Satchel Paige was pitching in the Negro Leagues in California when he got the news he had been anticipating for two decades. Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey had just signed a...
From long before the United States claimed its independence through revolution or established its governmental structure based on its grand Constitution, the contradiction of a freedom-loving people tolerating and profiting from depriving their fellow human beings of freedom was central to any understanding of the nation’s formation.
Congress passed a bill sponsored by Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, with support from the Immigration Restriction League, requiring a literacy test for immigrants, though President Grover Cleveland later vetoed the bill in 1897.
In the case of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court struck down Plessy v. Ferguson’s “separate but equal” policy when it ruled that segregation of public school children based on race was unconstitutional.
Ninety-six members of the House and Senate signed the “Southern Manifesto” condemning the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education and declaring that the decision would have the effect of “destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through ninety years of patient effort by the good people of both races.”
In Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education, the US Supreme Court ordered the integration of racially segregated schools, declaring that the “time for mere ‘deliberate speed’ has run out.”
Black veteran James Meredith arrived to begin classes at the University of Mississippi. Thousands of whites rioted, resulting in two deaths and 160 injuries. US troops were sent in to suppress the violence. Despite threats on his life, Meredith graduated in 1963. He had originally been rejected from the university because of his race.
The Kerner Commission, established by President Lyndon B. Johnson during the race riots of 1967, issued its report on the nation’s recent racial violence. The report declared, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” It further stated, “This deepening racial division is not inevitable. The movement apart can be reversed. ”
In Shelly v. Kraemer, the Supreme Court reinforced the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws" when it ruled that state courts could not enforce racially restrictive housing covenants.