EXCLUSIVE: Rev. Jesse Jackson says Ronald Reagan wanted to ban blacks from playing football with whites

Josiah Ryan
Contributing Reporter

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  • Claimed NFL franchise Washington Redskins name is reference to scalping
  • Tea Party was born from segregation efforts, he said
  • Repeatedly called the United States South ‘the land of the free, the home of genocide.’
  • Reverend Jackson claimed President Reagan would have enforced segregation in professional football in Wednesday night speech.

    Deceased Republican President Ronald Reagan sought to to permanently ban African Americans from playing college and professional football in the South with white people, civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. alleged in a speech at Furman University on Wednesday evening.

    In the same speech he also alleged that the modern Tea Party was born from efforts to sustain segregation.

    “Goldwater and Reagan – had they been successful, it would have been illegal for blacks and whites to play together on a Saturday afternoon,” he said.

    “You couldn't have had the Carolina Panthers behind the cotton curtain playing the Atlanta Falcons…[inaudible] it would have been illegal.”

    In the tirade, recorded by a Furman University student, Jackson went on to claim that if Reagan and former GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater had their way, there would have been no Olympics in Atlanta, and basketball legend Michael Jordan would have been ineligible to play basketball at the University of North Carolina (UNC).

    “Michael Jordan couldn't have gone to UNC… [inaudible] it would have been ineligible for him to play at UNC,” he continued. “You couldn't have had the Olympics in Atlanta Georgia. You couldn’t have had the Dallas Cowboys in Houston, Texas, you couldn't have had the Super Bowl in New Orleans or in Atlanta or in Jacksonville or Miami.”

    Jackson may have been referencing Reagan and Goldwater’s vocal support for state and individual rights, which a small number of far left critics interpreted as thinly veiled appeals for segregation.

    In the hour long speech, which focused on race but meandered through a number of subjects, Jackson made other incendiary comments, for example suggesting that the Washington Redskins name is a reference to the scalping of American Indians.

    “How about pictures we see of Indians stabbing the cowboys,” he asked. "In reality what happened was if If you killed an Indian... [inaudible]…finally you got paid for the scalps of the red skins of the Indians…and that’s how we got the Washington Redskins football league.”

    He repeatedly calling the United States south “the land of the free, the home of genocide,” and suggested that the modern day Tea Party was born from efforts to maintain "the walls" of slavery and segregation.

    “The Union, those in the Confederacy sought to maintain the walls [of slavery and segregation of races] and secede from the country, the shots fired at Fort Sumter, the beginning of the Tea Party, the 'Fort Sumter' Tea Party, who sought to secede from the union, set their own government, their own currency, sought to ally with France and Britain, to form their own country,” he said.

    In the speech, held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at McAlister Auditorium on Furman’s Greenville, S.C. campus, Jackson was introduced as an “international peacemaker” and was well received by the audience.

    However, several student protesters gathered outside handing out alternate “programs” which included facts about Jackson’s controversial and often divisive past.

    “It’s a shame that Furman decided to celebrate such a historical event with such a divisive individual such as Rev. Jackson,” student Lauren Cooley, who organized that protest, told Campus Reform.

    “He’s been stirring up division for years through outlandish anti-Semitic, anti-white, and anti-conservative statements,” Cooley added.

    Meanwhile, on Monday Jackson’s son, Jesse Jackson Jr., a former Democratic congressmen from Chicago, reported to the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in nearby Raleigh, N.C., for a 30-month stretch for misusing $750,000 in campaign funds

    Editor’s note: Audio of Jackson’s speech is available upon request

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JosiahRyan

    Josiah Ryan

    Josiah Ryan

    Contributing Reporter

    Josiah Ryan is a contributing reporter for CampusReform.org and former director of communications for LI's Campus Leadership Program. 

    Previously Josiah reported on the U.S. Senate for The Hill newspaper in Washington D.C. and was the cofounder of The Floor Action blog, a live-stream on policy, politics, and procedure in the upper chamber.

    Josiah served as a reporter for the Jerusalem Post and JPOST TV in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he wrote on religion, culture, and the conflict.

    Josiah is 2007 graduate of Hillsdale College. 

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