The five worst presidents for Black people’s lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness


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By Ray Marcano, theGrio

From permitting Black codes to creating a pathway for Klan terrorism, these five presidents created unjust and dangerous situations for Black Americans, Dr. Robert C. Smith, an African American politics expert opined.

President Woodrow Wilson (

Segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen. If your organization goes out and tells the colored people of the country that it is a humiliation, they will so regard it … The only harm that will come will be if you cause them to think it is a humiliation.” – Woodrow Wilson

Wilson spoke those words during an exchange at the White House with a delegation of Black citizens led by journalist William Monroe Trotter, who balked at Wilson’s approval of resegregating civil service employees, according to the book ”Presidents and Black America: A Documentary History,” which authors Stephen A. Jones and Eric Freedman wrote about for the website The Conversation.

Since America gained its independence in 1776, the nation has seen 46 men serve as president. These men have taken the country from its founding years to freeing enslaved people, to passing, finally, civil rights legislation, and to removing some institutionalized barriers to opportunity.

Along the way, some presidents have been openly hostile to Black people. Some have used the federal government’s might to help deny Black people freedom and equality. 

Dr. Robert C. Smith, professor emeritus at San Francisco State University, is a renowned expert on African American politics who has written 10 books and scores of papers.

He shared his thoughts, in no particular order, on the worst presidents for Black people.

Find the entire list, which, of course, includes Donald Trump, here.

The Black community has long had a fraught relationship with Independence Day because continued racism casts a dubious light on their freedom. Recent legal decisions further contribute to this complex relationship.

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