The role of JFK in civil rights.

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  • Symbolic gestures:
    • Gave the impression that he was committed to racial equality.
    • Invited more blacks to the White House that ever before.
    • Kennedy said the Red Skins could no longer use it's federally supported stadium for refusing black players - the team then signed 3 black players.
  • Equal employment opportunity commission:
    • Ensured equal employment opportunities for federal employees and in companies that had contracts with the government.
    • Convinced companies to employ more black people.
  • Justice department:
    • Brought 57  suits against illegal violations of black voting rights in the south compared to Eisenhower who brought 8.
    • Threatened Louisiana officials with court sentences for denying funds to newly desegregated schools.
  • Appointments:
    • Put pressure on the civil service to employ blacks.
    • Appointed 40 blacks to top posts eg. associate White House press secretary.
    • Chose 5 black federal judges.


  • Housing:
    • Promised in his presidential election campaign that discrimination in housing could be ended as and when he thought would be best - he did nothing.
    • Thought that if he pushed the legislation, Congress would reject other important legislations.
    • Introduces a half-heated measure…


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