UPDATE – Even more on the civil rights history of President Coolidge – LINK.
Judging from some of the commentary in the news media, many people seemed surprised by the fact that Republican Sen. Rand Paul would visit Howard University, a university with a majority African-American student population. The main thrust of Paul’s speech last month was to try to persuade the African-American community that its interests were best served by the Republican party rather than the Democratic party, and that the GOP was still the party of Abraham Lincoln, the party that produced black congressmen after the Civil War and the first black United States senator in the 20th century.
The audience at Howard was polite but skeptical. Paul’s case may have been strengthened had he made reference not to the 16th president of the United States, but to the 30th president.