Benjamin Tillman

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We tried to overcome the thirty thousand majority by honest methods, which was a mathematical impossibility.
We reorganized the Democratic Party with one plank and only one plank, namely, that this is a white man's country and the white men must govern it.
The Democratic Party means that the white man is supreme. That is why we... are all Democrats.
Whites have absolute control of the state government, and we intend at any and all hazards to retain it.
How did we recover our liberty? By fraud and violence.

Benjamin Ryan Tillman, Jr. (11 August 18473 July 1918) was a politician of the Democratic Party who was Governor of South Carolina from 1890 to 1894, and a United States Senator from 1895 until his death. A white supremacist who often spoke out against black people, Tillman led a paramilitary group of Red Shirts during South Carolina's violent 1876 election.

Quotes[edit]

  • We of the South have never recognized the right of the Negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him.
  • The whites have absolute control of the State government, and we intend at any and all hazards to retain it.
    • As quoted in Pitchfork Ben Tillman, South Carolinian (1967), by Francis Butler Simkins. Louisiana State University Press. OCLC 1877696, p. 144.
  • We deny, without regard to color, that 'all men are created equal'; it is not true now, and was not true when Jefferson wrote it.
    • As quoted in Pitchfork Ben Tillman, South Carolinian (1967), by Francis Butler Simkins. Louisiana State University Press. OCLC 1877696, p. 144.
  • How did we recover our liberty? By fraud and violence. We tried to overcome the thirty thousand majority by honest methods, which was a mathematical impossibility. After we had borne these indignities for eight years life became worthless under such conditions.
    • As quoted in "The Question of Race in the South Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1895" (July 1952), by George B. Tindall. The Journal of Negro History, 37 (3): 277–303. JSTOR 2715494., p. 94.

1900s[edit]

1900[edit]

  • We made up our minds that the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the constitution were themselves null and void.

1906[edit]

  • Republicanism means Negro equality, while the Democratic Party means that the white man is supreme. That is why we Southerners are all Democrats... History has no record of Negro rule. The situation is grave, and calls for wisdom and all manner of statesmanship. If we had our say, the Negro could never vote. I believe that God made the white man out of better clay than that which the Negro was made from... We don't need another race to help us at this time. In some of the states, the Negro holds the vote of control... In Chicago, the Republicans needed the Negro vote to elect their whole ticket, so a nigger was nominated for judge and elected... Look down that aisle, there's a nigger as black as the ace of spades!

1909[edit]

Quotes about Tillman[edit]

  • Two days later, Tillman gave another speech and apparently was offended by the presence of a black man in the audience. ‍'‍Look down that aisle, there's a nigger as black as the ace of spades‍'‍, the South Carolina Democrat exclaimed. According to a news report, the man was well dressed and only smiled at Tillman's outburst, showing more class in that moment than Tillman had shown in his entire life.
  • They still honor Benjamin Tillman down here, which is very much like honoring a malignant tumor. A statue of Tillman, who was known as 'Pitchfork Ben', is on prominent display outside the statehouse. Tillman served as governor and U.S. senator in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A mortal enemy of black people, he bragged that he and his followers had disenfranchised 'as many as we could', and he publicly defended the murder of blacks.
  • He declared if all were shot like wild beasts the country would be better off, but that was unlawful. Therefore, when they were unable to produce passports, they should be placed on chain gangs until they reformed or left the country.

External links[edit]

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