#Black and Tan Republicans were mainly Black men in the Reconstruction-era South who were loyal to the Republican Party. Not a lot of Blacks joined during the Party, but there were quite a few who did. At the end of the Abraham Lincoln election the party began to attract support from the Northern Black people, including Frederick Douglass. The support for the party grew and by the 1860’s many southern blacks were casting ballots for the Republicans.
“After the 15th Amendment was passed in 1870 allowing most of the black males in the former Confederate states to vote, the Republican Party (also now known as the Grand Old Party or GOP) commanded the loyalty of an overwhelming majority of African Americas, prompting Frederick Douglass to remark that for them, The Republican Party was the ship and all else was the sea.” (BlackPast.org)
The Southern black men who were now voting for the Republican Party had formed a club called the “Black and Tan” club. They put effort into trying to institutionally tie voters to the Republican Party. It is also believed that the Black Republican votes were determined through white terrorizing. By 1866 the Ku Klux Klan had been formed and had expanded their power well into the 1870s.
It is no secret that during these times Southern Whites used violence to intimidate black-would-be voters, those who at first helped to solidify their allegiance to the GOP. During this era thousands of Black voters were murdered in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Those who supported the Republican Party were terrorized and banned as well. Even children were harrassed of White Republicans in schools and the wives were isolated from church and social clubs. Violence that was normally used on African-American voters, was also used on White Party Activist. The violence was called the “shotgun policy” or the “Mississippi Plan.” It was not long after this that Whites left the GOP and rejoined the Democrats. If Black people continued to vote they knew they were taking a great risk that could ultimately lead to death.
Most of the Black and Tan Republicans abandoned the GOP during the administration of Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt to support his policies. The White Republicans “Lily Whites,”who had remained in the party were now in control. read more