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Old Yesterday, 10:40 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
WWII, which was very much the generational experience of the voting population at the time, had something to do with that. Those images produced a definite, "Kristallnacht could happen here" impact.
Great point, but conservative voters were unfazed. That did not cross their minds. In fact, many weren't too fond of Jews, either. That includes Northern conservative voters, of which there were many back in the 50's and 60's, even in places like Berkeley, whose university was a part of the military-industrial complex.
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Old Yesterday, 11:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Great point, but conservative voters were unfazed. That did not cross their minds. In fact, many weren't too fond of Jews, either. That includes Northern conservative voters, of which there were many back in the 50's and 60's, even in places like Berkeley, whose university was a part of the military-industrial complex.

Hard core conservatives, probably not--we already know that their minds won't change. But those have long (if not always) been the minority.



Those images did turn the minds of moderates and liberals who might not have even been aware of conditions in the South, which was very, very possible, given that national news reporting was still in its adolescence.



Martin Luther King himself remarked that it was the experience of WWII that in a number of ways impelled the progress of Civil Rights in America.
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Old Today, 08:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
Hard core conservatives, probably not--we already know that their minds won't change. But those have long (if not always) been the minority.



Those images did turn the minds of moderates and liberals who might not have even been aware of conditions in the South, which was very, very possible, given that national news reporting was still in its adolescence.



Martin Luther King himself remarked that it was the experience of WWII that in a number of ways impelled the progress of Civil Rights in America.
World War II was a catalyst for civil rights, but the reasons for it being so are numerous.

I like to give the example of my father. He entered the Navy in late 1943 at the ripe age of seventeen years. He had grown up in a small town in Idaho and it was the sort of a place where he had only seen a handful of black people up to the point when he joined the Navy. Segregation was alive and well in the Navy during the war. My father noted that black men were only allowed to serve in a handful of positions in the Navy. One position was as stewards for officers in the Navy mess. My father was also around officers in his position as quarter master second class and he noted the intense racist language used primarily by white southern officers against black people. The point is that even as young as he was, he could see this was wrong. This didn't meet any image he had taught about his country either in his home or school. Later, after his discharge from the Navy and his attendance at college, he became a firm and even enthusiastic supporter of civil rights. Later, after becoming an attorney, he became volunteer legal counsel for the local chapter of the NAACP. It was exposure to injustice that motivated many white people to support civil rights.

Civil rights was just not possible during the Great Depression of the thirties. The whole country was going through too much pain. All efforts had to be directed at trying to hang on to jobs and businesses. Basic survival was the issue, not social change. After the war, prosperity returned to the country and it made all sorts of things possible.

I suspect service in the war made many black people more assertive. They were risking their lives as much or not more than many white people were serving in the military. After an experience like that many were simply not willing to accept being treated as second class citizens and became more assertive about their rights.

Many judges who sat in the courts had come to realize that laws that allowed segregation were wrong and could not be reconciled with notions like "equal protection of the law". They were simply waiting for the right cases to be brought to say so. Those cases were not brought until after World War II ended.

In any event, after decades of delay, it finally seemed that the time had come. In the two decades from 1945 to 1965, the civil rights struggle finally came to fruition.
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