2124Re: [prezveepsenator] Reagan, the South and Civil Rights
- Jan 17, 2007Tom:
Actually there are several more important American
figures, for starters, Theodore and Franklin D.
Roosevelt, Ike, Harry Truman, and Woodrow Wilson.
--- THOMAS JOHNSON <AVRCRDNG@...> wrote:
> Great post, Ram.. Incidentally, can anyone think ofhttp://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1953700&columnId=1929301
> more important American historical figure in the
> century than MLK?
> --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:
> > Reagan, the South and Civil Rights
> > By Juan Williams
> >=== message truncated ===
> > NPR.org, June 10, 2004 · Forty years after the
> > passage of 1964 Civil
> > Rights Act, history and politics are celebrating a
> > strange
> > convergence: It was the passage of the Civil
> > Act that launched
> > the rise of the president who died last week,
> > Reagan.
> > The Civil Rights Act, signed July 2, 1964, by
> > President Lyndon
> > Johnson, ended legal discrimination against blacks
> > at hotels,
> > restaurants and department stores. It also made
> > discrimination illegal
> > in hiring. Barry Goldwater, the Republican
> > presidential nominee that
> > year, decided to make himself a voice for
> > of the Act.
> > Goldwater said he supported the white Southern
> > position on civil
> > rights, which was that each and every state had a
> > sovereign right to
> > control its laws. The Arizona Republican argued
> > each American has
> > the right to decide whom to hire, whom to do
> > business with and whom to
> > welcome in his or her restaurant. The senator was
> > right at home with
> > Southern politicians who called the Civil Rights
> > an attack on "the
> > Southern way of life."
> > To overcome the forces arrayed against the bill,
> > Johnson needed every
> > bit of his political skill and every bit of
> > emotional aftermath from
> > the previous November's assassination of President
> > John F. Kennedy.
> > But once the bill had passed, Johnson told
> > confidants that Democrats
> > might have lost the South to Republicans for years
> > to come. He was
> > exactly right.
> > Today the South is solidly Republican. In every
> > presidential election
> > since 1964 -- save the election of Jimmy Carter in
> > 1976 -- Dixie has
> > been the heart of GOP presidential politics. The
> > white Southern vote
> > was key to the Republican takeover of Congress in
> > 1994, and President
> > George W. Bush was elected in 2000 because he
> > carried every Southern
> > state.
> > Ronald Reagan was key to the South's transition to
> > Republican
> > politics. Goldwater got the ball rolling, but
> > was at his side
> > from the very beginning. During the 1964 campaign,
> > Reagan gave
> > speeches in support of Goldwater and spoke out for
> > what he called
> > individual rights -- read that also as states'
> > rights. Reagan also and
> > portrayed any opposition as support for
> > totalitarianism -- read that
> > as communism.
> > In 1976, Reagan sought the Republican nomination
> > against the incumbent
> > President Gerald Ford. Reagan's campaign was on
> > ropes until the
> > primaries hit the Southern states, where he won
> > first key victory
> > in North Carolina. Throughout the South that
> > and summer, Reagan
> > portrayed himself as Goldwater's heir while
> > criticizing Ford as a
> > captive of Eastern establishment Republicans
> > on forced
> > integration.
> > Reagan lost the nomination to Ford in 1976. But
> > the former
> > California governor ran for the presidency again
> > 1980, he began his
> > campaign with a controversial appearance in
> > Philadelphia, Miss., where
> > three civil rights workers had been brutally
> > It was at that
> > sore spot on the racial map that Reagan revived
> > about states'
> > rights and curbing the power of the federal
> > government.
> > To many it sounded like code for announcing
> > as the candidate
> > for white segregationists. After he defeated
> > President Carter, a
> > native Southerner, Reagan led an administration
> > seemed to cater
> > to Southerners still angry over the passage of the
> > Civil Rights Act
> > after 16 years. The Reagan team condemned busing
> > school
> > integration, opposed affirmative action and even
> > threatened to veto a
> > proposed extension of the Voting Rights Act (the
> > sequel to the 1964
> > Civil Rights Act passed a year later and focused
> > election
> > participation). President Reagan also tried to
> > Bob Jones
> > University, a segregated Southern school, to
> > federal tax
> > credits that had long been denied to racially
> > discriminatory institutions.
> > The genial Californian Republican denied there was
> > any racism implicit
> > in those policies. Even when he was characterizing
> > poor women as
> > welfare queens driving around in pink Cadillacs,
> > said it was a
> > merely matter of encouraging people to pull
> > themselves up by the
> > bootstraps. The America he seemed to envision had
> > need to deal with
> > racial divisions, and he said his only desire was
> > encourage
> > self-sufficiency for all Americans and to reduce
> > Americans'
> > dependence on government programs.
> > Today it is hard to believe that Reagan had such
> > success using the
> > Civil Rights Act as a whipping boy. The Civil
> > Act is now so
> > widely accepted that it doesn't attract
> > in any region of
> > the country -- including the South. There is no
> > debate about the right
> > of black people, Hispanics or Asians to stay in a
> > hotel, shop in a
> > store or to apply for a job without fear of racial
> > discrimination.
> > In 2004, minorities are one-third of the national
> > population and it is
> > hard to understand how anyone could have ever
> > in favor of
> > allowing states to practice racial discrimination.
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