Negro Revolution: Next Steps

July 21, 1965

Report Outline
New Directions for the Negro Struggle
Changes in Strategy of Negro Protest
Johnson Administration and the Negroes

New Directions for the Negro Struggle

Shift to Broad Economic and Social Reforms

When president johnson signs the voting rights bill, now in the final stages of passage through Congress, the American Negro will have won virtually all of the battles he needed to win to gain legal backing for his claim to the rights and opportunities that are his due as a citizen of the United States. The next thrust of the equal rights movement is to make the new standard of law the common standard of conduct in American life, and to do so with a minimum of delay. This phase presents more difficulties than the one it follows.

What had seemed an invincible legal structure supporting racial discrimination in almost every area of human activity has fallen piece by piece during the past two decades, and a new framework of legal protections against discriminatory treatment has risen in its place. However, the new laws, court decisions, administrative rulings, and enforcement activities, though having immense potentiality for the advancement of colored people, have so far made no more than a dent in the accustomed pattern of living of most of the nation's 20 million Negroes.

The Negro revolution has thus arrived at a critical juncture. Circumstances require a shift from the strategy that was designed primarily to obtain legislative enactments and court judgments in behalf of racial justice to a strategy calculated to translate the victories in that field into significant changes in the conditions of life of the millions for whom the battles were fought. This means that organizations leading the revolution must tackle the complex problems hampering the social and economic progress of Negroes —problems which would remain if all racial prejudice and discriminatory practices were to be wiped out overnight. These problems include generations-long poverty, cultural isolation, inadequate education, ingrained defeatism, weak family structure, sundry disabilities associated with slum living, and other handicaps, many of which have become endemic to the Negro community.

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 Movement
Civil Rights: African Americans
Segregation and Desegregation