Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

“Greater Liberia”

May 1st, 2009 · No Comments

bilboThe earliest draft of Now the Hell Will Start contained a long passage about the efforts of Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-Miss.) to deport America’s black population to West Africa. The Bilbo tangent got lost in the shuffle, and probably for the best. But the senator’s vitriol is something to behold, and it’s worth reviving for NtHWS Extras Month. From a 1939 Time magazine article (all offensive language left intact from the original):

Mississippi’s Theodore (“The Man”) Bilbo arose in the Senate one day last week to display a bulky petition. It bore, said he, the names of 2,500,000 U. S. Negroes who would prefer to live in Africa. For three-and-a-half hours and 26 pages in the Congressional Record, he expanded on a way to make this possible: let the Government establish a Greater Liberia for “repatriated” blacks.

Mr. Bilbo thus returned to a favorite theme and revived an idea older than the U. S. itself. By subsidizing a Negro exodus to Africa, he maintained, the U. S. would rid its whites of a depressed and depressing race, save itself from racial “amalgamation.”

“By this separation,” droned little Mr. Bilbo, “the blood stream of the white race shall remain uncontaminated and all the . . . blessings of the white man’s civilization shall forever remain the priceless possession of the Anglo-Saxon. . . . There is an overmastering impulse, a divine afflatus among the mass of the Negroes of the U. S. for a country of their own.”

In support of his bill to create Greater Liberia, Senator Bilbo quoted Thomas Jefferson, founder-hero of the Democratic Party. He declared that 20,000 mulattoes annually “cross the color line” (pass for whites). If miscegenation goes on unchecked, he predicted the U. S. will become a land of decadent mongrels, “a yellow race yet to come.”

Microkhan can only smile at the thought of Bilbo’s specter receiving word of Sally Hemmings. You can almost hear his head knocking against the coffin as he spins.


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