Bill Clinton’s troubling history with the black community goes all the way back to his days as Governor of Arkansas, when he signed a bill into law that proclaimed one of the stars in the Arkansas flag was in honor of the Confederacy, which was built upon the brutal practice of slavery. And throughout his tenure as Attorney General and Governor of Arkansas, Clinton never once went on record opposing any ofArkansas’ multiple holidays celebrating the Confederacy, from Confederate Flag Day, Confederate Memorial Day, or Confederate History and Heritage Month.
While running for president as the “tough on crime” Democratic candidate in 1992, Clinton made the decision to execute African-American inmate Ricky Ray Rector heading into the all-important New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucus. As Yale professor Stephen Bright wrote in a 2014 report on capital punishment, the man slated for execution by then-Governor Clinton was so mentally ill that he saved a portion of his last meal for later. One of the guards commented “[Rector] thinks he’ll be back in his cell on Saturday morning.”
By the time Bill Clinton secured the Democratic nomination in the summer of 1992, the Democratic Party had just passed a platformcompletely devoid of language addressing the need for racial justice for the first time in over 50 years. Clinton co-authored a book with running mate Al Gore calledPutting People First, which only mentions race once in regard to eliminating racial hiring quotas for federal positions.
Rapper Sister Souljah, who was a frequent guest MC with Hip-Hop group Public Enemy, criticized Clinton’s white supremacist background and policies while Clinton was on the campaign trail, and the Arkansas governor responded by comparing the black social justice activist to former KKK leader David Duke while addressing the Rainbow Coalition. Souljah hasn’t forgotten that moment, and as recently as November 2015,referred to Hillary Clinton as “[T]he slave plantation white wife of the white ‘Master.’”
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