Segments descriptions
      Regions of the U.S. Series
      South, Part

             Description: Jim Crow 3

South, Part 3
:      sampler  2’26”    (55’ lecture)

How does romanticizing the pre-Civil War South,
the image of “Lost Cause,” and perpetuation of
racial values after Reconstruction, impact on future political forces in the U.S. through the 20th century?               
play sampler


20th Century-1st Half (continued)



Depression of the 1930s.  New Deal aid to subsidize farmers, the Agricultural Allotment Act, favors large Southern landowners not the sharecroppers.  Other New Deal agencies are a big help.  The Tennessee Valley Authority provides flood control, hydroelectric power and jobs to thousands, revitalizing a hopeless area of the country. 



Post World War Two Era.  Attempts to organize the sharecroppers makes some headway during the Depression.  The Taft-Hartley Act of the late 1940s rolls back some labor gains of the 1935 Wagner Act.  Business looks to the South as a source of cheap labor.  From the 1950s on, unionized companies in the North close down, move to the South where cost of labor is much cheaper.  This is a shift from the post-Civil War when the North doesn't want the South to industrialize.  Companies find even cheaper sources of labor outside of the country. 



Birth of the modern civil rights movement.  Jim Crow continues in the post-war era but the modern civil rights movement arises from the jobs that open for blacks and women from the need for labor during the war.  Breaking away from sharecropping, blacks migrate from the rural South to the industrial North during the war.  Truman integrates the armed services in 1947.




The 20th Century—2nd Half



Heightened concern for civil rights.  The 1954 Supreme Court decision of Brown versus the Board of Education overturns the separate but equal basis for segregation.  The Emmett Till case awakens national consciousness especially in the North.  The Rosa Parks front-of-bus confrontation leads to the Montgomery bus boycott and the integration of the bus line.  The physical courage of college students sitting at the segregated Woolworth lunch counter.  




The role of religion is vital.  The bombing of a Birmingham church killing 4 young children.  Organizations are formed under religious auspices.  Martin Luther King's charismatic leadership in the South and his philosophy of non-violent passive resistance scores moral victories. 



De facto segregation in Northern cities exists in education, housing, and bank loans for housing.  Strong resistance to integration in Chicago. 



Role of government.  The states resist absolutely.  In Little Rock, Arkansas, black students face a gauntlet of officials and parents.  President Eisenhower is reluctant to intervene but sends troops to enforce integration.  White students perceptions of blacks change with contact.  Integration struggle continues into the 1960s. 



Sports.  A small all white college, Texas Western, recruits black basketball players and wins against college powerhouses.  With the motivation of winning, recruitment of blacks opens, and spreads to other sports. 



Federal legislation.  Little civil rights legislation during the Eisenhower administration.  John Kennedy is lukewarm on civil rights but his brother, Robert Kennedy, is more concerned.  Lyndon Johnson, a Southerner, becomes President after JFK is assassinated in 1963.  He pushes through a reluctant Congress the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.  Civil rights activists Cheney, Shwerner and Goodwin are murdered in the South while enrolling blacks to vote.  Programs dealing with poverty, education, and job training narrow the gap between rich and poor.  The escalation of the Vietnam War ends further civil rights legislative action. 



Uprising of blacks stems from unfulfilled hopes which had been rising and are now crushed.  This plays out against the background of the Jim Crow Era and black entry into the political sphere. 



The Southern Strategy.  In the late 1960s, early 1970s the Republican Party finds support in the South by reaching out to whites resenting civil rights changes, and becomes the dominant party in the South, up to today.  This is still much resistance to the undeniable gains of blacks integrated in political society. 



Summing up the region of the South.  Factories move to the South for cheaper labor, no unions.  It is more politically influential in elections.  The role of retirees.  There is a population shift with blacks returning to the South to escape the ghettoized cities.  They prefer the slower pace and lower cost of living in the South, prefer the overt racism in the South to the subtle racism in the North.  The South is a crucial region in the present and in the future.