Monday January 21 was set aside as a day to remember civil rights leader and activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the spirit of MLK, many businesses and churches were closed and communities came together to remember and celebrate what Dr. King was fighting for, and to remember what that means at this time in our country’s history.
On Friday, though, one Colorado state representative did not seem to agree with the message. Republican Rep. Lori Saine made a ludicrous claim on the Colorado House floor that black people and white people were lynched in nearly equal numbers for being Republican in the post-Reconstruction era.
This was in defense of Rep. Perry Buck’s attempt to introduce a resolution honoring King. Saine said that Buck, who is also a Republican, was told she couldn’t introduce her resolution because King “didn’t represent her heritage.”
According to The Greeley Tribune:
‘Reps. Jovan Melton and Leslie Herod introduced House Joint Resolution 19-1006, commemorating Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Both representatives are black, but Saine, Buck and many others are listed as sponsors on the joint resolution.
‘In a phone interview Monday afternoon, Rep. Herod, D-Denver, said Melton had carried a similar resolution each of the past six years, saying Saine brought partisanship into a nonpartisan day.’
Rep. Herod (D) said that Buck was added as the first sponsor of the resolution and spoke very eloquently. Herod explained that Rep. Melton had carried a similar resolution each of the past six years, and that Herod brought partisanship into a nonpartisan day.
‘She handled it very well. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Lori Saine.’
Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D) agreed with Herod that Saine had attempted to take the focus away from a day of unity at the Legislature. Galindo said:
‘Moving forward, we must continue to build bridges and reject division.’
Saine said in her phone interview that King represents all Americans’ heritage, saying his “I Have A Dream” speech was inclusive of all. Even more shockingly, she said:
‘How could I honor Martin Luther King today without shining a light on injustice myself? My colleagues, how can you redeem your marginalized voice by marginalizing ours? Our march toward justice is not over when a colleague of ours is barred from introducing a resolution on this floor because of the color of her skin.’
Saine stands in opposition to historical facts though. Historic record shows nearly 73 percent of lynchings were committed against black people. The Tribune reported:
‘Saine’s words also caught University of Northern Colorado’s Fritz Fisher off guard. Fisher, the chairman of the UNC History Department, and a history professor specializing in 20th century American history, had a short answer when asked about Saine’s characterization of American lynchings.’
‘No…Blacks were lynched for the “crime of being black,” which obviously isn’t a crime — and not even close to equal numbers. I suppose there were a certain number of blacks who were lynched who were Republican. But that was coincidental.’
Rep. Saine did acknowledge that more black people were lynched than white people, saying white lynchings outpaced black lynchings “in the beginning.” From 1882-1885 whites were lynched more than black people. However, for the next 70 years lynchings of black people far outnumbered those of white people.
According to The Tribune:
‘Fisher said in an email that Saine was repeating a myth that has its origins in a book by David Barton called, “Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White.”
‘Fisher said he has written extensively about Barton as a leading writer of misleading “anti-history designed only to support a right wing political agenda rather than deriving from actual historical research.”’
Fisher also added:
‘It is ahistorical for any politician to claim that anything that happened to Republicans in the 19thcentury has any connection whatsoever to Republicans of the 21st century.’
Apparently, Rep. Saine was also arrested about a year ago for having a gun at the Denver International Airport.
Featured image is a screenshot from YouTube