During John F. Kennedy’s presidency, many critiques were raised about his policies and leadership in regards to the Civil Rights Movement. Many did not believe that his administration took a radical enough approach in eradicating segregation and violence against Blacks in the South. Though legal segregation in schools was overturned in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education, many Southern schools ignored this law and continued their practice of having separate educational facilities. Though his administration eventually brought forth new legislation that would turn into The Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing segregation of public schools and facilities such as restaurants and buses, Kennedy remained hesitant to intervene throughout the course of Blacks’ struggle for equal rights in the South. Though Brown v. Board of Education outlawed segregated public schools in 1954, it took nearly ten years for legislation to arrive that would enforce this law definitively. I intend to explore the complex interplay between national and Southern political climates at the time of John F. Kennedy’s administration to search for answers as to why the Kennedy administration was slow in delivering the freedoms demanded by Civil Rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr.
Research Proposal Abstract: Kennedy and Civil Rights April 12, 2010