Civil Rights in the United States

By Alison Reppy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
Civil Rights Proposals as They Affected the Federal Criminal Code

UNDER an Executive Order of December 5, 1946 the President appointed a committee to survey the status of civil rights in the United States. As a result, the Committee submitted a report listing a number of situations in which it might be said that individuals had been deprived of equal rights or discriminated against in violation of the law, and recommended corrective legislation by Congress and the state legislatures.1 Acting on this report, the President, on February 2, 1948, proposed to Congress that federal legislation should be enacted to cover ten specific objectives.

But in January, 1950, the President's Civil Rights Program was still faced with the same Dixiecrat political opposition which sought to prevent the enactment of the Fair Employment Practices Bill.2 And as late as May 15, 1950, all efforts to carry the Civil Rights Program into law had proved abortive.

A. In General . -- What the Committee was driving at was the continual use of violence by private citizens and public officers against Negroes and other minorities. Recognizing that the enforcement of the criminal law was primarily the function of the states, the Committee pointed out that frequently the local authorities failed to give protection to minorities. For that reason it was

____________________
1
TO SECURE THESE RIGHTS. THE REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT'S COMMITTEE ON CIVIL RIGHTS. New York. Simon & Schuster. 1947.
2
The President's Message. H. R. Doc. No. 516, 80th Cong. 2d Sess., 94 Cong. Rec. 960.

See the American Civil Liberties Union, Feature Press Service Weekly Bulletin, No. 1421, Jan. 23, 1950.

-27-

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