By John F. Marszalek
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Additional info for A Black Congressman in the Age of Jim Crow: South Carolina's George Washington Murray
The 1882 registration restrictions and the eight-box law made it impossible for Republicans to win any state office. At the congressional level, the gerrymandering of districts gave Republicans a chance in only one of the state’s seven districts. The national party’s loss of the White House to Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, was further disheartening, so discouraging, in fact, that the state party never even held a state convention during the Cleveland presidency. The Republicans reaction to their disfranchisement predicament was to withdraw from the political scene.
2 Such group solidarity meant uplifting the black masses. “In order to elevate ourselves we must elevate the race,” Murray said. The world blamed the entire race for the transgressions of any individual, so every black person had to perform with superiority and honesty for the good of all. Black overcrowding in the cities had to stop. Too many people were abandoning the country for the city, and this exodus was driving down wages. ” Blacks should even organize vigilante groups to help the police track down “every vagrant and loafer” on the streets.
The farm operations were remunerative enough for Murray to afford a hired hand. 21 Buttressed with his farm success, Murray began a political career in April 1880 as a delegate from Sumter County to the state Republican Party convention. S. census. He was a Republican, as were most blacks during those years, but his party was a floundering one. The South Carolina Republican Party had never been unified even during Reconstruction, and it was now staggering from the 1876 trouncing it had received at the hands of Wade Hampton and the resurgent Conservative Democrats.
A Black Congressman in the Age of Jim Crow: South Carolina's George Washington Murray by John F. Marszalek