Often, Republicans point to the Dixiecrats, which today exist in the Republican Party, to justify political party racism. In other words, well you guys do it, too! But, those who, at one point, referred to themselves as Dixiecrats joined the Republican Party because of the passage of racial equality legislation. As previously stated, Democrats used to support conservatism whereas Republicans endorsed a form of liberalism.
Republicans wanted to punish the South for attempting to secede from the Union; monopolizing the new black vote through the electoral college, which counted slaves as property, not that blacks could vote. By the 1890s Republicans distanced themselves from Civil Rights.
After slavery ended, Jim Crow laws lasted for 100 years. During this time, neither party pursued policies for civil rights.
At the time Southern Democrats upheld racist policies, which made life hell for Africans.
The country treated African-Americans as second-class citizens; living under Jim Crow laws and segregation, yet in 1948, they fought in World War 2 for a country that didn't recognize their humanity.
In 1948, Democratic President Harry Truman signed an executive order integrating the military. Because of racism that executive order not implemented until 1963, stained the fabric of equality.
Southern Democrats, who called themselves Dixiecrats became so enraged, they ran Strom Thurmond against Harry Truman, Storm lost.
He remained a Democrat until 1964. Up until then, Storm gave the longest filibuster against the 1957 Civil Rights Act.
Fast forward to the 1960s neither party could afford, politically, to avoid civil rights legislation. When Kennedy defeated Nixon in 1960, he moved forward with an inclusive agenda.
After his 1963 assassination, Kennedy's civil rights goals continued through President Lyndon Johnson, who passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Thus, began the exodus of Dixiecrats in 1968. Republicans came up with a plan to pursue angry white Democrats to switch to the Republican Party. It worked.
Starting in 1964, Dixiecrats left the party and joined the Republican Party. Today, those racist Dixiecrats create Republican policies. So, the racist Southern Democrats of the past control the Republican Party.