From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast

Episode 8 - 1953: Chipping Away at Jim Crow

March 31, 2020 Season 1 Episode 8
From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast
Episode 8 - 1953: Chipping Away at Jim Crow
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From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast
Episode 8 - 1953: Chipping Away at Jim Crow
Mar 31, 2020 Season 1 Episode 8

In '53, the new US President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, managed to reach his goal of resolving the Korean War, thanks in part to a leadership change in the Soviet Union. However, with both superpowers successfully testing massively destructive hydrogen bombs, the Cold War still presented serious dangers. Meanwhile, Ike's own Republican Party was soon creating headaches for him in Congress. Sen. Joseph McCarthy insisted on continuing his accusations against federal employees in the Eisenhower Administration, & Sen. John Bricker created an amendment that would reduce the president's power to make diplomatic agreements with foreign nations. The president defied this pressure from the Right, tacking to the Center by picking moderate Governor Earl Warren of California as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. But Eisenhower was surprised when Warren took the court in a more liberal direction than he had expected. Warren engineered a unanimous decision by the US Supreme Court to declare racial segregation unconstitutional. The story of Brown v. Board of Education, one of the most famous court cases in US history, also features a crusading civil rights lawyer named Thurgood Marshall, a repentant ex-Klansman named Hugo Black, & a reluctant Justice Robert Jackson, who helped broker the compromise that decided the case. However, there was a nasty backlash by supporters of the Jim Crow system in the aftermath of the Brown decision. The mid-20th Century battle for integration & civil rights in the USA was far from over - it was actually just beginning.

Show Notes Transcript

In '53, the new US President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, managed to reach his goal of resolving the Korean War, thanks in part to a leadership change in the Soviet Union. However, with both superpowers successfully testing massively destructive hydrogen bombs, the Cold War still presented serious dangers. Meanwhile, Ike's own Republican Party was soon creating headaches for him in Congress. Sen. Joseph McCarthy insisted on continuing his accusations against federal employees in the Eisenhower Administration, & Sen. John Bricker created an amendment that would reduce the president's power to make diplomatic agreements with foreign nations. The president defied this pressure from the Right, tacking to the Center by picking moderate Governor Earl Warren of California as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. But Eisenhower was surprised when Warren took the court in a more liberal direction than he had expected. Warren engineered a unanimous decision by the US Supreme Court to declare racial segregation unconstitutional. The story of Brown v. Board of Education, one of the most famous court cases in US history, also features a crusading civil rights lawyer named Thurgood Marshall, a repentant ex-Klansman named Hugo Black, & a reluctant Justice Robert Jackson, who helped broker the compromise that decided the case. However, there was a nasty backlash by supporters of the Jim Crow system in the aftermath of the Brown decision. The mid-20th Century battle for integration & civil rights in the USA was far from over - it was actually just beginning.

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from boomers to millennials is a modern U. S history podcast, providing a fresh look at the historic events that shaped current generations from the mid 19 forties to the present Welcome to 1953 a k Episode eight. Chipping Away at Jim Crow In our most recent full length episode, we discussed how President Truman's inability to bring an end to the Korean War helped to damage the Democratic presidential administrations, international credibility and domestic popularity, Creating an opening that was skillfully exploited by former war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower as the standard bearer for the Republican Party, Eisenhower emerged victorious in the November 1952 U. S. Presidential election. The most urgent foreign policy matter for the incoming President Eisenhower to resolve in 1953 was a Korean War, which at this point had been bogged down for years in stalemate, according to U. S historian George C. Herring quote, the decisive event in the Korean settlement seems to have been Joseph Stalin's death. Close quote. The Soviet dictator had died of a stroke in March 1953 and the leadership of the USSR passed to a group of officials led by Georgy Malenkov, who initiated some moderate reforms for an in depth discussion of those events and their implications. Check out Episode eight A of this podcast hearing writes that quote, problems of succession and rising unrest in Eastern Europe compelled the new Soviet leaders to seek a breathing space through the relax ation of tensions. Close quote Importantly, Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong also quote grudgingly concluded that any possible gain from continuing the war would not be worth the cost. Close quote. Luckily, once an armistice ceasefire agreement was reached, the United States would never have any trouble with the North Koreans again. Just kidding. Of course, hearing reports of the agreement quote amounted to an armed truce that left a still bitterly divided Korean nation and an international trouble spot that would outlast even the Cold War. Close quote. The curtain may have been closed on the hot war between Americans and Communists in Asia, but the escalation of the Cold War arms race continued. An Episode four We mentioned President Harry Truman's approval of the American development of a new thermo nuclear super bomb, or hydrogen bomb, according to historian John Lewis Gaddis Truman. Reason that quote, we have got to make the bomb, though no one wants to use it, but we have got to have it, if only for bargaining purposes with the Russians. Close quote. Truman had feared that there would be panic around the capitalist world if the Soviets, who are also developing an H bomb, got to the super weapon. First, Gaddis writes. Quote. The first American test of a hydrogen bomb obliterated a Pacific island on November 1st. 1952. The first Soviet test followed in a central Asian desert on August 12th 1953. Close quote. Gaddis recalls that upon seeing the horrific destruction unleashed by this weapon, which was several times more powerful than the atomic bombs that the U. S. Had dropped upon Japan back in 1945 scientific experts in both East and West realized that quote there could be no rational use in war for a weapon of this size. The only hope was that the existence of such weapons would cause the leaders of the superpowers to avoid a hot war at all costs. In 1953 the awesome burden of this challenge passed on to new world leaders in both the United States and the Soviet Union. Mallon Cobb's rain in the USSR would be short lived, but newly inaugurated Republican President Eisenhower would prove to be the defining American political figure For the rest of the 19 fifties. President Eisenhower, perhaps surprisingly, began clashing with elements of his own party, which had just taken over control of the United States Congress. Senator Joseph McCarthy, Republican of Wisconsin, continued to investigate the agencies of the executive branch in his pursuit of alleged communists working for the federal government. Eisenhower had misunderstood McCarthy, assuming he was a sort of GOP partisan attack dog who pursued the Truman administration in order to make the Democrats look bad. He thought McCarthy would reign in his attacks once Republicans controlled the executive branch. This view underestimated the ambition, ego and ideological zeal that McCarthy had developed over the course of his red baiting crusade. McCarthy's investigations of the Eisenhower administration would eventually unravel and come to a dramatic conclusion in 1954 but that's a story for our next full length episode. In 1953 conservative Republicans and Congress caused other headaches for Ike by introducing a bill restricting presidential power known as the Bricker amendment, named for its main sponsor, Senator John Bricker of Ohio. Historian Elizabeth Borg. Warner writes that at this time, neo isolationist elements in the United States were concerned by quote the United Nations growing independence from an American dominated agenda and were alarmed by a pair of U. S. Supreme Court cases where litigants offered arguments relying on international legal instruments such as the United Nations Charter in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Close quote, she notes that quote the Bricker amendment would have restricted the application of treaties subordinating them to the U. S. Constitution while virtually eliminating the capacity of the president to enter into executive agreements with foreign nations without Senate approval. Close quote. Bricker's bill substantially restricted the president's ability to conduct a foreign policy independent of close congressional supervision, and it was crafted by anti internationalist elements who distrusted the United Nations conventions and other international treaties because they might restrict Americans ability to exercise independent sovereignty to choose and pursue their own political agendas, regardless of international opinion. Throughout the 19 fifties, right wingers expressed concern that the United Nations, which had been designed by Americans and their World War two allies as an institution to maintain global peace could instead morph into a sinister world government that could take away the individual freedoms guaranteed to Americans by their own constitution. The internationalists Republican President Eisenhower thought these paranoid views were unreasonable. Furthermore, he was used to the broad executive power of being a top military commander, and he did not want to see his inherent power as commander in chief weakened by having to wait for congressional approval for every agreement his administration reached with the foreign government. Borg Art contends that quote congressional support for the initially popular Bricker amendment collapsed in 1953 in the face of a coordinated attack from the Eisenhower administration. Close quote. With the failure of the Bricker amendment, the legislative branch of the U. S government fell short in an attempt to restrict the chief executive's power. But the often overlooked judicial branch was the source of the most consequential event for domestic policy and American social relations that occurred during the 1st 2 years of the Eisenhower presidency. The United States Supreme Court made headlines around the world when it decided to overrule its own prior Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which had determined way back in 18 96 that so called Jim Crow laws requiring African Americans to use separate public institutions and facilities were constitutionally acceptable, based upon a principle that such service is would be quote unquote separate but equal. However, the reality in the Deep South was that such separate facilities for African Americans were underfunded and unequal. Historian James T. Patterson recalls that in Mississippi quote, white schools received 4.5 times as much funding per pupil as did the black ones. Almost everywhere that segregation existed, black school years were shorter, teachers were paid less and textbooks were dated. Discards fromthe white schools. Close quote. For several decades after the Plessy V. Ferguson decision, such racial discrimination by law in the South and by custom elsewhere had been an unquestioned fact of American life. However, during the 20th century, a civil rights movement slowly had been building momentum through campaigns against racist atrocities. Such a CZ lynchings black led institutions such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or in Double A CP, founded in 1909 helped to lead this charge. Historian Thomas Borstal Man writes that by the 19 thirties quote, Eleanor Roosevelt and other mainstream liberals began openly to oppose racial discrimination and segregation. Close quote There have been a further shift in the attitudes of the American inteligencia in the aftermath of World War Two, the authoritarian fascist antagonised of American democracy. During that conflict had been Nazi Germany, which had used ideas of racial superiority to justify its invasion of neighboring countries and to motivate its atrocities against people's whom the regime considered racially deficient. This foul legacy of racist fanaticism caused the conventional wisdom among thinkers in the English speaking world to move toward viewing such ideas as an inherent danger to peace, democracy and civilization. As law professor Noah Feldman notes. Quote the Nazis, Racial codes became archetypes of the evil character of the Third Reich. By the time the war was over and the overtly racist powers of Germany and Japan had been defeated, it had become increasingly difficult to justify race based segregation in the United States. Close quote. Although the United States Supreme Court had traditionally been a citadel of conservatism, blocking progressive economic and social reforms throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, that had started to change during the 19 thirties and forties, Thanks in large part to the liberal judicial appointees of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, legal scholar Noah Feldman notes that by the post World War two era, civil rights activists recognize that the courts provided a promising forum for challenging racially discriminatory laws. The least hospitable forum for minority rights was, ironically enough, seemingly the most Democratic branch of the federal government. The United States Congress, their Southern whites were overrepresented because blacks were largely denied the right to vote in the South. The South one party political system meant it also had some of the most veteran Democratic incumbents in Congress who seniority gave them leadership over several key legislative committees. Furthermore, Feldman writes, that quote, the chief impediment to a legislative reversal of segregation was the U. S Senate. The filibuster rule allowed senators to block any piece of legislation that did not receive a 2/3 vote. Close quote. Even today, American democracy is challenged by the Senate filibuster and other factors that make it difficult for controversial legislation to get through Congress if it is adamantly opposed by even a significant minority of the country. Patterson notes of the groundwork for a direct challenge to educational segregation had already been put in place by the Supreme Court at mid century. In 1950 the U. S Supreme Court ruled in its Sweat v painter decision that the state of Texas had to admit a black plaintiff to its all white University of Texas law school. The state had tried to avoid this by setting up a quote separate and inferior all black law school with just three faculty members, which it had provided is the only option for well qualified black students seeking to study law at the university. The court recognized that this separate institution, with few resource is, would present far fewer opportunities to its graduates than the University of Texas is prestigious. Main law school would provide for them, but it was unclear whether the same principles that applied to relatively small graduate and professional schools would also be applied by the court to cases involving massive numbers of American elementary school students. The N, Double A, C P and its most famous attorney, Thurgood Marshall, had been following these precedents and developments closely yearly, waiting for a chance to challenge school segregation across the board, Thurgood Marshall was born in Baltimore, the son of a railroad porter and a teacher. He credited the debates about current events that were customary around his family dinner table was sparking his interest in becoming a lawyer. After graduating from historically black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, Marshall was unable to attend his choice of law school, the University of Maryland, because of its racially segregationist policies. He instead attended the all black Howard University Law School in Washington, D. C. Graduating first in his class, the promising young attorney soon became legal counsel for the N. Double A. C P, focusing on civil rights law. By his early thirties, he was already arguing such cases. Before the U. S Supreme Court, Marshall was one of the main counsels for the successful plaintiffs in Brown V Board, and during the 19 sixties he would be appointed as a federal circuit judge and then as the first ever African American U. S. Supreme Court Justice Marshall's involvement in the civil rights revolution of the sixties is a story for another podcast, but he made an important contribution to the D segregationist victory in the Brown case, which was a key stepping stone in the path to that minority rights revolution. Patterson writes that segregated public schools in the early fifties quote were then attended by some 40% of American Children in 21 states, 10 of them outside of the former Confederacy. It was in 1952 that the N double A. C P brought forth its test case and argued it before the U. S Supreme Court. It's setting was Kansas, notably a state that had sided with the union in the Civil War and also the home state of President Eisenhower. In the state's capital of Topeka, the eight year old daughter of African American lead plaintiff Reverend Oliver Brown was required to attend an all black school that was twice a SW far from her house as the local white elementary school. Brown and 12 other parents joined into the lawsuit, filed in 1951 objecting to such segregation that became known as Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka. By 1952 this case has been appealed all the way up to the U. S Supreme Court. The court first horrid argument and testimony for the Brown V Board of Education case in December 1952. Patterson argues that some liberal justices were concerned that even a technical win would not be enough. Believing that quote, a narrow 5 to 4 decision against separate but equal would invite Southern resistance and destroy chances for meaningful implementation of the decision. Close quote. Perhaps on Lee an emphatic knockout blow against Jim Crow would have the legal legitimacy and force to truly change the Southern status quo. This seemed unlikely under the cautious leadership of Chief Justice Fred M. Vincent, who was a skeptic of the court, unilaterally engaging in decisions that would potentially bring about disruptive social change, according to Feldman. Quote. Chief Justice Vinson said in so many words that he didn't think the court should put an end to segregation. Close quote. He challenged the courts integrationists, asking if the 14th amendments framers thought it's equal protection clause prohibited Jim Crow. Why did that same 19th century Congress that passed the 14th Amendment choose to keep the District of Columbia segregated? Vincent felt that the court couldn't act if the legislative branch of the democracy had not made a move against Jim Crow. First, he had grown up in the border state of Kentucky and knew the Southern mindset and probably had sympathy for it. Vincent predicted correctly that some Southern municipalities would rather close down their entire public school system rather than integrate. By spring 1953 the justices were deadlocked, and they decided to postpone a ruling and let the case be re argued at the start of their next session in the fall. The outlook for the Brown case changed dramatically, however, when Vinson unexpectedly died in September 1953 in Feldman's words with his death quote, Ah, Hole had been opened in the block of justices who oppose desegregation. Into it walked the man who would become the most liberal chief justice in the annals of the court. California's three time Republican governor, Earl Warren. Close quote. President Eisenhower had made a decision that would prove far more consequential than he realized at the time when he appointed Governor Warren to the court in late 1953 according to Eisenhower biographer Jean Edward Smith, the new president's quote battles with McCarthy, Bricker and the old guard of the GOP drove him politically toward the center, toward the Democrats and the liberal wing of the Republican Party close quote. This helps explain his willingness to select Warren, then consider to GOP centrist as the new chief justice of the Supreme Court. After the death of Vincent Earl Warren was born in Los Angeles to Scandinavian immigrant parents. He was raised in California's Central Valley and went on to obtain both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. He served in the U. S Army during World War I, and after its conclusion, he obtained employment as a city attorney in Oakland, where he would eventually launched his political career by being elected as county district attorney. The ambitious young prosecutor cultivated ties with both the more progressive and the more conservative factions of Republican party politics in Northern California. During the 19 thirties, Warren was known for his tough prosecutions of radical left wing Labour activists. In 1938 he was elected attorney general for the entire state of California in that office during the early forties, weren't helped to facilitate the internment of Japanese Americans. In 1942 weren't defeated a controversial incumbent left leaning Democratic governor, in part by promising to be a less partisan and divisive political leader during his years occupying the California governor's office in Sacramento, weren't eventually signed a bill ending school segregation and California. This change occurred in the aftermath of a 1947 federal Circuit court ruling that found Orange County, California's practice a segregating ethnically Mexican students into separate schools to be unconstitutional, according to historian James T. Patterson. Warren governed as a quote unquote Republican liberal who became a passionate opponent of racial discrimination. Warren felt considerable regret over his complicity with Japanese internment during his tenure as California attorney general. He felt guilt over having denied Japanese American citizens their liberty amidst a spasm of wartime racial paranoia, and he was determined to reduce such state sponsored discrimination in the future, according to Patterson. As chief justice of the United States Supreme Court quote, Warren approached issues without worrying too much about the niceties of legal precedent or about judicial restraint. What the court must do, he made clear, was to promote social justice. Close quote was Warren's appointment to the court that made all the difference. The new chief justice was determined to get the court to stand unanimously behind a strong ruling against the legality of racial segregation in public schools. In making the appointment in late 1953 Eisenhower had thought of Warren as a middle of the road choice. He knew the California and would be no favorite of conservatives. But he could not anticipate the activist liberal role for the court that Warren would end up embracing in pursuing the Republican presidential nomination In 1952 Ike had promised Governor Warren that he would reward his support with either a Cabinet appointment or a court appointment, and Warren had been left out of the Cabinet when the court vacancy opened up, Eisenhower believed it was time to honor his promise. Mainstream leaders of the two major American political parties, such as Republican Thomas Dewey and Democrat Adlai Stevenson, quickly praised Warren's appointment to the court. Smith notes that Onley quote the far left and far right registered Descents. The Nation, a left wing magazine, argued that Warren's past support of Japanese interment on the West Coast during World War Two demonstrated that he could not be trusted to protect civil liberties. Hardcore conservatives, including Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, distrusted and criticized Warren's relatively liberal policies as governor. Nevertheless, when Warren's nomination was brought to the Senate. Smith reports that the Judiciary Committee voted to confirm him 12 to 3 and when his nomination was called to the Senate floor for consideration by the entire legislative body. Quote Warren was confirmed unanimously by a voice vote. Close quote. This congressional consensus over Warren strikes a dramatic contrast with our recent 21st century nomination battles in the Senate over U S Supreme Court justice nominees. Smith concludes that quote. Ultimately, Eisenhower would appoint five justices to the court. His appointees ushered in a judicial revolution and citizenship law, civil liberties and civil rights. The president didn't always agree with the decisions of the Warren Court, but he accepted his constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully enforced. Close quote biographer Jean Edward Smith notes that Eisenhower's nominations were not his only actions toward lessening the grip of Jim Crow on American public life. The ex general president was able to end any remaining foot dragging in the U. S. Military on desegregating the armed forces. He ordered schools on military bases desegregated even if they were in the Deep South. Smith recalls that Veterans Administration hospitals were quote, desegregated by order of the president in September 1953. Close quote. In the 19 fifties, African Americans sometimes benefited from the fact that both parties were genuinely competing for the votes of Northern blacks, which motivated leaders of both parties to make gestures toward improving the status of racial minorities in the presidential election of 1956. In part thanks to Eisenhower's efforts and gestures in favor of civil rights, the black vote would be almost evenly divided between the Democratic and Republican presidential tickets. However, we will see that there were hard limits toe Eisenhower's commitment to the civil rights cause win. Earl Warren arrived at the Supreme Court in 1953. Feldman suggests that many of the justices were skeptical and suspicious of him because he was a politician who had never been a judge before. But quote quickly, Warren began to win over the other justices. Jean Edward Smith notes that quote Earl Warren understood that when dealing with the nation's fundamental structure, the court must speak with one voice. A unanimous court leaves no doubt about the law of the land. Close quote. He began using his considerable political skills to pursue a compromise that would allow the court to reach a unanimous vote striking down school segregation even if that meant outlining a gradual path for desegregation. Ironically, Feldman notes quote the strongest internal voice on the Supreme Court calling for a unilateral end to segregation. Close quote was, of all things, a white former Ku Klux Klan member from Alabama. Justice Hugo Black had been an ambitious young lawyer and aspiring politician living in the Deep South back in the 19 twenties. At that time, the Klan was a dominant force in Alabama state politics. Feldman suggests that Black joined the K k K not out of any ideological conviction but for networking purposes in order. Quote to get himself elected senator. However, this past affiliation with an organization based around bigotry became public after Black was appointed to the Supreme Court and emerged as a major embarrassment that stood in stark contrast to justice plaques own jurisprudence as a champion of civil liberties and progressive reforms. Feldman argues that one, perhaps of conscious reason that Black became such a staunch supporter of ending Jim Crow was to help ensure that his former Klan membership would not be remembered is representative of his core beliefs and identity, according to Feldman. Like Vinson and other Southerners, Black predicted that the South would respond to desegregation with school closings and violent riots. But unlike the other Southerners on the court, Black had quote complete certainty that the court must overturn segregation. Close quote. He felt the spirit of the 14th Amendment was against a racial caste system and that quote segregation was intended to subordinate African Americans and so maintain a system of racial caste in direct violation of the Constitution. Close quote. Justice Robert Jackson was more reluctant to overturn the courts. Plessy v. Ferguson Opinion, which held that segregation was constitutionally acceptable as long as facilities were quote unquote separate but equal. A Yankee from upstate New York, Jackson had no allegiance to or love for the Jim Crow racial caste system. But he was a philosophical opponent of the court, engaging in radical change and radical breaks. With past precedent, many Supreme Court justices are keen to maintain at least the illusion of consistency in the court's jurisprudence and are therefore reluctant to completely overturn a prior court ruling. In the pragmatic Jackson's case, there was also a reluctance to issue a decision that might inflame social conflict rather than reduce it. After considerable lobbying from Warren and his other fellow liberals on the court, Jackson agreed to come on board, in part based upon the assurance that it would not require the South to undo its existing social order overnight and would instead allow Southern states to gradually phase out the Jim Crow system. Justice Robert Jackson died just five months after signing on to the unanimous opinion. Finding school segregation unconstitutional. Brown v. Board of Education would prove a capstone to Jackson's legacy that also included prosecuting Nazi war criminals during the Nuremberg trials. See Episode one, eh? And writing a highly influential opinion placing limits on presidential abuses of power. See Episode seven When Chief Justice Earl Warren and his allies persuaded Robert Jackson to support his majority opinion, the only remaining holdout was just a Stanley Reed who, like his previous ally, Vinson, was a product of small town Kentucky. Warren blatantly used peer pressure to strong arm Justice Reed, noting that if he voted no, the first line on his obituary in a desegregated future America was that he had been the only justice to vote against Brown, Unwilling to have his legacy immortalized as being a racial reactionary who stood against progressive social change, Read finally folded and agreed to support the court's unanimous majority opinion. Having successfully gotten all nine Supreme Court justices on board, Chief Justice Warren wrote the opinion, and the court issued the Brown V. Board of Education decision in May 1954. The court's ruling, Smith reports quote, reversed the holding and Plessy v. Ferguson and held that racial segregation in and of itself was a denial of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed to all American citizens under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. Part of the compromise Warren had crafted meant that, according to Feldman quote, the Supreme Court would announce that segregation was unconstitutional and then wait for another opinion known as brown to toe layout. The remedy. Close quote. Although modern constitutional law professors are nearly unanimous in believing the Brown decision to be correct and holding that racial segregation violates the 14th Amendment, one aspect of Warren's opinion that remains controversial was his reliance on social logical studies indicating that Jim Crow policies made black Children feel inferior supreme court opinions usually focus on evidence of legal intent, such as past court precedents, the text of laws and statutes and the legislative history of such laws rather than upon academic social science data. But Warren felt it was important to establish and cite the concrete harms that segregation was doing to black Americans. The U. S Supreme Court decision was a shock to the system of placid, post Korean War Eisenhower era America. Never before had the racial hierarchies which had existed in American life since the end of reconstruction, received such a formidable legal challenge. White civic leaders and the segregated South were furious. Patterson writes that the Brown decision quote greatly weakened racial moderates in Southern politics, emboldened Racists and unleashed violent tendencies among extremists. Close quote. Many Southern leaders expressed determination to resist, and only a few prominent officials, such as Alabama Governor Jim Folsom, who Patterson describes as quote a liberal by Southern standards indicated that they would actually comply with the law as laid out by the U. S Supreme Court. Many white Southern civic leaders soon set up white citizens councils, which Smith describes as being quote composed of outraged citizens determined to preserve white supremacy at the local level. Close quote. In addition, a less respectable face of the building massive resistance to integration was emerging in the form of resurgent Ku Klux Klan vigilante organizations that intimidated and sometimes attacked black, seeking more civil rights in the South during the 19 fifties and sixties. Meanwhile, many African American activists found the Supreme Court's ruling to be a cause for celebration and optimism about the civil rights movements. Future prospects. James T. Patterson quotes one black newspaper in Chicago as calling the Brown decision quote a second Emancipation proclamation more important to our democracy than the atomic bomb or the hydrogen bomb. Close quote. But the African American community was not unanimous in this exuberance. The black author Zora Neale Hurston felt the decision stigmatized the efforts of all black schools and, according to Patterson, quote, wondered why black Children would want to go to integrated schools where they were likely to be humiliated or threatened by white students. Enforcement of the Brown decision was painfully slow. Patterson suggests that this was because, quote, the court was silent in 1954 about how and when it's order should be carried out because Warren and his fellow justices feared to move too far, too fast. Close quote Smith documents that quote The Supreme Court entrusted desegregation to the local school boards, supervised by 90 US district courts scattered all across the country. The Supreme Court set no timetable except to say that desegregation should proceed. Quote unquote, with all deliberate speed. As the court decreed, integration would be achieved through legal processes at the local level, not by sweeping judicial fiat or executive intervention. Close quote. The ambiguity, in the phrase all deliberate speed, allowed Southern states to drag their feet. Feldman notes. That quote a gradual process. The desegregation effort of the 19 fifties, 19 sixties, 19 seventies and even 19 eighties would in many ways proved a failure. Close quote. In some places, desegregation occurred quickly after the Brown decision, but in others it was a process that would take decades to complete. Furthermore, white flight into the suburbs during the second half of the 20th century would ensure racial segregation continued. In fact, even where no longer existed by law, Brown v. Board of Education nevertheless set a precedent of tremendous legal and cultural importance. Feldman argues that it quote changed the constitutional universe once and for all. The Supreme Court came to be seen as rightly devoted to the protection of minorities, a conception that continues to be shared by many in the United States and increasingly by constitutional judges in other countries across the world. Close quote, however, in order to ensure the full legal and political implementation of the Brown V board rulings idea that racial discrimination violated fundamental American notions of the equality of all citizens, it would take more than civil rights lawyers taking to the courts. It would also require ordinary people taking to the streets in order to demand their rights, often a great risk to their personal safety. But this new grassroots civil rights movement, inspired by the Brown decision, would take a few years after 1953 to fully co here and gather momentum in response to the potential for social upheaval created by the Brown V board ruling. The general theme of the Eisenhower administration remained a restoration of peace and stability, According to historian Thomas Poor Stillman, Eisenhower was more interested in containing racial problems than in solving them. It appeared that the new president was troubled by how quickly the court was moving on racial issues. After the Brown decision, Paterson reports that Eisenhower invited Chief Justice Warren to the White House, where he tried to persuade him to get the court to slow down on issuing more rulings in favor of civil rights activists like defended white Southerners Perspective toe warrants, saying quote. These are not bad people. All they're concerned about is to see that their sweet little girls, they're not required to sit in school alongside some big, overgrown Negro. Close quote. The fact that Eisenhower was more preoccupied with the discomfort of Southern whites than the oppression of Southern blacks says a lot about his apathy and insensitivity toward racial injustice. Patterson argues that Eisenhower was a quote conservative by temperament, deeply pessimistic about the possibility of significant changes in race relations and dead set against using the federal government to force the South to mend its ways. Close quote, however, as we shall see in future episodes, the blatant refusal of Southern states to even partially comply with the court rulings would eventually force Eisenhower's hand and motivate him to use his executive power to enforce court decisions in favor of desegregation. Nevertheless, even Jean Edward Smith, a relatively sympathetic biographer, concedes that almost all of Ike's friends quote were white and many were from the South. At the professional level, he did not encounter African Americans, and he simply did not question segregation through most of his career. Smith contends that despite the president's relative indifference to racial issues, quote those who would criticize Eisenhower for not moving fast enough on civil rights should remember that it was his own judicial nominees who made the rights revolution possible. Close quote Borstal Men alleges that many conservative Eisenhower administration officials were quote blinded by their nostalgia for the stability of the white ruled era, now slipping away. Close quote. However, such officials face the dilemma that the very hierarchical racial caste system that had been stable within U. S borders and past decades was now potentially destabilizing abroad because of its implications for the international arena. In an era where more former colonial nations were gaining self determination, the communist bloc was tryingto lure so called Third World countries into joining their side of the Cold War struggle, history professor George C. Herring notes in his book, From Colony to Superpower that quote. Race relations, the most divisive issue in American life in the 19 fifties, became inextricably entangled with the Cold War. The persistence of virulent racism in the United States and its most blatant manifestation in rigid, legalized segregation in the South gave the lie to US claims for leadership of the free world. Close quote. American racial injustice became a mainstay of communist propaganda, disparaging the United States all around the globe. During the fifties. The Brown decision helped improve the image of the U. S. A. Allowing non white nations to see that the nation was finally moving toward ending discrimination. In his first years as president, Eisenhower was determined to achieve his aim of cooling down Cold War hysteria. He avoided the regular use of huge standing armies and conventional warfare to control hot spots around the world. But there was a price for that success because the two alternative methods he used in lieu of conventional warfare had their own major downsides. One of these was massive, overwhelming nuclear deterrence. As discussed at the beginning of this episode, this policy seemed an effective plan to avoid regular bloodshed, but one that had zero margin for error. After all, a single lapse of mutual nuclear deterrents could result in the nuclear decimation of much of the known world. The second method Eisenhower used to stop Korea style conflicts from breaking out was by using the recently expanded U. S intelligence agencies to engage in covert action. Under Ike supervision, the U. S would intervene and foreign governments to a degree and at a global scope never seen before in American history, even plotting assassinations and backing coups against foreign leaders that it viewed to be a threat to Eisenhower. This seemed much more cost effective, both in terms of blood and treasure than engaging in conventional military activity. However, the Eisenhower administration underestimated the potential for blowback that such actions could cause American interference in foreign nations. Democratic elections would do long term damage to the international reputation of the U. S. In regions such as the Middle East and Latin America. We will delve into the shadows to explore the eyes and our administration's covert foreign policy maneuvers in our next full length episode, All about the year. 1954 from Boomers to Millennials is produced by Aaron Rodgers logo designed by Keamey Schaefer and Aaron Rodgers, written and narrated by Logan Rogers. Please subscribe to our podcast rather than downloading individual episodes. You can also donate to our patri on at Patriot in dot com slash boomer to millennial two l's two Ends and millennial. We know it's a difficult time for a great many people around the world at the time of this episode's release in March of 2020. However, if you can afford a contribution, we would greatly appreciate some much needed financial support at this time. Check out our source lists on our patri on page for information aboutthe sources we rely upon to research our shows. You can also follow us on instagram at boomers to millennials and on Twitter at Boomer Underscore, too. If you have comments or suggestions about our podcast, please email us at boomer to millennial at outlook dot com. Stay safe, everybody And once again, thank you for listening