Truman CONSISTENTLY supported legislation to abolish the poll tax and stop lynching.
1940 CAMPAIGN FOR RE-ELECTION
- To the Senate: Made a very radical speech to Missouri in that era. He told his white audience (mostly) that blacks should have equality before the law, civil rights and better housing.
- Why did he change his stance? Fewer black voters in Missouri but he had to be politically aware about race relations.
Still used racist language and made racist jokes.
1944 - ROOSEVELT CONSIDERED...
Truman as his vice-president b/c his main rival was openly racist and partly b/c he had never made any 'racial remarks'
President Truman and the FEPC
VICE PRES. BECOMES PRESIDENT. At first, he did nothng signifcant to help blacks.
- FEPC had succeeded in 16 other Northern and Western cities.
- Tried to end discriminatory hiring policies by a Washington DC transportation company.
WHAT DID TRUMAN DO?
- Gave them no real help.
- Tried to get Congress to continue funding the FEPC but they refused.
WHY DIDN'T HE DO MORE?
Probably felt that as the voters had not elected him as president, he needed to be more cautious over controversial issues (such as black rights)
Truman and Powell.
1945: Sensitivity of race issue demonstrated.
- The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused to allow black representative (Member of the House of Representatives) Adam Powell's black wife to perform in their hall.
- Powell asked Truman's wife to boycott the tea.
- Bess she hated the treatment of Powell but said she would attend the tea.
- Powell described the First Lady as the 'last lady' of the land.
- Angered Truman - refused to receive him at the White House (called him a '******')
WHAT DID THIS SHOW?
Showed how racial discrimination increasingly made headlines, what a struggle it was to reject racist traditions and how difficult it was to keep everyone happy.
Truman and Post-war attacks on black servicemen.
OPINIONS ON LEGAL EQUALITY.
- Said that legal equality was the black man's basic right.
- Was horrifed by the attacks on black servicemen returning from the Second World War. (Said he would "fight evils like this")
- Recognised that the general principle of respect for the law was at stake.
Privately, he hadn't changed. Publicly, her told Southern friends that they were living behind the times.
To Secure These Rights - 1947
SEPTEMBER 1946 - Established a liberal civil rights committee to investigate increasing violence against blacks.
This ensures that their report would draw national attention to unacceptable situations.
WHAT WERE THE 'TO SECURE THESE RIGHTS'?
It was a anti-segregation report of the Truman-appointed committee.
WHAT DID IT SAY?
USA could not claim to be part of the leader of the free world until blacks were equal. Encouraged eliminating segregation from US life by using federal power.
WHAT DID IT CALL FOR?
Anti-lynching legislation, voting rights laws, an end to discrimination in the armed forces & on interstate travel, a permanent FEPC, the abolition of the poll tax, a civil rights division in the Justice Department, admin support for civil rights suits in the federal cours and the creation of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
Ending discrimination among federal employees.
EXECUTIVE ORDER - End discrimination in the armed forces & guarantee fair employment in the civil service.
There were few black officers until the shortage of manpower in the Korean War speeded up the desegregation.
WHAT WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1948?
His Fair Employment Board was designed to give minorities equal treatment in federal hiring.
Handicapped by a shortage of funds and conservative employees.
WHAT DOES THIS ALL SHOW?
Since these reforms were made on the president's authority, this showed the uncooperative Republic Congress.
1948: Pressure on the Supreme Court
SHELLEY vs KRAMER CASE.
1948: Truman admin. supported the NAACP. where the Suprme Court ruled against restrictive convenants that were used to stop blacks purchasing homes in white areas. HOWEVER, ruling proved ineffective.
Pros and cons of liberalism on civil rights,
- Some Democrats wanted the black vote.
- Advisers said that the 'Northern Negros vote holds the balance of power in the presidential elections - Blacks voted as a block and were in the pivotal large and closely-contested electoral states.
- Southern Democrats were furious