Legal Processes in Race Relations

October 16, 1957

Report Outline
Federal Government and Civil Rights
School Integration and the Right to Vote
Campaign in the Courts for Race Equality
Search for Legal Means of Resistance

Federal Government and Civil Rights

Prospects for Additional Legislation in 1985

Notwithstanding recent events in Little Rock, Ark., and other difficulties connected with school segregation, President Eisenhower is expected again to ask Congress, when it meets in January, to adopt parts of his civil rights program which were omitted from the Civil Eights Act of 1957. Chief among the provisions desired by the administration which were dropped in the Senate, after approval by the House, will be Section III of the 1957 administration bill. This is the section which would give the Attorney General authority to initiate court injunction proceedings to enforce observance of all civil rights protected by the Constitution and federal laws, not solely the right to vote.

Chances of setting up this and possibly other stronger federal safeguards at the 1958 session of Congress are considered good, although they will be more strongly fought by southern members than was this year's compromise Civil Rights Act. The 1957 legislation was tacitly accepted by most southern senators because they doubted their ability to stage a successful filibuster against it. Republicans and northern Democrats, who expect to reap political advantage from a new civil rights fight, will probably be able to muster enough votes in the Senate to break a southern filibuster.

The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was limited in the main to arming the federal government with new powers to protect voting rights of the citizen. It will receive its first tests in the voting registration periods preceding the congressional elections of 1958. Action by the national government to obtain compliance with school desegregation orders of federal courts in Little Rock and elsewhere was not taken under the new statute. When the President ordered federal troops into Little Rock, he acted under legislation which has been on the statute books since 1861. Similar action could presumably be taken to prevent interference with court orders affecting voting rights.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Segregation and Desegregation
Apr. 23, 2004  School Desegregation
Oct. 18, 1996  Rethinking School Integration
Feb. 24, 1995  Housing Discrimination
Dec. 26, 1975  Busing Reappraisal
May 03, 1974  Desegregation After 20 Years
Aug. 24, 1973  Educational Equality
Sep. 06, 1972  Blacks on Campus
Mar. 01, 1972  School Busing and Politics
Aug. 16, 1967  Open Housing
Apr. 29, 1964  School Desegregation: 1954–1964
Feb. 06, 1963  Interracial Housing
Aug. 27, 1958  School Integration: Fifth Year
Jan. 15, 1958  Residential Desegregation
Oct. 16, 1957  Legal Processes in Race Relations
Oct. 17, 1956  Enforcement of School Integration
Jan. 12, 1955  School Desegregation
Sep. 03, 1954  Segregation in Churches
Oct. 08, 1952  Race Segregation
Nov. 07, 1947  Negro Segregation
Civil Rights: African Americans
Segregation and Desegregation