April 19

Civil Rights and the Constitution


thurgoodlbj.jpg (35555 bytes)

Thurgood Marshall, who argued the Brown case on behalf of the NAACP, and

President Johnson, who later appointed Marshall to the Supreme Court

Special Note

Sorry about the Tuesday night class, which was rather haphazard. But these are the criticial points I hope you took away from it:

the tension between national security and the protection of civil liberties was built into the Constitution
the gradual tip in favor of protecting national security was complicated, occurred over time, and occurred for a number of reasons
that this tip in favor of protecting national security generally occurred only when BOTH foreign and domestic functions intersected
that, in contrast to the treatment of Chinese-Americans, federal policy toward Japanese-Americans tended to lump them together for ethnic reasons from the start of the relationship
that, given the background, the internment was not surprising, but the Court's decision was nonetheless a low point in the Court's 20th century history


In this class, we're going to be comparing two hallmarks in the constitutional response to the civil rights movement, the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954, which declared segregation in schools unconstitutional, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the most sweeping piece of civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction Era.

secondary reading:

             Background to the Brown decision, by James Patterson

primary documents:

            Brown decision

            Title VII, the key item of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Caucus question:

            Compare and contrast the civil rights philosophies in Title VII and Brown. Do you see more similarities or more differences?

And, finally, some transcripts:

            Lyndon Johnson on the civil rights issue in the 1964 campaign; please print out for class.