This article gives a shout out to the great African Americans who would have been great Presidents of the United States but for historical racism. Here what if Barrack Obama was posed not to be the first serious African American challenger for President but the fourth fifth or sixth potential black president. Here we examine who could have been President but for the premature end of reconstruction following slavery which gave rise to Jim Crow segregation and 90 additional years of legal oppression for African Americans. Like the American presidents of European descent, not all of the black presidents would have been great, some would have been just average like the Presidents we can’t name.
Frederick Douglass probably should have been the first Black American president following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the gross failure of his successor Andrew Johnson who better than Frederick Douglass to help lead the nation during reconstruction with the south and integrating African Americans. Douglass travelled the world to bring attention to the ills of American slavery. Lincoln conferred with Douglass during the Civil War. Johnson conferred with Douglass with respect to black suffrage. He was the most prominent Black American of his time.
Booker T. Washington is a man who also could have served as President of the United States. The educator and scholar would have appealed to white southerners due to his accommodation strategy with respect to segregation and white northerners in search of another “Douglass.” But because of his position on civil rights in terms of not taking a strong enough position in opposition to rampant segregation his Presidency would not have been considered successful.
W.E.B. Dubois a rival to Washington and founder of the NAACP would have been considered a great President by some and not by others. In terms of domestic policy he would have worked to end the remnants of racism and segregation lingering from slavery in the Douglass tradition. In terms of foreign policy the leftist writer, scholar and political activist would have upset others with appeasement toward Imperial Japan and the Soviet Union.
Other great black American presidents could have been Mary McLeod Bethune educator activist adviser on education and child welfare to Presidents Hoover and Coolidge. She was also a friend and advisor to Eleanor Roosevelt. Union leader A. Philip Randolph who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Johnson for his work to end segregation, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson who won primaries in 1984 and 1988, Colin Powell who if he ran today would be the republican nominee, all could have been President of the United States but for.