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Blanton says expel student protesters and fire president: 1934 | by Washington Area Spark
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Blanton says expel student protesters and fire president: 1934

Thomas L. Blanton was a Democratic representative from Texas serving from 1917-29 and from 1930-37.

 

He is known mainly for inserting a letter into the Congressional Record in 1921 over a dispute between a union and non-union printer at the Government Printing Office that was deemed obscene by a number of other representatives.

 

The House voted to expunge the letter from the Congressional Record and a vote to expel Blanton failed by eight votes. However, he was unanimously censured by the House.

 

During the 1934 six-month campaign to eliminate Jim Crow in the U.S. House of Representatives public restaurant, Blanton was a staunch segregationist.

 

He advocated the expulsion of Howard University students who participated in a demonstration against Jim Crow in the building and called for firing university president Mordecai Johnson for being a communist.

 

“We saw a bunch of them [communists] right here in this Capitol last Saturday, when 20 or 25 colored students from Howard University marched on this Capitol in a body insisting on violating the rules and regulations, attacked our good friend Harry, who though a colored man, has the respect, high esteem and warm friendship of every man who has been in Congress for the past 20 years and exemplified the teachings of Mordecai Johnson, the president of Howard University, who has preached communism on several occasions.:

  

It was later determined by prosecutors that the doorman Blanton referred to had likely made the first move in a scuffle with one of the protesters.

 

The students were part of 10 days of sit-ins at the restaurants using direct action in an attempt to desegregate the facilities—marking the first organized and sustained sit-ins in the Washington, D.C. area and perhaps the nation.

 

Blanton also called for ending federal funding for Howard University.

 

For a detailed blog post on the fight to end Jim Crow at the U.S. Capitol’s restaurants, see washingtonspark.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/origins-of-the-c...

 

For related images, see flic.kr/s/aHsmcArGZz

 

The photographer is unknown. The image is a Harris and Ewing photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-hec-18676 (digital file from original negative)

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Taken circa 1930