Below is an article I copied from Wikipedia about the Civil Rights Act of 1957. You can read the entire piece if you wish but the one thing I wanted to point how is what this article has to say about changes in our political parties.
Please note the voting that passed this bill into law.
- Strom Thurman, the Democratic Senator from South Carolina made history by speaking against voting rights for African Americans for 24 hours and 18 minutes.
- Notice the documents he read. The very documents that guarantee in some way the individual rights and equal protection of all American citizens
- Look at the wide margin of Republican support in the House and the narrow Democratic support.
- Very similar margins of support occurred in the Senate.
What you see with the passing of this bill is that America’s political parties were still what they had been since prior to the Civil War. Until the Civil Rights legislation of the 1950s and 1960s, it was the Democrats who had been major supporters of segregation and the racial status quo, especially in the South. That changed, however, when Thurmond and so many other conservative Democrats fled the party during the Lyndon Johnson years and became Republicans. Suddenly the conservative ranks of the GOP swelled and Republican politicians like Nixon and Goldwater employed what became known as the “southern strategy” to win elections.
From then to now it has been the Democrats who are most likely to support racial equality efforts and the Republicans the opposite. The positions of the two parties essentially did a racial flip flop.
It should be noted that Republicans routinely deny the existence of a Southern Strategy or that their party is less open to equal representation than the Democrats. While there may be some degree of truth in this, as a rather progressive historian I believe there is ample evidence indicating that American minorities feel more protected and included with Democrats than with Republicans.
The question is up for debate and for you to do your research and decide for yourself.
“The Civil Rights Act of 1957, Pub.L. 85–315, 71 Stat. 634, enacted September 9, 1957, primarily a voting rights bill, was the first federal civil rights legislation passed by the United States Congress since the Civil Rights Act of 1875. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was also Congress’s show of support for the Supreme Court’s Brown decisions, the Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which had eventually led to the integration, also called desegregation, of public schools. Following the Supreme Court ruling, Southern whites in Virginia began a “Massive Resistance.” Violence against blacks rose there and in other states, as in Little Rock, Arkansas where that year President Dwight D. Eisenhower had ordered in federal troops to protect nine children integrating into a public school, the first time the federal government had sent troops to the South since the Reconstruction era. There had been continued physical assaults against suspected activists and bombings of schools and churches in the South. The administration of Eisenhower proposed legislation to protect the right to vote by African Americans.
Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, an ardent segregationist, sustained the longest one-person filibuster in history in an attempt to keep the bill from becoming law. His one-man filibuster lasted 24 hours and 18 minutes; he began with readings of every state’s election laws in alphabetical order. Thurmond later read from the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and George Washington”s Farewell Address. His speech set the record for a Senate filibuster. The bill passed the House with a vote of 285 to 126 (Republicans 167–19 for, Democrats 118–107 for) and the Senate 72 to 18 (Republicans 43–0 for, Democrats 29–18 for). [clarification needed] President Eisenhower signed it on September 9, 1957.”
Share article with your friends: