by minorities. Not one mentioned achievement or accolade.

    It becomes hard to imagine someone that lacks this much public tact, empathy, sympathy, or apathy, having any type of genuine concern for minority communities. Not just the Black community, minority communities in general.

    When he speaks to his base it’s always in the form of how WE are going to fix this, WE are going to do that, together WE can…Always excluding everyone else as if we aren’t, and in his mind lack the ability to be contributors to our nations recovery. And then for me, after the article highlighting the man wearing the racist t-shirt at one of his meetings concerning taking back the “White House” Romney says: ” WE are going to take back the Whitehouse!” It’s not we are going to take back government and together resolve our problems. I might ask him what are the rest of us doing during all of this activity?

    I find it difficult if not impossible to believe that he’s doing anything more than pandering in hopes of swaying those few voters he needs from within minority communities.

    I’ve read the article and it doesn’t seem to address in any substantial way the concerns of minority communities. Instead, it seems to be more of the same vague rhetoric that lends itself to plausible denial and or manipulation at a future date .

    When asked about MBDA knowing he was doing this interview, he acknowledged not knowing about the program, and then proceeded to use verbal gymnastics to escape answering what he would lend in the form of aid to progress in this area.

    Romney has waited until now to even consider reaching out to anyone but his base constituents. If he genuinely had an interest in minority concerns and issues, his campaign and it’s rhetoric would have been more inclusive and inspirational from the start.

    I read this article with an open mind. Hoping to read something that would soften my heart about the arrogant, mercurial, and manipulative nature this man possesses. It wasn’t there.

    • Geoff

      “His constant and not so clandestine use of language that implies that if
      not for the poor and minorities being comfortable and unmotivated government parasites, the economic recovery would be easier.”

      He’s right. I’m black and I’ve heard many blacks who brag about getting free services, money, etc from the government and then say “Why should I have to work?” Those folks ARE parasites on our society. It’s one thing to help people who are down on their luck, but throwing money at people who brag about scamming the system? Hell no.

      • shani

        Out of curiosity, did you take offense at Obama’s choice of a minister? One that made racist statements about white people?
        Geoff, I am white and have heard many white people say the same things. A student bragged that she can collect unemployment for 4 years without working and encouraged a lawyer that just quit to just collect as well and take a vacation. White males collecting unemployment while working cash jobs to supplement… everyone is guilty of it and as long as these programs are in place they will be taken advantage of.

  • E_Joyce

    With Mitt Romney sending 200 jobs to China the day before election, endorsing Mourdock in spite of his and Akin’s thinking that “legitimate rape” is somehow God’s will if the crime results in pregnancy, having NO position on foreign policy other than “What he [President Obama] said,” sees the “inner city” as without character and single mothers being directly responsible for the escalation in violence,has been clear in that he doesn’t believe women should get equal pay for equal work, or that education should be made available to everyone, the above diatribe is simply more word salad with no real course of action or plan. The ‘vote for me, then I’ll let you know what I’ll do” doesn’t work for me. Mitt Romney has shown us who he is; we need to believe him.

  • Sane Brother

    What bullshit. Any black person considering Mitt Romney is a goddamn Uncle Tom! This crap about lower tax rates helping small business is complete crap. Businesses hire people because they will generate more revenue than their salaries — which, by the way, become costs and are not taxed. Ergo, a small business will always employ extra workers if necessary to boost profits no matter what the marginal tax rate is. Small businesses are not in business to employ people, but to make profits. Anybody with an MBA like Mitt Romney should know this. The only way out of this depression is for the government to hire people so that they will take their pay and spend it on consumer goods. Lord Maynard Keynes figured that out for us about 80 years ago!

    • http://www.facebook.com/fran.dunham Fran Dunham

      Sane Brother,
      I wouldn’t label them as such. I don’t know how to refer to a people who would vote for a man who’s religion taught that they are the spawn of the demonic fallen angels. That should they arrive in heaven they will be slaves. And if that same person was part of those that educated the flock, I’d seriously have issues voting for them….But it’s a choice people are free to make. I just hope they do the research on Willard’s beliefs about Black people as a whole. If your religion taught that I was less of human than you. And then you grew up to preach within that religion and taught that same doctrine, I don’t see how one could expect that just because you are running for elected office you left those feelings,emotions and that doctrine behind…It’s virtually impossible.

      And then his politics leave a lot to be desired. His lies leave a lot to be discovered. And it’s not hidden so deeply until it becomes a major chore to educate ones self concerning Willard…Some would just rather believe what they hear…

      Even during slavery you had slaves that lived in the house and then ones that worked the fields and lived in shacks. The benefit was to those in the shacks..they knew where they stood and understood that they were slaves and the mentality of the slave driver. The ones in the house were convinced that their masters treated them well…and that they were somehow better off…They allowed it to escape them that they were the same as the slaves in the fields to those who purchased them.

    • Latosha

      Any black person that votes for Obama solely because he is black is a racist by the very definition of racist (or biggot). I vote for the person that will do best for the country, regardless of race. I agree with you that salaries, taxes, etc are expenses and small businesses are not in the business to employ people. Small business hire people if they have money to do so and generate a profit. But there is a market limit to how much revenue any business can make and every expense is a choice, so if taxes are raised businesses will have to cut somewhere else which will mean cutting some jobs.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victoria-Stith/100000168285196 Victoria Stith

        Latosha the days of the White House reserved for whites only is over. Start looking for other black presidents male and female, hspanic-america, chinese-american, saudi-american, yeman-american. This is the 21st century and this country moving forward. So this thing that people are voting for the President because he’s black is just plain stupid and if a person votes for President Obama because he’s black that’s their business just like you voting for Mitt. Obama/Biden 2012 4 more years, 4 more years, 4 more years.

    • shani

      The government has no money, only what the people allow it to collect in taxes. So when the government hires new employees it leads to tax increases on people with private sector jobs in order to pay for the new government employees. If the increased taxes outweighs the salary of the private sector person then that person will be let go, meaning one more person in unemployed and dependent on unemployment ect. Keynes economics don’t add up, if they don’t work on a micro level (like your household budget –spending more than you make) then they will not work on a macro level (government/corps. spending more than they make –whether it is in collected taxes or profits). No one is capable of spending their way out of debt.

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  • Latosha

    This election is simple. We can stay out of name calling and he said/she said.

    If you believe in more federal government programs, more federal regulation, less state rights, higher federal taxes, more government jobs, less private jobs… Vote Obama

    If you believe in the individual. opportunity, smaller federal government, less federal regulation, more state rights, lower federal taxes, less government jobs, more private jobs… Vote Romney

    Romney is not perfect and neither is Obama, but Romney is closer to my principles for the America I want to live in…more opportunity for those that work hard, more personal freedom for those that are responsible.

    • Anneteele

      I doubt you’ve done your homework to really know what you’re talking about. Where do you get your facts and what print and digital media do you patronize?

  • James Johnson

    It never ceases to amaze me how blacks suck up to the hand that holds them down. The blacks ceaselessly moan about slavery that ended 150 years ago. But do they ever think about just who ran the lynch mobs in the south?? Do the blacks know that when lbj passed the great society he said that Ni__ers would vote democratic for the next 10 years??? Do blacks realize that the leadership of the black community cares only about mooney and power and thatMLK would disown them???

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  • James Johnson

    Conservative values made America great not liberal ones. Reading the comments here I know this is a lib bastion. It is amazing how weak and spacious your comments are. Know this,every single one of you who votes for obozo because he’s black (well 50%) are the worst kind of racists. But blacks being racists is not something new. Mr. Romney has proven ove and over just what a fine and upstanding man he is. obozo has proven what a despicable, lying, cheating socialist he is. BTW Mr. Romney donated more money (as a total dollar amount and as a % oof his income) than the entire demo membership of th senate, congress and POTUS.

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  • Guest

    Wilson and advisorsIn 1912 Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic candidate for president, promised fairness and justice for blacks if elected. In a letter to a black church official, Wilson wrote, “Should I become President of the United States they may count upon me for absolute fair dealing for everything by which I could assist in advancing their interests of the race.” But after the election, Wilson changed his tune. He dismissed 15 out of 17 black supervisors who had been previously appointed to federal jobs.”There are no government positions for Negroes in the South. A Negro’s place is in the corn field.”

    Colored water fountain and replaced them with whites. He also refused to appoint black ambassadors to Haiti and Santa Domingo, posts traditionally awarded to African Americans. Two of Wilson’s cabinet ministers, Postmaster General Albert Burelson and Treasury Secretary William McAdoo, both Southerners, issued orders segregating their departments. Throughout the country, blacks were segregated or dismissed from federal positions. In Georgia, the head of the Internal Revenue division fired all black employees: “There are no government positions for Negroes in the South. A Negro’s place in the corn field.” He said. The President’s wife, Ellen Wilson, was said to have had a hand in segregating employees in Washington, encouraging department chiefs to assign blacks separate working, eating, and toilet facilities. To justify segregation, officials publicized complaints by white women, who were thought to be threatened by black men’s sexuality and disease.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ron-Simmons/1043931299 Ron Simmons

    Wilson and advisorsIn 1912 Woodrow Wilson, the candidate for president, promised fairness and justice for blacks if elected. In a letter to a black church official, Wilson wrote, “Should I become President of the United States they may count upon me for absolute fair dealing for everything by which I could assist in advancing their interests of the race.”
    But after the election, Wilson changed his tune. He dismissed 15 out of 17 black supervisors who had been previously appointed to federal jobs.”There are no government positions for Negroes in the South. A Negro’s place is in the corn field.”

    Colored water fountain and replaced them with whites. He also refused to appoint black ambassadors to Haiti and Santa Domingo, posts traditionally awarded to African Americans. Two of Wilson’s cabinet ministers, Postmaster General Albert Burelson and Treasury Secretary William McAdoo, both Southerners, issued orders segregating their departments. Throughout the country, blacks were segregated or dismissed from federal positions. In Georgia, the head of the Internal Revenue division fired all black employees: “There are no government positions for Negroes in the South. A Negro’s place in the corn field.” He said. The President’s wife, Ellen Wilson, was said to have had a hand in segregating employees in Washington, encouraging department chiefs to assign blacks separate working, eating, and toilet facilities. To justify segregation, officials publicized complaints by white women, who were thought to be threatened by black men’s sexuality and disease.

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