By John F. Marszalek
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Additional info for A Black Congressman in the Age of Jim Crow: South Carolina's George Washington Murray
Let the matter be referred to the executive committee,” he urged. “If advisable let the party unite with the Straightout Democrats [great applause] or with the Tillmanites [No! ” His statement spurred even more debate, and Murray let it proceed before arbitrarily cutting it off. He ignored a roll call demand and, over protest, sent Deas’s motion to the Executive Committee. Murray served his new leader well, entrenching himself even further in the high command. E. A. 24 Tillman’s successful capture of the Democratic party at the September state Democratic meeting, the resultant Haskell bolt, and the new Republican leadership seemed to indicate that a realignment of Palmetto State politics was a dramatic possibility.
They called on the new president to name William Mahone of Virginia, a turncoat Democrat, the nation’s postmaster general. They supported a white Republican movement and merger with fallen-away Democrats on the national level in their attempt to oppose similar individuals within their own state. Murray contributed to this contradictory policy. 40 South Carolina’s restrictive electoral laws had all but eliminated any Republican hope for success in state elections and so both factions, the Independents and the Regulars, had to look to Washington to determine the outcome of their disagreement.
Just like the split Democrats, the Republicans disagreed not over policy but over personality. The dispute centered on the alleged corruption and incompetence of Brayton’s leadership and whether or not a change was required. Normally, the state chairman held the position of temporary chairman at any Republican convention, but the Webster forces refused to allow Brayton even this small honor. They nominated Robert Smalls, a black Civil War naval hero, instead, and Murray was openly vocal in his support.
A Black Congressman in the Age of Jim Crow: South Carolina's George Washington Murray by John F. Marszalek