The Road Ahead for Civil Rights

By Rivera, Charles R. | Civil Rights Journal, Fall 1997 | Go to article overview

The Road Ahead for Civil Rights


Rivera, Charles R., Civil Rights Journal


A Symposium

1982 issue of Perspectives, as this journal was known at the time, celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and the creation of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The issue focused on the history and consequences of the civil rights movement, and included two articles, musings on the meaning of civil rights by nine writers, a selection of famous and infamous editorial cartoons of the movement era, and several departments, one identifying seminal books about civil rights. That issue of the journal published by this independent, bipartisan Federal agency was well received.

In planning this special issue of the newly titled Civil Rights Journal commemorating the 40th anniversary of the same Commission, the editors walked a tightrope Certainly we wanted to avoid covering the same ground highlighted in those pages 15 years ago. Moreover, while noting some of the contributions that the Commission has made during the past 40 years we had to avoid being congratulatory and self serving. Planning also had to take into account budget constraints affecting all Commission programs and activities Finally, to meet the agency's statutory and clearinghouse responsibilities, even a commemorative issue of the journal had to be about civil rights matters of undeniable importance to the American people; it had to be worth reading.

The symposium in this issue of the Civil Rights Journal reflects the increasing complexity and controversy over civil rights matters such as affirmative action. It offers a wide range of perspectives on civil rights realities and what they might bode for the future

Three context-setting articles introduce the symposium, one by Vanderbilt University professor of history Hugh Davis Graham on the history of the U. …

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