Black Lives Matter is in an all-out war against Bill Clinton and his legacy, especially the 1994 crime bill. It may seem opportunistic for young #BlackLivesMatter activists to accuse the former president of racism, but some of the biggest supporters of the law were leaders in the African American community.
NBC News reported that The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 may have contained some harsh aspects, including expanding the death penalty to include drug offenses, the "Three Strikes, You're Out" rule, and billions in funding for state police and prisons in exchange for policies that made it harder for people to get parole. However, the bill was overwhelmingly supported by black leaders who saw their communities consumed by crime.
It's hard to understand in today's world, but the nation was actually much more dangerous two decades ago. New York City alone experienced nearly 2,000 murders, over 3,000 rapes, and 100,000 burglaries in 1993. That seems almost incomprehensible today -- in 2015 NYC saw just 352 homicides, 1,438 rapes, and 15,125 burglaries.
New York City Rep. Charles Rangel (D) saw this crime affecting his district in Harlem and was one of the first people to push for tougher enforcement in the "War on Drugs" with President Nixon.
He was one of the largest supporters of Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign and the escalation of the "War on Drugs" during President Reagan's administration.
While Rangel didn't end up supporting Clinton's '94 law, plenty of other black politicians did. The first black mayor of Baltimore Kurt Schmoke supported it, as did Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.), the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus who rallied most of his members to support the legislation.
In the end, a majority of the bill's supporters were Democrats, 188 voted aye vs. just 46 Republicans.
Black leaders were desperate to rid the inner cities of the crime that was killing thousands of young black men every year.
Though the law had unintended consequences, violent crime in America did drop drastically over the next two decades.
Despite claims that black voters were outraged by Clinton and the Democratic Party's betrayal, they had a funny way of showing it. In 1996, the former president captured 84 percent of the African American vote, and his Vice President Al Gore received 90 percent of the African American vote in 2000.
If black millennials really want to show the Clintons that they disapprove of their legacy, they can vote Republican or third party in this year's election.