Civil Rights in the United States

By Alison Reppy | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

A SURVEY of the struggle to maintain and to extend civil rights in the United States reveals both encouraging and disturbing tendencies. The heartening trends are the result of an increasing realization that our country can be truly united only if the rights of minorities are respected; that mere lip service to the Bill of Rights makes a mockery of pretensions to democratic life. The discouraging incidents are very largely the result of the tension between our country and Soviet Russia. To the fears that America and the democratic way of life are endangered by the expansion of communism, we owe many of the disturbing practices of the House Committee on Un-American Activities; the loyalty oaths; the listing by the Attorney-General of numerous organizations as subversive without a hearing; the assassination of character under the shelter of legislative immunity; the insistence that teachers and other public officials, and men and women in private employment, reveal their political beliefs and associations; the barring of radio artists because they were named in an irresponsible "Anti-red" publication.

In recent years, the American public has faced a number of disturbing civil rights issues. These include investigation by legislative committees whose powers are apparently unlimited; discrimination in housing, employment, and education; keeping the balance between labor's growing power and management's interests; questions involving freedom of speech, assembly, the press, and religion; problems arising from the administration of the criminal law -- the right to a fair and public trial, the right to protection against selfincrimination and double-jeopardy and against unlawful searches and seizures.

-v-

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