One of the most momentous shifts in twentieth-century party politics was the Democratic Party's embrace of civil rights. Recent scholarship finds that this realignment began as early as the 1940s and traces it to pressure groups, especially organized labor. But such scholarship does not explain why labor, which was traditionally hostile to African Americans, began to work with them. Nor does it ascribe agency to the efforts of African American pressure groups. Focusing on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), this article attempts to fill these gaps in the literature. It explains why civil rights and labor leaders reassessed their traditional animosities and began to work as allies in the Democratic Party. It further shows how pressure from the new black-blue alliance forced the national Democratic Party to stop straddling civil rights issues and to become instead the vehicle for promoting civil rights. NAACP and CIO leaders consciously sought to remake the Democratic Party by marginalizing conservative Southerners, and eventually succeeded.
1. Carmines, Edward and Stimson, James, Issue Evolution: Race and the Transformation of American Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989).
2. Farhang, Sean and Katznelson, Ira, “The Southern Imposition: Congress and Labor in the New Deal and Fair Deal,” Studies in American Political Development 19 (2005).
3. Chen, Anthony S., Mickey, Robert W., and Van Houweling, Robert P., “Explaining the Contemporary Alignment of Race and Party: Evidence from California's 1946 Ballot Initiative on Fair Employment,” Studies in American Political Development 22 (2008): 204–28; Chen, Anthony, The Fifth Freedom: Jobs, Politics, and Civil Rights in the United States, 1941–1972 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009).
4. Feinstein, Brian and Schickler, Eric, “Platforms and Partners: The Civil Rights Realignment Reconsidered,” Studies in American Political Development 22 (2008): 226.
5. Schickler, Eric, Pearson, Kathryn, and Feinstein, Brian, “Congressional Parties and Civil Rights Politics from 1933 to 1972,” Journal of Politics 72 (2010).
6. One political scientist writes that platforms act “as a window through which to view factional fights and a means to assess their relative strength.” Freeman, Jo, “Feminism vs. Family Values: Women at the 1992 Democratic and Republican Conventions,” PS: Political Science and Politics 26 (March 1993), 26.
7. In one of his later works, Schattschneider estimated that the AFL-CIO affected only 20 percent of their members' views, because many members abstained from voting and others would have voted Democratic even without AFL-CIO influence. Schattschneider, E. E., Party Government (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1977), 201.
8. McAdam, Doug, Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930–1970 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982); Layman, Geoffrey C., Carsey, Thomas M., Green, John, Herrera, Richard, and Cooperman, Rosalyn, “Activists and Conflict Extension in American Party Politics,” American Political Science Review 104 (2010); Mayer, Brian, Blue-green Coalitions: Fighting for Safe Workplaces and Healthy Communities (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009). Also see Oldfield, Duane, The Right and the Righteous: The Christian Right Confronts the Republican Party (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996); Cohen, Marty, Karol, David, Noel, Hans, and Zaller, John, The Party Decides: Presidential Nominations Before and After Reform (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008); and Williams, Daniel K., God's Own Party (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).
9. My account's emphasis on the national ambitions of each group differs with many recent accounts of civil rights groups, which stress the realignment of state parties (Feinstein and Schickler 2008; Chen 2009) and local groups (Sugrue 2003) to implement civil rights. Both unions and civil rights activists fought at multiple levels of government, and local governments and institutions translated national policies to suit their interests. Still, the civil rights–labor alliance was forged largely to pursue federal policy changes. The most important of the groups involved in civil rights reform, the CIO, prioritized national politics because of issues that could only be resolved at the national level. In the CIO's view, the living standards of all workers in America affected their own workers in an interdependent economy. They sought a package of economic measures designed to promote a full employment economy, but had little chance of passing meaningful reforms through southern legislatures, or displacing powerful southern chairmen in Congress, without a national political strategy. At the local level, CIO leaders found that workplace integration was often a liability, and their incentives were more muddled than national political considerations in favor of civil rights. The CIO's success as a union depended on maintaining the Wagner Act and the liberal jurisprudence of the New Deal regime, and only the federal government could adopt countercyclical policies capable of avoiding another depression. Additionally, as long as the South remained a bastion of low wages and union restrictions, the CIO program was in jeopardy. Federal economic regulations, such as the minimum wage, were the remedy. The NAACP, likewise, needed a national strategy to bring about civil rights in the South, where most blacks were disenfranchised and state legislatures stood firmly against them. The NAACP was able to fight poll taxes at the state level with some success in the 1940s, but they normally enjoyed little success in southern state politics. National laws, court appointments, and congressional protocol could not be changed without a coordinated national strategy. Local results depended on national changes.
10. Bawn, Kathleen, Cohen, Martin, Karol, David, Masket, Seth, Noel, Hans, and Zaller, John, “A Theory of Political Parties: Groups, Policy Demands and Nominations in American Politics,” Perspectives on Politics 10 (2012): 571–97.
11. Chen's (2009) focus on the role of ordinary voters also contrasts with my findings.
12. James Weldon Johnson, “Report of the Field Secretary on Interview with Senator Warren G. Harding,” August 9, 1920, Mf C 63–65, NAACP Collection (Washington, DC: Library of Congress), hereafter NAACP; Moorfield Storey to James Weldon Johnson, July 18, 1922, NAACP C75–77; L. K. Williams to John Hamilton, undated, NAACP II-A-226; Roy Wilkins to John Hamilton, March 15, 1938, NAACP II-L-27; John Hamilton to Roy Wilkins, March 14, 1938, NAACP II-L-27; and Roy Wilkins to John Hamilton, March 15, 1938, NAACP II-L-27.
13. See also Karol, David, Party Position Change in American Politics (Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009); Bunche, Ralph, The Political Status of the Negro in the Age of FDR (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973); Weiss, Nancy, Farewell to the Party of Lincoln (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983); and Fauntroy, Roy, Republicans and the Black Vote (Boulder, CO: Lynn Rienner Publications, 2007), 47. The NAACP argued at the time that the defection was not a response to New Deal benefits, but a repudiation of the hypocrisy and unfulfilled promises of recent Republican leaders (Walter White to Henry Patterson, October 1 1938, NAACP II-L-27).
14. Lewis, David, W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2000), 329.
15. Frederickson, Kari, The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932–1968 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 18, 26, 144. South Carolina Senator James Byrnes said during the 1938 antilynching battle that the white people in the South “had never voted for a Republican candidate,” but only “due to the belief that when problems affecting the Negro and the very soul of the South arose, they could depend upon the Democrats of the North to rally to their support.” Byrnes, who would become an important adviser to Roosevelt during his third term, had traditionally been a conciliatory figure, not a race baiter. He had never been prompted to issue such warnings during the Roosevelt administration until a majority of northern Democrats voted for an antilynching bill. Mowry, George E., Another Look at the Twentieth-Century South (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press 1973), 70.
16. James Farley, the Democratic Party Chairman from 1933–1940, almost never discussed African Americans or the potential of their vote in his copious, almost daily notes. James Farley Memorandum to Self, March 16, 1937 and November 4, 1937, Box 40–42, Reel 3, James Farley Papers (Washington, DC: Library of Congress); James Farley Memorandum to Self, November 4, 1937, 40–42, Reel 3.
17. The same holds true for his aide, Leon Keyserling, who became active in efforts to liberalize the party in the late 1940s. See the Robert F. Wagner Papers and Leon Keyserling Papers (Washington, DC: Georgetown University). In the hearings for Supreme Court nominee John Parker, Senator Wagner alone had argued that Parker's opposition to labor rights and civil rights were part of a “single trait of character,” a point made to him by black union leader A. Philip Randolph. Moreno, Paul, Black Americans and Organized Labor: A New History (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Press, 2007), 160.
18. Janken, Kenneth, White: The Biography of Walter White, Mr. NAACP (New York: New Press, 2009).
19. When President Arthur Spingarn openly supported Roosevelt in 1936, qualifying that he was not speaking for the organization, Executive Secretary Walter White stated that Spingarn was a “volunteer” who did not represent the organization, and pointed out that some board members supported Republican challenger Alf Landon. In the election of 1940, White declined invitations to join organized groups for Roosevelt, and another NAACP official was rebuked for openly supporting the Republican candidate, Wendell Willkie. Topping, Simon, “Supporting our Friends and Defeating Our Enemies: Militancy and Nonpartisanship in the NAACP, 1936–1948,” Journal of African American History 89 (Winter, 2004): 20–22.
20. Address delivered by Walter White before the 28th Annual Conference of the NAACP, Detroit, Michigan, July 4, 1937 (NAACP mf 1 r 9).
21. “Present Status of Anti-Lynching Legislation” (no author listed), January 25, 1938, NAACP II L27. Congressional votes in the 1970s and 1980s bear out the NAACP's prediction, as southern Democrats facing Republican challengers became increasingly liberal on civil rights (Karol, Party Position Change in American Politics, 122).
22. “Roper Reports on Importance of Negro Vote, NAACP Stand,” June 22, 1952, NAACP II-A-452.
23. Walter White to Lester Granger, March 21, 1941, NAACP Mf Part 13 A, Reel 24.
24. Lawson, Steven, Running for Freedom: Civil Rights and Black Politics in America Since 1941 (New York: McGraw-Hill), 9, 15, 63–64.
25. John Brophy to Philip Connelly, November 26, 1946, mf 26, in Martin, Katherine, ed., Operation Dixie: The CIO Organizing Committee Papers, 1946–1953 (Sanford, North Carolina: Microfilming Corporation of America), hereafter Operation Dixie.
26. The alliance conformed to Zald and Ash's definition of a coalition, in which two groups coordinate on political strategy and at least one of the groups adopts “new organizational identities, changes in the membership base, and changes in goals.” Zald, Mayer N. and Ash, Roberta, “Social Movement Organizations: Growth, Decay and Change,” Social Forces 44 (1966): 335.
27. Conflicts and cooperation between labor and African Americans, both during this time period and in subsequent decades, have been explored in detail by labor historians. Among some of the important sources of information for this study were Draper, Alan, Conflict of Interests: Organized Labor and the Civil Rights Movement in the South, 1954–1968 (Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, 1994); Goldfield, Michael, The Color of Politics: Race and the Mainsprings of American Politics (New York: New Press, 1997); Honey, Michael K., Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights: Organizing Memphis Workers (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993); Korstad, Robert, Civil Rights Unionism: Tobacco Workers and the Struggle for Democracy in the Mid-Twentieth-Century South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003); Korstad, Robert and Lichtenstein, Nelson, “Opportunities Found and Lost: Labor, Radicals and the Early Civil Rights Movement,” Journal of American History 75 (1988); Lewis-Coleman, David, Race against Liberalism: Black Workers and the UAW in Detroit (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008); Lichtenstein, Nelson, Walter Reuther: The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997); MacLean, Nancy, “Achieving the Problem of the Civil Rights Act: Herbert Hill and the NAACP's Fight for Jobs and Justice,” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas (Summer 2006); Norrell, Robert J., “Caste in Steel: Jim Crow Careers in Birmingham, Alabama,” Journal of American History 73 (December 1986); Moreno, Black Americans and Organized Labor, 154; Meier, August and Rudwick, Elliott, Black Detroit and the Rise of the UAW (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), 16; Bernstein, David, Only One Place of Redress (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001), 92. Bernstein mentions a conference of black newspapers that condemned unionism in 1914. He mistakenly dates the conference year as 1924.
28. I sampled black newspapers using a ProQuest search. They tended to be unequivocally supportive by the 1940s, by which time civil rights organizations were also more supportive. The terms entered into a ProQuest search engine were union, labor, AFL, CIO, William Green, strike, Wagner Act, capital, capitalism, socialism, and communism. The years were different for different publications based on availability. Generally, I chose 1922 and 1937 because antilynching laws were proposed in those two years, and I plan to compare black newspapers to other newspapers in the future. The Pittsburgh Courier remained a staunchly Republican newspaper until the Great Depression. Although one editorial supported unions in 1911, only two of four editorials concerning unions in 1924 were pro-union. In the 1930s, editorials continued to condemn discriminatory unions, but praised New Deal laws granting protection to unions, and admonished blacks not to blame unions for not remedying discrimination overnight. In 1937, 81 percent of fifteen Pittsburgh Courier editorials were pro-union, satisfied with the record of the CIO and hopeful about its future. The Chicago Defender, which had urged blacks to consider voting Democratic in the 1920s, became supportive of unions after World War II. Only three of the twelve editorials concerning unions in 1922 were favorable. While supporting the right to unionize and encouraging blacks to join nondiscriminatory unions, the Defender also favored the right of a worker to not join a workplace union and to serve as a replacement worker. In 1937, 54 percent of twenty-two editorials were pro-union. Some editorials argued that unions forced blacks to be “scabs,” but the Defender showed itself to be hopeful about the CIO and its prospects for race relations. In 1947, 90 percent of the Defender's thirty-seven editorials about unions were positive.
29. Foner, Philip S., Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 1619–1973 (New York: International Publishers, 1976), 215–37. The CIO signaled its support for civil rights at its inception, barring discrimination in its constitution and unanimously endorsing antilynching laws at national gatherings.
30. Schickler and Caughey's analysis of early survey data concludes that northern blacks were more liberal than northern Democrats generally on labor issues (Schickler, Eric and Caughey, Devin, “Public Opinion, Organized Labor, and the Limits of New Deal Liberalism, 1936–1945,” Studies in American Political Development 25 ). This sympathy is not apparent in historical accounts of black laborers in the 1930s (Foner, Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 216; Meier and Rudwick, Black Detroit and the Rise of the UAW, 26; and Janken, White, 244, 251). Even those less sensitive to the historic realities of labor unions had no idea if unions would succeed or control future hiring, in which case, currying favor with management was less risky. Some worried that blacks would be unable to obtain jobs in unionized workplaces dominated by white workers, while others worried that plantwide union seniority rules would weaken the seniority of black workers in traditionally African American departments (Goluboff, Risa, The Lost Promise of Civil Rights (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007), 174–82; Lucy Mason to W.W. Ball, May 27, 1940, Operation Dixie 62; John L. Lewis to W.W. Ball, June 10, 1940, Operation Dixie mf 62). Even if the national NAACP had been more open to the CIO in the 1930s, it would have encountered significant resistance from some of its chapters (See Roy Wilkins to A.C. MacNeal, April 13, 1936, NAACP I-G-53.)
31. “Panel Discussion: Economic Opportunity and Employment” before the Thirtieth Annual Conference of the NAACP in Richmond, Virginia, June 28, 1939, NAACP Mf Part 1 r10; Walter White to Senator James Couzens; April 11, 1934, NAACP I-C-257; Walter White to Harry Hopkins, April 26, 1934, NAACP I-C-257; and Bernstein, Only One Place of Redress, 47–48.
32. Janken, White, 182–84.
33. Beth Tompkins Bates, “A New Crowd Challenges the Agenda of the Old Guard.
34. Ross, J.E. Spingarn and the Rise of the NAACP, 1911–1939, 230. Abram Harris, a radical economist who later chaired the economics department at Howard University, was the author of the 1935 report.
35. Memorandum from Roy Wilkins to Walter White, March 24, 1939, NAACP mf I-80. See also Janken, White, 259.
36. When President Truman created the President's Committee on Civil Rights, White tried to dominate the proceedings by providing NAACP information to its members. He wrote to Thurgood Marshall that “We must move fast . . . we must not let anybody else steal the show from us” (Donaldson, Gary A., Truman Defeats Dewey (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1999), 107). The NAACP also tried to marginalize A. Philip Randolph's role in the National Council for a Permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) (Watson, Denton, Lion in the Lobby: Clarence Mitchell, Jr.'s Struggle for the Passage of Civil Rights Law (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1990), 166.
37. Walter White to Arthur Spingarn, October 5, 1939; White to William Rosenwald, October 10, 1939; White to Rosenwald, October 10, 1939; White to Rosenwald, November 22, 1939; all in NAACP I-80.
38. Bates, Beth Tompkins, Pullman Porters and the Rise of Protest Politics in Black America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001).
39. Also see Memorandum from Roy Wilkins to Walter White, March 24, 1939, NAACP mf I-80.
40. Fraser, Steven, Labor Will Rule: Sidney Hillman and the Rise of American Labor (Ithaca: Cornell University Press 1991), 512.
41. William H. Hastie, Memorandum to the Committee to Study Discrimination in Labor Unions, February 19, 1940, NAACP II-A-128; Handwritten minutes, Committee to Study Discrimination in Labor Unions, June 9, 1940, NAACP II-A-128; Memorandum to Mr. Marshall from Mr. White, March 11, 1940; NAACP Mf Part 13b r23.
42. The NAACP claimed in 1940 that it had always supported collective bargaining, the closed-shop union, and the original Wagner Act (Walter White to Matthew Dunn, May 14 1940, NAACP 11-A-443). All of the NAACP documents I found concerning the Wagner Act of 1935, including indices to the collections, are limited to support for an antidiscrimination amendment to it; the earliest written support for nondiscriminatory closed-shop unions was 1940 (Walter White to Alfred Baker Lewis, April 12, 1940, NAACP II-A-128). There were numerous statements in favor of open shops before then. It is true that the NAACP worked primarily with Wagner Act supporters to win passage for the amendment, but that may have simply maximized the chance of its passage. Additionally, it may have been in deference to Senator Wagner, who supported many civil rights policies.
43. Walter White to the Committee on Administration, March 15, 1940, NAACP II-A-443.
44. Walter White to Thurgood Marshall, March 11, 1940, NAACP II-A-443.
45. Memorandum to Dean Hastie, March 14, 1940, NAACP II-A-443.
46. Walter White to Matthew Dunn, May 1940, NAACP II-A-443.
47. Lee, Sophie, “Hotspots in a Cold War: The NAACP's Postwar Workplace Constitutionalism, 1948–1964,” Law and History Review 26 (2008): 340.
48. Meier and Rudwick, Black Detroit and the Rise of the UAW, 67.
49. Walter White to James McClendon, April 11, 1941, NAACP Mf 13a r3.
50. Walter White to Harry Hopkins, April 26, 1934, NAACP I-C-257.
51. Telegram from Walter White to James McClendon, April 5, 1941, NAACP Mf 13a r3.
52. Lichtenstein, Walter Reuther; Kersch, Kenneth I., Constructing Civil Liberties: Discontinuities in the Development of American Constitutional Law (Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
53. Walter White to Harry E. Davis, April 17, 1941; NAACP Mf 13a r3. The largest black newspaper in the country, the Pittsburgh Courier, wrote that Detroit black leaders “who lean toward the CIO point out that the day of open shops has passed and that the Negro must line up with organized labor” (Meier and Rudwick, Black Detroit and the Rise of the UAW, 93). The Courier had generally been pro-union but the argument that unions were the only choice was new.
54. David Morgan Lewis Coleman, “African Americans and the Politics of Race among Detroit's Auto Workers 1941–1971” (PhD diss., University of Iowa, 2001), 40.
55. Sullivan, Patricia, Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement (New York: New Press, 2010), 258.
56. Memorandum to Roy Wilkins from Clarence Mitchell, NAACP IX-211.
57. Goluboff, Risa, The Lost Promise of Civil Rights (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007), 217–27.
58. Clarence Mitchell to James Longson, February 12, 1953, Box 160, Clarence Mitchell Folder CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Records (Detroit: Wayne State University), hereafter CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers.
59. Jonas, Gilbert, Freedom's Sword: The NAACP and the Struggle Against Racism in America, 1909–1969 (New York: Routledge, 2004), 237.
60. Frymer, Paul, Black and Blue: African Americans, the Labor Movement, and the Decline of the Democratic Party (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007), 59.
61. Janken, White, 302.
62. See, for example, Madison Jones to Eugene Cheeks, April 6, 1950, NAACP II-A-246.
63. Goluboff, Risa, “‘We Live's in a Free House Such as It Is’: Class and the Creation of Modern Civil Rights,” U. Penn. L. Rev. 151 (2003): 1979.
64. After 1949, the NAACP reversed policy and supported federal aid to housing and education only when they were not applied in a discriminatory manner. They were sometimes supported by the UAW and CIO, but opposed by most other liberal groups. See Hamilton, Dona Cooper and Hamilton, Charles V., The Dual Agenda: Race and Social Welfare Policies of Civil Rights Organizations (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), chap. 5.
65. Janken, White, 306.
66. White needed labor support for new cloture rules necessary to advance civil rights legislation, and appears to have bargained for this help in exchange for the NAACP's opposition to Taft-Hartley. Robert L. Carter to branch presidents, August 31, 1964, mf supplement to NAACP Part 13, r11; and White to Poppy Cannon White, Series I, Box 12 Folder 113, Walter Francis White and Poppy Cannon Papers. See also Assistant Special Counsel Marian Wynn Perry to Labor Secretary Clarence Mitchell, January 1947, NAACP I-X-211.
67. Marian Wynn Perry to Clarence Mitchell, January 27, 1947, NAACP IX 211.
68. George Meany to Roy Wilkins, July 10, 1958, and June 3, 1964, Mf supplement to NAACP Part 13, r11.
69. Wilkins, for instance, recounts that he repeatedly tried to persuade his wife to become a Democrat before the 1928 election. See Wilkins, Roy with Matthews, Tom, Standing Fast: The Autobiography of Roy Wilkins (New York: Da Cap Press, 1994), 80.
70. NAACP Mf Part 1, r11 (f471).
71. Against the advice of CIO Secretary Treasurer James Carey, the NAACP refrained from officially endorsing candidates, but its preferences were still voiced in an oblique manner. Roy Wilkins to James Carey, June 14, 1944, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 160. Also see Walter White to Phillip Murray, July 25, 1948; and James Carey to Walter White, August 13, 1946, both in CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 27. Also see Topping, Simon, “Supporting our Friends and Defeating Our Enemies: Militancy and Nonpartisanship in the NAACP, 1936–1948,” Journal of African American History 89 (Winter 2004): 23.
72. Janken, White, 316–17.
73. The caucus included ADA, the CIO, the Farmer's Union, and a few liberal members of Congress. Violet Gunther to William Rafski, June 10, 1952, mf 21, in Jack Ericson, ed., Americans for Democratic Action Papers, 1932–1965 (Sanford, NC: Microfilming Corporation of America), hereafter ADA.
74. Meier and Rudwick, Black Detroit and the Rise of the UAW, 191. The UAW was subsequently able to minimize the harm and pushed for federal intervention that ended the strike (172).
75. Zieger, , The CIO, 1935–1955 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997), 160, 253–55.
76. Zieger, The CIO, 282; Frymer, Paul, “Race's Reality: The NAACP Confronts Racism and Inequality in the Labor Movement, 1940–65,” in Race and American Political Development, ed. Lowndes, Joseph, Novkov, Julie, and Warren, Dorian (New York: Routledge), 190.
77. Frymer, “Race's Reality,” 188–89.
78. Jonas, Freedom's Sword, 255.
79. Zieger, Robert, For Jobs and Freedom: Race and Labor in America Since 1865 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2010), 2637.
80. John Brophy to Philip Connelly, November 26, 1946, Operation Dixie mf 26.
81. Memorandum from Herbert Hill to Walter White, April 20, 1953, NAACP II-A-347.
82. George Weaver to Robert Birchmann, June 12, 1954, NAACP II A347. The NAACP raised another $25,000 from the CIO, the Steelworkers, and other union sources in 1953 (Walter White to James Carey, April 28, 1953, NAACP II A347; Walter White to George Meany, April 17, 1953, NAACP II A347). The CIO also filed an amicus brief in Brown.
83. Truman, David, The Governmental Process: Political Interests and Public Opinion (Berkeley, CA: Institute of Governmental Studies, 1951).
84. The NAACP agreed in 1914 that the NUL would focus on employment and the NAACP on legal rights (Weiss, Farewell to the Party of Lincoln, 282–96).
85. At hearings for the FEPC, he said that the threat of government intervention greatly improved his organization's ability to provide job placement services. See Lester Granger's testimony to the President's Committee on Civil Rights, April 17, 1947, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 42.
86. Karol, Party Position Change in American Politics.
87. While the federal government paid to relocate the black families, they were paid, on average, $2,000 less than white families. Most real estate groups opposed efforts to attach antidiscrimination amendments to federal housing bills. Watson, Lion in the Lobby, 250–56.
88. Zieger, The CIO, 1935–1955, 215–16 and 314–17.
89. For example, see Honey, Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights, and Robert Korstad, Civil Rights Unionism.
90. See Draper, Conflict of Interests; Boyle, Kevin, The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945–1968 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995); and Zieger, The CIO, 374.
91. Their platforms nearly converged. Cornfield, Daniel and McCammon, Holly, “Approaching Merger: The Converging Public Policy Agendas of the AFL and CIO, 1938–1955,” in Strategic Alliances: Coalition Building and Social Movements, ed. Van Dyke, Nella and McCammon, Holly (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010).
92. Pfeffer, Paula, A. Philip Randolph, Pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990), 26. Also see Mason's comments in Minutes of Regional Conference of CIO and International Union Directors, 10/12/1942, Operation Dixie 64. Black replacement workers could provoke race riots, which could lead to state repression of a strike (Noel Beddow to Philip Murray, July 12, 1943, Box 42, Folder 15, Philip Murray Papers (Washington, DC: Catholic University), hereafter Philip Murray Papers).
93. Hill, Herbert, “The Problem of Race in American Labor History,” Reviews in American History 24 (June 1996): 201–2; and Ashenfelter, Orley, “Racial Discrimination and Trade Unionism,” Journal of Political Economy 80 (May/June 1972): 440–41.
94. L. Frank Weyher, “Rival Unions, the Politics of Race, and Interracial Equality: The CIO vs. the AFL, 1935–1950” (PhD diss., 2003). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses AAT 3133100. Also see Zeitlin, Maurice and Weyher, L. Frnak, “‘Black and White, Unite and Fight’: Interracial Working-Class Solidarity and Racial Employment Equality,” American Journal of Sociology 107 (September 2001); Critchlow, Donald, “Communist Unions and Racism,” Labor History 17 (Spring 1976); McColloch, Mark, “The Shop-Floor Dimension of Union Rivalry: The Case of Westinghouse in the 1950s,” in The CIO's Left-Led Unions, ed. Rosswurm, Steven (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992); Toni Gilpin, “Left by Themselves: A History of the United Farm Equipment and Metal Workers Union, 1938–1955” (PhD diss., 1992); and Goldfield, Michael, “Race and the CIO: The Possibilities for Racial Egalitarianism During the 1930s and 1940s,” International Labor and Working Class History 44 (Fall 1993): 22.
95. When steelworkers in Birmingham, Alabama, were accused of bigotry in 1950, President Philip Murray ordered desegregation of all facilities. The southern director of Steelworkers reported that white workers signed a petition to quit the union if the order was enforced, and if the AFL learned of their dissatisfaction, it would take over “lock, stock, and barrel.” Not only did Murray retreat from the order, but he also cancelled a civil rights conference in Birmingham at the director's suggestion. See R.E. Farr to Philip Murray, May 19, 1950, Box 36, Folder 17; see Ernest Wooten to Philip Murray, June 2, 1950, Philip Murray Papers Box 36, File 18; and Francis C. Shane to Philip Murray, May 23, 1950, Philip Murray Papers Box 36, File 17. Cf. Draper, Conflict of Interests. Draper finds that in the post-1950 period, courageous labor leaders lost their base of support among southern workers by supporting desegregation.
96. See Honey, Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights: Organizing Memphis Workers, 85–87; Northrup, Herbert, Organized Labor and the Negro (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1976), 14–15, 233–37; and Sitkoff, Harvard, A New Deal for Blacks: The Emergence of Civil Rights as a National Issue (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978).
97. L. Frank Weyher, Rival Unions, the Politics of Race, and Interracial Equality: The CIO vs. the AFL, 1935–1950 (PhD diss., 2003). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses AAT 3133100.
98. Both the AFL and the CIO blamed the NAACP when union members supported one over the other (see William Green to Roy Wilkins, October 22, 1943, and Walter White to William Smith, December 23, 1943, both in NAACP Mf 13A r15). The NAACP revitalized nearly inactive unions in 1941 and 1947 with North Carolina's Food and Tobacco industries, as well as the Agricultural Workers Local and Boilermakers in San Francisco. See Frymer, Black and Blue, 55–56; and “Race's Reality,” 187. The CIO also asked the NAACP to recruit members in the South to CIO unions in 1947 (George Weaver to Walter White, April 14, 1953, NAACP II-A-347; see also William Smith to Walter White, April 6, 1949, NAACP II-A-347).
99. McAdam, Doug, Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930–1970 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 103, 136.
100. For a competing point of view, see Halpern, Rick, “Black Workers and the 20th Century South: The Emerging Revision,” Social History 19 (1994): 380.
101. Boyle, The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 114.
102. Frymer, Black and Blue, 54–55.
103. Cf. Zieger, For Jobs and Freedom, 114.
104. Bawn, Kathleen, “Constructing ‘Us': Ideology, Coalition Politics and False Consciousness,” American Journal of Political Science 43 (1999): 303–34.
105. McMahon, Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race. As late as 1947, the Presidents Committee on Civil Rights (PCCR) said that “typical ‘civil rights’ cases involve such varied matters” including “racial, labor, pacifist, and alien rights” (“Federal Criminal Jurisdiction Over Violations of Civil Rights,” January 15, 1947, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 41, PCCR).
106. Walter White to Sidney Hillman, April 1, 1940, NAACP Mf 13a r4; Lucy Mason to Molly Dawson, September 6, 1937, Operation Dixie mf 62. Union organizers, both African American and white, had been lynched during efforts to unionize the South, and NAACP campaigns against lynching had succeeded in reducing lynching during the 1940s.
107. Zieger, The CIO, 158.
108. CARD Minutes, September 17, 1947, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 192.
109. Meeting of October 29, 1943, mf 6 in Robert Zieger, ed., Minutes of the Executive Board of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1935–1955 (Frederick, MD: University Publications of America), hereafter Minutes of the Executive Board.
110. While Hillman was still active in the American Labor Party and the Labor Non-Partisan League, he largely arranged for them to take direction from Roosevelt, consolidating various left-wing splinter factions behind New Deal Democrats and even endorsing a conservative Democrat for governor of New York. By 1946, many in the CIO once again considered a third party more thoroughly tied to labor. Nelson Lichtenstein argues there was not a consensus against a third party until Henry Wallace's third-party challenge in “The Eclipse of Social Democracy,” in The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order, 1930–1980, ed. Fraser, Steve and Gerstle, Gary (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989), 138–39.
111. On appointments, see George Weaver to Philip Murray, April 19, 1951, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 154, Philip Murray Folder, and Frank McNaughton to Bob Hagy, November 12, 1948, McNaughton Reports File, (Independence, Missouri: Harry S. Truman Library), hereafter Truman Library. For examples of legislative strategy, see Report of the Director, September 7, 1949, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 79, CARD 1949; and CARD Minutes, January 14, 1950, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 193, Civil Rights Meeting Folder.
112. Foster, James Caldwell, The Union Politic: The CIO Political Action Committee (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1975), 28; Fraser, Labor Will Rule, 514; Jack Kroll, Report on 1948, Box 4, Jack Kroll Papers (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress), hereafter Jack Kroll Papers; and Lucy Mason to Jack Jenkins, July 14 1949, Operation Dixie mf 63. Also see Draper, Conflict of Interests, 86–93.
113. Farhang and Katznelson, “The Southern Imposition.”
114. Friedman, Gerard, “The Political Economy of Early Southern Unionism: Race, Politics, and Labor in the South, 1880–1953,” Journal of Economic History 60 (2000): 2.
115. Lucy Randolph Mason, The CIO and the South, undated 1941, Operation Dixie mf 65. Also see Maxwell Cobbey to Walter White, August 14, 1939, Operation Dixie mf 62; Victor Rotnum to Lucy Randolph Mason, May 17, 1944, Operation Dixie mf 62.
116. Proposed letter describing the plan for National Roosevelt Clubs, undated, Philip Murray Papers Box 131, Folder 5; CIO Department of Education and Research, “When the People Vote—They Win!” Economic Outlook 7 (June 1946); Statement on Political Policy, 1948, Box 12, Folder 6, John Brophy Papers (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University).
117. In Mississippi, twenty-six counties had an African American majority, and many of the most antilabor legislators came from those counties. Lucy Mason, “Reasons white workers should welcome Negroes into Unions,” May 23, 1945, Operation Dixie mf 63. Also see Lucy Mason, “The CIO and the South,” March 1944, Operation Dixie mf 64.
118. Lucy Mason to P Murray, October 30, 1944, Operation Dixie mf 63; George Crockett, “Labor Looks Ahead,” Michigan Chronicle, January 26, 1946.
119. Weiss, Farewell to the Party of Lincoln; and Karol, Party Position Change in American Politics, 109–33.
120. Scott James, “A Theory of Presidential Commitment and Opportunism: Swing States, Pivotal Groups and Civil Rights under Truman and Clinton,” presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association (1997), 15.
121. Jack Kroll, “Memorandum to President Philip Murray Regarding Long Range PAC Objectives,” 1949, Philip Murray Papers Box 133 Folder 12; Foster, The Union Politic, 135.
122. Kroll's predecessor, Sidney Hillman, created the National Citizens PAC (NCPAC) in 1944 to push the CIO program among middle-class people unlikely to donate to labor unions. NCPAC “provided an entrée for the CIO into diverse segments of the population not reachable directly through the trade union movement” (Fraser, Labor Will Rule, 515).
123. Director's Report, August 16, 1944, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 196. One exception seems to have taken place in 1953, when the NAACP supported a bill to forbid discrimination only where unions are the bargaining agents. The Committee to Abolish Racial Discrimination (CARD) argued that labor opponents would use the law to discourage unionization in the South, and the NAACP should wait for a bill that prohibits both union and employer discrimination. In a heated exchange, the NAACP said that such a bill had no chance of passing. The CIO said that the NAACP “should have known better” (CARD Minutes, May 12, 1953, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 193).
124. Report of PAC 1951, August 14, 1951, Jack Kroll Papers Box 7, page 10. The CIO also mobilized women. While upper-class women generally voted, working-class housewives did not, and the CIO wrote union literature encouraging husbands to talk to their wives as well as guides to voting geared toward women (Jack Kroll to Philip Murray, March 8, 1948, Philip Murray Papers, Box 133, Folder 4).
125. Walter White to Jack Kroll, June 30, 1950, NAACP II A246 1950.
126. Sullivan, Lift Every Voice, 328; Henry Lee Moon, “Suffrage 52–53,” NAACP II A452.
127. Kirk, John, Redefining the Color Line: Black Activism in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1940–1970 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002), 31.
128. Lawson, Steven, Black Ballots: Voting Rights in the South, 1944–1969 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976), 125–26, 129. Lawson argues that while union officials were active in voter registration efforts, the rank-and-file was not (127).
129. Lawson, Running for Freedom, 57–58. NAACP efforts often fell short in rural areas. In some areas, Communists fared better at voter registration. In Winston-Salem, the heavily Communist Food, Tobacco, Agricultural and Allied Workers bypassed the NAACP and registered black voters until they constituted 30 percent of the electorate (Honey, Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights; and Halpern, “Black Workers and the 20th Century South,” 361). It is worth mentioning that Communists did not uniformly outperform moderates and liberals on civil rights; Lichtenstein, for example, notes that Communists softened their critique of segregation in a Miami union to maintain power (Lichtenstein, Alex, “‘Scientific Unionism’ and the ‘Negro Question’: Communists and the Transport Workers Union in Miami, 1944–1949,” in Southern Labor in Transition, 1940–1995, ed. Zieger, Robert (Knoxville: University Press of Tennessee, 1997), 59–60. Also see Meier, and Rudwick, , “Communist Unions and the Black Community: The Case of the Transport Workers Union, 1934–1944,” Labor History 23 (1982): 196–97; and Korstad and Lichtenstein, “Opportunities Lost and Found,” 791.
130. Watson, Lion in the Lobby, 166.
131. John Brophy to Philip Connelly, November 26, 1946, Operation Dixie mf 26.
132. Berkeley Watterson to Roy Wilkins, November 25, 1946, NAACP II-A-347.
133. Frymer, Black and Blue.
134. Lucy Mason Randolph, “Reasons white workers should welcome Negroes into unions,” May 23, 1943, Operation Dixie mf 63.
135. Zieger, The CIO, 157. The AFL was slower to recruit blacks and support civil rights, but ultimately generously funded efforts to pass a FEPC and provided the NAACP with access to elected officials in the 1940s. The wartime FEPC helped expose discrimination in the AFL and strengthened the CIO's claim as a friend of African Americans (Zieger, The CIO, 158). The AFL actually donated more money to the National Council for a Permanent FEPC. See Kesselman, Louis, The Social Politics of FEPC: A Study in Reform Pressure Movements (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1948).
136. Nelson has argued that “The very presence of the union on the shop floor encouraged black workers to be conscious of their rights in a way that had never been possible before,” with one-man, one-vote union elections and procedures for redress of grievances. Black union activists created a new class of community leaders. Nelson, Divided We Stand, 197; Korstad and Lichtenstein, “Opportunities Lost and Found,” 787; and Zieger, The CIO, 153.
137. Robert Korstad, Civil Rights Unionism, 58.
138. Fraser, Labor Will Rule, 478.
139. Report of the Panel on Publicity and Education Techniques, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 79, Committee to Abolish Racial Discrimination, 1947–48 Folder.
140. CARD Minutes, March 13, 1945, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 192.
141. One southern employer requested copies of this and used it to defeat a CIO election, saying the CIO was trying to abolish Jim Crow. CARD Minutes, February 11, 1947, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 192.
142. Arthur Goldberg to all regional CIO Directors, April 24, 1950, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 193.
143. Goldfield, Michael, “Race and the CIO: The Possibilities for Racial Egalitarianism during the 1930s and 1940s,” International Labor and Working Class History 44 (1993): 1–32; Nelson, Divided We Stand, 190.
144. Zieger, The CIO, 77.
145. Some argue that the civil rights programs were window-dressing designed to cloak workplace discrimination. A black steelworker in Youngstown assigned to his local civil rights committee was told never to “touch the jobs in the plant.” Racially conservative locals also refused to follow instructions from the national union. See Nelson, Bruce, “‘CIO Meant One Thing for the Whites and Another Thing for Us’: Steelworkers and Civil Rights, 1936–1974,” in Southern Labor in Transition, 1940–1995, ed. Zieger, Robert (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1997), 117–18. Smelter workers in Butte, Montana, told CIO President Phil Murray to “go to Hell” when he told them to hire black workers during World War II. See Boris Shishkin's remarks in the President's Civil Rights Committee Meeting, September 12, 1947, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 42, p. 857. Secretary Treasurer James Carey responded that no blacks were employed in Butte four years ago but blacks are employed now.
146. Zieger, The CIO, 157.
147. Frymer, “Race's Reality,” 185; Nelson, Divided We Stand, 202.
148. Lucy Mason to Eleanor Roosevelt, August 19, 1950, Operation Dixie mf 64; George Weaver to Cy W. Record, December 16, 1949, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 188, General Correspondence Folder. Also see Memorandum from George Weaver to James Carey, 1953, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 71; Noel Beddow to Philip Murray, April 27, 1943, Philip Murray Papers, Box 42, Folder 14; Notes on Meeting Held Saturday Morningm [sic], July 10, 1943, in office of Noel R. Beddow, Philip Murray Papers Box 42, Folder 15; and Noel Beddow to Philip Murray, September 27, 1943, Box 42 Folder 15. UAW President Walter Reuther realized that civil rights was a recruiting tool for his more left-wing rivals, and expanded the UAW's Fair Practices Committee to preempt future opposition. See Lewis-Colman, David M., Race against Liberalism: Black Workers and the UAW in Detroit (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008), 47.
149. Willard Townsend to Robert Oliver (Assistant to the CIO President), February 12, 1956, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 190, Willard Townsend Folder.
150. Mr. J. Dameron to E.L. Sandfeur, December 3, 1947, Operation Dixie mf 66.
151. Zieger, For Jobs and Freedom, 161.
152. See, for example, Remarks of Thurgood Marshall Before CIO Convention, Atlantic City, NJ, December 3, 1952, NAACP II-A347.
153. Frymer, Black and Blue.
154. Zieger, The CIO, 374.
155. Farhang and Katznelson, “The Southern Imposition.”
156. Roy Wilkins to C.A. Franklin, November 5, 1946, Wilkins Papers, Box 47.
157. Jack Kroll Speech to Convention of United Gas, Coke, and Chemical Workers at Milwaukee, July 22, 1948, Jack Kroll Papers, Box 4, January-July, page 3. Also see Lucy Mason to P. Murray, October 30, 1944, Operation Dixie mf 63.
158. Committee to Abolish Discrimination Meeting Transcript, April 4, 1949, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 191, CIO Committee on Civil Rights Folder.
159. Walter Reuther to Walter White, March 30, 1949, NAACP VIII 83.
160. Wunderlin, Clarence, ed., The Papers of Robert A. Taft 1949–1953 (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2006), 46–47. This did not mean pursuing a southern strategy, as future Republicans would. As difficult as it was to win African American Republican votes, it was even more difficult to win southern votes. Taft wrote in a letter that “we have a much better chance of getting the negro vote in the North.” Furthermore, he saw no political or moral basis for abandoning civil rights (Wunderlin, The Papers of Robert A. Taft, 46–47, 135, 231, 235). Still, Taft did not support an FEPC that was empowered to attack job discrimination against blacks, arguing that it violated the party's commitment to a limited federal government. The furthest Taft would go was to support an FEPC that would investigate and publicize cases of discrimination.
161. Only Congress could pass a national FEPC, but the NAACP had some success opposing the poll tax at the state level, and lynching was becoming less common (Watson, Lion in the Lobby, 165–66).
162. White opposed a public announcement of this priority in 1948 (Walter White to Richard Allan, February 27, 1948, NAACP mf 13 r 13). On the change in priorities, see CARD Minutes, January 14, 1950, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 193, Civil Rights Meeting Folder. The NAACP and other civil rights groups convinced Truman's advisers to focus on the FEPC and drop other matters in 1950. On the NAACP's opposition to national action on the poll tax, see Conference of Negro Organization Minutes, September 4, 1953, NAACP II-A-452, page 2.
163. Chen, Anthony, The Fifth Freedom: Jobs, Politics, and Civil Rights in the United States, 1941–1972 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009), 46.
164. Watson, Lion in the Lobby, 137.
165. McMahon, Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race, 101.
166. Ferrell, Robert, Choosing Truman: The Democratic Convention of 1944 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press), 39–47. While it is possible that Roosevelt hoped to avoid unpleasant conversation by passing the responsibility to Hillman, contemporaneous written sources offer no support for this theory (although some of the participants explained the outcome this way afterward). The CIO was not present at the meeting where Truman was chosen, but Roosevelt did request that the suggestion be “cleared” with Hillman. Hillman had been working privately for months to find a Democratic vice-presidential candidate acceptable to all party factions, given that Wallace would not satisfy the South, and segregationist Byrnes would not satisfy the North (Foster, The Union Politic, 46–49; Fraser, Labor Will Rule, 530–31).
167. Manning, Christopher, William L. Dawson and the Limits of Black Electoral Leadership (Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2009), 97. However, Dawson did oppose the nomination of James Byrnes as a vice president, and supported the controversial Henry Wallace.
168. Donaldson, Dewey Defeats Truman, 121, 161.
169. Interview of Phileo Nash by Jerry Hess, October 18, 1966, Truman Library.
170. Leuchtenberg, William, The White House Looks South (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Press, 2005), 182, 185, 190.
171. A number of governors and MCs feared they would lose if Truman were renominated (Donaldson, Truman Defeats Dewey, 136). Nash stated “Now, some of the President's advisers, I'm sure, thought it was time to ease off. I don't think that they were wrong, in general, they were just wrong, when reference to a convention where some people undoubtedly had concluded that Mr. Truman was going down to defeat anyhow and, therefore, they might as well take care of themselves” (Interview of Phileo Nash by Jerry Hess, October 18, 1966, Truman Library).
172. James Loeb to Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., April 27, 1948, ADA mf 31.
173. Meeting of October 29, 1943, Minutes of the Executive Board mf 11.
174. Frymer, Black and Blue.
175. Cf. Korstad and Lichtenstein, “Opportunities Lost and Found,” 806.
176. James Loeb to Frank McCulloch, April 24, 1948; ADA mf 31.
177. Cohen, Karol, Noel, and Zaller, The Party Decides, 121.
178. Thurber, Timothy N., The Politics of Equality: Hubert H. Humphrey and the African American Freedom Struggle (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 57.
179. Schuman, Howard, Steeh, Charlotte, Bobo, Lawrence, and Krysan, Maria, Racial Attitudes in America: Trends and Interpretations (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998).
180. CARD Minutes, November 19, 1948, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 193, Civil Rights Committee Folder. Although Carey claimed that the presidents supported him throughout his efforts, historical accounts since then do not support this claim.
181. Speech by Jack Kroll to Convention of United Gas, Coke, and Chemical Workers at Milwaukee, July 22, 1948, Jack Kroll Papers, Box 4, January-July. President Truman later thanked the CIO for its maneuvering (CARD Minutes, November 19, 1948, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 193, Civil Rights Committee Folder).
182. Leuchtenberg, The White House Looks South, 194. After the bolt occurred in spite of Truman's efforts, there is some evidence that Truman was thankful for ADA. He told Eleanor Roosevelt that the southern tail will no longer be “wagging the dog” (Harry Truman to Eleanor Roosevelt, December 13, 1948, Truman PPF 242, Truman Library; Harry Truman to Eleanor Roosevelt, February 11, 1950, Truman PPF 242, Truman Library).
183. Interview with Clark Clifford by Jerry Hess, July 26, 1971, Truman Library; and interview with John Barriere by Jerry Hess, December 20, 1966, Truman Library. Clifford said he had underestimated the response of the South and changed his view of the platform in light of its response. Among those lobbying for the milder plank were past DNC Chair James Farley, then-current DNC Chair Howard McGrath, future Senate Leader Scott Lucas, future Senate Whip Francis Myers, MC Bill Dawson, and Clifford.
184. Karabell, Zachary, The Last Campaign: How Harry Truman Won the 1948 Election (New York: Random House, 2001), 157.
185. Solberg, Carl, Hubert Humphrey: A Biography (New York: Norton and Company, 1984), 17.
186. Scott James, “A Theory of Presidential Commitment and Opportunism: Swing States, Pivotal Groups and Civil Rights under Truman and Clinton,” presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (1997).
187. DNC research assistant John Barriere remembered that after the civil rights plank passed, “you had no choice but to pursue a strong civil rights position and hope that this would enable you to bring out a big minority vote in the key urban industrial states and enable you to carry them; and that there was no point at that junction of trying to placate the South, that is, for better or worse you had taken the fork to try to get the Negro vote and that you just had to take your chances with the Southerners, you couldn't double track at that point. It seems to me, that once that amendment had been adopted the issue [w]as settled” (interview with John Barierre by Jerry Hess, December 20, 1966, Truman Library).
188. Several prominent Southerners, including Virginia's Harry Byrd and South Carolina's James Byrnes, continued to oppose national party nominees in future elections.
189. James Loeb to David Engvall, undated 1948, ADA mf 31; James Loeb to Babbette Deutsch, July 28, 1948, ADA mf 17.
190. Paul Christopher to Jack Kroll, January 20, 1948, Operation Dixie mf 67. The CIO-PAC hired full-time PAC organizers—often black—to recruit black voters. One such organizer, Henry White, reported that many blacks were paying their poll taxes for the first time (Executive Committee of the Tennessee State CIO PAC, Minutes of the Meeting, March 20, 1948, Operation Dixie mf 67). A CIO strategy note declared that if you recruit blacks popular with their peers to a citizen's committee, you would have twelve black volunteers within a half hour on the telephone. If these volunteers canvassed the black wards in traditionally Republican cities, they could change some election outcomes (Philip Murray Box 132 Folder 5, Folder 4).
191. Interview with James Loeb by Jerry Hess, June 26, 1970, Truman Library; James Loeb to Alfred Baker Lewis, July 28 1948, ADA mf 17.
192. ADA's willingness to support a candidate who could win (without a full knowledge of his political views) shows that ADA members were concerned with both practical electoral considerations and the desire to transform the party. It might be viewed as willing to prioritize the election of Democratic officeholders ahead of the civil rights issue. At the time, however, there was little reason to think that Eisenhower's views were any more conservative than Truman's. Loeb reports that Hillman was the first liberal leader to become enamored with Eisenhower. He met with Eisenhower in Germany and was impressed enough to invite him to speak at the CIO convention. At the convention, Eisenhower gave a pro-labor speech and Murray was also impressed. Although Eisenhower later denied being interested in the White House, he met with other liberal activists around the country leading up to the 1948 convention, some more skeptical than others (Interview of James Loeb with Jerry Hess, June 26, 1970, Truman Library). Loeb wrote that “We recognized all along that General Eisenhower was something of a chance. However, everyone who knows him was completely convinced of his essentially democratic viewpoint, his humility, and his ability” (James Loeb to Joseph Sharts, July 27, 1948, ADA mf 17). Additionally, ADA declared that Eisenhower would lift the Democratic fortunes only in combination with a liberal platform (“Statement on Political Policy,” April 11, 1948, ADA mf 17. The statement read “As a nominee on a liberal platform, General Eisenhower would insure the election of a progressive Congress.”). Only Lester Granger registered a dissent against Eisenhower and dropped his membership (Interview of James Loeb with Jerry Hess, June 26, 1970, Truman Library). Loeb reports that most members of ADA were thoroughly disillusioned with Eisenhower by 1952 and embarrassed at having supported him in 1948.
193. Gillon, Steven, Politics and Vision: ADA and American Liberalism, 1947–1985: (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), 45.
194. James Loeb to Alfred Baker Lewis, July 28, 1948, ADA mf 17.
195. There are numerous letters making this point, including some form letters, between the convention and the general election (ADA mf 17).
196. Sullivan, Lift Every Voice, 328.
197. Mann, Robert, The Walls of Jericho: Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Russell, and the Struggle for Civil Rights (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1996), 122–27.
198. Caro, Robert A., Master of the Senate (New York: Knopf, 2002), 822.
199. Not all liberals agreed on Stevenson. Among ADA liberals, Walter Reuther, Joseph Rauh, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., preferred New York Governor William Averell Harriman. Hubert Humphrey and UAW lobbyist Donald Montgomery thought only Stevenson could beat Eisenhower, and that supporting Stevenson was the best way to influence him (Gillon, Politics and Vision, 82–88).
200. Arthur Schlesinger to Adlai Stevenson, March 25, 1952, Box 73, Adlai Stevenson Papers (Princeton, NJ: Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library), hereafter Stevenson Papers.
201. ADA may have chosen Stevenson anyway, but it is clear they would not support a candidate opposed to civil rights. Violet Gunther to Robert Trentlyon, February 18, 1952, ADA mf 21. Its annual convention in May did not endorse a candidate because loyalty was split between Stevenson, Kefauver, and Harriman (Reginald Zalles to Robert Thomas, October 22, 1952, ADA mf 21).
202. I searched through Stevenson's records for the Council as well as its president, R. Kirby Longino. After the 1948 election, Longino argued against working with either political party and focusing on issues. Vice presidential nominee John Sparkman, from Alabama, clashed with the Southern State Industrial Council throughout the decade. The Council despised the 1956 vice-presidential nominee, Estes Kefauver. See Katherine Rye Jewell, “As Dead as Dixie: The Southern States Industrial Council and the End of the New South, 1933–1954” (PhD diss., Boston University, 2010), 332, 357. There are also only four pieces of correspondence between John F. Kennedy and the Council at the John F. Kennedy Library (Boston, MA), hereafter JFK Library.
203. Ward, Jason Morgan, Defending White Democracy: The Making of a Segregationist Movement and the Remaking of Racial Politics, 1936–1965 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011), 96, 155–56.
204. Thurber, The Politics of Equality, 182–83.
205. James Byrnes to South Carolina State Democratic Convention, Stevenson Papers Box 16; “Comparison of Two Platforms on Civil Rights,” August 21, 1952, NAACP IX:71.
206. Walter White, July 24 1952, NAACP II A452; James Byrnes to South Carolina State Democratic Convention, Stevenson Papers Box 16.
207. Holtzman, Abraham, “Party Responsibility and Loyalty,” Journal of Politics 22 (1960): 487.
208. Interview with Oscar Chapman by Jerry Hess, May 19, 1972, Truman Library.
209. Reginald Zalles to Helen Rotch, August 12, 1952, ADA mf 21. Georgia Senator Richard Russell was under consideration, and was conservative on more issues than Sparkman (Francis Biddle to Herbert Leman, July 4, 1952, ADA mf 21).
210. Thurber, The Politics of Equality, 84.
211. Stevenson received a memo on an alleged strategy by Harriman to line up endorsements by prominent African Americans and have Tammany boss Carmine DeSapio introduce him as a champion of civil rights on the first ballot. From there, he planned to gather momentum among liberals (Harry Harris to Edward Greenfield and Co., March 6, 1956, Stevenson Papers, Box 268).
212. He tried to drive a wedge between Stevenson and his liberal supporters by pointing out Stevenson's support among southern conservatives, even though Stevenson's positions were hard to distinguish from his own. His efforts were for naught; liberals at ADA and the AFL-CIO greatly respected Kefauver but supported Stevenson. Gorman, Joseph, Estes Kefauver: A Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), 234–43.
213. Stephen Mitchell to Adlai Stevenson, March 20, 1956, Stevenson Papers, Box 58.
214. Edgar Brown to Adlai Stevenson, February 11, 1956, and June 6, 1956, both in Stevenson Papers, Box 14.
215. Ashmore, Harry, Civil Rights and Wrongs: A Memoir of Race and Politics 1944–1994 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1994), 118–20.
216. Lloyd Garrison to Arthur Schlesinger, August 12, 1955, Stevenson Papers, Box 73; Memorandum for Archibald Alexander from LK Garrison, May 2, 1956, Stevenson Papers, Box 354.
217. LK Garrison to William McCormick Blair, Jr., April 30, 1956, Stevenson Papers, Box 36. Edgar Brown to Adlai Stevenson, June 6, 1956, Stevenson Papers, Box 14.
218. Boyle, The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 125. The NAACP even called the 1956 Republican platform “a shade” better, as it supported Brown and declared that racial integration “must be encouraged and the work of the courts supported in every legal manner by all branches of the Federal Government.” But the NAACP added that the Republican platform, unlike the Democratic platform, failed to address rules reform in the Senate (Roy Wilkins to branch officers, August 29, 1956, NAACP A245).
219. Hugh White to Adlai Stevenson, August 8, 1956, Stevenson Papers, Box 89; Edgar Brown to Adlai Stevenson, October 5 1956, Stevenson Papers, Box 14.
220. Boyle, The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 125–26; Thurber, The Politics of Equality, 97.
221. Honey, Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights.
222. Gorman, Estes Kefauver: A Biography, 315–16. Kefauver's liberal national campaign alienated much of his southern support, and the Tennessee delegation barely stood behind him for the vice-presidential nomination. Outside of Tennessee, Kefauver received 39 delegates from southern states to John F. Kennedy's 249. ADA overwhelmingly supported Kefauver over Kennedy. See Brock, Clifton, Americans for Democratic Action (Washington, DC: Public Affairs Press, 1962), 185.
223. Leuchtenberg, The White House Looks South, 259–65.
224. Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, Lyndon Johnson: the Exercise of Power
225. Goldsmith, John, Colleagues: Richard Russell and His Apprentice Lyndon B. Johnson (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1998), 65.
226. Mann, The Walls of Jericho, 264. Russell campaigned for Johnson in the fall in Texas after Lady Bird Johnson was assaulted in a Dallas rally. The ticket won in Texas by a small margin (288).
227. Caro, Master of the Senate, 808, 817–18.
228. Leuchtenberg, The White House Looks South, 279.
229. Interview with John M. Bailey by Charles T. Morrissey, April 10, 1964, Oral History Program, JFK Library.
230. Interview with Orval Faubus by Larry Hackman, June 29, 1967, JFK Library Oral History Program.
231. The quote is from 1958. See Bryant, Nick, The Bystander: John F. Kennedy and the Struggle for Black Equality (New York: Basic Books, 2006), 97.
232. Burner, David and West, Thomas, The Torch Is Passed: The Kennedy Brothers and American Liberalism (New York: Atheneum, 1984), 94.
233. Even Lyndon Johnson was suspect after playing a strong role in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1957. See Robert C. Arnold (Chairman of University of Georgia) to John Hynes, September 29, 1959, Pre-Presidential Files, Georgia: Political A-B; CW McKay, Jr. to Theodore Sorensen, March 10, 1960, Pre-Presidential Files, JFK Library; Alabama: Political McKay; Edward Reid to H. Coleman Long, April 27, 1959, Pre-Presidential Files, Alabama: Edward Reid file; Stuart Brown to William Battle, March 21, 1960, Pre-Presidential Files, Virginia: Stuart Brown; Stuart Brown to Steven Smith, March 21, 1960, Pre-Presidential Files, Virginia: Stuart Brown, all at JFK Library. Alabama Governor John Patterson later remembered that Southerners hoped “we would have a place where we could get an audience for the problems that we had.” See Savage, Sean, JFK, LBJ, and the Democratic Party (New York: SUNY Press, 2004), 19. A former Georgia legislator wrote that “It is my opinion that you are by far the best man for the South . . . you are the only serious contender who would not have to sell the South down the river to get the support of the ultra-liberals.” See Jack Helms to John Hynes, January 6, 1960, Pre-Presidential Files, Georgia Political H-J, JFK Library. One former delegate from South Carolina wrote that Kennedy “will probably not be as vicious anti-South as some members of the party, particularly the left wing group which now controls it.” See John K. de Loach to John Hynes, September 14, 1959, Pre-Presidential Files, JFK Library. Also see Pre-Presidential Files, South Carolina: Political D-L; Asa Green to John Hynes, October 20, 1959, Pre-Presidential Files, Alabama: Political D-G; Judge James Hugh McFaddin to John F. Kennedy, January 30 1959, Pre-Presidential Files, South Carolina: Political M-P; CA Jacobs to John Hynes, September 10, 1959, Pre-Presidential Files, VA: J-L, all at the JFK Library.
234. Frank Barber to John Hynes, September 24, 1959, Pre-Presidential Files, Mississippi: Political A-C, JFK Library.
235. Interview with Ruth M. Batson by Sheldon Stern, January 24, 1979, JFK Library Oral History Program.
236. Kennedy promised not to support any “ruinous” amendments. In correspondence with white Southerners, he pointed out that cases would be tried before southern juries. See Bryant, The Bystander, 71, 77.
237. Roy Wilkins to John F. Kennedy, May 29, 1960, Sorensen Subject Files Box 9, JFK Library.
238. He hired Herbert Tucker, the president of the Boston chapter of the NAACP, and Marjorie Lawson, a prominent lawyer. (Interview with Marjorie Lawson by Ronald Grele, October 25, 1965, Oral History Program, JFK Library).
239. Bryant, The Bystander, 95. The letter read that “Senator Kennedy has one of the best voting records on civil rights and related issues of any Senator in Congress. It would require too much time and space to detail Senator Kennedy's record over his twelve years' service in the House and in the Senate” (Quoted in John F. Kennedy to Herbert Tucker, January 24, 1959, Sorensen Subject Files, Box 9). By the end of October, Kennedy wrote that “the NAACP-Roy Wilkins situation has come along rather well” (John F. Kennedy to Lewis Weinstein, October 30, 1958, Sorensen Subject Files, Box 9). Kennedy won 73.6 percent of the black vote in Massachusetts in November. See Stern, Mark, “John F. Kennedy and Civil Rights: From Congress to the Presidency,” Presidential Studies Quarterly 19 (1989).
240. Bryant, The Bystander, 111.
241. Interview with Orval Faubus by Larry Hackman, June 29, 1967, Oral History Program, JFK Library.
242. Bryant, The Bystander, 106, 132.
243. “Prospectus for 1960,” undated, Sorensen Papers, Box 22, JFK Library.
244. Bryant, The Bystander, 135. Troutman and Kennedy agreed that their chances of regaining the South's trust were lost until the convention. Interview with Robert Troutman by David Powers, February 2, 1964, Oral History Program, JFK Library.
245. Gillon, Politics and Vision, 133.
246. According to Wofford, the original platform drafted was meant to be ambitious in anticipation of the compromises likely to be made. No one thought that the draft would be accepted in full. Robert F. Kennedy did not know about this strategy, nor did he read the draft carefully. He instructed the campaign to push for the Bowles platform in its entirety. Southerners did not press for a roll-call vote, although they wrote a minority platform (Mann, The Walls of Jericho, 273). Wilkins speculated that Johnson's vice-presidential candidacy “helped the Democrats adopt a strong civil rights plank because his followers could not afford to oppose the plank and still hope to recruit votes for Johnson outside the South” (Stern, “John F. Kennedy and Civil Rights,” 810). Sorensen remembers that Robert F. Kennedy thought the platform promised “too many unwarranted hopes” and “specifics that could not be fulfilled” (Brauer, Carl, John F. Kennedy and the Second Reconstruction (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977), 36).
247. Dark, Taylor E., Unions and the Democratics: An Enduring Alliance (Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, 2001), 78–80.
248. Stern, “John F. Kennedy and Civil Rights,” 809. In the West Virginia primary, Kennedy supporters began a whispering campaign that if Humphrey obtained the nomination, Johnson would be the vice president (Interview with Marjorie Lawson by Ronald Grele, October 25, 1965, Oral History Program, JFK Library).
249. Bryant, The Bystander, 181.
250. Brauer, Carl, John F. Kennedy and the Second Reconstruction (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977), 46.
251. Mann, The Walls of Jericho, 284.
252. Ward, Defending White Democracy, 164–65.
253. Harris Wofford Memorandum to President-Elect Kennedy on Civil Rights, December 10, 1960, Box 62, Robert F. Kennedy Papers, JFK Library.
254. James, Scott, Presidents, Parties, and the State: A Party System Perspective on Democratic Regulatory Choice, 1884–1936 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
255. On the contrary, evidence indicates that party bosses opposed civil rights away from the public eye. Bosses Jacob Arvey, Carmine DeSapio, and David Lawrence opposed efforts of an ambitious party chairman to liberalize the national party on civil rights. DNC Chair Paul Butler created the Democratic Advisory Council in 1953 to give the national party a singular voice in the absence of a Democratic president. Congressional leaders such as Rayburn and Johnson rightly viewed it as an attempt to provide a liberal alternative to more conservative congressional Democrats. In late 1958, Butler said that the South should not remain in the party just to retain chairmanships on national television. He declared that the 1960 platform would offer
no compromise on the integration problem…Those people in the South who are not deeply dedicated to the policies and beliefs in fact the philosophy of the Democratic Party will have to go their own way…[If Southerners did not] want to go along on the racial problem and the whole area of human rights, [they would] have to take political asylum wherever they can find it, either in the Republican Party or a third party.
Pennsylvania Boss David Lawrence distributed incriminating evidence against Butler to National Committee members and called for his ouster. See Roberts, George, Paul M. Butler: Hoosier Politician and National Political Leader (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1987), 54, 94, 97, 160.
256. The most important party bosses were arguably New York's Ed Flynn, who pressured the Pennsylvania delegation to support the plank, and David L. Lawrence, who controlled the Pennsylvania delegation. Flynn's small collection of written records are held at the Franklin Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York. Almost no correspondence exists between him and other party bosses, or Humphrey and Biemiller. The University of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania State archives contain some written records from Lawrence, but only after he became governor in 1959. Illinois Party Boss Jacob Arvey's records are kept at the Truman Library. This collection consists of only 175 documents, only two of which date to Truman's years as president. Frank Hague of New Jersey, who also agreed to the civil rights plank, did not leave any substantial written records.
257. CARD Minutes, January 14, 1950, CIO Office of the Secretary Treasurer Papers 193, Civil Rights Meeting Folder; Robert Taft, “Statement on Failure of the Cloture Vote,” May 19, 1950 in Wunderlin, The Papers of Robert A. Taft 1949–1953, 161.
258. “A Political Program for Liberals,” November 1, 1948, ADA mf 106.
259. Brock, Americans for Democratic Action, 164–65.
260. Brock, Americans for Democratic Action, 50, 73.
261. Foster, The Union Politic, 131.
262. Gillon, Politics and Vision, 41.
263. See “A Political Program for Liberals,” November 1, 1948, ADA mf 106; Brock, Americans for Democratic Action, 50, 73, 164–65; Gillon, Politics and Vision, 41; Hubert Humphrey to Phillip Murray, March 30, 1949, Phillip Murray Papers, Box 143, Folder 14; and Foster, The Union Politic, 134.
264. Robert L. Carter to branch presidents, August 31, 1964, Mf supplement to Part 13, r11.
265. Meier, August and Bracey, John, “The NAACP as a Reform Movement, 1909–1965: ‘To Reach the Conscience of America,’” Journal of Southern History 59(1993): 3–30.
266. Lichtenstein, Walter Reuther, 379.
I would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for extensive and thoughtful feedback, which was much more detailed than the norm for journal submissions. John Zaller and Scott James also provided insightful responses to several drafts of this paper. I thank Eric Schickler for substantial comments on an early version. My colleagues at Wellesley College, including Tom Burke, Nadya Hajj, Hahrie Han, Bill Joseph, Marion Just, Joel Krieger, Paul MacDonald, and Lena Zuckerwise, made helpful suggestions on a practice talk based on this paper. Finally, Ayobami Laniyonu's insights on the NAACP and Kira Newman's suggestions on grammar and clarity are gratefully acknowledged.
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