By John F. Marszalek
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Extra info for A Black Congressman in the Age of Jim Crow: South Carolina's George Washington Murray
He ignored politics and spoke of black pride and economics. In his words could be heard the philosophy of the Colored Alliance, echoes of black thought since the Civil War, and the later more famous accommodationist words and philosophy of Booker T. 4 The modern historian can also notice prophetic hints of “black is beautiful,” salvation for the masses, and black separatist themes identified with later black rhetoric. In his speech, Murray was reflecting the thought of those black contemporaries who saw economics rather than politics as the solution to black problems.
16 Murray also played a key role in the registration drive led by Brayton. In July, for example, he addressed a group of Sumter County blacks while they completed affidavits to try to obtain registration certificates. Such tasks were The 1890 Election: Success and Failure / 27 routinely assigned to party functionaries, but Murray had decided to run for Congress from the Seventh District, so this activity was part of his campaign effort. Once more, he displayed political audacity. He was not only running in the only district where Republicans had a chance to win, but he was also willing to challenge party luminaries such as Miller and Brayton for the post.
He played on Harrison’s emotions by describing black voter loyalty to the Republican cause despite personal danger and tremendous electoral obstacles. 36 Murray’s letter was one part of a concerted South Carolina Republican campaign to mend fences with Harrison. In early January 1889, the Republican state chairman, Ellery M. Brayton, a white Harvard-educated lawyer, published a twenty-four-page pamphlet publicly repeating the arguments Murray had made in his personal letter. 37 This rumored 1889 movement to remake the South Carolina Republican Party was nothing new or unexpected.
A Black Congressman in the Age of Jim Crow: South Carolina's George Washington Murray by John F. Marszalek