Chicago Mayor Criticized For Linking July 4 Violence To Nixon Administration

Following a violent July 4th weekend in Chicago, where 19 people were killed and 109 injured, Mayor Brandon Johnson attributed the bloodshed to policies dating back to the Nixon administration. This claim quickly drew a sharp rebuke from the Richard Nixon Foundation.

Mayor Johnson, addressing the surge in violence at a press conference, stated, “Black death has been, unfortunately, accepted in this country for a very long time. We had a chance 60 years ago to get at the root causes, and people mocked President [Lyndon] Johnson. And we ended up with Richard Nixon.”

The Richard Nixon Foundation responded by highlighting Nixon’s significant contributions to civil rights, arguing that Johnson’s comments were baseless. In a series of posts on X, the foundation detailed Nixon’s civil rights record, which included several key initiatives aimed at promoting racial equality and economic opportunities for Black Americans:

Nixon’s administration implemented a plan in 1971 to enforce the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, leading to the desegregation of Southern schools. The percentage of segregated schools in the South dropped from 64% in 1969 to 8% by 1974.

Federal funding for civil rights programs increased substantially under Nixon, from $75 million in 1969 to over $600 million by 1972, equivalent to more than $3.4 billion today. He also initiated the Emergency School Aid Act with a $1.5 million budget to support the desegregation of schools and promote interracial experiences.

Nixon issued an executive order mandating equal-opportunity employment policies across all federal agencies. He allocated $12 million for research on sickle-cell anemia, which primarily affects Black children. The administration’s purchases from Black-owned businesses increased more than 900%, from $13 million to $142 million, during his term.

Nixon’s “Philadelphia Plan” dismantled institutionalized racism in labor unions, and his administration developed initiatives to increase jobs for minorities in the construction industry. Federal aid to predominantly Black colleges and universities more than doubled from 1969 to 1973.

Jim Byron, president and CEO of the Richard Nixon Foundation, criticized Johnson’s remarks as “gratuitous” and defended Nixon’s legacy in a statement to Fox News. Byron emphasized that Nixon was a champion of civil rights and that his administration took significant steps to promote equality. “The record is clear. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about Richard Nixon,” Byron said. “What is happening in Chicago is heartbreaking, and I imagine the people of Chicago want leaders who take responsibility and work together to solve problems rather than try and pass the blame.”

Byron also noted that the foundation’s efforts to correct the historical record had gained significant attention, suggesting that Nixon’s contributions are being reevaluated and recognized anew amidst ongoing discussions about his legacy.