The presidents and their involvement in civil rights from 1945-2001

table of all the presidents from 1945-2001 and their involvement in civil rights


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Name Dates Party Civil rights
Harry S. Truman 1945 53 Democrat Before he was elected he openly
opposed lynching and declared that all
men are equal whatever race they are.
He won 2 thirds of the black vote in
1948 presidential election. But he
alienated the southern white
democratic vote.
He tried to get more public housing
for African Americans to much
opposition from congress, his party
and high up members of the military
But his interest in civil rights was
only for political necessity, rather
than his beliefs, he used racist
terminology in private.
Dwight D. 1953 61 Republican He was reluctant to intervene in civil
Eisenhower rights problems e.g. Little Rock.

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But he did put through the civil
rights act of 1957 and 1960, both acts
were watered down because he wanted to
win the black vote but not to alienate
the southern white vote.
He proposed a whole department to deal
with all things civil rights, but this
received a lot of opposition from
southern democratic senators, so he
backed down.
John F.…read more

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Birmingham, but
when Martin Luther King's campaign
brought outrage at the way African
Americans were treated in the city he
changed it.
The march on Washington persuaded him
to make the bill a priority.
Lyndon B. Johnson 1963 69 Democrat He was a firm supporter of the verdict
in the Brown case.
He was fully committed to passing the
civil rights act of 1964.…read more

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The 1968 civil rights act outlawed
racial discrimination in the housing
Richard M. Nixon 1969 74 Republican He had a low opinion of black people
and their potential.
He opposed the desegregation of
schools. But at the beginning of his
presidency 68% of African American
children were attending segregated
schools but in 1974 this figure had
gone down to just 8%.
Many black leaders and liberal
Americans felt that Nixon had done
little or nothing to advance the cause
of civil rights.…read more

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Increased the powers of the justice
department over voting rights and he
also strengthened the equal
opportunities commission against job
He appointed 2 leading black women to
his cabinet Juanita Kreps and Patricia
Harris, he also made a congressman
from Atlanta and civil rights leader
Andrew Young an ambassador to the UN.
Ronald Reagan 1981 89 Republican Reagan never supported the use of
federal power to provide blacks with
civil rights. He opposed the landmark
Voting Rights Act of 1965.…read more

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He supported south Africa in spite of
George Bush 1989 93 Republican In 1964, Bush campaigned against the
Civil Rights Act.…read more


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