After receiving heavy criticism from fellow Republicans for writing in a 2009 book that slavery was a “blessing in disguise” for black Americans, Arkansas State Rep. Jon Hubbard told local media on Saturday that his words were taken out of context.
Hubbard, who is up for re-election this year, told KAIT8 that he is being attacked by left-wing bloggers and Democrats because he is a conservative. He is running against Democrat Harold Copenhaver in House District 58.
Hubbard self-published a book in 2009 titled “Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative,” in which he argued that slavery was a blessing for black people.
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
“For those castoffs and indentured servants from other lands who were to make up the core of what would become the United States of America, it was to follow a dream that had never before been successfully accomplished. And for our brothers and sisters of the black race, as hard as it may be to understand and appreciate, slavery just might have been a blessing in disguise, as well as their most difficult challenge ever. Maybe, just maybe, God had a plan for what he allowed to happen. In the formative years of this great country, there were many immigrants who made their way to this wonderful land, and many of them would soon realize their dreams, and many of their sorrows here. But the prevailing feelings of that time allowed very few members of the black race from Africa or anywhere else to immigrate here, or to assimilate themselves into that American society. The institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise.”
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Hubbard, a first-term Republican from Jonesboro, continued to argue that the black Africans who survived the conditions of slavery after the institution ended were “rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of this Earth.” In addition, there were other comments in the book that were widely interpreted as racially insensitive.
Hubbard didn’t respond to a voice message and an email from the International Business Times, but he emailed KAIT, stating, “[They] have attacked me over a book I wrote in 2008. They attacked me because I’m a conservative, and they’ve taken small portions of my book out of context, and distorted what was said to make it appear that I am racist, which is totally and completely false.”
The representative then argued that liberals are launching negative attacks but offering no positive plans to address Arkansas’ problems.
“The one thing that scares the life out of them is losing the political stronghold they have had on our state for the last 138 years, and this is what keeps them awake at night,” Hubbard’s email read. “They will do anything to steer the conversation away from the real issues, and that is why they try to make me and other conservatives spend our time defending ourselves against their false accusations, instead of addressing these real issues the people of this state desperately want answers or solutions for.”
Hubbard provided the station with the page from his book that contained the passage that's gotten him negative media attention, and he said, “You may read and judge for yourself.” Portions of the book can also be read on Google Books.
Chairman of the State Republican Party Doyle Webb described Hubbard’s book -- along with another book from House candidate Charlie Fuqua of Batesville, Ark., which calls for the deportation of Muslims from America -- as “highly offensive.”
Other Republicans have called the books “divisive and racially inflammatory.”
“The statements that have been reported portray attitudes and beliefs that would return our state and country to a harmful and regrettable past,” U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican representing northeast Arkansas, told the Associated Press.