Federal Protection of Civil Liberties

January 10, 1947

Report Outline
Postwar Dangers to Civil Liberties
Development of Federal Civil Rights
Extent of Federal Enforcement Power

Postwar Dangers to Civil Liberties

Increase in Civil Rights Cases Since War

Expansion of federal power and authority to curb violations of rights guaranteed to citizens by the Constitution of the United States will shortly be asked of Congress by the Executive Branch of the government. And independent measures will be pressed by Republican members of the House and Senate at the present session to prohibit certain specific abuses in the broad field covered by the term “civil liberties.”

Since the close of World War II, there has been an increase in the number of Klan-like “hate” groups and a rising tide of incidents involving mob violence and police brutality. Yet state-local law enforcement agencies in some areas have shown inability or unwillingness to safeguard the civil rights of citizens, and the Department of Justice at Washington at present has only meager authority to prosecute criminal violations of constitutional guarantees.

The outstanding case of mob violence to go unpunished in 1946 was the shotgun lynching, July 25, of four Negroes in Walton County, Georgia. State officials professed an inability to obtain sufficient evidence for trials on murder charges. The Justice Department conducted a separate inquiry in which agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation questioned more than 2,500 persons. The facts were then presented to a federal grand jury in an effort to obtain indictments under federal civil rights statutes.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
African Americans and the Civil Rights Movement
Jul. 22, 2022  Black Hairstyles
Nov. 15, 1985  Black America Long March for Equality
Aug. 12, 1983  Black Political Power
Jan. 18, 1980  Black Leadership Question
Aug. 15, 1973  Black Americans, 1963–1973
Nov. 26, 1969  Racial Discrimination in Craft Unions
Sep. 11, 1968  Black Pride
Feb. 21, 1968  Negro Power Struggle
Mar. 08, 1967  Negroes in the Economy
Jan. 19, 1966  Changing Southern Politics
Oct. 27, 1965  Negroes in the North
Jul. 21, 1965  Negro Revolution: Next Steps
Oct. 14, 1964  Negro Voting
Sep. 21, 1964  Negroes and the Police
Jul. 03, 1963  Right of Access to Public Accommodations
Jan. 23, 1963  Negro Jobs and Education
Mar. 25, 1960  Violence and Non-Violence in Race Relations
Aug. 05, 1959  Negro Employment
Apr. 18, 1956  Racial Issues in National Politics
Apr. 18, 1951  Progress in Race Relations
Dec. 17, 1948  Discrimination in Employment
Jan. 10, 1947  Federal Protection of Civil Liberties
Aug. 25, 1944  The Negro Vote
Jul. 01, 1942  Racial Discrimination and the War Effort
Mar. 25, 1939  Civil and Social Rights of the Negro
Jul. 22, 1927  Disenfranchisement of the Negro in the South
Civil Rights and Civil Liberty Issues
Domestic Issues