Presidents, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK and Johnson Civil Rights.

1283 Words Nov 3rd, 2013 6 Pages
Civil Rights
(The Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson Years)

Civil Right in the Truman Era
• Post-war prosperity, Cold War rhetoric led to increasing assertiveness of African-Americans
• Truman began to address civil rights issues, shortly after the war o 1946 - appoints commission to propose civil rights legislation o 1948 - Proposes civil rights legislations
 Called for permanent Federal civil rights commission
 Called for a permanent Fair Employment Practices Committee to end discrimination in employment
 Blocked by Southern Democrats in Congress o African-Americans key in Truman's surprise victory in 1948 election
 Truman again pushes FEPC, also anti-lynching legislation
 again blocked in Congress by Southern
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o Increasingly, the direct action of the SCLC and the SNCC replaced the court action of the NAACP

Kennedy (1961-1963) and Civil Rights
• Kennedy focused on expanding voting rights for Blacks
• Attorney General Robert Kennedy worked with SNCC and others to register Black southern voters
• Kennedy also appointed large numbers of African Americans to Federal positions, including making Thrugood Marshall a Federal judge
• Many activists saw Kennedy as to cautious, and direct action continued o Freedom rides - in 1961, activists began testing a 1960 Supreme Court decision banning segregation in interstate commercial travel o Freedom riders quickly met with violent mobs - Robert Kennedy had to send Federal marshals to Birmingham to protect them o Also had to send troops to enable James Meredith to enter University of Mississippi - two killed in ensuing riot o in 1963, television coverage of violent attacks by Bull Conner's Birmingham police on non-violent protesters organized by MLK shocked nation o JFK forced finally to take decisive action - called for major civil rights legislation
• March on Washington kept the pressure on Kennedy to act o August, 1963 - 200,000 come to Washington o MLK gives his "I have a dream" speech, cementing his place as leader of the

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