This brought back painful memories–many described it as a scene at a slave auction.
President Trump has a full house of props. Omarosa Manigault, Ben Carson and Lynne Patton.
For those of us who are familiar with black history, politicians have been using black props for over 400 years. They first appeared at the slave auctions, but in modern times this prop-up by the Republicans was the worst that I can ever remember. Especially, with social media and a camera and microphone in every nook and cranny recording our every move. Their strategy backfired as it should have.
The appearance by Lynn Patton reminded me of how the white slave owners use to bring to their designated slaves to the auction block for sale. For those of you who think to go through an airport security check is an ordeal, its a cake walk compared to what slaves had to endure on the auction block. Patton was treated similarly to the slaves–she was not allowed to speak.
It is nothing unusual for most white folks who are in power to have favorite blacks on their jobs or in their community that they can point to and say, “she or he is my friend!” This as close as it gets to be called a “House Nigger.”
I have been there and done that in the political arena in Washington, DC. I went from an NE outhouse to the Pennsylvania Avenue White House in 1969 as a guest of the President of the United States of America. How did I get there?
My wife Hattie and I visited the White House in 1969 as a guest (Prop) of President Richard M. Nixon and Attorney General William Rogers. Nixon much like Trump was under fire as a racist President.
In 2017, Hattie and I visited the Nixon Library and Museum in Yoba Linda, California. The Library was on our “Bucket List” of things to do. February 2017 marked 50 years since I first met the President at Burning Tree Golf Course. The visit was a wake-up call for me. There were few black visitors (mostly Asians) and black faces on exhibit were few, far and in-between. It was Black History Month so there was a photo of Rev. Martin Luther King and President Nixon together (Prop) at the entrance. I really had to search for other blacks in the administration. There was a photo and a video presentation by Bob Brown (HNIC).
I was really disappointed not to see any mention of my friend Arthur Fletcher (Prop) a real warrior for civil rights in the Nixon administration. He was the Chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Arthur was known as the Godfather of “Affirmative Action.” There were no photos or mention of my mentor, White House Communications Director Herb Klien (my go to guy). He was the most honorable man I met in the Nixon White House. His honesty would cost him his position in the administration when Watergate hit the front pages of the Washington Post. President Nixon felt he could not be trusted to go along to get along and he left quietly. I had lunch with Herb years later at Union Station here in DC. He was in town on newspaper business representing the San Diego Union-Tribune. The hurt was still there. He was loyal to Nixon and I could tell he felt betrayed.
Herb was headed to New York City for another meeting but before he boarded the train he said, “Harold Bell I am proud of the way you use me and the administration to help your community. You were a bright light for this White House and you should send your newspaper clippings and your memorabilia to the new Nixon Library in Yoba Linda so that they can put them on display. I will mail you an address and contact person when I get back to San Diego.” He boarded the train and that was the last time I saw Herb Klien. He was true to his word and mailed me the address and contact person for the new library. Herb died July 2, 2009, in San Diego of heart failure (broken heart). I mailed my newspaper clippings and memorabilia to the address and contact person as Herb had suggested and I received the ‘thank you’ letter seen below.
Needless to say there was nothing on display saying “Harold Bell lives here!”
In 1994 Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan) proped me up in the Congressional Record on the House Floor to recall my relationship with the late President Richard M. Nixon.
The list of black props who found their way to the Richard Nixon White House reads like a Who’s Who in Black America: Sammy Davis, Muhammad Ali, James Brown (Soul Brother No.1), Duke Ellington and Jim Brown (NFL). Jim is the richest prop ever. He accepted a 50 million dollar check from Trump disguise as “Prison Reform.”
Publisher’s Note: Here are a few other Black Americans that were reportedly used as “props” by the Nixon Administration. You be the judge.
Photo: (Left to Right) Sammy Davis, Jr. hugs Richard Nixon. The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, meets with Richard Nixon in the Oval Office.
Photo: (Left to Right) Boxers Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson greet President Richard Nixon and Duke Ellington and his band perform for President Nixon at The White House.
Billboard of Boxers Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Floyd Patterson supporting Ronald Reagan