History 65

Eisenhower and Civil Rights

January 31, 2006


I. The Path to Brown


1. Civil Rights and the Law (legacy of Plessy; NAACP strategy; legacy of Washington/DuBois dispute; Huston and origins of LDF; challenging separate but equal: educationMissouri v. Gaines (1938, law school); Sweatt v. Painter (1948, law school); McLaurin v. Oklahoma (1948, law school segregation); electionsSmith v. Allwright (1944, white primaries); housingShelley v. Kramer (1948, racial covenant enforcement)


2. Brown (judicial compromises and nature of Brown: NAACP strategies; choice of Topeka; divisions in the Vinson Court—Marshall, liberals, and role of 14th amendment; Vinson death, Warren elevation, reargument: role of Kenneth Clark; remedy?; Brown II and “all deliberate speed”; declining significance of Supreme Court)


II. Civil Rights or Civil Liberties


            1. McCarthyism (McCarthy background; initial charges—recycling of HUAC claims and FBI leaks; failure of political response; 1950 and 1952 elections; role of “subcommittee government” and Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations; Army-McCarthy hearings; impact)


            2. International Context (civil rights movement abroad—NAACP and Haiti, Marcus Garvey and Caribbean approach; Ethiopian invasion; World War II and Atlantic Charter; changing context of Cold War—Soviet Union and anti-colonialism, anticolonialist movements in Ghana and Algeria; Paul Robeson, DuBois break from NAACP)


III. The Expansion of Rights

            1. Reaction to Brown (civil rights and politics: splits within the two parties, GOP traditions, Eisenhower background; Eisenhower and origins of massive resistance: Virginia, Little Rock; role of Brownell—response to Birmingham and Rosa Parks, MLK; establishment of civil rights division in Justice Dept., federal prosecution of voting rights abuses)


2. Grassroots (baby boom and generational splits; creation of SNCC and CORE; significance of Historically Black Colleges; sit-ins w/new generation—SNCC and Greensboro)