By John F. Marszalek
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Extra info for A Black Congressman in the Age of Jim Crow: South Carolina's George Washington Murray
Angrily Murray excoriated Lee, the man he had so strongly supported in 1882. Lee gaveled for order; Murray responded by marching up and down the aisle demanding to be heard, and the delegates became increasingly restive. A reporter, trying to hear what was going on, moved to the front. Lee noticed the newsman and warned the gathering that, this 12 / A Black Congressman in the Age of Jim Crow time, a press description of Republican turmoil would not be Democratic misrepresentation; it would be the truth.
In protest, Lee ran an independent race, but Mackey beat him easily, 18,469 to 10,017. The black congressional district had elected a white Republican. On the state level, a Republican alliance with the Greenback Party helped elect fifteen blacks to the state legislature, but the Conservative Democrats held on to the governorship and won just about everything else. Murray had supported losers both on the local and on the state level. 28 Just two years later, in the 1884 elections, Republicans saw the first effect of the law.
23 The big issue was whether or not to support U. S. Grant for a third presidential term. The debate droned on interminably until Murray, though a newcomer, protested. He told the convention delegates that he was tired of all the haggling and just wanted to go home. 24 Murray’s political debut began with a successful display of impatient frustration at his political party’s vacillation, a display of temper that in later years would become even more evident in his political personality. This show of impudent independence may very well have been the reason for the disappearance of his name from the political rolls for the next several years.
A Black Congressman in the Age of Jim Crow: South Carolina's George Washington Murray by John F. Marszalek