Racial Issues in National Politics

Archive Report

Eisenhower, Congress, and Negro Rights

The tense struggle over segregation in the South has pushed the explosive issue of race relations into the political spotlight, where it is likely to remain for the duration of the 1956 presidential campaign. Negro leaders, spurred by favorable Supreme Court decisions, are determined to press toward their goal of “first-class citizenship” through political action. Southern political leaders are prepared to resist change in traditional race patterns of their area by all appropriate means. For Negro citizens and most southern whites, racial issues are paramount.

For the Democratic party, the conflict presents a crucial test of its ability to reweld the cracking coalition of northern liberals and southern conservatives which was its strength during the 20 years of Democratic domination, 1932-1952. ...

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