Category Archives: ~ In the Library

“A room without a book is like a body without a soul.”
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on this day ~ Civil Rights Act of 1957 ~ In the Library Sept 9, 1957


In 1957, President Eisenhower sent Congress a proposal for civil rights legislation.

The result was the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.

The new act established the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department and empowered federal prosecutors to obtain court injunctions against interference with the right to vote. It also established a federal Civil Rights Commission with authority to investigate discriminatory conditions and recommend corrective measures. The final act was weakened by Congress due to lack of support among the Democrats.

Cabinet Paper – The Civil Rights Program – Letter and Statement by the Attorney General, April 10, 1956 [19 pages] [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12090725]

Press Release, Statement of the Attorney General on the Proposed Civil Rights Legislation Before The Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Senate Judiciary Committee, February 14, 1957 [22 pages][E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167080]

Fact Paper – The Administration and Civil Rights Legislation, March 27, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167051]

Memorandum, E. Frederic Morrow to Sherman Adams, July 12, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167063]

Letter, Val Washington (RNC) to DDE, July 18, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12023121]

Press Release, Republican National Committee, August 7, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12023122]

Letter, William P. Rogers to Joseph P. Martin, August 9, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12090722]

Press Release by Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, August 30, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167069]

Civil Rights Act of 1957 [Record Officer Reports to President on Pending Legislation, Box 111, Civil Rights HR 6127; NAID #12171136]

Report, Executive Branch Cooperation with the Commission on Civil Rights, February 27, 1959 (outlines the Commission’s authority, duties, responsibilities and actions) [19 pages] [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 10, Civil Rights Commission; NAID #12171139]

Pamphlet, The Commission on Civil Rights [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167074]

Photographs:

Images in the audiovisual collection

Additional Information:

Civil Rights Act of 1957 Subject Guide

resources ~ eisenhowerarchives.gov

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Why the Founder of Mother’s Day Turned Against It : by Sarah Pruitt


Beginning in the 1850s, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia started Mothers’ Day Work Clubs in order to teach women proper child-care techniques and sanitation methods. In the years following the Civil War, these same clubs became a unifying force for a country ripped apart by conflict. In 1868, Jarvis and other women organized a Mothers Friendship Day, when mothers gathered with former soldiers of both the Union and Confederacy to promote reconciliation. After Ann Reeves Jarvis died in 1905, it was her daughter Anna Jarvis who would work tirelessly to make Mother’s Day a national holiday.

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Anna Jarvis, who had no children of her own, conceived of Mother’s Day as an occasion for honoring the sacrifices individual mothers made for their children.

In May 1908, she organized the first official Mother’s Day events at a church in her hometown of Grafton, West Virginia, as well as at a Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia, where she lived at the time. Jarvis then began writing letters to newspapers and politicians pushing for the adoption of Mother’s Day as an official holiday. By 1912, many other churches, towns and states were holding Mother’s Day celebrations, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association. Her hard-fought campaign paid off in 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Jarvis’ conceived of of Mother’s Day as an intimate occasion—a son or daughter honoring the mother they knew and loved—and not a celebration of all mothers. For this reason, she always stressed the singular “Mother’s” rather than the plural. She soon grew disillusioned, as Mother’s Day almost immediately became centered on the buying and giving of printed cards, flowers, candies and other gifts. Seeking to regain control of the holiday she founded, Jarvis began openly campaigning against those who profited from Mother’s Day, including confectioners, florists and other retailers. She launched numerous lawsuits against groups using the name Mother’s Day, and eventually spent much of her sizeable inheritance on legal fees.

In 1925, when an organization called the American War Mothers used Mother’s Day as an occasion for fundraising and selling carnations, Jarvis crashed their convention in Philadelphia and was arrested for disturbing the peace. Later, she even attacked First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother’s Day as an occasion to raise money for charity. By the 1940s, Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether, and even actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the calendar. Her efforts were to no avail, however, as Mother’s Day had taken on a life of its own as a commercial goldmine. Largely destitute, and unable to profit from the massively successful holiday she founded, Jarvis died in 1948 in Philadelphia’s Marshall Square Sanitarium.

The sad history of Mother’s Day founder Anna Jarvis has done nothing to slow down the popularity—and commercialism—of the holiday. According to an annual spending survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an average of $168.94 on Mother’s Day in 2013, a whopping 11 percent increase from 2012. In total, Mother’s Day spending is expected to reach $20.7 billion this year. In addition to the more traditional gifts (ranging from cards, flowers and candy to clothing and jewelry), the survey showed that an unprecedented 14.1 percent of gift-givers plan to buy their moms high-tech gadgets like smartphones and tablets.

FREEDOM RIDERS : A Stanley Nelson Film : American Experience – In memory


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 The World Premiere: In 2010 at Sundance Film Festival, US

 A Documentary Competition

Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Wounded Knee, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, The Murder of Emmett Till) returns to the Sundance Film Festival with his latest documentary FREEDOM RIDERS, the powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders’ belief in non-violent activism was sorely tested as mob violence and bitter racism greeted them along the way.

FREEDOM RIDERS features testimony from a fascinating cast of central characters: the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials, and journalists who witnessed the rides firsthand.

“I got up one morning in May and I said to my folks at home, I won’t be back today because I’m a Freedom Rider. It was like a wave or a wind that you didn’t know where it was coming from or where it was going, but you knew you were supposed to be there.” — Pauline Knight-Ofuso, Freedom Rider

Despite two earlier Supreme Court decisions that mandated the desegregation of interstate travel facilities, black Americans in 1961 continued to endure hostility and racism while traveling through the South. The newly inaugurated Kennedy administration, embroiled in the Cold War and worried about the nuclear threat, did little to address domestic Civil Rights.

“It became clear that the Civil Rights leaders had to do something desperate, something dramatic to get Kennedy’s attention. That was the idea behind the Freedom Rides—to dare the federal government to do what it was supposed to do, and see if their constitutional rights would be protected by the Kennedy administration,” explains Raymond Arsenault, author of Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, on which the film is partially based.

Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the self-proclaimed “Freedom Riders” came from all strata of American society—black and white, young and old, male and female, Northern and Southern. They embarked on the Rides knowing the danger but firmly committed to the ideals of non-violent protest, aware that their actions could provoke a savage response but willing to put their lives on the line for the cause of justice.

Each time the Freedom Rides met violence and the campaign seemed doomed, new ways were found to sustain and even expand the movement. After Klansmen in Alabama set fire to the original Freedom Ride bus, student activists from Nashville organized a ride of their own. “We were past fear. If we were going to die, we were gonna die, but we can’t stop,” recalls Rider Joan Trumpauer-Mulholland. “If one person falls, others take their place.”

Later, Mississippi officials locked up more than 300 Riders in the notorious Parchman State Penitentiary. Rather than weaken the Riders’ resolve, the move only strengthened their determination. None of the obstacles placed in their path would weaken their commitment.

The Riders’ journey was front-page news and the world was watching. After nearly five months of fighting, the federal government capitulated. On September 22, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued its order to end the segregation in bus and rail stations that had been in place for generations. “This was the first unambiguous victory in the long history of the Civil Rights Movement. It finally said, ‘We can do this.’ And it raised expectations across the board for greater victories in the future,” says Arsenault.

“The people that took a seat on these buses, that went to jail in Jackson, that went to Parchman, they were never the same. We had moments there to learn, to teach each other the way of nonviolence, the way of love, the way of peace. The Freedom Ride created an unbelievable sense: Yes, we will make it. Yes, we will survive. And that nothing, but nothing, was going to stop this movement,” recalls Congressman John Lewis, one of the original Riders.

Says Stanley Nelson, “The lesson of the Freedom Rides is that great change can come from a few small steps taken by courageous people. And that sometimes to do any great thing, it’s important that we step out alone.”

CREDITS
A Stanley Nelson Film
A Firelight Media Production for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

Produced, Written and Directed by
Stanley Nelson

Produced by
Laurens Grant

Edited by
Lewis Erskine, Aljernon Tunsil

Archival Producer
Lewanne Jones

Associate Producer
Stacey HolmanDirector of Photography
Robert Shepard

Composer
Tom Phillips

Music Supervisor
Rena Kosersky

Based in part on the book Freedom Riders by
Raymond Arsenault

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is a production of WGBH Boston.
Senior producer
Sharon Grimberg

Executive producer
Mark Samels