Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy

By Mary L. Dudziak | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Fighting the Cold War
with Civil Rights Reform

It is in the context of the present world
struggle between freedom and tyranny that the
problem of race discrimination must be viewed.

BRIEF FOR THE UNITED STATES AS AMICUS CURIAE,
BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION (FILED 1952)1

American embassies scattered throughout the world tried to do their part to salvage the tarnished image of American democracy. They used the tools available to them: speakers and news stories that would cast American difficulties in the best light possible. Meanwhile, in Washington, the Truman administration could take more affirmative, less reactive steps. President Truman and his aides sought change in the domestic policies and practices that fueled international outrage.

In 1947, Truman's President's Committee on Civil Rights issued a report that highlighted the foreign affairs consequences of race discrimination. The committee's report, To Secure These Rights, argued that there were three reasons why civil rights abuses in the United States should be redressed: a moral reason—discrimination was morally wrong; an economic reason—discrimination harmed

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Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Introduction 3
  • Chapter 1 - Coming to Terms with Cold War Civil Rights 18
  • Chapter 2 - Telling Stories About Race and Democracy 47
  • Chapter 3 - Fighting the Cold War with Civil Rights Reform 79
  • Chapter 4 - Holding the Line in Little Rock 115
  • Chapter 5 - Losing Control in Camelot 152
  • Chapter 6 - Shifting the Focus of America's Image Abroad 203
  • Conclusion 249
  • Notes 255
  • Acknowledgments 311
  • Index 317
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