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Barb’s List – Republican Firsts

Even the most “progressive” Democrats will agree that Republicans were the party of diversity from the time of Lincoln until the 1960’s. Well, look at which party was the first to appoint minorities to many of the key political positions, and mind you this is in the last 50 years when Democratics had more than ample opportunities to walk the talk, but failed to do so:

December 16, 2003 – President George W. Bush signs law creating National Museum of African American History and Culture

November 17, 2003 – First generation immigrant, Austrian-American Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, sworn in as Governor of California

May 23, 2003 – U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) introduces bill to establish National Museum of African American History and Culture

May 8, 2003 – Speaker Dennis Hastert, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and other Republican leaders gather at Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, announce $1 million restoration effort

January 13, 2003 – Jennette Bradley (R-OH) becomes first African-American woman to be Lt. Governor of a state

December 20, 2000 – California Republican Ann Veneman nominated as first woman to be U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

December 17, 2000 – Republican Alberto Gonzales named as first Hispanic to serve as White House Counsel by President George W. Bush

December 15, 2000 – President-elect George W. Bush nominates Colin Powell as first African-American Secretary of State

December 5, 2000 – Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) becomes first woman elected to U.S. Senate Leadership

December 3, 2002 – Jewish Republican Linda Lingle (R-HI) inaugurated as state’s first woman governor

November 26, 2002 – Republican Judy Baar Topinka becomes first woman to chair either major party in Illinois

November 13, 2002 – U.S. Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-OH) elected as Chair of House Republican Conference; she is highest-ranking woman in House majority leadership in U.S. history

November 5, 2002 – Michael Steele, former Chairman of Maryland Republican Party, elected as first African-American Lt. Governor in state history

November 12, 2001 – President George W. Bush proclaims National American Indian Heritage Month

September 4, 2001 – Republican U.S. Senate selects Alfonso Lenhardt as first African-American Sergeant at Arms

July 25, 2001 – California Republican Gaddi Vasquez nominated by President George W. Bush as first Hispanic to be Director of the Peace Corps

May 9, 2001 – President George W. Bush nominates Miguel Estrada to be first Hispanic to serve on U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit; Democrats in Senate successfully filibuster nomination

January 11, 2001 – Republican Elaine Chao, first Asian-American woman to hold a cabinet position, nominated as U.S. Secretary of Labor

January 20, 2001 – Mississippi Republican Rod Paige is confirmed as first African-American U.S. Secretary of Education

January 22, 2001 – Republican Condoleezza Rice becomes first woman and second African-American to serve as U.S. National Security Advisor

January 24, 2001 – Republican Mel Martínez, appointed by President George W. Bush as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, becomes first Cuban-American in Cabinet

January 30, 2001 – Republican Gale Norton, appointed by President George W. Bush, becomes first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of the Interior

June 6, 2001 – President George W. Bush issues Executive Order enhancing federal employment opportunities for Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders

July 31, 2000 – African-American U.S. Rep. J. C. Watts (R-OK) presides over Republican National Convention in Philadelphia

April 26, 1999 – `Legislation authored by U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI) awarding Congressional Gold Medal to civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks is transmitted to President

November 28, 1989 – President George H. W. Bush establishes National Museum of the American Indian

August 20, 1996 – Bill authored by U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari (R-NY) to prohibit racial discrimination in adoptions, part of Republicans’ Contract With America, becomes law

June 25, 1996 – Death of U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Elbert Tuttle, appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower; eulogized for ensuring that Brown v. Board of Education became “a broad mandate for racial justice”

January 4, 1995 – SpeakerNewt Gingrich appoints Republican Cheryl Lau first Asian-American woman to serve as General Counsel of U.S. House;

January 4, 1995 – Republican Robin Carle becomes first woman elected Clerk of U.S. House

July 22, 1993 – Death of Roscoe Robinson, first African-American four-star general in the U.S. Army; promoted in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan

November 21, 1991 – President George H. W. Bush signs Civil Rights Act of 1991 to strengthen federal civil rights legislation

August 3, 1990 – President George H. W. Bush declares first National American Indian Heritage Month

July 26, 1990 – President George H. W. Bush signs Americans with Disabilities Act, world’s first comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities

May 7, 1990 – President George H. W. Bush proclaims first Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

March 8, 1990 – Republican Evan J. Kemp appointed by President George H. W. Bush
as Chairman of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; first person with a disability to serve on the Commission

August 29, 1989 – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) becomes first Hispanic woman and first Cuban-American in Congress

September 13, 1988 – President Ronald Reagan proclaims first National Hispanic Heritage Week

August 10, 1988 – President Ronald Reagan signs Civil Liberties Act of 1988, compensating Japanese-Americans for deprivation of civil rights and property during World War II internment ordered by FDR

May 27, 1987 – Vietnamese-American cadet Hoang Nhu Tran, former boat person, graduates as valedictorian from U.S. Air Force Academy; nominated by U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong (R-CO)

November 4, 1986 – Republican Kay Orr of Nebraska elected as state’s first woman governor;

November 30, 1983 – Clarence Pendleton completes first term as first African-American Chairman of U.S. Civil Rights Commission; appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981

November 15, 1983 – President Ronald Reagan’s nominee to Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Susan Meredith Phillips, confirmed as first woman to serve as Chairman

November 2, 1983 – President Ronald Reagan makes Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday

October 2, 1983 – President Ronald Ronald Reagan proclaims first Minority Enterprise Development Week

May 13, 1983 – President Ronald Reagan designates first national observance of American Indian Day

May 5, 1983 – Hispanic Republican Patricia Diaz Dennis appointed by President Ronald Reagan as first Hispanic woman on National Labor Relations Board; later served as FCC Commissioner under Reagan and as Regent of Texas State University under Gov. George W. Bush

February 7, 1983 – Republican Elizabeth Dole appointed by President Ronald Reagan as first woman to be U.S. Secretary of Transportation; she would later become first woman to represent North Carolina in U.S. Senate

August 12, 1982 – Hispanic Republican Faith Evans, first woman in nation to serve as U.S. Marshal, sworn in following appointment by President Ronald Reagan

June 29, 1982 – President Ronald Reagan signs 25-year extension of 1965 Voting Rights Act

December 21, 1981 – President Ronald Reagan establishes Task Force on Legal Equality
for Women

September 25, 1981 – Republi
can Sandra Day O’ Connor, nominated by President Ronald Reagan, is sworn in as first woman to serve on U.S. Supreme Court

September 15, 1981 – President Ronald Reagan establishes the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, to increase African-American participation in federal education programs

January 29, 1981 – Jeane Kirkpatrick appointed by President Ronald Reagan as first woman to be U.S. Ambassador to United Nations

August 9, 1988 – Lauro Cavazos, first Hispanic to serve in Cabinet, nominated by President Ronald Reagan to be Secretary of Education

July 15, 1980 – NAACP President Benjamin Hooks addresses Republican National Convention; previously appointed by President Richard Nixon in 1972 as first African-American member of U.S. Civil Rights Commission

February 19, 1976 – President Gerald Ford formally rescinds President Franklin Roosevelt’s notorious Executive Order authorizing internment of over 120,000 Japanese-Americans during WWII

September 1, 1975 – Gen. Daniel James receives fourth star from Republican President Gerald Ford; first African-American to hold that rank in U.S. Air Force

April 25, 1975 – Appointed by President Gerald Ford, Dick Yin Wong becomes first Asian-American to serve as judge on a U.S. District Court

March 10, 1975 – President Gerald Ford appoints Republican Carla Hills as first woman to be U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; later first woman to be U.S. Trade Representative, appointed by President George H. W. Bush

January 14, 1975 – Republican William T. Coleman nominated as first African-American to be U.S. Secretary of Transportation

July 12, 1974 – Republican National Chairman George H. W. Bush establishes Republican National Hispanic Assembly

April 24, 1974 – James M. Rogers, Jr. is first African-American selected National Teacher of the Year, by President Richard Nixon

October 1, 1973 – Richard Cavazos promoted by President Richard Nixon to be first Hispanic Brigadier General in U.S. Army; in 1982, President Ronald Reagan made him first Hispanic four–star General

February 17, 1973 – Republican Navy Secretary John Warner commissions frigate in honor of first African-American naval aviator, Jesse L. Brown, who died in combat during Korean War

October 24, 1972 – Death of Jackie Robinson, athlete and Republican civil rights activist

October 11, 1972 – Horacio Rivero, first Hispanic four-star Admiral, appointed by President Richard Nixon as U.S. Ambassador to Spain

May 14, 1971 – Republican Senators Jacob Javits (NY) and Charles Percy (IL) appoint the first female pages in U.S. Senate

April 28, 1971 – Rear Admiral Samuel Lee Gravely becomes first African-American to achieve Flag Rank in U.S. Navy, promoted by President Richard Nixon

April 23, 1971 – Republican appointee Herbert Choy becomes first Asian-American federal judge, named by President Richard Nixon to U.S. Court of Appeals

July 8, 1970 – In special message to Congress, President Richard Nixon calls for reversal of policy of forced termination of Native American rights and benefits

August 6, 1965 – Voting Rights Act of 1965, abolishing literacy tests and other measures devised by Democrats to prevent African-Americans from voting, signed into law; higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats vote in favor

August 4, 1965 – Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) overcomes Democrat attempts to block 1965 Voting Rights Act; 94% of Senate Republicans vote for landmark civil right legislation, while 27% of Democrats oppose

March 21, 1965 – Republican federal judge Frank Johnson authorizes Martin Luther King’s protest march from Selma to Montgomery, overruling Democrat Governor George Wallace

June 20, 1964 – The Chicago Defender, renowned African-American newspaper, praises Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) for leading passage of 1964 Civil Rights Act

June 10, 1964 – Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) criticizes Democrat filibuster against 1964 Civil Rights Act, calls on Democrats to stop opposing racial equality

June 9, 1964 – Republicans condemn 14-hour filibuster against 1964 Civil Rights Act by U.S. Senator and former Ku Klux Klansman Robert Byrd (D-WV), who still serves in the Senate

January 27, 1964 – U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME), first woman to be considered for nomination by a major party, announces candidacy for President; she finishes 2nd at Republican National Convention

May 2, 1963 – Republicans condemn Democrat sheriff of Birmingham, AL for arresting over 2,000 African-American schoolchildren marching for their civil rights

July 27, 1960 – At Republican National Convention, Vice President and eventual presidential nominee Richard Nixon insists on strong civil rights plank in platform

May 6, 1960 – President Dwight Eisenhower signs Republicans’ Civil Rights Act of 1960, overcoming 125-hour, around-the-clock filibuster by 18 Senate Democrats

February 4, 1959 – President Eisenhower informs Republican leaders of his plan to introduce 1960 Civil Rights Act, despite staunch opposition from many Democrats

June 23, 1958 – President Dwight Eisenhower meets with Martin Luther King and other African-American leaders to discuss plans to advance civil rights

September 24, 1957 – Sparking criticism from Democrats such as Senators John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, President Dwight Eisenhower deploys U.S. troops to Little Rock, AR to force Democrat Governor Orval Faubus to integrate public schools

September 9, 1957 – President Dwight Eisenhower signs Republican Party’s 1957 Civil Rights Act

November 6, 1956 – African-American civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy vote for Republican Dwight Eisenhower for President

July 9, 1955 – Republican attorney E. Frederic Morrow becomes first African-American executive in White House; served as advisor to President Dwight Eisenhower

May 17, 1954 – Chief Justice Earl Warren, three-term Republican Governor (CA) and Republican vice presidential nominee in 1948, wins unanimous support of Supreme Court for school desegregation in Brown v. Board of Education

UPDATE: Surprisingly, it looks like when I first put up this list, I neglected to put a link to the source. It was copied from the 2005 Republican Freedom Calendar, which was written by Michael Zak. It is based on his book, Back to Basics for the Republican Party. The factoids on his calendar are now being continued on Mr. Zak’s blog.