Responses of the federal and state authorities to civil rights- Truman.

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  • Responses of the federal and state authorities to civil rights- Truman.
    • Campaigners expected little given southern background
      • Came from former slave state of Missouri where Jim Crow Laws were still in place
        • Despite this Truman believed in fairness
          • In 1940- gave a speech whilst seeking re-election declaring he believed in 'Brotherhood' between black and white men before the law
          • Worked in Jackson County public office- saw the problems faced by African Americans in urban areas
          • Proclaimed horror at treatment of black soldiers returning from the war- beaten and thrown out of trucks
            • Growing media coverage - encouraged him to act
              • 1946- he established 'The President's Committee on Civil Rights'
                • Told its members he wanted a Bill of Rights to become a reality
    • 'To Secure these Rights' 1947
      • Scathing attack on all aspects of discrimination both in North and particularly in the South
        • Education
        • Housing
        • Public facilities
          • Parks, Waiting rooms, Water fountains
        • Voting Rights in prime areas of discrimination
        • Truman responded by giving a radical civil rights speech to a joint session of congress in February 1948
          • Asked congress to support measures such as federal protection against lynching, protection of the right to vote, and permanent and better funded FEPC
          • Electorally risky, given the presence of dixiecrat congressmen
          • Never properly implemeted
          • Contributed to narrowness of election- divided party over race issue
    • Opposition from fellow Democrats
      • Head was head of the party which held a wide spectrum of beliefs
        • Extreme racists: James O Eastland, Strom Thurmond, Fielding L Wright and Herman Talmadge
          • Aware that keeping segregation kept a certain group of voters, balked at the idea of a Civil Rights Movement
        • Little media coverage, much of campaigning came through NAACP in courts
        • His efforts were met with obstruction and delay by southern politicians
          • Covered their racism by saying they were defending the right of the states from federal interference
    • The wider political context
      • Republican party saw no need to engage in Civil Rights- Eisenhower barely mentioned the issue during his 1952 campaign
      • Internationally,segregationist attitudes were damaging the US reputation
      • Collapse of Europena empires was creating independent new countires in Africa and Asia who would hold influence at the UN and were being wooed by the Soviet Union- increasing pressure on President to be seen to act.
  • Despite this Truman believed in fairness
    • In 1940- gave a speech whilst seeking re-election declaring he believed in 'Brotherhood' between black and white men before the law
    • Worked in Jackson County public office- saw the problems faced by African Americans in urban areas
    • Proclaimed horror at treatment of black soldiers returning from the war- beaten and thrown out of trucks
      • Growing media coverage - encouraged him to act
        • 1946- he established 'The President's Committee on Civil Rights'
          • Told its members he wanted a Bill of Rights to become a reality

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