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Post War Presidents Harry S. Truman -Followed Franklin Roosevelt in 1945 -Not a racist himself and personally favoured a better deal for black Americans -Though he was aware the „Black vote‟ in Northern cities and towns like Kansas City could be very useful to the Democrats -He was aware of the need to keep southern white democratic vote -Ignorant comment from someone so normally well-informed on racist violence in Texas „My God, Id no idea it was as bad as that; we will have to do something‟ Set up Committee on Civil Rights -1946 recommended action on civil rights -Identified problems but nothing could happen as he couldn‟t persuade congress to pass it In all by 1953 the end of his presidency his achievements were limited -Did though identify civil rights as a moral issue -Using his power as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces issued an executive order to end discrimination in the US military. Dwight D. Eisenhower Supported the 1954 Brown V Board of Education of Tepeka US Supreme Court decision in which segregated (“separate but equal”) schools were ruled to be unconstitutional BIG decision -He proposed to Congress the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 and signed these acts into law -Although these acts were weaker than subsequent civil rights legislation, constituted the first significant civil rights acts since 1870‟s. -The „Little Rock Nine‟ incident 1957, under executive order Eisenhower placed Arkansas National guard under federal control and sent army troops to escort nine black students into an all-white public school The 1960 Civil Rights Act barely touched on anything new and Eisenhower, at the end of his term of presidency: -He was accused of passing the thorny problem of voters‟ constitutional rights over to his successor. -Others believe at least he recognized there was a problem and attempted to tackle not just the issue but the culture surrounding it. After the civil rights acts only adds an extra 3% black voters some would argue: -It reflected his failure to really put his weight behind civil Rights legislation. -Others argue after 80 years of federal apathy, something was finally being done. John F Kennedy -Brown V Topeka ruled unconstitutional in Eisenhower‟s term but many schools especially southern states not obeying Supreme Court decision. -Supported racial integration and civil rights -Assigned Federal marshals to protect Freedom Riders -Put pressure on federal organizations to employ more African Americans Though Initially believed the grassroots movement for civil rights would only anger many Southern whites and make it even more difficult to pass civil rights laws through Congress, which was dominated by Southern Democrats, and he distanced himself from it. -Result, many civil rights leaders viewed Kennedy as unsupportive of their efforts. On June 11, 1963 after intervening Alabama governor from stopping two African Americans from enrolling he gave his famous Civil Rights address on TV and radio, proposing what would become the Civil Rights act of 1964. 1961 signed Presidential Commission on the status of women, on evidence showing discrimination of women Voted against Eisenhower‟s 1957 Civil Rights Act however he made it clear in his speeches that he was a supporter of civil rights, „suddenly‟ converted? -Some saw the opposition to the 1957 Act as understandable from a political point of view. -Others have adopted a more cynical view which is that Kennedy recognized that he needed the „Black Vote‟ if he was to beat Nixon Lack of change? -International factors meant that the president could never focus attention on domestic issues in first year, 1961 -He also knew that there was no great public support for such legislation. Opinion polls indicated that in 1960 and 1961, civil rights was at the bottom of the list when people were asked "what needs to be done in America to advance society?” -Kennedy was also concentrating his domestic attention on improving health care and helping the lowest wage earners. -Kennedy also argued that improving health care and wages for the poor would effectively be civil rights legislation as they would benefit the most from these two -Bad relationship with Congress -Democrats were less than happy with a disproportionate amount of time being spent on civil rights issues when the Cold War was in full flight with Vietnam Lyndon B Johnson Pro Civil Rights -Housing for the poor -Healthcare for the poor In an address before a joint session of congress after point appoint president following Kennedy‟s assassination, Johnson pledged support for President Kennedy‟s legislative agenda which included civil rights. -In conjunction with the civil rights movement, Johnson overcame southern resistance and convinced Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed most forms of racial segregation -Voting was the most demanded right, however it was also the most ignored. The Great Society program, with its name coined from one of Johnson's speeches became Johnson's agenda for Congress in January 1965: which included the removal of obstacles to the right to vote passing another important civil rights law-the Voting Rights Act of 1965. -Which outlawed discrimination in voting, thus allowing millions of southern blacks to vote for the first time. Time during middle 1960s really seemed he would make major inroads into black poverty, His „great society‟ program of reforms targeted this area particularly. Relationship with King seen as key to the successes so far, such as the Education Act passed in 1965 aiming to speed up desegregation of schools. -More reforms expected however escalation of Vietnam War made this impossible -In 1967, Johnson nominated civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall to be the first African American Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. -After the murder of civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo, Johnson went on television to announce the arrest of four Ku Klux Klansmen implicated in her death. He angrily denounced the Klan as a "hooded society of bigots" -In 1967, Johnson nominated civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall to be the first African American Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Key Role He played a key role in helping the civil rights movement win legislative victories, pushing for the adoption of the Civil Rights Act (1964), which outlawed segregation, and the Voting Rights Act (1965), which guaranteed African- Americans' right to vote.
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