Members of the N.A.A.C.P. picket the Republic Movie Theatre in Flushing, New York, against the movie, ‘The Birth of a Nation, which was being shown there’in 1947. | Photo: Library of Congress/Corbis/Getty Images.
By Cassandra Devereaux
By 1913, the Klan had a vocal supporter in the White House in Woodrow Wilson. Wilson screened the detestable Klan “origin” film Birth Of A Nation. This was the film which directly inspired the rise of the second iteration of the organization. The film, which he compared to “writing history with lightning,” owed much to Wilson. The filmmaker admired Wilson as well. He used several quotes from the President’s text A History of the American People on title cards, including:“The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self-preservation—until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country.”
Wilson (re)segregated a federal government that Blacks were making employment gains in. He fired most Blacks in supervisory positions and many more lost their jobs. Unlike his predecessors, he did not appoint Black diplomats to Haiti and Santo Domingo (today’s Dominican Republic). While presiding over the Versailles Convention of 1919, he declared a Japanese resolution recognizing racial equality defeated because it passed with a simple majority, despite the fact that the governing rules did not require unanimity in a vote. Wilson’s racism was considered beyond the pale even for the day, and journalist Oswald Garrison Villard wrote that the Wilson Administration “allied itself with the forces of reaction, and put itself on the side of every torturer, of every oppressor, of every perpetrator of racial injustice in the South or the North….” https://bit.ly/31t6rj9
PARTS I AND III