President Johnson and African American Civil Rights

  • Created by: Alasdair
  • Created on: 30-05-17 11:28
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  • President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-8) and African American civil rights
    • Presidential actions
      • Often publicly demonstrated his commitments to ending racism in USA
        • E.g. comment on being prepared to lose 1964 election campaign for sake of Civil Rights Act
      • Televised signing of Civil Rights Act (1964)
      • Used executive orders more frequently than JFK
    • Legislation
      • 1964 Civil Rights Act - resisted attempts to filibuster act
      • Johnson did not have to dilute act as was done in 1957 Voting Rights Act because he was president and public support for carrying through policy assassinated president JFK had endorsed
      • LBJ was good at highlighting economic effects of Civil Rights
      • Gave federal govt. tools to ender de jure segregation in South
      • 1965 Voting Rights Act
        • Intended to plug gaps in Civil Rights Act
      • LBJ gave an impassioned speech to Congress
      • Disallowed literacy tests and set up federal registars
      • By 1969 even in Mississippi black registration was up to 59%
    • Improvements in social and economic status
      • 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act
        • Aimed to improve black access to education
      • By end of 1960s % of AAs with high school diploma increased from 40-60%
      • 1965 Higher Education Act
        • number of black college students quadrupled
      • Health Care reform
        • Black infant mortality halved during 1960s
    • Appointments
      • Appointed Thurgood Marshall as Supreme Court Judge
        • First black senator
    • Legislation
      • 1964 Civil Rights Act
        • did little to improve race relations and voting rights
      • Northern working-class backlash and riots
      • Lack of support from white community
        • Opinion poll in 1966 showed 90% of WAs opposed Civil Rights legislation and others suggested he was going too fast
      • White population resented increased taxation caused by civil rights and foreign policy decisions
    • Opposition from Congress
      • 1968 Fair Housing Act
        • Hate mail sent to President
        • Difficult to enforce
    • His actions caused a backlash
      • Race riots
        • Watt riots (1965) and 'Long Hot Summer' of 1966 saw race riots in every major city outside South
      • Detroit
        • 40 killed
        • 2000 injured
        • Federal troops used to restore order
      • Death of MLK provoked further rioting
      • Reluctance of local officials
        • Some cities, e.g. Chicago were very uncooperative, especially after they had received federal funding and there was no incentive to desegregate
    • Presidential actions
      • Distanced himself from MLK after King's criticism of Vietnam War

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