Civil Rights in the United States

By Alison Reppy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
Group Discrimination and the Constitution

DURING the period under survey, the struggle to maintain and advance the protection which the law accords civil liberties, as developed by administrative agencies, courts and legislatures, has been most bitter in the field of group discrimination. This struggle has been aided by the work of certain private groups which were organized to promote the cause of civil liberty for all or to advocate the cause of specific minorities. The leading organization of the broader type is unquestionably the American Civil Liberties Union, whereas the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the American Jewish Congress1 are representative of the narrower field, although both of these latter groups undoubtedly contribute to the achievement of the broader objective. The central idea of the American Civil Liberties Union has been to fight to secure the civil liberties for everyone without regard to cause or circumstance, whereas the chief purpose of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has been to enlarge the scope of the Negroes' rights, and in this effort its weapons have consisted of both legal and political action,2 some of which were

____________________
1
Other organizations active in the promotion of civil liberties include Jehovah's Witnesses, the Japanese-American Citizens' League, the American-Jewish Committee, the National Lawyers Guild; and in the field of labor must be listed the AFL and the CIO.
2
For a full discussion of the work of these organizations in promoting group action in the fight for civil liberties, see Note, 58 Yale L. J.574 ( 1949).

In this connection, it is interesting to record that Roger N. Baldwin, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union since 1920, has relinquished his post in order to specialize in promoting civil rights on an international scale., He has been succeeded by Professor Patrick M. Malin of Swathmore College who took over his duties on February 1, 1950.

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