President Ronald Reagan in 1981 famously attacked racism and bigotry three months after a black man was lynched in Alabama.
Speaking at the NAACP convention in June that year, Reagan spoke directly to “those who still adhere to senseless racism and religious prejudice.”
“To those individuals who persist in such hateful behavior . . . you are the ones who are out of step with our society; you are the ones who willfully violate the meaning of the dream that is America. And this country, because of what it stands for, will not stand for your conduct,” Reagan told the audience.
In March of that year, 20-year-old Michael Donald was found beaten and lynched in Birmingham. Three members of the Ku Klux Klan were eventually convicted and one was later executed.
Reagan attacked the “disturbing reoccurrence of bigotry and violence.”
“A few isolated groups in the backwater of American life still hold